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Joe Millionaire: The Pick-Me Dance for Fun and Profit

Ooh, pick me!Dear Chump Lady,

Just this week while scrolling through various TV channels, I unfortunately landed on the show JOE MILLIONAIRE. Yep…a bunch of beautiful women “pick me dancing” for the love of two different guys.

Supposedly one is a millionaire and maybe if these women dance hard enough she will eventually win his love.

For God’s sake, was this show written and produced by a fuckwit? These guys kiss and grope all these women to eventually choose the one they want. First of all, can’t we as women make our own way in the world? Do we want a millionaire that acts like an entitled pig? I guess because we are women we need to land a man with $$$. Such bullshit! We are all intelligent hardworking women who do not need a man to provide for us. I just thought the concept was so degrading. All the women on the show watch each other making out with these guys. Trauma enducing? Sure looks like it. These women have no self-respect or self-esteem.

One guy said he felt like one of the contestants he was falling for was “too controlling”. After he said that, a big red flag poked me in the eye.

Well girls… no unicorns there, just jackasses.

Is it just me feeling that this show is so humiliating because my chump spidey senses have been on full alert? Am I overreacting?


Lady Loyal

Dear Lady Loyal,

As a chump, I can see how pick-me dance “entertainment” makes you flinchy. But it doesn’t require any special Spidey senses to conclude that reality TV shows like Joe Millionaire are humiliating. Utter debasement is the entire premise. Conquer the competition and win the prize! Spectators have thrilled to pick-me dances ever since emperors sat in coliseums. Which one of you lucky gladiators gets to go home and which one of you will be disemboweled?

Yes, those women have no self-respect, but they are at least competing honestly for their douchebags. Unlike a cheating situation in which the chump is utterly unaware of the competition and flails about trying to get the attention of a jerk they already won.

The mystery to me is why anyone thinks this shit is romantic. I must have a bevy of suitors! Fight for my hand in marriage!

What are we? Elk?

Inherent in the whole “fight for me” mentality is inequality. You Can Be Replaced, You Know. And Caesar sits on the throne, thumbs up, thumbs down.

No, no! You’re SPECIAL because you persevered against an entire gaggle of competitors! The CHOSEN one!

You’re not special — you’re a contestant. The special person is the decider. Caesar.

That’s why I think the antidote to the pick me dance is to realize you’re a decider too. No more games. You can leave the Fuckwit Thunderdome.

All the women on the show watch each other making out with these guys. Trauma enducing? Sure looks like it.

No, I don’t think so. You’re projecting depth where there is shallowness. To engage in a voluntary pick-me dance is to win a “love” that is entirely transactional. Both for the contestants AND for Caesar. Anyone who truly cared for you would not revel in your humiliation.

And, to be fair, anyone who truly cared for you would not want you solely based on your bank account either. (Although, of course, that’s the more powerful position.)

One guy said he felt like one of the contestants he was falling for was “too controlling.” After he said that, a big red flag poked me in the eye.

Projection much?

The whole pick me dance buy-in is that there is a PRIZE. In reality, it’s a rigged game with carnies and their marks. Is Joe a prize or is he a synthetic stuffed bear that’s going to fall apart before you leave the parking lot?

If you’re triggered by anything, it’s probably the ick factor that these guys think they’re prizes. And the manipulation that ensues to keep that fantasy alive. That their luv is so great it’s worth degrading oneself for. #winning

There are competitions in life that require a certain degree of degradation. Dodge ball. Standing in breadlines. Job performance evaluations. Love should not be on this list.

Love should begin with a foundation of mutual respect. If you think you need a begging bowl or botox, perhaps you’re in the wrong arena.

If I could corral these young women on an island somewhere I’d say:

“Brandi, Muffin, Tiffani… you can’t boob job your way through life. Hotness is fleeting and it’s an arms race (and abs, and ass…) If you put all your value into being some nitwit’s arm candy, you’re giving away your power. Could you smack Ashley into next week and would half the hot tub cheer? Sure. But that’s not who you are. You’re better than that. Besides, Braydon is not a real millionaire. He gave you a ROSE. A. SINGLE. ROSE. Not a condo. Not cryptocurrency. But a wilting one-buck flower. Demand better. DO better. Award yourself a rose and get the fuck out of here.”

Someone should give me a reality TV show.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I would so watch a television show with Chump Lady wielding her 2×4 of truth, backed up by her trusty side kick the UBT. I would have to go watch it on someone else’s TV, but I would do that. I can not abide reality television. I am so happy to be free of the 24/7 invasion that TV was in my former life. Fuckface was more enamored of his multiple TVs than he was of me. Now I am free of all of that noise.

    Lady Loyal, perhaps you would be happier without no TV? You can turn it off. You aren’t overreacting.

