Joe "I went to Community College With These Guys" Millionaire

I don't know if you've ever been in a really bad car wreck, but if you have, there's an odd sensation that science hasn't figured out yet.  Time slows down, and you can see the accident as it happens, you know what's coming, and you are powerless to stop it.

I felt the exact same way when I started watching Joe Millionaire on Faux. Oh, I knew the premise, a knockoff of ABC's "The Bachelor" with 20 women desperate for a husband and pretty enough to be on TV where the women are told they have a chance to marry a man who inherited 50 MILLION Dollars, but really, he's a dateless construction worker who makes $19,000 a year.

Hilarity ensues.  This is the kind of show that should be promising  "Hijinks" and "Wackiness" and should have Tim Conway or Don Knotts in it. That's right, this should be a parody, not a real show.  I won't go into the whole, "How much lower can TV go," because in a world where Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura and MC Hammer can get TV shows, there really is no bottom to the barrel of shame that can be scraped.

However, it's real and follows all the conventions of these reality shows. The people are introduced as if they are actual human beings and not cynically manipulated fame whores who are on TV in shows like this because it's a hell of a lot cheaper than paying a writer and some actors.  The first quarter of the show is dedicated to "Joe", who loves his bad job, can't get a date because he doesn't have "ambition" (a female code word for Money) and his friends who think he's a nice guy.  OK, they only interview one friend.  OK, it's not really a friend, but a guy who said that "Joe" showed him how to do the job without calling him names.

Maybe Joe can't get a date because he's a boring loner.  They show him watching TV and working and.OK, nothing else.  For our "hero" he's pretty empty other than telling us he's not comfortable with the Big Lie.  Oh, he'll do it because he's a boring loser who can't get a date, but he has QUALMS.  Guess that makes him deep, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

The next segment shows him getting ready, going to a castle (nothing subtle about Faux) to learn how to dance, choose wine and kiss women's hands without drooling all over them, because that's what millionaires do.  It's not like they actually have jobs or anything, they are above us common folk.

Hold on, if he hasn't had a date in years, drooling on women when kissing their hand should be the last thing they need to worry about.  When I was in his shoes, a good-looking woman would make my teeth sweat.

OK, they still do.

OK, she doesn't have to be good looking.

Hell, I'm happy if they don't run away screaming asking me to put my cloth bag back on.

But I digress.

Now we meet the women, who all talk about being princesses and then say the money does matter to them.

Not in so many words, but "I'm looking for a man who can Take Care Of Me", "I'm tired of paying for everything", "I want someone with ambition and drive."

Hey.  Ladies.  If you remember the premise, he INHERITED the money.

They must be Republicans because they think inheriting something proves you have ambition.  Or that being handed something makes you a better person.

Sure explains Bush's approval ratings.

But I digress again.

Or come on, it's Faux.

Anyway, we get short little humiliating bit where they have to fight over dresses, plot out their strategy and plan to win "Joe" over to loving them. Then we have the "cuts" and the show is over.  Joe talks about why he chose the ones he did, showing he's not exactly working on the highest of mental planes either, since half of the women he chose for their "figure".  Ladies, when guys say "figure" they mean "breasts."

I would think it was a typical trashy rip-off of a trashy successful show except for the one very cynical twist of "Joe" not really having any money. There was a bit of a hue and cry over "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire" two years ago and it all fell apart when the winners hated each other.  The audience hated them too, and now we wait with baited breath for them to get beat up in a boxing ring by Carrottop or someone of similar importance.

That's when the feeling of a car wreck hit me.  We have to wait seven more weeks for the woman to say, "You lied to me" when he chooses her, because in the end, he's a big liar who has no money.  It's like the show "Blind Date" except spread out over 8 weeks, adding a butler and leaving out the stupid word balloons.

HAD no money.

He'll be showing up on TV shows and such and will probably end up on Faux News at some local affiliate somewhere or as a bit player in a crap sit-com. It would be sweet if she really fell in love with him for who he was, but we haven't been told who he is, other than a lower class liar, so we don't care.  I'd say it was a low, degrading show, but that's about all we seem to be getting anymore, since they do fairly well in the ratings and cost so little that they can't lose money.

That's our culture, everyone.  Belly up to the trough and drink deep the seaming crap therein, because that's what they are going to give us. Humiliating TV Shows, Tom Clancy novels he doesn't even have the time to write himself and Shakira, a belly dancer with delusions of a singing career.  It makes me long for the deep sincerity of the Spice Girls, the daring taste of Velveeta and the cultural resonance of the Jim Varney oeuvre.

As a social experiment, all the show will do is reinforce our deeply held stereotypes that woman want money and men want laid.  Not exactly a Skinner double-blind study, now is it?

Besides, they cut the cute redhead, so there's no reason for me to watch anymore.

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