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Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Notes from The Official WFOoBH Joe Millionaire Postgame Party

It's finally over.

Or almost over, but we'll get to that later.

More Pregame Than Rod Carew

Over 300 people show up at Hollywood's super-chic lounge/oxygen bar/fetish club Dirt to revel in the long-awaited culmination of six weeks of JM cliffhanger. The party reaches a fever pitch before the dozens of fifty-inch flat-panel plasma monitors snap to life and hold all in attendance in thrall, but that could have just as easily been due to the Red Bull-absinthe-Vanilla Mist Glade cocktails that were the hit of the night. International house electroclash DJ Black Monsoon Hitoshi's turntables stop mid-scratch as FOX unfurls the Hour One of the double-size suspense orgy. The first speedball of the night is just starting to scramble me, and I crowbar my way out of the pregame show's supermodel sandwich to get a clear view of the FOX feed, where the jilted women of JM were telling all.

One of them reveals that she was a hula-hoop champion. Next! Another, a comely brunette flight attendant, opines that Evan had chosen his Final Five (Sarah, Zora, Melissa M., Mojo, and Allison) based on the obvious coincidence that all were "big boobie girls." I turn and chuckle "That's crazy!" into the two pairs of double-D's that were throwing back body shots on either side of me. Their antics nearly caused me to miss the life lesson the stewardess (yes, I know, don't call them that to their face!) threw down for America: "Picking your future mate based on whether they have big breasts, I don't think that's right." Amen, sister, breathes the throng. I break free of the gravitational pull of the saline cleavage all around and got closer to the monitor.

The temperature of the club jacks up a couple of degrees. The crowd grows uneasy. Why were we wasting time with the elimination crowd? No doubt at least three of them were in attendance at the party, trying to play it cool as all present groan through their insights into Evan's integrity, all ear-to-ear tooth necklaces and pretending they were so above it all that if they found themselves picked, they would have left cash-strapped Evan even more strapped for companionship. The early-dismissal crowd continues to cat it up, revisiting the fact that Heidi with her comically poor, Pepe Le Peu-learned French was just as big a bitch as she'd seemed on the show. Apparently, not everything in reality TV is in the editing.

Just as it seemed a riot might break out due to a momentary, unfortunate shortage of Grey Goose, the stunning face of Final Fiver Alison beams into the room. Finally. Someone we recognize. She and Evan had nothing in common...and? There was no and; this was last month's news.

Then more Mojo. Equally crazy and creepy this time around. There's more talk of the infamous "I CHOOSE YOU!" puzzle that was her golden ticket back to the Chinatown electronics shop where she bought the birth certificate stating she's 24 years old. A closing nugget for Mojo before waiting for the phone to ring from Celebrity Taildaters: "It does not mean a girl is a golddigger just because she wants a man who is financially stable." Another "Amen!" from the crowd, and I produce my platinum money clip with a flourish to purchase another drink with a sexually suggestive name that I make up on the spot.

On to Melissa M, third runner up and The Official WFOoBH I Got Shafted on Reality Television Poster Girl. There's a clever montage of the roughly one billion times she squealed Ohmygawd!, including one that may or may not have been superimposed on a shot of Evan's closing boudoir door. You know, with her joining him in the boudoir. It seemed that Melissa M. may have harbored some genuine affection for the big lug, but it was hard to hear any more of her segment; DJ Black Monsoon Hitoshi has already mashed up a sample of Melissa M's Ohmygawd! into the latest 50 Cent jam and that shit is crunk.

Sarah's friends say some things, no doubt concerning how quaint and perfectable acceptable they find her foot-fetish/bondage film moonlighting.

The crowd dances a little while Zora cuddles some fuzzy woodland creatures in her very own Disney movie, JM style.

My cocktail needs a fill-up, 92-octane style.

Halftime Is the Right Time

With only two-plus minutes between the Secrets show and the actual Joe Millionaire main event, things have to move along quickly.

