Of all the lies and liars featured on The Next Joe Millionaire, at least Butler Paul was not a participant. Throughout the season, he promised the show’s ending would not be what we expected.
Fans of reality TV, jaded by one too many false clues and twists this season, expected David would ultimately prove to be a trust-fund cowboy after all. While I mentally predicted many possible twists, I was pleasantly surprised to be completely surprised by the ending.
I’ll spare you details about flashback scenes, David’s angst about the Really Big Decision and Evan-like images of tossing and turning in bed. The most notable moments in the first hour came during David’s dinner/supper date with Cat in which she divulged “I was dreaming about horse riding last night,” wink, wink and her provocative promise to do ‘anything” to make David’s decision easier. wink, wink This chick has spent some serious time in front of a mirror perfecting the look that drives men wild.
However, I will share that Mr. Bumpkin – who has missed the entire season – sat down to watch the first 30 minutes of the show with me last night. After watching Tereza confess she was drunk and wasn’t wearing underwear, coupled with Olinda’s antics in general, he turned to me with a look of amazement, “You’re writing about this crap?”
Yes dear. So right. Although it’s still unclear whether Mr. B thinks my talents, my time, or my brain cells are being wasted, we’ll get on with the recap.
The editing of the final episode seemed to present a clearer picture of the relationship between Cat and Linda - who seem close, in spite of the competition for David’s affection. In their quiet time together, they seem to have a certain affection for one another, and thankfully Linda’s mood is not dictated by any facial expression or mindless chit-chat Cat does or doesn’t make.
LG: It's amazing how "bonding" an experiencean beingexperience being a target of Olinda's jealousy was for these two. Maybe Fox will hook Cat and Linda up for a post-reality TV show rage-target stress-disorder counseling group with Charla and Tara from last summer's Paradise Hotel, as Charla and Tara were both targets of Wild-Eyed-Toni and became pinky swear friends as a result.
And finally, thankfully, we got what the series has been missing all along: commentary from Paul. “Both girls are good looking. Both have a quiet elegance to them. Linda is a very sweet young lady, who impresses me as having a lot of respect for her self, as well as others. She is a very pleasant person to be around.”
“Cat seems very worldly and sophisticated. Foxy in a way” said Paul, which I don’t think was intended in the western vernacular for a sexy lady - but foxy, as in, smart like a fox.
LG: Or maybe “foxy” in a Fox reality TV show star way. Or at least that is what Fox was hoping before the ratings came back for this series. Too bad, as she could have joined such notables as Rebekah from Bachelorettes in Alaska, and Stephanie from Temptation Island 3. What, you don't know who I'm talking about? I guess this isn't the first time a Fox reality TV show has escaped the attention of the masses.
Again, we watch David toss and turn in his bed. He explains the dilemma again: “On my right hand I have Cat,” (insert flashbacks) “and on my left I have Linda.” (more flashbacks). The odd mangling of the phrase makes me wonder if David is right-handed or left handed, and if thoughts of Cat have caused hair to grow on his right hand.
LG: David sounds like a man with his hands full. What is it that smooth talking guys say to flat-chested girls: "More than a handful is a waste?" Riiiiight, well that is one way to get to second base.
This old yarn made me think of an email I received today, which was actually funny. Remember the bit about, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free … “ (oh wait, maybe this tangent is on topic after all.) The modern-day female equivalent is: “Why buy the whole pig for 6 oz. of sausage?”
(Quinn, you’ll get that later and you’ll laugh so hard.)
Where was I? Oh. At breakfast the final morning, Paul pops in to say that RoboSamantha will arrive within the hour to make an important announcement.
I’ve watched the girls’ reaction to Samantha’s entrances transform through the series At first, they showed polite interest. By now they look like victims of electro-shock therapy each time she enters the room.
Samantha arrives dressed in a pink suit and begins the five-line speech she’s been rehearsing for the past three days: “Ladies, today is the day that David will offer one of you a promise ring … with the hope that you will be able to build on the relationship in the future. David will talk to each of you individually, and Paul will let you know when David is ready.” With a whispered “Ciao,” Samantha executes an almost military heel turn and exits the room.