    • Yes! Can you get your own show? Maybe be on one of those panel shows? You are a lot smarter then anyone on them, on either side of the aisle.

      I am proud to say that I’ve never ever watched any of those ‘love’ shows.

  • ‘The Bachelor’ is an identical premise; also in Australia, the odious ‘Farmer Wants A Wife’.

    It’s grotesque. It’s like watching a Mardi Gras parade float of Great Setbacks in Feminism.

    Some of the contestants believe the bullshit, and they’re devastated when they’re not chosen. But most of them look pretty hard-nosed, and certainly seem to be aspiring to D-grade celebrity status and their microsecond of fame.

    O tempora o mores.


    • “Mardi Gras parade float of Great Setbacks in Feminism…” ????????????????????????

      Like Only Fans, Ashley Madison sociology studies and “sex positive” acceptance of “sex work as work”(okay then, where’s OSHA in this?) and strangulation during sex. O tempora, o mores and what hath God wrought?

    • “It’s grotesque. It’s like watching a Mardi Gras parade float of Great Setbacks in Feminism.”

      I snort laughed at that.
      I never understood the appeal of any of these shows.

    • @Lola
      “Some of the contestants believe the bullshit, and they’re devastated when they’re not chosen. But most of them look pretty hard-nosed, and certainly seem to be aspiring to D-grade celebrity status and their microsecond of fame.”

      Let’s not kid ourselves. All of the “contestants” have been fully vetted and are completely aware of the game. The producers just don’t happen upon some doe-eyed innocents who wandered onto a television set. They’re all pretty hard-nosed. Some are just better at acting than others. My ex fell into the category of appearing innocent and wholesome, but was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      As disgusting and horrible as these shows are, I’d like to think there’s a silver lining that they provide a cautionary lesson to the younger generations on the types of people and situations to avoid.

      • I’m always surprised that shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette are highlighted on the news the following day.

        It makes me wonder how many people actually believe the contestants are gullible, naive, innocents who suddenly find themselves cat fighting a gang of women to be with someone they don’t know. Where’s their pride or dignity?

        The Rose ceremony is a pathetic display of women standing anxiously wondering if their performance on the date will get them a rose and another opportunity to prove that they’re worthy. During the ceremony the comments these women are making are almost comical. After one date and they’re claiming they’ve never felt more in love and just know they had a magical love connection.
        It also surprises me that there’s never a shortage of participants willing to stoop to this level.

        I hope you’re right that these shows offer a cautionary lesson to young generations to learn to avoid these kind of people and situations.

        Cheater portrays himself as the wholesome and dignified, as someone who would never color outside the lines. He frowned on others who didn’t live up to his high standards. It was one of the things that attracted me to him in my ignorance I thought I had found Mr. Right, someone I could always trust. Too good to be true.

    • LG, I was going to write the same about these two shows. They’re absolutely degrading to women and a huge setback for all those fabulous women of the ’60s who fought so hard for our equality. Couldn’t agree more that some of these women are “aspiring to D-grade celebrity status.” Can’t even stand the ads for this crap!!

    • Same here in Germany, the bachelor (without a million $) and the farmer (Bauer sucht Frau)…picking or selecting a woman….so humiliating…..

    • Lola I’ve said it before

      Can we be in Book Club together or something? “Great Stebacks in Feminism”.Not to mention Humanity. EQity.

      Now you seem to be Aussie an all. Mardi Gras.

      You’re comments are always gold.

    • I hate all of these shows, for the reasons Lady Loyal and CL outline. However, my other objection is that these shows take the idea of “instant love” and act it out on TV. None of these people “love” each other. They may be attractive or competitive–but they don’t love someone they don’t know.

      • Such a good point.

        I am of the belief that real love does not really kick in until the initial excitement/infatuation is over. That is when we wake up every morning and decide to love our spouse. The more we do that the more we love them.

        I did it, most of the folks on here did it; unfortunately many of our spouses didn’t. They started looking to recreate that initial excitement again, over and over for many of them, until the noose tightens.

  • It’s like you say though, boss, at least the contestants know what they’re getting into – I watched “The Tinder Swindler” last night and it made my skin crawl.

    • I watched that too and while it was sad that he got away with it, the Dutch lady at the end was great! I also watched The Puppet Master and that was so thoroughly frightening it made me sick what that bastard did to all those people’s lives!

      • Loved the Dutch woman as well! She had a great sense of humor. The women interviewed were smart, educated and very attractive, yet it boggles my mind how they fell for that pipsqueak. Ok he had quite the scam to make off he was super wealthy and ok I see how they could have been swept up in his extravagant lifestyle, but giving one substantial loan is silly enough but these women went into deep debt for this guy by continuing to pay out without getting a dime back.

