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Did the ‘Joe Millionaire’ Women Know About the Money Ahead of Time? Who Cares?by David Bloomberg -- 01/09/2003
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With only one episode under its belt so far, Joe Millionaire has come under attack for supposedly falsely portraying the golddig—er, I mean eligible young women. There have been accusations by some of the women (for example, Alison in the New York Post) that they were not previously told that Evan Wallace/Marriott (he goes by “Wallace” on the show, but that’s actually his middle name) had inherited $50 million. This does appear to be true – to an extent.
The question is to what extent, and does it really matter? Early on the first episode, the women were gathered around by the hostess and told that they already knew the guy they were going after was rich, but now it was time to tell them how rich. This is where the $50 million number is apparently first dropped on them.
But what about the hostess’ statement that they already knew Evan was rich? That part seems to have gone unnoticed. The Post, in a January 7 article, says, “the producers originally told the women that Marriott was an average guy.” Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything to specifically back that up, nor can I tell if it was an allegation leveled by one of the three women interviewed for that article or something the Post dug up on its own.
However, before I get too deep into this, I have to say that I really think any bickering over this issue is a bit besides the point. Granted, if they were really not told anything about money until they got there, then assuming them to be gold-diggers from the outset is probably not fair. However, there are some assumptions we can make from that. Let’s face it, going on a dating show of this type on TV is pretty much guaranteed to provide an opportunity for some pretty shallow initial judgments. The women who signed up could pretty well be sure that they were not going to be set up with some five-foot-four overweight balding 50-year-old. They were going to get some eye candy, and they had to know that going in. Sure, maybe they’d fall in love with this particular piece of eye candy, but it starts off pretty much like a beauty pageant for both sides. In this way, it’s very similar to the first two Bachelor series – but is very different from The Bachelorette, where all the guys went in knowing quite a bit about the person they were going to woo.
So these women all knew that they would be essentially put on display and, in return, a guy would be put on display for them – and all of it would happen on national television. Maybe they aren’t gold-diggers, but they knew what they were getting themselves into on at least this level.
Now, what about the comment by the hostess that they all knew he was rich? When did they know? That, alas, we aren’t told. But it’s a fairly minor point overall.
The main point is that after they are told of the supposed $50 million, we can see their reactions. Some of them, as C. Brian Devinney has pointed out in his recap, are obviously stuck on the whole $50 million thing. Heidi specifically said she would marry for money. Katie said she expects her husband to make a certain amount of money.
So how do they all react? They practically have catfights over the gowns. Now, maybe they’d have done the same thing no matter who the guy was, but do we really think they’d have acted that way for the five-foot-four overweight balding 50-year-old I mentioned above? No. They did it because they wanted to snag the model-handsome and (supposedly) quite wealthy Evan.
Before the show started, a number of us thought the idea might be to strike back at the women who come on dating shows just to “win.” Indeed, this idea appeared several times in our Joe Millionaire Roundtable discussion article. However, the show’s executive producer told the Post that, “Making fun of the girls is certainly not the goal.” Maybe not, but it will certainly be interesting to see how they continue to react as the competition stiffens.
We already know how some of the women reacted. Three discussed in a Post article showed their bitterness. I won’t give out two of the names since, to me, it seems obvious that they didn’t win and I don’t want to give that away. But one who is already out and who said some of the nastiest things was Mary Huang. Huang said, “You can put a monkey in a suit and he’s still a monkey.” Ouch. The story says she felt insulted that Evan could ever be her Mr. Right. Why? She signed up to be on the show and now she’s all mad about it? Could it be perhaps because she was rejected by him in the very first round? In case you don’t remember her, Huang was the one who was wearing the wrap-around sunglasses that, in my opinion, made her look horrible. C. Brian Devinney described her as follows: “Mary enters and all I have to say is she looks like a prostitute with those sunglasses and hat (or was that her hair, I dunno).” Evan obviously felt somewhat the same way. Remember, folks, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Certainly not all of the complaints are from the women themselves. But of those that are, it does make one wonder if they would have been complaining had they made it all the way to the end (then again, perhaps they did make it that far and then found out about the lack of money – I guess it could go either way in this case).
But it all comes down to this – these women came onto a reality show looking for a man. They knew to at least some extent what they could expect, and I’m sure they all signed contracts stating that the show could use their actions in any way they saw fit (that’s what Survivor contracts have said). They found out later about the supposed $50 million, but what has happened on-camera is all after that point. Are they gold-diggers or just attention-seekers? Are they ultra-competitive or just trying to attract the attention of a man they feel they can love, even though they just met him and know nothing about him other than that he’s good looking and rich?
Certainly we will find out more about how the women come off as more episodes air – and especially after another round of cuts is made and we can concentrate for a longer time on each remaining woman. Maybe I’ll end up reconsidering at that point, but for right now, I just don’t see much cause for complaint.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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