LAST EDITED ON 02-26-03 AT 11:40 PM (EST)
Recraptitude: Aptitude for regurgitating previously aired material in new configurations. Recraptitude is what you need to milk a concept for every last advertising dollar. With this finale, Jerry Bruckheimer has proven he has Recraptitude.
Our 3rd Finale Show begins with a too-fast montage of a million clips, which could have contained anything but probably contained the entire 7 weeks compressed into a 15 second too-fast-mo.
Voice-Over Man reviews the "highlights" of last week's Finale Part Two in which Evan made his decisions. He chose Zora. He didn't choose Sarah. He confessed the truth and nobody threw a fit. Paul delivered the unshocking million dollar twist-cheque for the Happy Couple.
Tonight, the story aims to flesh itself out; in retrospect it feels more like bulimia as it continues its regurgitative process. A good deal of time was spent re-showing tidbits from all previous eps. That's all you need to know, really. It was a recrapisode with a twist: at the end was new footage that we wanted to see. Quelle Twist!
After a 3 month separation as demanded by the rigours of reality-tv-secretkeeping, Evan and Zora shall be reunited for the first time since saying, "I promise to take a journey. Er, with you." But first... "other stuff."
The Aftermath promises to deliver answers to questions we didn't realize we'd asked. Which of Zora's family members will she help out? Is there anything for Evan to Slurp & Tell? Have the other girls been thinking for themselves or is everything carefully scripted, right down to eyerolls and cheers of jealous joy? Has everyone been paid to act shocked? Who else showed up for the role of Joe Mill and what was wrong with him? What of Paul the Butler, Instant Celebrity?
Paul is back with what looks like an empty cognac glass, signifying that this show is very nearly truly over. It's closing time. Paul tells us Evan and Zora had to be kept apart in order to keep the secret. Couldn't have eagle-eyed spoilers spotting them dashing into a liquor store for a case of beer, now could we? He intro's the segment about The Reject Girls...
...and Mojo picks up the story. "A bunch of us got reunited to watch the final ep." A song jumps into my head and won't leave, much like this show: Reunited after all these weeks, Reunited cuz this show has peaked, Reunited cuz we're gettin' paid, Reunited cuz we wanna git laid!
Dana looks scary. Katy looks different. Hey they all look different, except Mojo. Oh and Katie. Mojo claims to have been really excited to see Dana, Melissa, Erika, Alison, Katy, Dayanna, Katie "oh just all the girls." Camera pans over a group gathered in front of a large-screen tv located in what could be a room in the chateau. The girls shriek when Zora is chosen. What a way to recrap - show the Rejects watching last week's show.
Various Rejects offer their views on the Outcome. Mojo thought Evan would pick Zora and Melissa says she was happy for Zora, while Katie thought Zora could do better.
As Evan onscreen says "weighin on my nerves" one girl shouts out that Paul is the real millionaire. Alison says she would have wanted to drop Evan like a bad habit if he had dropped such a bomb on her. So she didn't say "bomb" but I need to convey "aftermath-ishness" here.
As the girls watch Sarah with Evan, they howl with derisive laughter when he says "neat." More laughter at Sarah being told about the non-existence of the 50 million. Only Melissa looks ready to cry watching Sarah. Except she already knows the truth, so who is she hamming it up for? Hollywood? God forbid.
Katy voices-over that Evan redeemed himself when he presented Zora with the ring. Many girls cheer at the instant mill while Katie looks stunned. Amanda says it killed her that Evan will get a million. "That's no good, Evan can't get it." Katy sums up, "Sweet, nice, I thought it was gonna be terrible."
As the cheering girls disappear, Paul reappears. "So that's what the girls think. What does America think?" Melissa, Alison & Mojo were given another five minutes of their official "15 Minutes" to audition for Good Morning Peoria. They "took to the streets" to find out what America thought of the result.
Predictably, America was happy with the results. Most of the people they talked to recognised the girls and squealed. Shall we be cynical and say they were probably prompted? I mean, I didn't recognise most of the girls tonight. A stunned Mojo received a kiss from some guy. Eww. For the guy! What was he thinking? Alison does a good job and has the look of a serious reporter. Look for her on American Morning.
Most people think he made the right choice in Zora and hope they last as a couple. One girl said once the money is spent it will be over. A guy asked, "Are they still together?" Melissa replies by plugging this show.
