Are You A “Schmuck Bait” Addict?

Oh, I have such a treat for y’all today. My perky quirky friend, Geralyn, is in the house! She’s blogging about entertainment, some wicked cool Castle episodes, and the power of a great story.

I Love Me Some Schmuck Bait
by G.V.R. Corcillo

Schmuck bait. It’s what TV writers call that technically impossible hook that will get everyone watching a certain episode.

Example: “Oh, my God! Is Fonzie gonna die?”

Of course Fonzie isn’t going to die! There would be NO MORE SHOW if that happened. But everyone watches anyway. Schmuck bait.

Gotta admit it – I love schmuck bait. I lap the stuff up just as voraciously as I dig into corned beef from a can with a key or into bologna and mayo sandwiches. I should know better than to eat such heinous stuff, but on certain days when I’m in the right mood, it’s just so damn good! Seriously, there have been times when that key broke and I went after the can with a carving knife.

I’m the same way with impossibly dramatic complications on television shows I love. I gotta have ’em!

Yes, I cried when Olivia Walton took her first steps after being told that the polio would mean she would never walk again.

And I can’t help but get teary every time when the Brady Bunch realizes that Jan is allergic to the flea powder, and they won’t have to give away their beloved Tiger.

And yes, I was ridiculously relieved when Steven Keaton chose not to cheat on Elyse with Judith Light and destroy every family tie in sight.

I saw all those shows when I was growing up, but schmuck bait isn’t just for kids.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw what I think is the best Castle episode yet: “Under Fire.”

Ryan and Esposito are trapped in the secret basement of a building consumed by a deadly inferno just as Ryan’s wife Jenny is on the verge of having their baby. Pure schmuck bait. Ryan and Esposito are not going off the show – Castle is not about ax the two tight ends of its supporting cast.

But you know what? It didn’t matter that I knew they would be fine.

The tension in that episode is strung more tightly than Scarlett’s corset as the NYFD realizes that the guys are in there but there is no way to get them out. Then Jenny goes into labor….

Ryan manages to rig up a phone in the fiery basement and call Beckett, who tells the guys they are stuck there and they are going to die. Then Ryan gets on the phone with Jenny.

I get shivers just thinking about it.

You see, if schmuck bait is done right, it can be friggin’ beautiful. After all, Castle makes effective use of schmuck bait all the time. Beckett is not going to die from the gunshot wound to her chest. The kidnappers are not going to kill Alexis. Castle does not actually commit a murder. Nor are he and Martha going to blow up in the bank.

But you know what? Those of us who love Castle aren’t schmucks at all – we just like to tap into all the fear, love, and desperation while getting cozy in a warm, safe environment. It’s an addiction and it’s visceral.

It’s why we read the same dog-eared book over and over or watch the same movie again and again. It’s why romance is so successful as a genre, even though we know how almost every story is going to end.

We want to take the ride that gets us there.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good story even if you already know the ending. I mean, does anyone ever dis Shakespeare because the endings of all his tragedies are so predictable? “Really, Bill? They all die again?”

Frankly, I don’t give a rip if I already know the ending. I just want the story to keep pushing my buttons.

How about you? Are you a schmuck bait addict too? What stories  push your buttons over and over (and over) again?

Jenny here… *raises hand* I am a TOTAL schmuck bait addict!

Here’s your chance to discuss your favorite shows, movies, and books to your heart’s content. Enquiring minds LOVE to share these things here at More Cowbell! ~ Jenny

*  *  *  *  *  *

Need more Geralyn in your life [of course you do!]

SLIRMedHer fantastic book, She Likes It Rough, was voted a ‘Best Indie Book of 2013!’ It was also the winner of the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards for Best Indie Book of 2013 and Best Humor Book of 2013.

The story begins…

Six months ago I woke up rich, famous, and thin. Every woman’s dream, right?

