Even 11 years later, network TV has never aired anything else quite like Joe Millionaire, Fox’s groundbreakingly cruel, incredibly popular Reality 1.0 experiment. The basic premise, as if you could ever forget: 20 money-hungry airheads arrive at a gorgeous French chateau to compete for the affections of Evan Marriott, a man who has just inherited more than $50 million. They have no idea that Evan’s money is as fake as their eyelashes — he’s actually a blue-collar construction worker.
Joe piled artifice on top of artifice: Its breakout character was Marriott’s “butler,” played by professional actor Paul Hogan. The Smoking Gun eventually discovered that Marriott wasn’t just an average working stiff — he had also once posed as an underwear model. The series’ most famous sequence, which finds Marriott and eventual second-place finisher Sarah Kozer stealing away for an intimate outdoor encounter — helpfully captioned with a series of “uhm”s and “slurp”s — never actually happened: “The audio that we hear, with slurps and sighs, came from Sarah getting a back massage some hours earlier from her friend Melissa,” a talking head explained in a VH1 special that aired in 2004. READ FULL STORY