C.J.: Our metro girl on 'Joe Millionaire' is allergic to cooking

January 29, 2003

Somebody should tell Gretchen Carlson and Melissa Mowery that kitchen incompetence is not cute on national TV.

Anybody who's seen Carlson doing "Chef on a Shoestring" segments on CBS' "Saturday Early Show" knows that she won't be doing much cooking for the new baby she is expecting. Congrats on the baby. I guess husband Casey Close, her mom, KFC and "The Chef on a Shoestring" will be in charge of preparing nutritious family meals.

Carlson was joined in the Cooking Hall of Shame Monday by new inductee Mowery, a survivor on FOX's "Joe Millionaire." Mowery petulantly stated that she doesn't cook and won't clean. (Complete adults should be adept at both.)

The Minnesota "customer service rep" does fill out a bikini top completely, and that seemed to be reason enough for the ersatz millionaire, a $19,000-a-year construction worker named Evan Marriott, to let her make the cut to three. "Are we cooking? Are you kidding?" Mowery said, when Marriott told her the focus of their reality-show date at the French chateau.

To the camera, Mowery said, "It was so not romantic, at all. I'm like, 'Oh [bleep].' Seriously, I do not cook." After Marriott prepared the meal, such as it was, he told Mowery she was cleaning. "Yeah, right. No way. I don't clean," she said. What a brat.

Marriott told the camera, "I can't afford to pay for fancy dinners every night, so it would be nice to be with someone who knows her way around the kitchen." He picked the wrong chick: "What are we looking for, garlic? I don't know what garlic looks like."

Later when she located something that resembled garlic, he wasn't much better. "I think they're onions," Marriott said, sniffing the bulbs. Although neither should be entrusted with knives, at least he showed some aptitude while preparing the steak, mushroom and pasta dish. In an earlier episode, Melissa implied knowing her way around "hot dish," not that Evan remembered. "She didn't really know what to do," Marriott said in a voice-over.

There was one shot of Mowery throwing her hand happily in the air and saying, "We're cookin'! Can you believe it? Who would have thunk it?" as she sashayed over to pick up a glass of red wine. "This is not so bad," said Mowery, whose contribution was a sad-looking salad. "I can make salad." The main course looked "burnt," according to Marriott. Mowery had a more delectable description: "It just looked like dog [bleep] food."

The real poop came out of Mowery's mouth when Marriott asked what she would do with "the funds," a reference to the $50 million the show's creators deceived the women into believing this guy recently inherited.

"If I had money to give and time, I'd want to go to a Third World country and bathe their children and give shots and do things like that. But that's me. I'm a mercenary kind of person, you know."

Oops! "I was confused by her answer," said Marriott. Something tells me he was not merely befuddled by her saying "mercenary" instead of "missionary." (To say nothing of children in Third World countries needing FOOD and SHELTER more than they need BATHS!)

"I'm not sure she really feels that way or if she thinks that's what I'd want to hear," he said. Marriott told her the date was fun and soothed her concerns about not being anything in the kitchen by saying that's why restaurants exist. In post-prandial dish, Mowery told viewers, "I had a really nice time. But I don't know what he thinks of me after that whole cooking thing. I just feel like every time I'm with him I'd doing something out of my element. I don't want him to think I'm a big baby complainer. I've never cooked for a boyfriend. Ever. They've always cooked for me."

Summing up the cooking experience, Mowery told another contestant: "I was traumatized." Come on, girly, this was a gourmet kitchen in a chateau, not a Third World country.

Mowery was bleeped again for some expletive used when complaining about how cooking had messed up her manicure.

When Mowery's not being bleepable, she's being catty. "She's a little slut," Mowery said of Mojo, who reacted to the slight on "Entertainment Tonight" Tuesday.

"My jaw dropped," Mojo told ET's Jann Carl. "All I can say is I'm not the one in the woods on national TV."

That was a reference to Evan and Sarah ditching the camera crew after their bicycle ride and wine-tasting date. They were still miked, though, and the sound track indicated they got very frisky with each other.

"Did you kiss him?" Melissa interrogated when she and Sarah stepped outside for a smoke. Sarah mentioned the innocent kisses, not the make-out session on the front lawn. "So you've done everything you said you wouldn't do on TV. Disrespectful," Melissa admonished Sarah.

I don't know how Mowery can survive next Monday's cut, but I've been wrong before about Evan's assessment of her charms.

I'm pulling for Zora. She's sweet and unlucky enough to get what she wished for. She opined on her horseback ride and picnic with Evan that she wished the other girls were there to enjoy it.

Later on Mojo, Melissa and Sarah came back early and crashed Zora and Evan's hot tubbing. Evan was unable to object, because he was concentrating on keeping his eyeballs in his head.

The hot tub crashing scene had me rethinking an earlier scene when Evan, a Gaston looka-like, remarked that being with Zora was "a little like being in a Disney movie." I wish the editors had cleverly cut in one more animal shot: a boar.

Evan doesn't like reassuring Zora, and he doubts she trusts him. Up until Monday, there was a 75 percent chance Zora would get dumped, so she's smart not to trust a bloke who wouldn't keep their hot tub party to two.

Can you imagine mouthy Melissa's reaction to the other babes crashing her cooking date -- although she desperately needed the kitchen aide?


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