Believe me, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Not by a long shot. If it were, I wouldn’t be speed hiking up a mountain in what’s left of my Dolce and Gabbana power suit. Chasing a man I don’t know, no less.

I wish he would slow down! What was I thinking, following Jack Hawkins into the woods?

What was Lisa Flyte thinking? Outdoor extremist Jack Hawkins wants nothing to do with a discombobulated scaredy-cat like her.

But Lisa needs a backbone. When the tabloids humiliated her after that freak fast-food incident, she knew it was time to stop letting life plow right over her. And she’s sure adrenaline-junkie Jack is the one to make her tough.

So, when Lisa learns that Jack needs a clueless urbanite to test his top-secret line of beginner adventure gear, she strikes a deal with him: she’ll be his undercover test dummy if he helps her get brave during their adventures in the wild.

But can the moxie Lisa discovers in the great outdoors help her pursue a career she really wants, or stand up to her bullying family? And can it make her gutsy enough to go after Jack? He’s a man who’s not afraid of anything…except maybe of falling for Lisa.

About GVR Corcillo:

GVR Corcillo“With my Ivy League education, white-trash sensibilities, and pop culture savvy, I write humorous women’s fiction about characters who try not to trip as they valiantly march to their own bongo beat.”

Geralyn has lived in suburban Pennsylvania, New York, Washington D.C. and England. She  currently resides in North Hollywood with her television comedy writing husband, Ron, and several cute cats.  She’s done everything from co-hosting a radio show, to starring in an award-winning short film, to teaching high school in Watts and South Central Los Angeles.

Her first short story, “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants,” in the Marlo Thomas anthology The Right Words at the Right Time: Volume 2 hit the New York Times Best Sellers List. She Likes It Rough is her debut novel.

You can find her at her website or on Facebook and Twitter.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
This entry was posted in Amazing Writers, Thoughty Thursday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

148 Responses to Are You A “Schmuck Bait” Addict?

  1. Julie Glover says:

    Yep, I’m schmuck bait! I LOVED all of those Castle episodes. And I’ve sometimes turned to my husband when I’m reading a particularly good novel and said, “I know they’re going to [survive / get together / find the killer / etc.], but I just don’t know HOW!” When it’s well done, we know the ending, but we’re enthralled to see HOW it all comes together.

    Great post! *shakes cowbell*


  2. Julie, sounds like you are a kindred spirit when it comes to schmuck bait! Because yep, it’s all about a “heartful of story” 🙂

    Though I will say sometimes my husband shakes his head at my addiction. Like when I’m watching a Lifetime or Hallmark Christmas movie. “Let me guess,” he’ll say as he walks through the room, “she’s (or he’s) going to find out what’s REALLY important.” shakin’ that cowbell with ya!


  3. Amber West says:

    Haha! Even if I think I’ve figured out HOW, if I love the characters and the dialogue and tension, I don’t care. (Does that make me the schmuck? I’m okay with that.)

    A good story keeps me from analyzing all the technicalities, too. I’m too busy wrapped up in it to care. (Hannibal – the TV series – totally does that for me.)

    One of the compliments I love most on my book is when a reader tells me that they knew what was going to happen but loved the story so much they had to keep reading. 🙂

    Thanks for introducing us to someone new, Jenny!


  4. I love the schmuck bait, too, Geralyn. I love the tension and excitement, all the while knowing that in the end, the characters I love are safe. 🙂 It’s probably also why shows like Castle, with humor laced throughout the story, are at the top of my list. Things can get serious without being overly serious because we know there’s a happily-ever-after at the end.

    She Likes It Rough sounds awesome and I must check it out. Jenny, thanks for introducing us to a new author!


