Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Excerpted from Scenes from the class struggle on Fox

The truly interesting thing about "Joe Millionaire" is the picture it paints of American middle- and working-class ideas about how the idle rich live. Watching the "millionaire" test his future wife's "character" by making the girls shovel coal into a steam engine and pick grapes in the freezing rain, I started wishing for a show in which the same girls vied for the assets of an actual scion. Imagine the tests he could subject her to! Can she shop at Barney's without being sneered at by salesgirls? Can she mistreat the help? Can she withstand the scorn of his friends and mother? How does she do in rehab? But "Joe Millionaire" floats along in a kind of Robin Leach-inspired fantasy, because both the heir and the gold diggers are blissfully unaware of just how exposed their bare classes are.

What kind of hot-blooded, messed-up American heir would hole up in a French ch√Ęteau with an assortment of tarted-up office managers who lie about their ages, anyway? Where's the house in Ibiza? Where's the party? Where's the wounding ignorance of how the other 90 percent live? Where's the blithe sense of entitlement? Where, for the love of God, are the drugs?



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