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February 7, 2003

What Kind of Total Disregard for Humanity Do You Have?

The rapid rate of change in terms of decrepitude in my corpus brought on by accelerating senescence coupled with a fear from a weak-kneed editorial staff at the Maroon (thankfully made up enfuckingtirely of lame ducks) has reduced this, this most sharpest sharp lancet of pre-avant-pop criticism of all time to a rather impotent biweekly trifle. This column was my baby, understand, and now she is only half a baby. Yet she is also like a hot, young daughter run off to college--I no longer have to make certain that she's in by eight every Saturday night; I am content with a twice-monthly phone call to make sure she isn't blasting rails with ethnic undesireables. Yet I also sacrifice a bit of topicality with this occasional Train of Shame. Be glad that you were spared my BRUTAL EVISCERATION of the "State of the Union" "Address" by "our" "President" last week. Instead, this time around, I can unleash two weeks of hatred onto Melissa, Zora, Evan, and Sarah, our millionaires.

A long time ago, a column (allegedly by this writer) asserted that this writer felt sorry for the women involved in the Joe Millionaire fiasco of a television show. Other than the standard "they are doing what they have been taught to do BY THE PATRIARCHY" line, I also lamented the horrible production values that often left the women looking rather ridiculous. Somehow "Showtime: No Limits" manages a production budget high enough to bury dreams (of David Duchovny?) in soft focus into the minds of every boy too young to drive a car, yet our friends over at Fox could not (or would not) drop the same loot. This "château," for example, is a fraud. It is clearly the mockup of the HUGO DRAX ESTATE from Moonraker. Furthermore, Fox could not even spring for a proper English butler, settling instead for "Paul Hogan." I can barely stifle the urge to say, copy of Crocodile Dundee in hand, "That's not a Paul Hogan. [Showing video,] That's a Paul Hogan." In short, this steer has seemed rather bum. We have yet to hear of any take-home prizes for guests and contestants, as well, which led me wonder what would make up the "play at home" version of Joe Millionaire. Perhaps there should be some Monopoly money to add a mystique of fraudulent wealth, but let's be serious here, kids: a Mylar sack of Franzia and a 10-pack of condoms should do the trick.

And this is why I have to take back my earlier worry and lamentation about the poor state of the contestants. Sure, there was a healthy enough group of naïve women (paging MoJo), heavily into Princess ToadTM-Brand Delusions, but as we're seeing from our final three, they hardly fit the same level of "little shop girl" who buys into the whole social climbing mystique. That is, and take note, Melissa: princesses marry in white, so now do you feel silly for seeing that dodgy travel agent for an all-access pass on the ho train?

Before I continue, I suppose, I should dump some bile atop Evan Marriott and his floppy haircut. Evan: you are a schmuck. You used false pretences to get these girls to shovel coal into a train that you then rode right back into their tunnels, only to then whine about YOUR RECENTLY DETUMESCENT STATE to a producer. Now, listen, "producer" and "priest" may start with the same two letters, but that doesn't make your confession noble. You had a chance to stop the train by pulling on the hand brake during dinner with Melissa, and you didn't. Similarly, you could have not let Sarah into your room, but you did. I know you're not "extraneously intellectual," but take your agenbite of inwit elsewhere.

Melissa M., I had faith in you. I liked your pluck, your silly curls, and your total and abject inability to do anything besides being a total princess. You had a definite camp appeal not limited to wearing azure fleece with everything. Yet you threw it all out the window by getting proper tight on national television and then getting proper loose on national television, in, no doubt, the mercenary [sic] position. Your technique was as garish as the candy-apple free-tittie outfit you wore to dinner. Evan somehow, only post flagrante delicto, understood that RED MEANS STOP, got skittish, and sent you, most eager beaver, home to pout. Some might say that you were out of your league--the five years you give Sarah was most evident in how she was able to finesse (?!) action a full date earlier, leaving you holding the "sloppy seconds" ribbon in front of everyone in God's America on the same week that Fox rode Joe Mil ratings to its first No. 1 position ever. Young Melissa, wait your turn. You can't teach "29 and unmarried."

Sarah, congratulations. Your mission was rather easy--out tramp tramp-in-training Melissa and set up a Ginger/Mary Ann showdown for the final episode. It's not that pseudo-mysterious Zora can outclass you. She, after all, is a struggling model, while you play one in the movies while tied up. Advantage: SARAH. I am rather surprised, though. You seemed cold as a fish during Evan's tango lesson, yet then, well, damn. Like, daaaaamn. I'm rather new to this reality TV thing, so I'm not jaded by years of watching against-soda-machine-schtupping on The Real World. As a result, even to a FROTHING LIBERTINE SEX PERVERT WITH 6,784 HOURS OF PHISH GROUPIE DVD PORN IN HIS BEDROOM like me, Sarah's behaviour was startling. I knew that wine would loosen up those creaky three-decade-old hinges, but, well, to quote, "gulp slurp gulp." Yet, Sarah, I don't think you'll stand up until the end. You're this château's Ginger, and I think you'll end up with the Skipper, Paul Hogan. Evan is trying to salvage his credibility, which is why he's going to pick the least slutty of the final three.

Which leads us, of course, to the least slutty of the final three, Zora. Zora seems to have been selected because she passed some sort of screen test judged by a focus group made up of Jennifer Love Hewitt and/or Kristin Davis fetishists. Her claim of being a "substitute teacher" seems to be just a smokescreen for a modelling gig, too, which suggests that all is not like it seems in Zora land--after all, she already was in one Legend of Zelda game THAT I KNOW OF. Plainly, she's just been plain weird. It's completely unclear what she is doing on this show, but I'm waiting for her to admit to Evan that she hears voices imploring her to take up arms and free the French from the tyranny of the English. I expect her leave the Mark of Zora on a psychologically destroyed Evan Marriott circa four months into the relationship. Orange County fucks with people's heads, man.

Yet the endgame is now in place. I have no idea what Fox has in store, but I doubt that lavish song-and-dance numbers with dancing elephants is part of the plan. I keep expecting to be told that, surprise, Evan is a millionaire or that, surprise, I hate everyone. What I do know is that I hope never to share a mirror table top with Evan during a "We Had 15-Minutes of Fame" sinus-clearing session over at Greg Todtman's post-Bachelorette ranch. It's not so much that he mistreated the women, though, well, he did. It's more just that this show, which I hoped would be about class, the American Dream, and fancy French cars, has turned into, under this Neanderthal's stewardship, well, booze and sex--something I get enough of out of going to the Cove on Thursday nights. Speaking of that, off I go. Evan, I won't be able to match your prodigious alcohol intake, but hopefully I won't have to come clean about the pyramid of lies I've built over the last five weeks, either.