  5. Sharla Rae says:

    This was fun. I love “Castle.” Strange but I only discovered it recently but luckily there are lots of reruns to catch me up. And like you I don’t mind the schmuck bait. 🙂 For one thing–hello, I’m a writer. The first thing hubby says if we both get intense on a TV show is, “Don’t tell me the ending.” 🙂


  6. I love being able to tell myself “There’s no show if they kill Castle…they won’t kill him. They can’t. They have already renewed for next season!” It makes me feel better 😀

    I love when a writer can spin a story that, even though I KNOW it will turn out right in the end (like Castle) I’m still on the edge of my seat, wondering. That teeny tiny flicker of doubt is enough to hook me, and the knowledge that Castle won’t die makes me happy.


  7. Ain’t it the truth, Geralyn! We do love the schmuck bait. My husband and I have been watching Perry Mason reruns lately. Ten minutes into the show you know who’s gonna die and who’s gonna get accused of the murder, and you most definitely know that Perry is going to clear them and win the case!

    Doesn’t matter. It’s still great entertainment seeing how the writers and actors get you there!

    Your new book sounds like a lot of fun. It’s on my TBR list now! Best of luck with it.


  8. I am a total SCHMUCK bait!! I can’t get enough of it. I mean, I DVR and watch General Hospital and the Young and the Restless every. single. day…and have for years! Why…cause soaps do schmuck bait up GOOD!!! Cheesy…predictable…but OH SO GOOD!!!

    Great post…congrats on the book…sounds right up my alley so I’ll definitely add to my TBR list! Woot woot!!

    Thanks for the uber intro Jenny. Anyone who loves schmuck bait is good stock in my books….


  9. I’m schmuck bait–even though I didn’t know it! 🙂 It doesn’t matter that I know Fonzie won’t die, I just have to go along for the ride! Congratulations on the book, Geralyn! I love your “about you” blurb too.


  10. K.B. Owen says:

    I never thought of it this way before (the term “guilty pleasure” springs to mind, though)! What a cool post. I’m a sucker for it, too, and laugh at myself in the process. Even the reality shows use the bait…probably why I’m a big Survivor fan. 😮

    Your book sounds like fun! Kind of like Romancing the Stone meets Crocodile Dundee…


  11. amyshojai says:

    Fun stuff! And yes, love the schmuck bait. But NOT when it really happens. The Good Wife just killed off one of my reasons for watching, waaaaay!


  12. Gotta walk the little dog. Be back soon for more chatting and commenting ❤


  13. Oh yeah – I’m all over the schmuck-bait, too. Of course you know the poor pitiful character is NOT going to die, but it’s fun watching anyway. And it’s a great excuse to stress eat while you’re watching. You know, popcorn, chocolate, ice cream. Hey, I eat when I’m stressed.

    Fun stuff. And the book sounds great. I shall go a-lookin’ for it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  14. Glynis Astie says:

    I am totally schmuck bait. I will fall for anything hook, line and sinker. Sad, I know, but I am always happy when things work out in the end! 🙂 Though…if any of you have watched The Good Wife lately, you will know that in this case there was no happy ending…sniff…

    Highly entertaining blog post, GVR!!!!! 🙂


  15. Schmuck bait here, too! And yes, we ALL need more Cowbell. Mega congrats on the release of your novel!


  16. She Likes It Rough sounds like a fun read! And OMG! That clip had me in tears. I am soooo behind on Castle and trying to catch up. But you’re right – no matter how impossible it is, we just have to watch. Great post!


  17. Kitty Bucholtz says:

    I’m 75% Schmuck Bait, and 25% Cynical Know-It-All. LOL! There’s a reason that Happy Days episode inspired the “jump the shark” term. 😉 Boy, I have to be careful around here – you guys are talking about some of my favorite shows but I can only watch them once they get to Netflix or DVD. I had to skip over part of your article, Ger, and some of the comments! LOL! LOVE THESE SHOWS! (JUST started watching Hannibal – and I’m thinking, no, it’s not Hannibal doing that, right? Because they don’t show the guy’s face. But I know from Silence of the Lambs that at some point – and maybe IT IS now! – Hannibal DOES do that disgusting thing! So, yeah, totally and disgustingly hooked!! LOL!)


