Let me state up front that I didn't see the first broadcast of "Joe Millionaire" last night, but I have seen a few trailers on TV. I'm not a great fan of these kinds of shows, (e.g. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?), but then again, who is? None of us watch these shows, but we all know people who do watch them, right?

What intrigued me about Joe Millionaire was the twist that's been added - the expectaton that the women he selects will reject him once she finds out he hasn't reallly inherited $50,000,000. Perhaps she'll still want him, money or not, but the truth is that their 'romance', contrived as it is already, is based upon a huge deception on his part. In real life, any sensible person would reject a suitor once such a lie is revealed. However this is TV; the 20 women competing for "Joe's" love are implicitly portrayed as gold diggers. The finalist will be regarded with scorn if they ultimately reject "Joe", and with a mixture of mild-amusement and pity if they don't.

I also started to think about the inevitable 'role-reversal' follow-up: Josey Millionairess. How will that work? "Josey" will, of course, be an attractive young woman with a 'normal' but low-paid job - perhaps she's a waitress, or a nurse or even a software engineer. She must be really attractive, otherwise it's just not good TV.They'll take her, dress her up in designer labels and lease a mansion in Malibu for her. Stick a Lincoln Navigator on the driveway and, hey presto: instant millionairess! After whittling down the field of 20 men, Josey will reveal the 'truth' about the money as she and her fiance are lounging around the pool. We know the outcome - he'll look her up and down, check out her hooters and decide to go ahead with the marriage anyway.

Back to "Joe" and his harem: Obviously, there's something pretty wrong if you're prepared to be humiliated and rejected in public and even to marry a total stranger all for a shot at your fifteen minutes of fame, but by adding this huge deceit the program's producers, and by association its viewers, take on the role of an audience watching the gladiators.

Lets spare a thought for the hard-working producers of such shows: Fancy hotels? French chateau? Limousines? Travelling by jet to foreign locations? All paid for by us, the voyeuristic consumer.

Finally, let's not forget "Joe Millionaire" himself. Plucked from his honest obscurity by the lure of cold, hard cash, Joe's a modern Pygmalion. How does he feel to be paid for pretending to be something he's not for the 'benefit' of women. There's a word for what you are, isn't there Joe? That's right: "Actor".

Update: Ereneta confesses to watching the show has the following prediction:

" I'm predicting a shock ending: after Joe picks his gal, and she dumps him, or not, they actually do give him a million dollars (especially if she dumps him)."