Paul is plugging for later all the stuff we're going to see, trying to dredge up a reason to keep us tuned in and not flipping over to check out the intro episode of My Big Fat Greek Life, slated to begin at 9:30.
After every ad-break, Paul promises the reunion of Evan & Zora, which is getting old. He also spends a few minutes recapping slightly different aspects of last week. Ah, the Recraptitude. Finally it's time for a look at how they arrived at the decision to cast Evan.
Tyler Ramsey, casting director, says they were looking for "charming, good-looking and broke." Plenty of single and good-looking guys out there and plenty of guys who are broke. LOL Just really hard to find all three requisite qualities in the one guy. We get a quick montage of losers who never made it into this round of the show. I advise you to look for them on future Joe Milk-This-Show-A-Million-Ways, once the producers figure out how to lure girls in with the promise of a guy who has a steady job and a modest savings account, but the manners of a pig and/or a strange fetish.
We're shown various unnamed guys with professions like "actor," "stand-up comedy guy", "guy who sells door-to-door," "guy who sells vacation memberships." Hey, I recognise him! When asked to state their name, age and hometown, they pause too long and receive a big REJECTED stamp. Yeah, onscreen. Tyler tells us they had the chateau, the girls and the butler, but no Joe. Finally Evan Marriott, 28, Virginia Beach VA., quickly answers the three questions and also satisfied the producers' other requirements of good-looking, broke and charming.
Montage de Charming. It's just a recrap happening, hence my title "The Recrappening." Tyler sums up, "We found our Joe and he worked out perfectly."
Time for Paul's Story. "6 months ago, I would have thought someone daft if they'd said I'd be involved in a reality tv show." We get a snippet of Paul's life after stardom, as he appears on Regis & Kelly and asks Regis, "Did we dress ourselves this morning"? LOL! Regis does his usual stunned-beyond-stupid face.
The girls all love Paul! We're shown various clips of them saying, "Paul, Paul, We Love You." Basic recrap.
Get this! It turns out that Paul is a real butler! Oh, this show! No wonder it all "came together." The Joe was really an average joe, the butler was really a butler, 19 of 20 girls were really snobby bitches who love money and had to work hard to retrieve audience sympathy by cheering for the winner, a Miracle of A Girl who loves the charming liar more when he doesn't have a dime to his name.
Sorry, I digress. Back to Paul telling us all about Butlers.
"Senior executives are what butlers are, and paid accordingly. One day, I received a call from the Butlers' Guild, asking me to be in France 'tomorrow.'"
At first it was overwhelming. Paul recounts some of the tragedies that struck the girls. "Oh my god my bags aren't here and they have my contact lens solution and my birth control pills !!" Paul does an eyeroll. Hee.
He says some of the girls took advantage of him and the situation, treating him like a general dogsbody. The worst transgressors were Melissa and Sarah, who obviously bought into this part of the fairytale without reservation. Yet Paul was always courteous and pleasant. A montage of demanding brats follows.
Paul says a very accomplished French chef cooked wonderful meals and was "not appreciated." Here's montage of girls turning their noses up at items on their plates and talking about ordering Pizza Hut. "It was like feeding truffles to pigs in some cases," says Paul. LOL. Paul IS the Star!
Evan tells some girl that Paul calls the shots. Paul tells us Evan is a true "dinky-di" American bloke. Evan says Paul reminds him of his dad. He's a man's man. Evan did talk to Paul about his decisions about the girls and we see the big Evan walking the grounds with Paul, who looks tiny next to him. Paul thinks Evan made the right choice.
Paul fireside promises a one-on-one interview between Evan and some guy. Ads play.
Mark Walberg, Interviewer Guy ("MWIG"). Is this the same guy who was in a boy band? I'm told this guy was involved in Temptation Island. Whatever. The answers did a passable job of corresponding to the questions, but the hype for this interview wasn't lived up to.
Evan says he was genuinely surprised by all the magazine and tv show coverage. Okay, I get it already- he really is from Bumf@ck Va and it's all a huge shock to him to be famous. I guess he couldn't afford a tv either, so he had no idea of the hoopla that accompanies every reality tv show contestant, runner-up, winner, even host. It's weird for him to go to the grocery store now. Hey buddy it's weird for me too, especially when they renovate the store and nobody can tell me which aisle has the unpopped popcorn.
