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TV Review: Average Joe

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I can’t believe I’m watching this crap. There is no legitimate excuse I can offer as to why I’m watching it, but I’ll try. I can’t say I’m hooked on it, because I’m not. I just watch it, for some reason. Maybe because nothing else is on in that time-slot. Maybe I’m intrigued, having been one of these dorky guys my whole life, maybe I want to root for the dorks to win the heart of the beautiful Melana. Except I don’t think she’s all that hot. She’s possessed of a passive kind of beauty, the kind of which you’ll find 2,000 identical examples at any typical American mall. And the Average Joes aren’t really average – they range from the true geeks, Revenge Of the Nerds style, to several overweight guys along the lines of John Belushi, with only a few truly average Joes in the bunch, and several of them are obviously the more attractive type of “average” at that. It’s pretty obvious from the start who will remain after a few episodes.

I hoped maybe this would be a little more meaningful. I mean, it would be nice to see one of these Average Joes wind up with the beautiful, cheerleader-esque girl because she could see through their sometimes goofy looks and awkward attempts at romance. As the show progressed, however, it became pretty obvious that she was eliminating the more unattractive men, leaving behind the most physically attractive of the Joes, and, of course, confirming what most people would believe of someone like Melana anyway. The first sign of this came when she jettisoned one particularly geeky but sweet guy who she had seemed to genuinely connect with and have feelings for, but was most obvious when the last of the “fat Joes” was kicked off. As a parting statement, he could only offer one comment: that she’s eliminated all of the over-200 pound group. The meaning of that is pretty obvious.

Of course, there’s always a stupid twist to these shows. It wouldn’t be reality TV if it wasn’t something cruel, would it? With most of the Average Joes eliminated, the show then pulled a fast one and dumped three model-quality guys onto the show to compete with the Joes. These three “models” are, of course, more along the lines of what you’d expect to see with a girl like her in the first place. That she hits it off with the particularly good-looking one, Jason, should be no surprise, but this is made entertaining by Melana’s attempts to assure us that she’s falling for him only because he’s a “really good person inside.” Of course you are, Melana, looks would never play into how you felt about someone.

She has also developed a crush on the Joe everyone assumed would probably end up with her, Zach – because he’s the “good looking” Average Joe who unfortunately manages to hide his true callous nature to win points with the wide-eyed Melana, even after having been informed of it specifically by other Joes. You know he’s been hand-picked for exactly this role – his “averageness” is less his looks and more because of his grating, two-faced personality. The kind of guy who got a lot of girls because he was decent looking and could render cheesy lines with a sincere face, Zach probably lost just as many because, basically, he’s an ass.

What’s most disheartening is that the truly average Joes really opened themselves up to Melana, serenading her with heartfelt, if badly sung, ballads, revealing embarrassing truths about themselves, awkwardly fawning over her and in general showing why they truly are geeks. And then they were eliminated. If anything, this shows how impossible it is for these two “types” of people to come together. The Joes know no better than to be honest and open, but the less-average ones know that you’ll get farther by being, if not outright dishonest, at least more evasive.

In another twist, in last night’s episode, Melana dresses up in a very effective fat-suit and makeup to question the four remaining contestants who thought she was Melana’s cousin. The questions mattered little, it was the reaction to “fat Melana,” unknowingly caught on hidden cameras, that would be the deciding factor. As the four remaining men gathered after their individual interviews, Zach, who she revealed she’d been falling for, made some particularly rude remarks about the fat cousin. This is, remember, the first time Melana has seen him outside of her own encounters with him and she is shocked at his comments.

The Joes are confronted with the fat cousin one more time, where she reveals that she has heard all they said, to which Zach cowers, hiding his face in his hands as she peels off the prosthetics to reveal the real Melana underneath. While we’re all supposed to be shocked at all this, I couldn’t help think about the irony – here she is judging these guys on their reactions to her fat “cousin”, yet she herself barely even gave the “fat Joes” a chance.

More can be made, perhaps, of the differences between classes of people than anything else in the show. Many of the Joes complimented each other on their successes and consoled each other on their failures in an odd show of solidarity and, more surprisingly, they often would compliment their competitors right to Melana, as if to say that by helping one of their number, you help all. There was a sort of charm in seeing elegant Melana accompanying awkward geeks and giving them an opportunity to show her that not all in love is based on looks.

However, when the “above average” Joes began to get more time with Melana, it was sort of like watching the happy, cute seals swimming among the killer whales. One by one they were taken down and, as the “models” were introduced to the show, it was intriguing to see the change in reaction Melana had to these new men. Where she’d seemed entertained by the Joes, the models elicited a more pointed response in her – lust. Where her encounters with the Joes had seemed like the teeth on two slightly differently spaced gears coming together, her encounters with Jason made obvious that they meshed immediately. That she eliminated the model she barely spoke to, Michael and offed the offensive Zach might have come as a slight surprise given that who remained besides the obvious Jason was Adam, a goofy, open “nice” guy who somehow managed to make it this far without anyone really paying a whole lot of attention to him. I’d love to hope for the best for him, but I think it’s pretty obvious that having him competing for Melana in the final episode next week is more for her convenience than any real feelings for him. It’s far easier for her to excuse him without guilt. I guess we’ll see next week, after which I’ll still be saying, “I can’t believe I watched this crap!”

(You won’t believe this crap, either.)

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About Tom Johnson

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    i can’t believe you watched that crap either!

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    I know, Mark. I hang my head in shame at admitting this embarassing fact about myself in a public forum such as this. I deserve a public humiliation, however. Bring it on, people, bring it on.

  • http://asmallvictory.net michele

    I was going to post a similar thing here. Better you than me, I say.

    Yea, yea. I watch the show, too.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    well…i was home sick once a couple of weeks ago…and i watched a whole hour of Oprah…so i guess i shouldn’t be givin’ tom much of a hard time.

  • The Dane

    I know 5 years have passed since last comment on this subject, and it’s probably silly replying to it, but. The program just ran in Denmark (where I live), and I must say, this article is spot on. They probably thought they could do a groundbreaking show, where an average joe ends up with a beautiful girl. Being a reality show, and not a movie, appearance is the foremost important factor, and it will overshadow the effects of any relation between Melena and the average Joes, established from their short conversations. But these average Joes have double-standards, and must learn that the world isn’t fair. How can they expect a beautiful girl to pick them, when they don’t favor average looking girls themselves? So in some way, one could call Melena’s choices objective (and not based on who has ‘inner beauty’, as she claims they are), but the average Joes’ choice of ‘winning her’ is no less so. I’m an average Joe myself, but I know that longing for very beautiful girls all my life will make me end up alone. I’m not proud of having watched this show either, but it just intrigued me.