AIR DATES: July 9, 16, 1990
Finally, the Joe’s Basement post office box turns up something that didn’t come from one of Joe’s friends – a plea from a love-struck fan to meet the lovely Michelle, who was featured in “Feet.”
Michelle appears in the hosting chair to decline the offer, and Joe takes over to munch on some soft, canned dog food.
Meanwhile the crew devises a more ingenious mechanism for viewer feedback – a phone-in contest. A bus hit one of the regular performers, and Joe, Juan Luco, Paul Pomerleau and Aaron Rothenberg appear in turn, telling the story of this incident as if it happened to them.
The task for viewers is to sort out which of the four is telling the truth, and actually was hit by a bus. Phone numbers of two pay phones appeared throughout the show, and the producers waited by the phones during the broadcasts.
Late in the show, a character called the Mole makes his first appearance, giving the correct answer to the contest (Aaron.).
Achieved through an upside-down close-up of Paul’s bearded chin with paper eyes stuck on, the Mole would become a popular recurring character in the series, one of the most recognized icons of This Week in Joe’s Basement.
It’s highly unlikely that there were any regular viewers who would have noticed if Joe had ignored his pledge to eat dog food, but the maintenance of a public access series seems to demand a perverse sort of integrity.