Finale for 'Joe Millionaire'? Hardly

By Brian Lambert

And it isn't over yet.

Joe the faux millionaire picked the prim and chaste Zora over Sarah the jiggly bondage queen, confessed he really didn't have $50 million, but was handed $1 million from Fox to cover the indignities he's suffered.

Zora will get half.

But don't go away yet. "Joe Millionaire: The Aftermath" will fill another (sweeps) dead (sweeps) February (sweeps) Monday night, next week. No one, least of all Fox, is so stupid to kill so golden a turkey as this. By May, expect to be tuning in for "Joe and Zora: The Civil Trial."

Out at Planet Hollywood in the Mall of America on Monday, young female-oriented radio station Mix 104 held a kind of cult gathering of "Joe Millionaire" faithful, primarily 20-something women and a few glazy-eyed boyfriends and husbands.

During the hourlong run-up to Joe's (Evan Marriott's) choice and the not-all- that-surprising cash handout, the faithful chatted and savored the shamelessly catty recap of the series' better moments. Like Melissa of Coon Rapids thinking better of sealing the deal with "Joe" on a couch in the chateau, and Sarah's instantly infamous walk in the woods, where Fox inserted subtitles for sounds "slurp," "gulp" its microphones could only imagine.

At this, one less-than-amused male rolled his eyes and muttered, "This country is insane. The (expletive) Arabs can have it."

Far less glum were Colleen Anderson of Minneapolis and pal Gail Katolick of Bloomington. The two watched "every second of every episode," said Gail, "and sometimes twice, on tape." Each wore a hand-lettered "Joe Millionaire" T-shirt, made for them by a third co-worker who couldn't break away for the Planet Hollywood bash.

They say they're co-workers in an Uptown store where Melissa (Mowery) of Coon Rapids has shopped.

"But we didn't say anything to her," said Gail, "We didn't want her to think she was too cool."

Even though Colleen's husband and Gail's boyfriend think their fascination is "so lame," they see something the boys don't. They're very much into "Joe's" inspired, twisted gimmick.

"The thing that's fun," says Colleen, "is that girls are way more catty than guys. It's fun to watch what they wear and do and the things they say to each other.

"Just naturally everything matters more to girls. So it's fun to sit and watch and wonder, 'What was she thinking when she wore that outfit?' "

She says, laughing: "Women make themselves out to be so sensitive." "But we're not!" says Gail.

"No way," says Colleen, raising her glass, proudly, "We're one level deep!"

At another table, Janet Harmon of Shoreview and Heather Allen of Anoka are soaking up the schadenfreude of Zora and Sarah's realization.

Before "Joe" made his choice, Janet was figuring Zora, and Heather had Sarah. Neither would ever think of putting themselves up for this kind of national dissection. Janet, who says she's a little less emotionally involved than her friend, looked genuinely aghast at the thought.

"No, I look at these girls (in the show) and I think, really, they're kind of pathetic."

Brandon and Carey Goedel of Edina were watching with their friend Jenny Peters of Crystal.

So Brandon, we asked, as a member of the male persuasion, has "Joe Millionaire" taught you anything new and valuable about women?

"Absolutely nothing," he said, "I'm still completely in the dark."

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