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RNO Roundtable: Is 'Joe Millionaire' Fair to the Women?by RealityNewsOnline Staff -- 01/06/2003
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The RNO Roundtable is often used to predict the outcome of reality shows or to look back and see how earlier predictions went. But we also use it to share opinions on topics that are worthy of debate. Here we have quite an interesting question to answer about the new show, Joe Millionaire. Contributing RealityNewsOnline writers, in alphabetical order, are: David Bloomberg, Ken Kellam III, Peggy Keller, Susan Schechter, Dale & Jill Sherman, Andrea Shuman, and Sting7. And the question at hand is:
At first I was disgusted upon hearing the concept of Fox's new reality show, Joe Millionaire. I couldn't believe they were going to do this to 20 women - fool them into thinking they were dating a multi-millionaire and then drop a bomb on them that he only made $19,000 a year.
But then I thought about it some more. I remembered some of the women who have been on dating shows. Yes, of course, there was Darva Conger from Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, but there was more than that. Remember Bachelorettes in Alaska? The premise of that one was that the women went to Alaska seeking love, and that if they found it, they would supposedly be willing to move to Alaska. Ha! None of these women ever had any intention of moving to Alaska. Maybe a couple of 'em really were looking for love, but more likely they were looking for time on TV and a few bucks to boot. The name "Rebekah" shines out as a perfect example of this, for those of you who remember her. Even some of the women on the two series of The Bachelor, although money was not involved, took it more as a competition they had to win than as a search for true love.
This changed my view a bit. Women like this were used to being the ones who pull a fast one. They claimed to be looking for love, but were really looking for their 15 minutes of fame and fortune. Now, with Joe Millionaire, the tables have been reversed - at least potentially. I mean, how many people really think these women went onto this show thinking, "Oh, I'm sure this guy is nice and I can fall in love with him," as opposed to, "FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS?! WOO-HOOO!"? They went on to woo a millionaire.
Hopefully, the show will play off of this the entire way through. On The Bachelor, each time the field is narrowed it is done so according to who the bachelor thinks he would like to spend more time with. In Joe Millionaire, I would like to see the field narrowed according to who seems to be most interested in the money rather than the man. Then, by the time we get to the end, we will have the woman who is more interested in the money than anything else - the Rebekah of Joe Millionaire. She will think that she has just played the ultimate joke on everybody, but the joke will be on her when the truth is revealed. How will she handle it? That will be the most interesting thing to watch.
Another possibility is that they could bring two women to the end - the "Rebekah" mentioned already and also the woman who seems least interested in the money (though I find it hard to believe there will be too many of those) and most interested in the man. Then we can see how she reacts as well when all is revealed.
In either case, if the women are only there for the money, everybody watching will see the tables turned on them. And let's face it, haven't many of us wanted to see something like this happen to the Rebekahs of reality TV?
So is it right or fair? Maybe, maybe not. But is it right or fair for the women to go on shows like this in search of easy money? No. Sometimes payback is a bitch - and it will definitely be interesting to watch.
Ken Kellam III:
I can't believe the FCC's "Standards and Practices" department would allow this to go on. For some reason, the phrase "bait and switch" comes to mind. It's a little like Monty Hall telling someone there's a brand new 2003 Ferrari behind door number three, and then breaking the news that it's actually a '72 Impala with bad brakes.
And I thought Temptation Island, was bad, but at least there, they knew what they were there for. Here, they only THINK they know what they're competing for. This all brings to mind Saturday Night Live's skit about a show called, "Who wants to marry an eleven-thousandaire." But at least there, they again knew what they were in for.
I thought Temptation Island was as low as TV could go. WRONG. H.L. Mencken once said that nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. If Joe Millionaire is successful, it will certainly serve as yet more proof that the quote was ahead of its time.
Yet in an odd way, perhaps the women who sign up for this show are getting exactly what they deserve. Let's face it: they're not in this for love. Okay, maybe love of money. But as little as I think of this program, I would actually like to be watching the "golden moment" when the "winner" finds out that not only has her coach turned into a pumpkin, but the clock struck midnight way before the show started filming.
It will, however, be interesting to see how long "Cinderella" stays with her prince once she realizes he was a frog all along. One interesting question: What if she realizes she's fallen in love with the guy, not the lie? How long will she stick around? Two words: Darva Conger.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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