  18. Oh, no, Kitty! Sorry I didn’t put ***SPOILER ALERT*** which I always try to do because I do not want to ruin stuff! I hope I didn’t ruin that episode of Family Ties for you!! LOL!! I agree that Jump the Shark wasn’t a great episode, inspiring the term, but it TOTALLY had the BEST schmuck bait video clip! And SHARKS always scare the bejesus out of me!! Fonzie Got Blown Up in His Garage?!?! and Fonzie Jumps His Motorcycle Over Whatever It Was in Arnold’s Parking Lot were pretty cool schmuck bait, too 🙂 Sounds like you like the literally visceral schmuck bait!!

    In your blog, you sure call em like you see em 🙂 You know, though, you are the most amazingly positive person I know!!


  19. Man, I have never had so much FUN on a blog!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Keep the comments comin', one and all 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We like to roll in the aisles and have a good time here, Ger. I told you you’d enjoy it. 🙂 Just wait until the guys show up. They’re being quiet today SO FAR.

      (Do you think they know what schmuck means in Yiddish, so now they’re afraid?…)


      • Bring it on, Guys! I have been waiting for the cynicism all day 🙂 You know, TV writers, who write this stuff so well, but then call us schmucks, are mostly men. They sit in the writer’s room, laugh about schmuck bait, then go off to write unforgettable stuff. So, since guys came up with the term “schmuck bait,” yeah, I am just waiting for the cynicism of the guys! And maybe they’re scared…


  20. lyndilamont says:

    Never heard the term schmuck bait before, but yep, we love to watch it. It’s better than watching our favorite characters die, hence the outpouring of shock at the death of Will Gardner on the Good Wife. Or maybe we’re so used to the schmuck bait, we’re starting to think that no one is going to die on these shoes. Except the ones with a high body count from the beginning. I’m looking at you, Shonda Rhimes!

    And let’s face it, one big reason romance writers love Castle is because of Nathan Filion. I’ve adored him since Firefly!

    Great post.

    Linda Mac aka Lyndi Lamont


  21. I could not miss this. What a fun post Geralyn. You’re a pro! I had no idea I was such a sucker for schmuck bait. I fall for it every time. I remember those old shows with fondness. Ah, the seventies. The Fonz was my fav. Who didn’t love Happy Days. Or the Waltons. And yes, you followed the storyline even though you knew the characters would survive. They were what the story was based on, right. They couldn’t kill them off. Yet, we still all watch and enjoyed every scene. Frankly, I wish there was more television shows like that. I get sick of all the violence. As much as I like Castle, sometimes it’s nice to just read a romance with a happy ending. With schmuck bait of course. 🙂
    I wish you much success with your new book! And it was so nice to meet you. Thank you Jenny for being such a gracious host!


  22. Kelly Byrne says:

    I’ve seen every episode of Sex and The City approximately 10 times. Every. Episode. I know Carrie’s going to end up with Big in the end, I just need to see, one more time, how she gets there.

    I can’t stop watching reruns of Parks and Rec – I’m in love with the Ben and Leslie love story. I think they’re adorable and I have a problem. Also I like the funny.

    I had Raising Hope on replay for a while till the show lost its heart along with its executive producer. I like laughing and crying, it’s my thing.

    They each have “that episode” (or that series of episodes, ehem) I go to, when I need a love/ laugh/friend fix.

    Um, schmuck for their bait? Me? Nah. 😉 Or maybe. lol

    Fun post!


    • Thanks, Kelly! The episodes of Raising Hope where Maw Maw forgot that Grandpa was dead…gulp…sniff…and the episode with Maw Maw and Jimmy’s Birthday party… and how I loved the episode with THE PLAY!!! I stopped watching when they killed that LOVABLE pig!! Entire series that I watch over and over Inspector Lewis and Foyle’s War – no romance but such good good emotion – a combination of comedy, tragedy, and everyday. So I totally get it – being addicted to a whole series!!!

