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"Average Joe" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 12/07/2003

I thought NBC had finally stumbled onto a realistic dating show when I heard about “Average Joe.”  Unlike FOX’s “Mr. Personality,” we were able to actually see these “average” men, and not one of them would be hidden under a creepy, Eyes Wide Shut-like mask.  Unfortunately, some of the “twists” they put in the show kept it from being perfect.


In case you haven’t seen the first five episodes, let me sum up the show for you.  It is the umpteenth remake of the basic “Bachelor” formula, but like “Mr. Personality,” we have non-beefcake looking guys competing for the affections of an incredible hottie.  The woman in this show is Melana Scantlin, an ex-beauty queen/NFL cheerleader who thinks at first that she is going to meet sixteen good-looking guys, all waiting to sweep her off her feet.  These guys range from just okay looking to butt freakin’ ugly.  If you’ve seen any edition of “The Bachelor” or any of its many knock-offs, I don’t have to tell you in detail about the usual post meet-and-greet elimination and post group date elimination episodes.  Instead of inviting men to stay though, she tells the men with whom it just didn’t “work out” to go (it sounds harsher than it really is.)  Curiously, there is no rose, jewelry, or glass of champagne handed out.  Kathy Griffin, whom I adore, hosts the show.


In the first episode, Melana eliminated four guys.  None of them were a shock, since they didn’t have much of a personality to go with their non-looks.  In the second episode, she eliminated six guys.  This took out all of the fat and goofy-looking guys, some of which did have a personality, proving that Melana did care about looks, despite saying that they weren’t important.  In the third episode, she asked three more men to go, but three different men were added.  This is where the “twist” happened.  The three men added were good looking.  Their theory was that Melana was now emotionally attached to her “Joes,” so the hot guys wouldn’t be much of a match.  They underestimated the shallowness of Melana though!  In the fourth episode, she gives the boot to one Joe (the last truly nerdy-looking one) and one hot guy (he creeped her out.)  In the fifth episode, she makes her decision whom to eliminate based on a social experiment.  They put Melana in a fat suit and pretend that she is her cousin Danielle.  Danielle interviews each of the remaining four guys, and she watches a tape of their comments about her off a hidden camera.  One of Joes she eliminates is one she actually was attracted to, but his comments about Danielle turned her off (the other guy, a hot guy, had no personality.)


In the sixth and final episode, she has to choose between a Joe and a hot guy.  According to the promos, the Joe is rich, while the hot guys is just, well…hot.  I do hope that they keep the info about the Joe being rich secret until after she makes her decision, because I don’t want to tack “gold digger” to her persona along with “superficial.”  The second season premieres on January 5 in Hawaii.  They are basically doing the same thing that was done on “For Love or Money” by having the second season start so quickly after the first one, so that any twists in the show will be preserved.  I’m guessing we won’t get any details about the second season until after the current one ends, but this is what I’m hoping will happen:  it becomes “Average Jane.”  If it does the same thing as “Money,” someone in this show will be vying for the affections of sixteen more singles.  I’m predicting that Melana will choose the Joe, and the hot guy will soon be meeting sixteen average looking women.  If I am right, that will be a first on TV, since even fictional shows currently on air pair up hot women with fat, ugly guys (just look at almost any CBS sitcom.)


I do have a couple of complaints.  First, the twist totally invalidated the point of the show.  Why bother testing her shallowness level if you are going to give her the option to pick a good-looking guy anyway?  Second, why are you wasting Griffin’s time if you are never going to use her?  She makes one, sometimes two brief appearances per episode, and then we never see her.  This is truly a crime!  Ever since I saw her incredibly funny VH1 show two years ago about reality shows called “Kathy’s So-Called Reality,” I’ve been waiting to see her host an actual reality show.  Aside from being a contestant on “Celebrity Mole: Hawaii” (which she won), this is her first real gig on a reality show.  I want to see her on a show where she is as involved as Jeff Probst is on “Survivor.”


Even though I don’t think “Average Joe” has truly become the most realistic dating show ever, I still really liked it.  I do hope that my prediction about next season comes true, because normal women need lovin’ too!

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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