Cinderella, Meet Reality TV

Joe Millionaire: Tall, dark, handsome… and a fraud. (Jan 7)

By Colin Allen, published on January 1, 2003 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015

Fox Television pushed reality TV a little further on Monday,
January 6, with the airing of "Joe Millionaire," a new program in which
20 women vie to win the heart of one man they believe to be a
millionaire. But here is the rub: none of these women know that Joe is,
in fact, a construction worker with limited financial means, earning only
about $19,000 a year. Can love trump money and survive deception?

"In some ways this is an extension of the old battle of the sexes,
but I think it has taken a very harsh turn," says Armond Aserisky, Ph.D.,
a clinical psychologist from thePhiladelphia area. "No matter how you
slice it, what you have is people participating in a lie. I'm made uneasy
by that."

"This kind of fakery is done all the time," Aserisky admits. Still,
basing a new relationship on false pretenses is not healthy, and it
creates a ruinous undercurrent of distrust. Even if both partners can
overcome a rough beginning, it is difficult to reestablish trust once
it's lost, a vital element of any healthy relationship. "It is a no-win
situation," says Aserisky.

While viewers await the birth and possible destruction of this
particular relationship, one thing is certain: "Joe Millionaire" is
drumming up a lot of interest. The premier episode beat out every other
show in its timeslot. "People are very willing to see ugly things," says

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