  • Absolutely this. My daughter and I watched tinder swindler last night. Yes the women were totally naive but I felt sorry for them( and just got out of a user situation myself wherein he dumped me as soon as I tried to set a boundary around his using behavior). I’m still chumpy since I was willing to set a very small boundary around incredibly bad behavior instead of running like my hair was on fire.. thanks for leaving S.

    • I watched it, too. I thought both women had serious issues with self worth/entitlement which were similar to that of the narcissist. It didn’t seem plausible that they weren’t more alert to the well known risks of on-line dating including love bombing.

      But the Netflix show had value as a PSA and showed the three channels of the abuser – charm, rage and pity. Maybe it will inspire a movement to quickly identify perpetrators. Maybe it will encourage a conversation where infidelity is also recognized as planned abuse.

      • Chump Lady should conduct an online class. Every parent should have their kids watch how these creeps use certain techniques to scam or engage in dysfunctional relationships. It would also make a great gift!

      • I watched Tinder Swindler yesterday and it was amazing to me that these women were all about googling a name but yet never did a Google image search on the guy or his King of Diamonds father. This “old lady” of 57 years even knows that.

        And once someone asks for loans, credit cards, passport details, instant BLOCK.

  • I do not like reality tv at all. I would watch a chump lady show only because I would like some reality knocked into some of these Gold Medal Pick Me dancers. Shows like this where women compete for a FW are demeaning and show how boundaries can be so easily violated. It is just sad how people can just dismiss boundaries for money.

  • I absolutely despise these shows as well as the bachelor and bachelorette. So degrading to women. Also what makes me cringe is remembering on grays anatomy when Meredith was wanting mcdorky I mean Mc dreamy to pick her she literally said “pick me. Love me”. Lord girl. If you have to beg for it it isn’t love. Have some self respect and standards too.

    Chump lady I’d love it if you had a show. Women of all generations would benefit.

    • There are YouTube channels where experts watch TV shows and react and pick them apart. If CL can be as cutting and witty live as she is here, that would be so much fun to watch.

  • These shows are admittedly gross all on their own but it’s amazing how much modern media is ruined for us once we’ve lived through a particular trauma. It doesn’t help that “meh, cheating is unfortunate but it’s no biggie so get over it” is baked into our society on a foundational level, so when true love pops up between characters who are married or otherwise involved with *other* people (in a sitcom or a romcom), we collectively don’t bat an eye and file it under the “oh, those poor star crossed lovers and their hurdles” category. I know I did. I sure have trouble thinking that way now.

    Reality shows where contestants debase themselves playing the pick-me game for the make-believe affections of one jerk are a different ballgame, however. It’s gross and humiliating but at least everyone is upfront about it. It’s definitely pick me dancing but it doesn’t trigger me in the way that other media involving deception in relationships does.

    • “…it’s amazing how much modern media is ruined for us once we’ve lived through a particular trauma.”

      Ain’t that the truth!

      In books, tv shows, and movies, I used to root for the star-crossed lovers who were often married. The series The Affair comes to mind. Ugh. Little did I know that while I was watching that series, my then-husband was actually having an affair ????????‍♀️

  • Chump Lady TV would definitely be a marked improvement over the trash on television. There are literally only a handful of programs I watch on at least a semi regular basis and none of it is so-callef “reality tv.” All a waste of time and all degrading in some way or another. Yuck!

    • The one reality show I watch and can recommend is “Alone.” Because – guess what? – the contestants are alone in the wilderness for up to 100 days, and there’s no drama between human beings. I’m sure it’s still edited for maximum drama, but I’m fascinated by what people will do to survive without the trappings of modern industrial society.

  • Exactly. I’ve been saying that about the Bachelor since it was new. They are all gross. Not sure why anyone has ever watched any of them.

    Although I’ll admit we found Too Hot to Handle on Netflix and enjoyed the schadenfreude of watching complete idiots dance for each other while a voiced over comedian throws shade at all of them. And the concept is to “improve their relationships” (ridiculous considering all of them are wanna-be celebrities on at least their 3rd or 4th reality show)

      • I watch 90 Day F with my teenagers as a primer on what NOT to do in relationships. (Tell Mr. CL that Reddit is the icing on the 90 Day cake, if he isn’t already there.)

        • CL reads Reddit comments out loud as we watch 90DF together. And actually what we watch is the version of the show where past successful couples (and a few others) snark about the couples as they watch each week’s show. I think it teaches more about good/bad relationships than any other show I know of. Certainly more than the bachelor/bachelorette type shows. But also more than idealized romances like Sex In The City, Friends, and everything on the Hallmark Channel.

