”Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” George W. Bush offered those words, but they could have uneasily tripped off the tongue of another Texan: cowboy toy David Smith of The Next Joe Millionaire: An International Affair. The first ”Joe Millionaire” roped in 40 million voyeurs to witness hunk-o’-cheese Evan Marriott confess to his beloved, Zora Andrich, that he’d exaggerated his income by several zeros. Yet after the payoff turned out to be an anticlimactic rip-off, America felt like an even bigger sucker than Zora, and audiences have stayed away in droves from the sequel.
Honestly, they’re not missing much. If a reality show is only as tasty as its freshest twist, ”Joe” is a stale pretzel. It’s the exact same show as last season, only the gold diggers are ”14 Unsuspecting European Beauties” (to quote the opening promos) and the gold diggee is a hayseed. The ensuing ten-gallon-hat-versus-haute-couture clash has proven entirely predictable, with rampant malapropisms providing the scant entertainment value. ”I don’t know if she’s crackin’ on me, or if she’s just got a real sarcasm sense of humor,” David drawled about Anique (a Dutch double for Anna Kournikova). At least the Eurotramps have a good excuse for butchering the English language. Upon her exit, Johanna (a German law student) rationalized that the prospect of living on a ranch was ”super-boring, super-not-me, and super-I-don’t-know.” Which, come to think of it, perfectly describes ”The Next Joe Millionaire.”