For a not immodest fee, Aerosmith rocks the stage between the two giant, cast-iron birdcages where the WFOoBH KittyKat Revue writhe in accidental syncopation. The bulk of the ageless rockers' appearance honorarium was in response to our provision that they lip-synch to a 75 rpm version of "Love in an Elevator" as RuPaul is lowered to the stage in a rococo Easter basket. Add a zero onto any check and things can be negotiated.

The Apotheosis of America's Favorite Big Lug and Other FOX-y Miracles

Grey Goose sends over one of those trucks you see at sporting events and large-scale college drinkfests -- the kind with taps jutting out of the side like teats from the flank of a lactating sow. It pulls around the back alley of Dirt, where the entrance is disguised with a Hollywood Neighborhood Watch sign, and impressively-cobranded Red Bull volunteers hand out drinks like sandbags at the February Mississippi Delta floods. Disaster is more than averted; it's beaten back with cruel and unusual force. A higher gear is improbably acheived.

All of this new distilery-quality positivity is directed back to the plasma screens. Paul Hogan, who has now supplanted Jeeves as the most name-checked butler in the history of polite society, teases us and draws us in. It's time for Evan to make his choice. And oh yes, there's still this Big Twist to be revealed.

[No one at the party knew this, but I'm the only one who knew who Evan would choose. Cellphones, PDAs, Blackberrys, carrier pigeons and smoke signals were all banned to avoid any East Coast spoilers riding the electronic red-eye into Los Angeles. I had no insider knowledge, but I had taken the time to do the math. Using the common numerology system of A=1, B=2, C=3...Z=26, I had calculated the winner as I hunched over one of the stainless-steel commodes of Dirt's little boys' room, ostensibly chasing a wayward eight-ball around the marble floor. I'd found some sucker middle-season Road Rules refugee cracked on low-grade GHB to take the sucker's bet. I was ready to cash in.]

Evan sits Zora down. He's visibly on edge. If his entire primitive nervous system weren't already overcommitted to the process of not falling out of his chair, he would suffer a grand-mal seizure in what is supposed to be his finest hour. When he does manage to remember how to speak, his speech is pockmarked with pregant pauses. He "tries to find the words," which is only slightly less ambitious undertaking than a quadruple amputee wiping his ass. But find the words he does: "I've chosen you."


[I know that I win (as numerology told me that Evan and Zora both add up to 6), as the Road Rules guy forks over the keys to his pumpkin-colored Fiat, which I've already flipped over to the stunt coordinator of Fear Factor in return for the phone number of the next model-actress Joe Rogan dumps.]

The beauty (and exquisite torture) of Joe Millionaire is that we still don't know if Zora wins. Evan then drops the bomb that he's roughly 50 mil light of his claimed inheritance due to his employment as a dig-dirt operator with no dead, rich relatives to speak of. DJ Black Monsoon Hitoshi plays a hot clip of a pin dropping, and the whole party hears it.

Zora takes it all in. She's going to need time. Evan's going to need to break the bad news to Sarah. FOX is going to need a few more minutes to plug some Wonder Years ripoff that will likely air four times prior to being replaced by a special about Michael Jackson's secret midget bones collection.

Quicker than the comely producer's assistant next to me can uncap a Barcardi Silver, Sarah and Evan are back in the salon. This time, Evan decides to come clean on the money issue before punching her ticket off the Continent. He's poor, we've all known this for six weeks, the sun continues to rise and set. Sarah asks him if he thinks that she's concerned about the money. Evan stares blankly at her for so long I can hear the contracts of her next cheerleader-in-rubber-restraints flick being signed. He tells her he didn't choose her. They hug, and she's out of there, holding it together admirably for the phalanx of cameras.

As some sort of booby prize, Melissa M. is imported to help Sarah pack, because what she really needed is the comfort of a woman who a few short days ago might have sliced her throat with a pink Gillette as she slept. Sarah wonders if her Amazing Adventure in Subtitles Barely Disguising a Carnal Act might have been responsible for her not being chosen. FOX helpfully inserts more subtitles so that the viewers know she's talking about the naughty thing she did in the woods with the guy who just rejected her on the timeworn get-the-milk-for-free principle.