This leaves Linda and Cat to whisper to one another, “What is a promise ring?” Finally they decided it was ‘like’ an engagement ring.
The Final Elimination
With drama music worthy of a slasher flick, Paul crosses the salon, marches down the hallway and knocks on Cat’s door, inviting her to the salon. As she is seated on the sofa, David enters with a bouquet of beautiful white roses. I’m thinking bridal.
By now, Cat is tired of talking and wants David to get it over with. Finally, he begins his speech, “This whole experience … you’ve meant a lot to me. I’ve met someone very special, very beautiful. You’re very blessed with everything that you have. A guy is lucky to be with you. I know that we’ve grown closer. I feel like every moment that we’ve had a great time.
“But… um…. I have another thing that I have to say.”
“But uh. I don’t mean this bad, but like … I didn’t choose you Cat. Um. The time that I had with you was just amazing. I really thank you for staying and understanding. If you’re ever in Texas, please come visit.”
LG: I dearly love David, but that speech was painful to watch. Not because I particularly wanted him to pick Cat, but because it took twice as long as it should have because of his nervous stammering. Spit it out already, Dave. Don't let her twist in the wind like the buddies you had to kick out of your truck on the way to a rodeo.
With this, David leaves the room. Cat sits a moment, and the hurt (and disgust) is evident in her eyes. Later she rises and walks away, appropriately leaving the bouquet lying on the sofa.
I’m Lying Here … Act Duex
As Linda waits in the salon, David arrives with his hat in his hands. I’m grateful he didn’t recycle Cat’s bouquet. David attempts small talk, then launches into his speech:
“I wanna tell you a little story. When I first seen you, I knew I met someone special. You’re an angel. You’re the most pure thing that I know. And uh…um … I chose you.”
(Disclaimer: I am not making this grammar up for laughs.)
With this, he gives an excited and very pleased Linda a declaration of his love before beginning the second part of his speech. “Um… um …I have to tell you something else … That …um… I haven’t been completely honest with you. Um. I don’t have 80 million dollars.”
LG: Notice how he didn't mention how he only has $20 in his bank account, as he has mentioned to Paul in nearly every episode so far. Not having $20 could mean a lot of stops between multimillionaire and a broke bloke.
I’m surprised by the amount of emotion I’m seeing in David’s now-red face. I think I see tears beginning to moisten his eyes. David says if Linda thinks she can be with him now that she knows the truth, she should meet him on the palazzo that evening.
Linda looks shocked and confused, but mostly seems concerned for David who is taking the reveal of this lie very hard. I found David’s reaction a sharp contrast to Evan, who, I think, viewed JM1 as just another acting/modeling job.
David and Paul walk out to the palazzo and wait. Paul carries a beautiful solitaire on a tray. David rocks on his heels as the dramatic music builds to a crescendo and the camera focuses on an empty doorway.
Oddly enough, the dramatic music is not coming from the four musicians they have on hand for the event. They also sit and stare expectantly at the doorway. The minutes pass and eventually even David realizes things aren’t looking good.
Paul goes back into the house to check on Linda. Of course we viewers have guessed by now that she is long gone.
LG: OK, so now David has blown his chances with all 14 women on the show, but hey, the flautist looked hot! Maybe she's interested in relocating to Texas.
Paul returns to break the news to David. David looks hopefully to door again. As if she might still appear. The mournful background music and the look on David’s face remind me of Where the Red Fern Grows and when Old Yeller died, all at the same time.
And yet it occurs to me that it’s only 8:35. Oh for the love of god, let this end already.
Next we see the fountain at the entrance to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. David grabs his bag and is greeted by a driver at the entrance. I leap from the couch and shout excitedly, “I’ve been there! I’ve been there!” Not that I am easily excitable, but to get back at the Brooding Bumpkin for the million times she’s shouted this since her summer trip to the Big Apple.
