''Joe Millionaire''

Ordinary 'Joe'

No chemistry, no sparks, no fun -- How does this reality dating show disappoint? Caroline Kepnes counts the ways

Evan Marriott, Joe Millionaire | DATING GAMEZZZ... Evan couldn't even pique the ladies' interest in romantic Paris
DATING GAMEZZZ... Evan couldn't even pique the ladies' interest in romantic Paris

No chemistry, no sparks, no fun

At one point in ''Joe Millionaire,'' Evan Marriott explained why he is going all oogly for Mojo: ''She's got this suck-you-in aura.'' I disagree with that statement on a lot of levels, but mainly I just wish the same could be said of this weaker-by-the-week show.

We don't need the city of Paris to stir things up, and enough with the presents, already! I also don't want to watch Evan drag around one of his dates with one hand and hoist a bottle of wine with the other, as he explains for the 50 millionth time in voiceover that he is still trying to figure out ''which one of these girls is willing to date a blue-collar guy like me.''

Which raises a question: Why don't the girls know he's a construction worker? That would easily be the most exciting part of each episode.

And why aren't we getting to see the rejected girls' reactions?

And why does Mojo look older after every incessant commercial break? I kept thinking about that scene in ''Deconstructing Harry'' when Woody Allen says he broke up with his wife because he once saw her from this terrible angle.

Whether Mojo's explaining to the girls that she is the ''accessory queen'' or checking herself out in that horrendous hat, she looks more and more like the ex-bride of Frankenstein. She's also so hung up on competition that she seems only vaguely aware that this show is supposedly about chemistry.

Of course, that chemistry would involve Evan, who seems to get more awkward every week. So I guess it's not fair to blame Mojo for the incredible silences that plagued their ''date.'' Didn't you love it when Evan explained that they were making stuff up to talk about, and not talking too much, as if this were a good thing?

At least Neve Campbell's doppelgänger, the perky-as-a-customer-service-rep Melissa, seemed much more excited to be standing on the Eiffel Tower than she did standing with Evan. (He totally hogged that umbrella, by the way.) I am so mixed up about Melissa, but who knows if that even matters? It's as if the producers of this show don't want you to like or care about any of these people. One minute, Melissa has that soulful gaze like she's got a brain inside, and the next she's complaining that she looks too ''ethnic'' in a portrait.

And didn't you love it when Evan told us that he had this brilliant idea for their date -- going back to his place for a cocktail! I mean, wow! Somebody write that one down. I don't want to forget it.

Of course, from the way the bachelorettes lounged around their hotel, being catty and smoking and stuff, you'd think that sitting around indoors was the best way to enjoy Paris. Don't these girls have a hotel bar to go to or something? Ugh. Somehow, the backstabbing in ''Survivor'' and ''The Bachelor'' seemed more rational than these girls deluding themselves into thinking that Evan is someone for whom they're going to have real feelings. Maybe they could have walked along the ''Saine,'' as Evan kept calling it. Omigosh, what pain!

Women are getting a bad rap on this show: Sarah spent too much time getting what Evan calls her ''great little rocket body'' ready for the tango and was then chided for being too uptight. Substitute teacher Zora was painted as some kind of a bitch because she's the only one who outwardly shows her boredom. Of course, any woman who isn't into Evan is also ''afraid of relationships'' -- like Allison. Don't you just love that?

I want to hear more from these girls about what they think of Evan and less from Evan about why it's fun to watch two women do the tango.

What do you think about ''Joe Millionaire''?

Originally posted Jan 21, 2003