      Your book Chasing Kate looks fantabulous!! All those AMAZING reviews! And what a plot!! Check it out, y’all!


      • Kelly Byrne says:

        The PLAY!! Don’t get me started. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched that episode. And guess how many times I make it out without crying…

        I even cried before I knew who anyone was! My boyfriend is an editor at Fox so he works on promos of the show and he introduced me to the show with that episode. I STILL cried. Maybe I’m not schmuck bait, maybe I’m just a masochist. 😉

        One and the same?

        Thanks so much for introducing everyone’s blogs and books and work to everyone else. You’re a GEM. Can’t wait to read your book, it looks hilarious. I’m a fan of hilarious. I wish you much success!!


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          I know, right? She’s so sweet, checking out everyone’s books and posting them. In my four years of blogging, I have NEVER had a guest take that kind of time and care. I’m wildly impressed. Surprised? No. (Geralyn’s one of the sweetest people I know.) Impressed? Yes. 🙂


        • Awww, thanks, Kelly! Right back atcha with the success! Nothing masochistic at all – because it is all good!!! 🙂


          • I’m all into the connecting – like Katherine Hepburn in Desk Set, “I associate many things with many things.” 🙂


            • Well, Ger, after seeing how you linked everyone’s book, or blog if they haven’t published yet, I was totally impressed, but Desk Set!?!?!? I’m a librarian in my day job/Clark Kent guise, and I love Golden Age movies!

              Jenny, you’re right–she’s one of the sweetest people around!


            • Elizabeth – woo-hoo! A fellow Desk SetFan!! I LOVE that movie!! “Were Harry and Grace…goldfish?” “No. Rare tropical fish. Like You.”


  23. Jenny, thanks for introducing Geralyn to us all. Ger, I am total schmuck bait! My sons tease me that I would cry at commercials, since I know what going to happen, and that all will be okay, and I STILL cry!

    She Likes it Rough is going into my TBR pile–it sounds right up my alley. I’m 75% nerd and 25% profane Irish big mouth, with a Southern veneer my mother tried so very hard to shellac on me. I like to call it Shabby Belle.


  24. Elizabeth! I cry at everything even if I know the ending! **SPOILER ALERT*** Don’t read this if you have never read or seen The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! My hubby and I were watching the movie, AND I HAD ALREADY READ THE BOOK, but when Lucy and Aslan start walking though the woods to meet the Witch, I started gulping and sobbing. My husband said, “Ger, you’ve read this – you KNOW what happens!” Meaning, I knew how it would all end for Aslan. But it was still SO TERRIBLE what happened, what Aslan did for them all, when they met the witch! Oh, Jesus, I’m getting all teary just writing this thinking of that scene! And I actually do cry at commercials 🙂


    Elizabeth – I LOVE “Shabby Belle!” If you are 75% nerd and 25% profane Irish big mouth, you might also like my short story All Summer on a Date, free on Smashwords, $.99 on Amazon.


  25. Keep up the amazing work, Elizabeth! It took me about a million years to write my book, but it is so worth it! Have a supergreat weekend! 🙂


  26. Schmuck Bait – HAHAHAHA! Yes, we are all sucked in by it. It’s why we watch certain TV shows.Maybe it’s why I’m hooked on The Walking Dead. Someone almost dies every episode and usually someone does get killed off sooner or later. Except lead characters as we know they won’t get killed off anytime soon. Yet we still watch.


  27. Also, I just have to say that Geralyn sounds like a blast to hang out with – “Ivy League education, white-trash sensibilities, and pop culture savvy”


    • After years of watching and reading everything I could, I went to college, moved to LA, and started fixing my furniture with bungee cords and putting potato chips on my sandwiches!


  28. Phil! Can I call you Phil? I mean, we just met. You’re blog is THE BOMB! OMG I left my cell phone on the top of my car and it flew off on the freeway! My husband and I were out there all night into the morning picking up bits of it off the side of the freeway. All to find the card with our cats’ pics!