But I digress.
In a voiceover, David tells us he is still overwhelmed by the experience, but the good folks at Fox (known for their kindness, fairness and selfless generosity) sent him to this ranch in Austin to ease his mind and get him re-accustomed to his lifestyle.
Taken to the gates of a farm, the driver lets David out at the end of the drive.
But lo! What soft light through yonder winder breaks? Why that looks like mah horse! David greets North with a hug and a kiss. No, I’m not making that up. “Gollllleee, have I missed you! I’ve been in Italy, can you imagine that?”
We didn’t get neat subtitles for North’s response.
LG: However, I did detect a distinct jealous whiney, as if North was sniffing David and asking, "Who is this Hurricane nag you've been seeing while you were in It All Eee? "
David rides awhile and soon arrives at a picturesque log cabin. Dismounting, he seems surprised to see Paul walk out to greet him. Paul tells David he has a letter from him from Linda, which he reads out loud.
(with apologies for my transcription skills)
I’m sorry I left you the way I did. Maybe I was a coward not to see you. But I was scared by everything I felt. I just wanted to run away. But I need you to understand me. It was not the money. It was the lie. If you are really in love, lies are the hardest things to hear. That’s why you did not see me. But I have not been able to get you out of my mind. I have not been able to forget you.
LG: Didn't Paul say something about her not being able to get on the plane back to Czech Republic? I didn't think it would be so easy to switch a ticket to Prague for one to Austin, but hey, I guess that is why I won't likely win The Amazing Race 4.
As David is engrossed in re-reading the letter, (and to no-one’s real surprise) Linda emerges from the cabin. They embrace, and I think I hear a heavenly chorus in the background. David is glowing, and grinning from ear to ear.
Paul returns with the small silver tray holding the promise ring, which David offers to place on Linda’s right hand. Still confused by this particular tradition, Linda offers her left hand. “He said I didn’t have to wear it on my left hand, but I wanted to.”
Paul, on his third round trip from the cabin, appears again with a covered tray. “We’re having some food,” announces Linda. (Yeah. It’s supper. Sorry. Still annoyed.)
Paul says, “The journey isn’t over quite yet. Linda. The greatest wealth on the earth is love. And because you have found love with David, love has made itself richer. ” Paul then presents Linda with a check for $250,000.
To David, Paul says, “We told you at the beginning there would be no money. Although you had to lie for a short time, in the hopes that you two will start a life together, everything you see here, the house, the ninety acres, the ranch and everything on it …. is yours,” and with a flourish, he hands David the deed to the property.
No gift of 80 million dollars could have pleased David more. He picks Paul up in a robust hug that lifts the short-statured butler off the ground. As David inspects the document, he notes, “Oh my gosh! It’s notarized. I can’t believe this!” (I’m a notary. And I’ve never received quite *that* reaction.)
After a disappointing season, I truly didn’t expect such a feel-good ending from the producers. David and Linda both seemed very happy with one another, and sincerely in love. Even though the viewership for this season was not everything Fox had expected, I hope they will follow up with a big Texas wedding, should one occur. But skip the pink, please.
David and Linda? Well, they rode off happily into the sunset, of course.
LG: Thanks for sticking it out with us. It's been a bumpy and then satisfying ride, like a horse shifting from a trot to a gallop. Better than riding a bucking bronco, I guess.
Thanks to all of you who have read our joint recaps this season. To all of you who have secretly watched the show, never confessing your fascination with cheese to your co-workers: We know who you are, and we like you, we really like you.
Thanks especially to LG for agreeing to team with me to recap this season when Fox got wishy-washy about the scheduling. LG is a great writing partner with a phenomenal recall of pop culture and reality TV hits and flops. Noogies, dear. You know I’m crazy about you.
As always, send your fan mail to Bumpkin@fansofrealitytv.com and LurkingGirl@fansofrealitytv.co m. Complaints, criticisms and hate mail, John@fansofrealitytv.com.