Fall '03: "The Next Joe Millionaire"
Children will grow, flowers will bloom and bowel-crampingly shameful hit television series will have sequels.
Fox, in an apparent bid to claim Signs of the Apocalypse I through IV for itself, has started airing the inevitable follow-up to last year's most-watched reality program, Joe Millionaire. After test-driving various titles -- The Anna Nicole Show: The Next Generation, Podunk Jim and the Shrieking Harpies, and Lowering the Bar: Let's Roll Around in Our Own Filth, the programming geniuses down G'day way decided to go with The Next Joe Millionaire.
Only they had a problem: the first Joe Millionaire was last year's most-watched reality program. It's tough to find folks to humiliate when several million people watched you do it to the last batch that was unfortunate enough to stumble into the studio. And so Fox went where all American companies go when they want to find people that they haven't already alienated: the other side of the world.
This is may seem counter-intuitive -- Europe hasn't been all that enthusiastic lately when America says, No, trust us, this will be great -- but if you're looking for people who have little or no idea what passes of culture in the U.S., the Continent (which seems to think it has a culture of its own) is the place to be.
But Rupert Murdoch is nothing if not evil -- that's Fox's new slogan, by the way: "Nothing If Not Evil" -- and so the new batch of shrewish golddiggers had to swear out affidavits and take lie detector tests, stating for the record that they had no idea what they were getting into. One suspects the current Mrs. Murdoch feels roughly the same way. But a shot at a pretend eighty million dollars is a shot at a pretend eighty million dollars, and right now on Fox, you can watch Cowboy Joe -- he's got a song on the Fox Web site; no, really -- thin his heard of Eurobabes before delivering what will be another crushing blow to trans-Atlantic relations come sweeps. Europe will no doubt react with the same good-natured chuckle that followed the firebombing of Dresden.
But what if The Next Joe Millionaire is also a hit? With the Northern Hemisphere pretty much drained of dupes, the network is going to have to find women from the parts of the globe that have long avoided the touch of technology, cynicism and Fox: some place pristine and beautiful, in other words.
But with greater spatial distances comes greater cultural differences, leaving the first episode of Yet Another Joe Millionaire Still -- You People Really Do Lap Up the Crap, Don't You? inevitably going something like this:
Which is, I'm pretty sure, just what Fox is planning.
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