Jennifer Armstrong
October 28, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Let’s give ”Joe” a second chance

It’s hard to say how long ”The Next Joe Millionaire” can walk the line between television I love to hate and television I hate, but for now I’ll give doofus David and his European harem a pearl necklace so we can get to know each other better for another week.

The show just seems so constantly amused with itself, and that’s not a good quality in a date: Look, the guy’s such a goober of a good ol’ boy. And the women are so exotic, and their tenuous English is so funny.

Then again, at episode 2, it is all still pretty amusing. Like when David stood waiting for the women to arrive for the requisite opening-night ball and he mused, ”Everything I’ve done so far has been leading up to this moment.” (Right. All that rodeo training has finally paid off as you lie to 14 foreign babes on television.) Or when he met a Czech hottie and his voice-over informed us, ”I knew right away from TV that the Czech chicks are beautiful.” (Um, what show was that?) Or when he made small talk with a Dutch girl by saying, ”Holland, that’s where they wear the wooden shoes.” (Is the Texas tourism board taking steps to stop future episodes from airing? Because Europeans are not booking flights to Dallas after this.)

The women, for their part, do seem to be onto the idea that something is off — or maybe they’re rightfully concerned about the level of affection he showed for his horse in last week’s premiere. (Remember when he spent more time chatting up Hurricane than checking out the ladies?) They questioned him enough about his four-legged friend that he spit out his first lie: ”I can’t believe I told them I flew that horse out here,” David later said. ”It never occurred to me I could’ve just got him in Italy.” It’s going to be a long season for David.

Any intelligence the women seemed to have, though, dissipated with the ”shocking” announcement that there would be an elimination ceremony — followed by audible gasps and, it appeared, even some crying.

Resident crazy woman Alessia (whom I must now identify as Italian, since the show’s all about enforcing cultural stereotypes and — dare to dream — creating brand new ones) remained cheerfully nutty during the ordeal, calling out as David left to deliberate, ”One kiss for everyone!” and, inexplicably, ”Say goodbye to your horse!” But it helps to stand out in these early stages of the game, and that earned her a pearl necklace in the end.

Blond Swede No. 1, Lina, did nothing but wrinkle her nose at David and express utter dismay at his living arrangements — on a farm, with no neighbors or malls nearby: ”I was like, No Starbucks? No shopping?” Still, she’s pretty, so she got the jewelry too. (He expressed second thoughts later to butler Paul: ”I kind of got a vibe like, You better have picked me. I was like, Why did I choose you when I could have chosen others?”) Also among the 11 sticking around: the aforementioned beautiful Czech chick, Kristyna (she of the streaky Kelly Clarkson hair) and the adorably chatty Blond Swede No. 2, Olinda.

German Johanna wasn’t too bummed to go: ”I can’t imagine sitting on a ranch with cows. That’s super boring and super not me.” Her countrywoman Jerusha and Italian Yassmin said, essentially, ”Yeah, what she said,” as they, too, packed their bags.

And now some parting thoughts from Czech Tereza, who, thank God, was not eliminated: ”I thought I would be gone because I was cursing, I was drinking vodka, and I wasn’t wearing any underwear.” If this show wants to keep getting necklaces from me, we’ll need to see some of that footage.

What do you think about ”The Next Joe Millionaire”?

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