Telly Vision Review - Epsiode 2

By Amanda Jones

January 14, 2003

The only personal ad I ever thought about answering opened something like this: “Smart, funny, financially secure guy wants to take you to a junkyard.” I didn’t much care about the fact that the writer was financially secure or even all that smart, I just wanted to go on a date to a junkyard (note to singletons out there: I chickened out on responding. If you know of any good junkyards, perhaps we should chat). I would have known enough not to wear heels, and I would have worn grubby jeans and the famous sweatshirt my mom has been threatening for ten years to throw away “if I ever see it in my damn laundry again.” I clearly should have been a contestant on Joe Millionaire.

Following the elimination of eight of our pawns last week, this week the competition got hotter as three sets each of four women went out on dates, really, to the equivalent of junkyards, with America’s favorite tool, Evan Elder Marriott Wallace Whatever. It should be said here that I’m bored by the competition as concerns the guy with the alleged cash; I’m just tuning in now to see catty girls be as catty as possible, and to answer a question that’s been resonating in my mind since Joe Millionaire’s premiere last week: For whom am I supposed to feel more sorry; Evan, or the girls?

Evan’s first date involves taking Dana, Melissa, Sarah, and Brandy to a vineyard. Mud, cold, rain, and hard labor picking grapes. Where did they find these girls? How is this not fun? Everyone’s got something to bitch about; the weather, being out of their “element” (note to contestants: If you wanted to stay in your “element,” perhaps you shouldn’t have left Missouri to begin with), the way the other girls spent too much time with the grapes (note to male readers: Wouldn’t you dig a girl who spent too much time with your grapes?). Nobody ever said this was supposed to be their senior prom revisited; getting dirty is a fact of life. The way they all bitched about the laborious nature of their task-oriented date got tedious even faster than Evan’s lamentations about the girls’ willingness to embark upon same only because he was posing as Richie Rich. By the time the date ended, I was ready for a commercial (I needed a beer) and to dismiss all four of the participants as weaselly money-grubbing whores. Of course, maybe that’s just me. Cheers to you, readers.

Date number two involved a ride on a steam locomotive across the French countryside. So romantic, right? Chew on this: the chicks have to shovel the coal that fuels the locomotive in order to make the ride possible. Mandy, Amanda, Melissa Jo (“MoJo”), and Katie did their time shoveling coal, but looked no worse for the wear after-the-fact, when the shoveling was over and the locomotion began (note to Evan: If a girl worries about looking great after having shoveled coal, perhaps she may not be so amenable to a life with a man whose fingernails are perpetually dirty). Once the wheels of the train were set in motion (literally), MoJo dominated conversation, telling Evan all about her life, her family, her personality, and her dreams. She shared in testimonial that a friend gave her the “best” advice: “Your time with him is your time to shine” (note to MoJo: If that elementary tripe is the best advice your friends can think to give about your situation, perhaps you should get some different friends), and thus monopolized conversation to a degree that Evan eventually actually asked the other three girls, “how y’all doin’ over there?” One of them actually responded that “this is like torture for me,” which garnered stiff giggles from all (note to readers: It was like torture for me, too. If the alienation from the conversation was such an issue, why not open their damn mouths and join in? This is a game show, after all; you have to play in order to win). MoJo mentioned in testimonial later that she was “glowing” after the date, and I couldn’t help but think that she was simply high on her win. She truly did win the afternoon, taking charge of the situation, and making the others seem like bit-part players in a movie in which she will be lauded for her starring role. The meekness of the other girls stunned me; it was though they didn’t understand what was unfolding before them: their own humiliation. By the end of the date, I was ready for a commercial. I needed a shower to wash off the shame of my obviously far insipid gender.

