Well, The Next Joe Millionaire is certainly good eye-candy, and he seems a lot nicer than Evan (if not any smarter), but the whole redneck shtick is really bugging me. Nothing against rednecks as a rule, but everything about David's backstory and especially the Eliza Doolittle sequence just seemed laid on as thick as his abs. Can he really not manage to call Paul by his name? Is it at all possible that he really only makes $11,000 (especially after the mini-scandal with Evan's earnings last season)? And how much of a "good old-fashioned Southern boy" can you be if you're willing to go make an ass of yourself on television and deceive 14 women?
As for the women... There doesn't seem to be a Zora in the bunch, or a Mojo for that matter. They all seem dumb and shallow and trashy and spoiled, but in an extremely bland way, with nothing to set them apart but their accents. It was sort of fun watching a bunch of European women reacting to David being a "cowboy" (and, as Hosty McUseless called him, the son of "an oil tycoon who made a fortune in the oil business"), which one of them said is like saying he's Santa Claus. They all seem uniformly bitchy and snobby. But every time Paul or the Foxerific announcer says "We've found 14 women who've never heard of Joe Millionaire," I find myself adding, "living in caves with the Taliban." I mean, this is one aspect of American culture I'm glad hasn't spawned itself throughout the rest of the world (and there are many I wish hadn't), but at one point the drunken whores broke into a stirring rendition of the Dallas theme, so how out of it can they really be?
A lot of last season's enjoyment came from the sense that the girls (Zora aside) were so dumb and spoiled that they deserved to be deceived. But as trashy as the girls are this time, David seems to be the dumbest one there. He's definitely the prettiest (in some cases by a long shot). And I'll buy the premise that the women have never heard of the show and maybe never even seen any of the Bachelor clones, but David has no excuse to be crying (in the ads for later in the season) about how hard this all is after seeing Evan do the exact same thing.
So I hate them all. The magic is gone. I'm sure I'll watch it again, but probably on mute so that David remains attractive (most of the women get subtitles anyway, because the producers apparently think we're too dumb to understand their not-very-thick accents), and it's off my DVR's record list.
Then there's Skin, which seemed like it would be exactly the sort of trashy prime-time soap I would normally avoid. But I'm a sucker for a Romeo and Juliet rip-off, and I'm glad I am because I really liked the show. Good acting, good writing, very stylish design and photography. Like The OC, they're giving equal weight to the teen and adult stories, which is good because the politics of the DA vs. the porn industry is far more interesting than the limp teen romance. That said, I like the leads, and I'm curious to see how they keep the whole star-crossed lovers thing going for a full season or more. And like I said back in my fall preview, at series' end they'd better both die.