Evan's been to two basketball games, the Super Bowl, what a wild ride. I've been to 10 baseball games, a hockey game and an international cricket match. How 'bout you? Evan's been a regular on Regis & Kelly. Okay, now he's one-upped me. Evan thought he was going to pass out and he thinks Kelly is cute as a button (I'm wondering what Zora thinks about that.) He's shown asking about Kelly's tattoo.
Summing up, it's from a bulldozer to being in the limelight and then all of a sudden it's quiet again. But it'll be noisy when he's back on that bulldozer. When do you suppose that will happen? Is $500,000 enough to retire from bulldozing?
I thought we'd seen the end of that g-d intro about the average Joe with the $19,000 per year, but here it is a-damn-gain. He tells us he has a 2 BR apt., but couldn't afford a bed. Maybe should get a smaller place so he can afford furniture. Nitwit.
Here are the parents with Evan saying his dad wants him to be happy in whatever he does, while his mom is his #1 Fan and thinks the sun rises and sets with him. Evan manages to utter that line without a trace of irony.
Evan says he found out a couple of days before he left about the million ruse. We're going through at blow-by-blow rate. The mounting the horse, the waving at the girls with a sh!t-eating grin, every moment remotely worth re-showing, and some not, are reshown.
MWIG asks who was the biggest whiner? Evan is diplomatic, then gives the acceptable answer: the whole world hates Heidi but she was having a "hard time."
Mojo and those damn hats yields a montage of the hats. Evan says he still has scars where those things hit him in the head. What especially freaked him out was the poem. Two words you never use on a first date are "Husband and Wife."
Mark asks about the sexual chemistry with Sarah. You two understood each other." Evan nods and smiles as Marks says, "Many times there was "understanding." Another round of slurp and gulp. They must have made copies of that tape to allow for wear & tear. Evan claims he doesn't recall any "gulping" - he doesn't reveal what went on in the woods, so big fizzle in the Slurp&Tell department. Just a big goofy smile and no explanation.
MWIG is able to recognize that the issue is dead, or that his interviewer skills aren't up to coaxing a worthwhile answer out of Evan. He moves on to how Evan would characterize his attraction to Zora. Evan says Zora is a "what you see is what you get" kind of girl. This answer doesn't answer the question but who cares. Evan goes on to reiterate the same Zora stuff he's said before.
Mark says, "Now, you're insanely famous and so is she - everybody's expecting great things from the two of you." Evan's response is that Zora has more class in her pinky than most people have in their whole body. She was the most sincere, and most genuine."
I knew Evan and MWIG were in the same room together at some point. So why did the interview feel like answers and questions were recorded at different times and spliced together? Poorly, at that.
Another batch of ads. Back once more, Paul displays amazing recraptitude as he repeats the same stuff and makes it sound brand new. Before we get to the Reunion, it's Zora's turn to open up a smidgen.
MWIG has pages of questions to ask, but first, "How you doin'?" She says, "Doing great, doing really good." What else is she gonna say? "You knew you were the favourite." Zora knew she had a lot of biased friends. Not gonna make it easy for MWIG.
Mark inquires about the kissing, which of course was "amazing." Zora informs us that it's bizarre, people wanting autographs & pictures. The bad side of fame is people showing up on her door and people posting her address on message boards. Her teenage cousins are so excited that they make it more ecxciting for her.
Zora isn't going to be selling the jewelry, but does still have those plans to help her family. Zora had no idea there would be a pot of gold at the end (she's a little naive it's true.) She repeats that she didn't want to get caught up in the competitiveness.
We have to again revisit the day of the gown grab, with the stampeding cows. Zora figured they wouldn't send her to the ball without a gown, so she decided not to stress over what happened.
She likes Sarah but again we hear that she didn't think they'd be friends if they'd met in other circumstances. Zora wouldn't have done the fetish films but doesn't hold the fact of Sarah having done them against her. Zora says she thinks Sarah won't be happy about the $500,000.
When Zora first met Evan she thought he had a great smile but maybe it was from nervousness. It was charming to Zora. She thought it was him being himself. She finds him to be a kind of big goof ball and his corny jokes, like "Hey, here's some Hay" charmed her.
MWIG jumps forward to the Big Reveal of the No Money, wanting to know why Zora's face changed. She explains again that a weight had been lifted. It was a huge relief to learn that Evan "was just an average guy." She says that as she stated previously, she had found it a huge turnoff that he had inherited that money.