Evan’s third date (note to people living in real world: If nothing else, what you should take away from this show is that dates with three other people simply cannot work) was a horseback-riding adventure that began with mucking out the stalls of the horses they’d all be riding. Thus far, dear readers, you may have gleaned that your writer has a sense of adventure to her: Picking grapes? Bring it on! Shoveling coal? The precursor to kohl eyeliner! But mucking out stalls of beasts of burden is frankly where I’d draw the line, artistic license be damned. Can’t we pay someone to do this for us? Crap, I think I’ve just been eliminated from the show. Zora, Alison, Dayanna, and Heidi were the poor souls chosen to embark upon this particular adventure. Heidi admitted, when asked about her equestrienne experience, that she’d ridden horses twice, and that they’d bucked her both times (note to horses: Smart move!), but all of the girls seemed willing to take on the tasks at hand in order to impress Evan, despite the fact that the date was “as romantic as an iodine enema” (note to readers: Your writer has certainly never suffered this particular fate, but she is willing to take Evan’s word on this fact). Dayanna admitted that she was a princess, a fact that was cemented to viewers by the fact that she wore spike heels on this date (note to male readers: Perhaps all women wearing spike heels should be eliminated from your dating field on mere principle alone. Please consider this). Heidi claimed once she was upon her trusty steed (note in general: Heh-heh) that she’d never ridden a horse before (note to readers: By my approximation, this is a bald contradiction to her earlier admission that she’d been bucked twice. Could Heidi possible be - *gasp* - dishonest?), and Dayanna had issues even mounting her steed (note again: Heh-heh) because of her choice in footwear, which seemed at the onset to clarify them as easy votes for eliminees. Evan noted that Zora’s love of animals made this an excellent date for her, and noted as well that Alison seemed to be lost in the shuffle of grossly inappropriate footwear, prospective buckings, and Zora’s easy ability to reduce hay to powder. As the date ended, I was ready for a commercial; I needed to change into flats, just in case I made it to the next round.

After the dates were all over, and after the butler had announced that only five of the twelve women would advance to the next round, scuttlebutt arose regarding Heidi and the fact that despite that she knew she’d be appearing on this show as a contestant, she’d begun dating someone at home. Even I, your writer, a reality-TV junkie, was gleefully stunned. Heidi’s willingness to appear on the show in the face of this admission was an affront of sorts to the other contestants. Her dishonesty was startling to them, and it’s sad to think that the premise of the show is such that dishonesty is the norm and not the exception they might hope. The person for whom I felt sorriest as I waited for the sapphire necklaces to be distributed was Heidi’s at-home beau: how would he feel upon seeing his paramour’s unholy actions as concerned the alleged $50 million man? I’m not the purest of snowflakes, but if I were even mildly attached to a gentleman stateside, you can bet your bongos I wouldn’t toss away even the chance at new romance away to go hobnob with alleged glitterati in European nether regions. I have more respect for men than that (note to Joe Millionaire casting agents: I guess this is why I was passed over, eh?).

In the end, though, Heidi’s pending domestic infidelity became a nonissue as she was passed over for the coveted sapphire necklace. Animal-loving Zora, red- hot Alison, spunky Melissa, uptight-but-hot Sarah, and conversation dominatrix MoJo received jewels and were told to pack for four days in Paris, as the rest of our pawns were sent packing home. Heidi’s disappointment was audible; “Whatever!” she exclaimed, upon hearing the news. She packed listlessly, muttering to herself in bad French (note to Heidi: sorry, honey, it’s too late; you’re a has-been now) and hiding behind cheesecakey sunglasses whose life might have been better served on a show such as Magnum, P.I.

As for your writer, I’m off for now, and ready for next week. Although I’m confident now that there are no more junkyards in the futures of our contestants, I maintain hope for myself. Who needs $50 million when you can perhaps untrove a power window motor more valuable in its mining alone than some sapphire and paste neckgear?

“Au reservoir,” as Heidi might say.

Jim's take

Wow, after reading Amanda's recap, there's not a whole left for me to add. But, as you well know, I always have something to say. This time it's regarding the rumors that Evan is truly wealthy and that in the end, the joke will be on the audience. More and more, I'm beginning to believe this could be true. First off, the guy looks no more comfortable on the bull dozer in the opening than he does on the horses. And second, he feels the need to bring up his "meager" lifestyle in every other sentence. Like to, you know, remind us that he's just a poor slob in an awkward situation. Evan, we got it already. You have no money, yadda, yadda, yadda. He's stressing this fact like a guy with something to hide. When all is said and done, I figure he'll pick his girl...tell her that he really has no money...she'll say that it doesn't matter because she really likes him, then he'll pull the shock on the world by admitting that he does have millions and they'll all live happily ever after. Oh, and by the way...Zora's gonna win. At least, that's my prediction. Until next week, take care and God bless.

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