Viewer mail for episode 38.
The first episode of the third season opens with the usual view of the overstuffed chair in the basement office – but the chair’s empty, Joe’s gone. Series co-creators Mark and Paul arrive and look for him. An imposter emerges to take Joe’s place. The boys aren’t fooled, but are too distracted to notice him clamoring to escape from a TV monitor.
In a dark basement purgatory, Joe tries to make a show all by himself, giving up when the camera rig collapses. He is soon joined by the Mole and the Butt-Creature (from “Paul’s Butt on Television,” Episode 20: The Will of the People.) He laments how his collaborators have abandoned him, and the show has lost its spontaneity and sense of fun.
The creatures urge him to lighten up, but the Construction Worker doll emerges as a perfect yes-man, assenting to Joe’s scheme to create an entire series purely from stock footage.
Meanwhile, Paul and Mark find actors to play themselves: Michelle Heuer plays Paul and Guy Metzger plays Mark. They are even more easily distracted, and go off to seek wisdom from Juan Luco and Joan Polner, who occupy them with a full five minutes of alliterative nonsense.
Back in his basement purgatory, Joe spies a bright light behind a closet door. He goes to investigate, opens the door, and lets out a blood-curdling scream.
TO BE CONTINUED….
Beginning with this episode, the series moved from 11:30pm to a 10:00pm time slot. Although more people should have been awake to tune in, and the change was well-promoted, the show appeared to lose some of its viewership.
This episode was well-received, including a favorable Chicago Tribune review. It features several actors making their Joe’s Basement debut.