In the seemingly endless parade of reality television shows, the FOX network debuts “Joe Millionaire,” a spin-off of ABC’s “The Bachelor” with a unique twist: the girls are told a little white lie about their hunk’s income.
The 20 ladies chosen for this bachelor are told that he is the heir to $50 million and he can choose one of them to date and possibly marry. Sounds pretty good huh? Well, the new millionaire, Evan, 28, actually only makes $19,000 a year as a construction worker.
To sell this lie, the network sent Evan to live in a chateau in France and learn the upper class customs of, among other things, horseback riding, wine tasting and ballroom dancing. Evan’s normal guy attitude comes through when he confuses which wine to drink with white or dark meat fish and fowl.
The ladies are what makes this seven episode series funny. While many have the dream of landing Evan, they may want it for the wrong reasons. The audience is treated to the reactions of the girls upon seeing Evan’s chateau and his somewhat comical entrance upon a horse. Many scream and giggle about “fairy tales come true” and “feeling just like a princess,” when we can actually see the cartoon dollar signs bulging from their eye sockets. Every one of these ladies, with the exception of one or two, come from good backgrounds and hold jobs that pay way more money than Evan’s such as doctor, investment banker and business executive. One, a 30 year old physician states that she wants to marry a man that makes more than she does. How pathetic can you get?
In previews of future episodes, we see Evan struggling with his conscience. He feels bad that he lies to the girls in order for them to like him. Well, buddy, this is what makes great entertainment! Evan is a nice guy, and it is sad that he must go through an ordeal like this just to date a good looking, successful woman, but that is the foundation of this series. It is what makes it stand out from the other dating service/reality series shows. And it will help answer the question that Tina Turner so eloquently stated “what’s love got to do with it?”
“Joe Millionaire” won’t reach the heights that CBS’s “Survivor” did a few seasons ago. FOX’s other hit reality show, “American Idol” will probably leave it behind when that series begins a second season later this month, but “Joe Millionaire” does take an intriguing look the motives behind choosing to date a person. Here we have 20 girls vying for the love, or should we say money, of a man they just met. That’s what will make the season finale so memorable: the look on some pitiful girl’s face when she learns that in fact she is in love with a person that doesn’t exist, but rather an ordinary, hard working, blue collar man.
I didn’t necessarily agree or disagree with the show’s format. I really don’t care if people are so insecure or desperate to find a mate that they need to go on national television and find one. It is funny, though, to see what really drives people to be attracted to each other and this time it just so happens to be a little white lie.