Those of us in our thirties can recount with great clarity certain classic Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits. Frequently peppered in these conversations will be the phrase, “you know, back when SNL was *good*.”
And I can remember late nights watching SNL, being completely taken in by the first 15 seconds of a completely outrageous commercial spoof.
Watching The Next Joe Millionaire, I had much the same feeling. At first, I thought I was watching serious reality TV-dating fare. About 15 minutes in, I realized FOX had pulled off one of the greatest capers of all.
The Next Joe Millionaire (Or JM2) is undoubtedly a farce, a spoof of all that is bad and hokey about what the Reality Dating genre has become.
Kind of like someone who sits down to watch Blazing Saddles and expects a serious western classic along the lines of High Noon or True Grit. If you were expecting serious drama, you’re in the wrong forum. If however, you view JM2 as a campy example of how bad reality dating has become, and appreciate the fun the producers have poked at the genre, you’re in the right place – but hopefully with less singing than Paint Your Wagon.
Take for instance, the Bonanza opening. Five minutes into the opening, they’ve already taken the cowboy theme too far. If only the map of the Netherlands had burst into flames, I’d be completely convinced of my spoof theory.
In the opening credits we are introduced to Cat, Jerusa and Johanna from Germany; Olinda and Lina from Sweden; Krityna, Linda, Tereza and Karolina from the Czech Republic; Anique and Petra from the Netherlands and Yassamin, Alessia and Giada from Italy.
The bright spot in the introductions is the reappearance of Paul Hogan, the butler. He assures us it was necessary to travel to Europe to find 15 women who had never heard of Joe Millionaire, and promises us even though we think we know how this season will end, there are many twists and turns in store.
We are introduced to David Smith, a bareback bronc rider, who reportedly only earns $11,000 a year. Rodeo Coach Sean Amstoy assures us, “Even those individuals who win consistently on the rodeo circuit, a lot of times have a very difficult time making a living.”
Twice already we’ve seen David changing shirts, revealing an impressive physique. Since David’s face ain’t that much to look at, I’m thinking this is a purposeful distraction. We can only hope David’s shirt gets irreversibly stuck mid-way off, and he’ll spend the rest of the show speaking through his shirt while the women talk to his chest.
Which makes two random thoughts leap to mind unbidden:
Here goes: (1) Just in time for Halloween, The Headless Cowboy.
(2) Anyone remember the SNL skit with Kirstie Alley from the planet where the evolutionary process had relocated women’s eyes to the point men most frequently stare?
I’ll be here all week, folks. But back to the recap:
With the stereotypical bad grammar that makes other Texans cringe, David assures us that cowboys “ain’t” rich. They rope and ride for the love of the sport. He tells us he was raised southern because his mom wouldn’t allow him to wear his hat in the house or his spurs at the table.
Mom shows up to tell us what a kind and loving man David is, and that “David will make some girl a good husband,” and hopes he will end up with some girl that loves him.
David has a Jack Russell Terrier named Keyone. Which is apparently a replacement for his sad dating life. After all, what girl wants to date a guy who is on the road all the time and has no money to take her to ‘fancy’ restaurants?
(Fancy? Okay, I’m wondering now if those European gals will consider Olive Garden as the height of Italian haute cuisine much the way Amber of Bachelor 4 did?)
Except those Buckle Bunnies, the rock star equivalent of groupies. David says he is looking for a feminine girl, “I don’t want some girl cussin’ and being like a guy.”
Paul greets David upon his arrival at the Italian villa. “This place is Huge! I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. So many rooms, I’m already lost.”
But not as lost as when Paul gives the cursory gentleman’s history lesson the next morning. As Paul explains it, “I am the major domo of the house. I work for you. You are my boss, can you be comfortable with that?”
True to his southern upbringing, and given Paul’s age advantage, David instinctively responds, “Yes, Sir,” each time he addresses the butler. Much to Paul’s dismay.
As Paul describes each of the five countries the girls hail from, and their customary greetings as David dutifully takes notes. “Where is Dutch again?” David asks. Paul shows admirable restraint by not saying, “No, that’s where the girls pay for their own dinner at the Sizzler, moron.”