    Never got into WD. I would see a snippet I really liked – so good – and then some zombie would just walk right up and very squishily bite someone in the neck…

    I LOVED Breaking Bad and The Killing, though. They killed off so many, but not the two main characters 🙂

    Check out Phil’s blog, y’all, and share the pain of cell phone deprivation!!!! And Phil – Damn, you can write!!


  29. Yep, putting my hand up as another schmuck baiter. 😀 But I was gutted – all that build-up to the Castle clip and down here in li’l ole New Zealand it won’t play for me! Had to imagine it. Not quite the same.

    My guilty secret is that I’m a HUGE Grey’s Anatomy fan. Don’t try to ring me, talk to me, or burn down my house while I’m watching the next episode. We’re a season (or two) behind down here so I daren’t look anything up online – but all that angsting! and romancing! and living! (and dying, OMG) – serious schmuck bait. hehe

    Loving the premise of your novel, Geralyn, and need to finish one book and it’s next, baby!

    PS to Phil, the naked dude schmuck baiting live on FB from the comfort of his bed – what a way to get yourself known! LOL gonna go check out your blog now. See? Bare skin. Too easy.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Maggie, I linked the video for people like you that might not be able to play it. Click the link right above it and see if it comes up for you. 🙂


      • 😦 Thanks for trying, Jenny. No luck thought. Some comment about it not being available in my country. I’ll have to save my sniffs for something else 😉


    • Maggie, Even though it is my blog, I cannot get it to play either – not if I use the browser safari, which is the browser I always use. So, when I was writing the blog, and found the clip, I had to switch browsers, to chrome, to get it to play. It is some sort of flash issue. Anyhow, try switching browsers, maybe to chrome or firefox. I can see it on my computer only on Firefox.

      Two shows that I have LOVED for the angstyness – I don’t know if you got them down there, the British Love Hurts and the American Once and Again! They were both like, “Gee, we are so good looking and relatively well off but everything is SUCH a trial!” Loved them!

      And I LOVED your book, Heat of the Moment Thing!! A sassy romance with a hidden arc that appears like a rainbow in the middle of the story ❤ And so cool that we BOTH made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, with Glynis Astie!!

      Check out Heat of the Moment Thing for some sizzle with heart and moxie!


      • Aw shucks (blushes), you’re such a sweetie, Geralyn. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it – I get warm fuzzies whenever people enjoy it because, well, that’s the whole point of writing, in the end. (Hello, it ain’t the $$$’s!!)

        No, I haven’t heard of either of those shows. Man, now I’m feeling seriously hamstrung by our pathetic TV viewing options!


    • I’m a big Grey’s Anatomy fan, too, Maggie, haven’t missed an episode.
      Love your book cover.


      • YAY!!! Another Grey’s disciple. Thank goodness. I’d decided Grey’s must be so last decade (century?) when nobody else mentioned it. o_O At least now I’ve got a pal to wallow in the murky Grey’s waters with 🙂 Re the cover: thanks! I’ve found a brilliant cover designer and I have to admit I’m still in love with it! I know, I know, that’s just sad. (But true.)


  30. Pingback: Monday Mentions: Book Finishers, Frauditis, & “Schmuck Bait” | fallonbrownwrites

  31. You know, I heard Don’t Fear the Reaper on the radio today and I could BARELY hear the cowbell! It TOTALLY needs more cowbell!!!


  32. taralain says:

    Love Castle and LOVE your post. Also enjoyed the blog a lot. OCCRWA authors rock! I’m a total schmuck bait sucker — but i can’t handle too much angst. That’s why i usually love Castle. Mysterious, funny, light, and breezy. I can barely make it through an episode of the Blacklist — though i keep trying — because the tension gets too great. Heck, no wonder my readers call my HAWT books sweet. LOL Thank you again for a great post. : )


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