C.J.: Is a Minnesotan hustling 'Joe Millionaire'?

January 3, 2003

Prick up those ears for a Minnesota connection on the new unreality show "Joe Millionaire," which premieres Monday on FOX. Perhaps this is not all that shocking considering that O.J. Simpson (and one of those Menendez brothers?) found a Minnesota woman to be a particularly sympathetic listener.

Paula Weakly, an insurance company claims rep who lives in Brooklyn Park, tells me she was at a private birthday party at the Elk River Country Club in December, when she met a woman named Melissa (who goes by Mel). Mel is reportedly one of the women who may look like golddiggers while allegedly looking for love and marriage on FOX's newest reality show.

Weakly's failure to get a name, led to her being chided with Bad source, baaaaaaad source! "I know. I'm new at being a source. Bear with me," Weakly laughed. "I don't always believe what people say, and I watched the commercial [after meeting Mel], and she's in the commercial. They show her. She's got dark, curly hair. She's very cute. In the commercial they've got her like winking, and they make this ca-ching noise. It's really mean, but she laughed about it. I wonder if she's going to be laughing when she sees the show. It's all going to be edited to make these girls look terrible."

Whoever called these reality shows featuring women willing to parade around to land a man "Jackass for women" hit the nail on the head. But, I asked Weakly, whether FOX was taking the formula to nadir passing off the, albehim adorable, $19,000-a-year-construction-working Yeah Baby! as a multimillionaire.

"Well, all those programs, 'Bachelor' and all of that, deceive people anyway. It's all in the editing," Weakly said. Mel was reticent at the party, only telling Paula what we all know: It was shot in France. "I said [to Mel], 'Isn't this poor man going to get his feelings hurt if it turns out they are only in it for the money?' I said, 'He could really get hurt by this.' She made a face." The recollection of which caused this wonderful laugh to pour out of Weakly for a few seconds. "I think the face indicated to me that this poor man wasn't going to be hurt by too much."

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