Paul quizzes David on the Italian greeting “Ciao” “And it means?” “I dunno. Food?”
Soon enough we begin to meet the ladies of the show as they prepare for the trip and arrive at the Villa in a horse-drawn carriage. For not the last time, we hear Karolina explain that while her last name means poor, “I’m sure it’s going to change soon.”
The girls are greeted by Paul and host Samantha amid coos of “how beautiful, how wonderful.” And indeed, the villa in Tuscany is a treat for the eyes.
Olinda rises as the early drama queen of the show. “I am ambitious. I like money of course. I am not going to lie.”
That evening, Paul invites girls to the palazzo for a talk with Samantha. With a cheerful “Hi!” Samantha shows us she’s been studying at the feet of host Jordan of For Love or Money fame, speaking slowly and in meter:
I wanted to invite you down here tonight
To tell you the story of the gentleman
Who has invited you here to this
Beautiful villa in Tuscany
His name is David
And he’s a real American cowboy
The news is met with derision and laughter. “When she said it was a cowboy, she could have said it’s Santa Claus as well,” said Johanna. Others pictured a cowboy as a redneck on horseback and termed their cowboy beau “freaky.”
“We’re Europeans,” said Johanna. “This is a joke.”
With the strums of a bluegrass banjo in the background, the ladies appropriately changed their tune when Samantha revealed that David’s uncle is an oil tycoon who made a fortune in oil and put money in a trust fund which matured when David recently turned 25. “He’s. Estimated. To. Be. Worth. About. 80 million dollars.”
With that tidbit, Samantha encouraged the ladies to enjoy their champagne. And they did.
They practiced their hoe-down skills while Paul popped countless corks of champagne.
When morning arrives at the villa, Paul wakes the girls at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Much grumbling and complaining about the early hour ensues. Donning sunglasses, the girls manage to make it to the breakfast table and later frolic by the pool.
Lina deems Texas a place where apple pie and spareribs dominate the menu, amid small villages where everyone knows one another. Linda delivers my favorite line of the day, proclaiming that she will go live at the ranch and “eat the ranch dressing every day.”
Meanwhile, David is at a local stable picking out his mount for the summer. “I couldn’t sleep at night when I heard I’d get to choose a horse.”
Under the curious eye of the Italian ranch hands, David tried out horse after horse. But when a blond palomino named Hurricane entered the corral, it was truly love at first sight. “You are definitely the horse, my friend.” The girls can all go home now. If David only gets to take Hurricane back to the states, he’ll consider he won the best prize of all.
Back at the villa that evening the girls sit around the pool drinking heartily and telling cowboy jokes. Olinda begins a story about David, the barn and his girlfriend Molly Rose. But since the FORT is PG13, we’ll let the goat jokes lie right there.
(Disclaimer: The goat in the previous comment is in no way related to FORT member Molly Rose. Unfortunately, that’s the name Olinda picked out of her ditzy, drunken little European brain.)
The next morning, Paul again wakes the ladies at 8 a.m. which again incites much grumbling and complaining. Olinda is apparently sleeping in her sunglasses. “We’re European’s! We’re not used to that.”
Paul announces David will drop by to introduce himself at noon. This leads to a morning-long tizzy of preparation, which apparently still wasn’t time enough for some of the girls to don bras.
At 11:45, David saddles up the love of his life and begins the ride up the pathway to the villa. Strains of what must be the theme to “High Noon” the clock chimes and the suspense becomes unbearable as David rides through the gate and Hurricane emits loud whinnies.
David introduces himself and his horse to the girls and promises to return that evening to meet them again. Obviously shy and uncertain, David turns again and again to stroke Hurricane’s neck as he speaks. His spiel finally complete, he seems relieved to remount and head out the gate.
Among other comments from the girls, one notes that he has a nice ass, a comment made complete by the juxtaposition of subtitles over Hurricane’s departing form.
If you’re feeling like the southern end of a northbound mule after watching this, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about it.
Otherwise, join me and my co-conspirator in all things Joe Millionaire, LG. (a/k/a LurkingGirl) as we take turns recapping this season of fun, hilarity and drama.