Sarah and Melissa M. make a nice wine from the sour grapes of their reality-show discontent and ride off into the sunset in a silly French station wagon. For a fleeting second, I think our butler casts the bird carward as they leave, but nah. A cheer not unlike any of the ones that sent a legion of blue-faced warriors off into certain death in Braveheart erupts from the Dirt crowd. The black-hat set had been run outta town. Behind me, Andy Dick asks a former Melrose Place regular if she's ever seen someone squeeze their own testicle into a shot glass.

Back at the Chateau of Potentially Shattered Dreams, Evan puts on a suit with minimal help from Paul Hogan. Our big lug has come a long way. Lickety-split like he's standing in the salon to await his jilting beneath the chandelier. Zora appears in a fetching blue gown and glides across the parquet to render judgment unto Evan.

But the jilting never comes. America, she wasn't in it for the money! Do you hear me? She went to France to spend a month in a huge chateau with US$189 in her checkbook to meet a man who she thinks has inherited the GDP of Sierra Leone, but her love don't cost a thing! In fact, the whole inheriting-the-GDP-of-insert-cashpoor-African-nation-here sort of turned her off. So she's on the Evan train, first-class or caboose, don't matter.

In the words of one of our finest, fictional, renegade military heroes, I love it when a plan comes together. And so does the party. Suddenly, everyone's hugging. It might be the five-dollar ecstacy that was getting passed around like a personal-injury attorney's business card at a pile-up on the 405, but there's hugging. Even Vincent Gallo's got his arms around someone, and he's been sitting in the corner booth all night shredding bar napkins while pretending to ignore the show.

Paul Hogan's in the salon, serving up a ring box on a platter like a petit-four. Evan gives her a promise ring that looks a whole lot like a huge engagement rock, but he's careful to undo the bethrothal mojo (pardon the unfortunate pun) by slipping it onto her right hand. Paul Hogan's smile turns on the high beams. He's happy with Evan's choice. One gets the sneaking feeling that he's some heroically eccentric multimillionaire who gets his jollies out of coaching reality mooks while wearing a penguin suit.

But the good manservant does have one more trick up his sparkling cuffs. There's but five minutes of JM left, and it's time for the Big Twist.

He's got another platter. And this time, he means business.

FOX intends to end the fairytale with a true fairytale ending. Paul presents the mooning couple with a check for a million dollars, making them millionaires (or, more accurately half-millionaires as we can assuming the joint-chcking account has yet to be established).

Zora's speechless. Evan proves there's another level of inarticulateness in some distant, stammering realm past speechlessness. There's talk of miracles that stops just short of the phrase "touched by an angel."

The party, of course, is not as speechless. Money changes hands faster than at a sidewalk card game as those in the "Evan's Gay" camp fork over to the "FOX makes someone a millionaire" camp. Yeah, it's a cyncial bunch. Cynicism is the new sincerity for the post-post 9-11 West Coast world. But that's part of what makes the WFOoBH party so damn hot.

DJ Black Monsoon Hitoshi's laid a sample of Michael Jackson talking about little kids in his bed not being sexual into a Missy Elliott B-side that doesn't drop stateside for another two weeks.

My shit's blowin' up as I'm getting hit on the hip on my new Nokia.

Most don't even hear that there's more next week on Joe Millionaire: The Aftermath, where we find out what's happened to Zora and Evan.

Most don't see Alyssa Milano waving a finger in my face, telling me that if don't write some strategic lies about her pretty soon, she's going to give Shannen Doherty my phone number and tell her I like to scrap in bars.

Too bad Alyssa's fucking that guy that's married to Jennifer Garner, the chick from Alias and the star of this weekend's box office champ, Daredevil, or I'd throw her one myself.

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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