MWIG jumps forward again, to the moment of Paul revealing the 1 mill cheque. Zora looks a bit sick to her tummy, looking at that cheque. She didn't say much that I managed to record.
So, how does this fairytale end for you Zora? She smiles and laughs mysteriously. Well, he says, it's time to reunite with Evan.
I don't believe it? Already? No way! Really? It's actually finally Time for Evan and Zora to be reunited? So soon. The teaser prior to Ad Break shows that Evan is going to be wearing that fugly green shirt. What a dork. No. Please no, not that shirt.
Paul welcomes us back with the words "the long-awaited reunion." Who's he talking to? A week isn't long.
Yep, Evan is wearing that same god-awful shirt. Evan and Zora kiss, the soppy music swells. Mark looks on, like a puppy dog.
Zora: it's weird to see you.
Evan: Have I got bags under my eyes?
Zora: I got 25 emails - Mrs Marriott?
Evan - I knew pretty much that she would be one of the last two. The National Enquirer said 'we know it's gonna be Zora.'
He says that they saw it, that Zora was the one for him. "That's why I kept telling you," he says as he pats her on the knee, "to unpack."
Zora: Evan is his own person. He moves to the beat of his own drum. Not one to conform. (Zora, on the other hand, has just turned into Cliche Queen.)I feel defensive because he doesn't just choose people cuz they're "hot." He is an average guy, but there is a lot more going on.
MWIG: What would you say together was your fave moment in france?
Zora - When we peed together behind the trees during the horse-back riding. (What a classy pair.)
MW: your tastes run to the horseback riding, the beer and the pee in the woods. (State the Obvious Guy, all of a sudden. He looks peeved.)
Evan: we have a chemistry and the fact that we were on one of the most wonderful shows on television. Now it's time to see if we can cultivate a relationship in a natural setting.
"We haven't hung out," says Zora, "and just had a beer, and just hung out. That'll be nice. I look forward to that."
The girls are still watching and get to have a comment: "Lucky man." "Good choice." Alison says, "Zora's a fantastic girl, and if she's happy, I'm happy for her."
And that is it. Finally. Paul returns to say that they began with the premise, "Will love or money prevail?" When Evan revealed his true self, and Zora accepted, love did indeed prevail. As for the money, I hope they remember to tip their butler. Til next time, I bid you goodnight. At the end of the credits it says Rocket Science Productions. LOL.
So, why was this instalment entitled "The Aftermath"? Currently, the dictionary definitions of Aftermath are:
1. second growth crop, as in after mowing the first crop, a second crop grows. Bucky Katt is definitely onto something with his ideas for future instalments of the Finale Saga.
2. consequence, result, as in "stricken with guilt as an aftermath of the accident." It sounds to me like the only consequence or result that would strike the producers with a bad feeling (e.g. remorse) is that they can't yet see how to get away with a Joe Millionaire II, III, IV and V.
3. the period immediately following a usually ruinous event.
We are indeed in the "period immediately following." It's a no-brainer that the show was a "ruinous event" for Alex McCloud, Heidi McBitch, and a few of the other rejected McGirls, who may be hard-pressed to retrieve their dignity after acting stupid on reality tv.
But what kind of math produces "Ruinous Event" when Charming Fellow + Miracle of A Girl divided by Acceptance of Lies About Money still produced "Love?" Ahhh, now we're getting closer to the truth. Where were the fireworks? Where were the screaming recriminations? Why did Evan and Zora have to be so damned down-to-earth and sensible? The producers didn't get the fireworks they bargained on, but will they find a way to recycle the concept of Charming Guy Finds Love In Spite Of ...? Maybe next time he'll have a deformity like he's blind, is missing a leg or has a horrible job like garbage collector.
So far, nothing really adds up to the need for the word "aftermath."
No, I had to read the message boards.
Jerry Bruckheimer, I'll give you AFTERMATH. Hell hath no fury like viewers crapped on upside the head, week after week. Indeed, the aftermath of the Recraptitude is making itself felt, as message board enthusiasts log on to express their disgust with this show and the reality genre in general. Thanks to SurvivinDawg for providing a link that has some viewers hopping mad.
Look for my followup recap: The True Aftermath of Joe Millionaire - Angry Viewers Fed Up With Empty Promises, Lies and Fake "Reality" Find Solace in the Off-Topic Forums."
Thank you for reading.