      • I watch 90 Day as well. Aging people who know they could never bag a young hot person anywhere else than a disadvantaged country

        It is good for a laugh though

      • Thank you Tracy for your great response! I never realized how demeaning these reality shows are. I am going back to watching documentaries but there is quite a bit of infidelity there also…depending on the subject. After getting chumped, I think we are overly sensitive until Tuesday arrives. We will get there! Thank you for all your help and brilliant insight regarding cheaters!

    • I saw the first few sessions of married at first sight Australia years ago before being chumped. Definitely trash TV. I can’t tolerate BS anymore. Nowadays, I read James Weir’s reviews or the rehashed version on YouTube which is hilarious, and most of them call out toxicity. I do think the younger gen is more aware than I ever was.

  • You just have to watch the timeline of T.V. to see the erosion of values. What came first? Societal Changes or Trash T.V.?

    After the initial “car crash” viewing of those premiering shows, I was turned off them long before their season one ended.

    Interesting to hear from my kids that the A.P. indulges in them. But of course. She loves the pick-me, the shallow, the transactional.

    Hard to admit, that it was me that propped the FW up, made him out to be more of a married, family man than he is. But of course, society or was it T.V that showed me the way??

  • My daughter (an average looking gal with a good investment portfolio) told me of a recent conversation she had with a potential boyfriend. She explained to her suitor that he needed to up his game because she brings a lot to the table and knows it.

    I have taught her (of late, trying to undo some of the damage from the era where I did the pick me dance with her dad) that it takes a really good partner to be better than none at all.

    I remember reading about one of those shows where the guy claimed home equity as his worth…in a case like that you could “win the rich guy” and he still might not have enough ready cash to pay for dinner. The whole premise is so deeply flawed and the gold diggers might likely be disappointed.

    • I’m sure these guys have quite the creative portfolio to make off they are rich but in reality I’m betting the vehicles and properties are leased and they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

  • What shocks me is why these shows are attractive to a younger generation of women. I know I’m old (61) and from a generation that embraced “Ms.” and Gloria Steinham. I cringe at a lot of things that my own daughters have no problem with (and they are both professional women). They seem to think that The Bachelor is funny. Anyway, if I had my way, I’d end the following:

    1. these stupid-ass shows where the women cat scratch each other to win a millionaire (as if that’s even a lot of money these days. (#Dr.Evil)

    2. the renewed tradition of guys asking the father of the bride-to-be for her hand in marriage (If he asks both parents, I’m less enraged. But still. Why isn’t the woman asking HIS parents? I seriously don’t get it. It implies that she’s property and/or that she needs to be taken care of.)

    3. the man asking the woman to marry him (usually with hired photographers so it can be posted on Insta). She must act SHOCKED. HE PICKED ME!!!

    Years ago, at my daughter’s all-girls prep school, I mentioned at a parent meeting that the mail to parents should not be addressed in the traditional way: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Instead, it should be addressed to Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Pamela Smith (or whatever her names is). All girls school. Female empowerment. Small gesture but meaningful nonetheless, I thought. I heard so many groans from the younger parents.

    Call me a crusty feminist, but these types of displays strike me as a step backwards for women.

    Perhaps the younger chumps can enlighten me. In the mean time, cue Helen Reddy. “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar”

    • I recall getting a letter addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Ex first name, last name after the divorce. I didn’t care that the sender didn’t know we were divorced but was upset by the way the letter was addressed. It was a charity. They did not get a donation from me. Really. In this day and age they should know better.

      My parents got engaged back in the day when my mom asked my dad, “aren’t you going to ask me to marry you soon” and my dad responded “Well, I was going to wait until your birthday, but sure, I’ll marry you”. I love my parents.

    • I remember a time in the UK when if there was a problem with a married woman’s tax return, the Inland Revnue (IRS) would write to the husband “dear sir, in connection with your wife’s tax return”! It sent me through the roof even then and I was just a kid!

      • Attie, I remember in 1983 I applied to a major bank in Australia for a car loan. I was 32, working full time and studying but the man of the house had to sign and go guarantor. And he turned out to be the FW eventually but he was more trustworthy to repay the loan apparently!

    • In 1977, when I married my first husband (we subsequently divorced, not because of cheating), my own mother wrote me a letter and addressed it to “Mrs. John XXXX.” And she was a woman who always resented the restrictions she’d experienced because she was female! You can bet I told her never to do that again.

      Unfortunately, women have to fight the same battles over and over again. Each generation. It never stops.

      In 2005, I bought a 5 speed Subaru Outback Impreza Sport. (I learned to drive one a stick shift and have been driving a stick since 1970.) My then husband had found it on the lot and called me to say, “I think I’ve found your car.”) I met him at the dealer, drove the car, loved it, and we talked to the salesman. It was very clear that the car was intended to be mine. I even financed it in my name only. But when I went to drive it off the lot, the salesman said, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” I wanted to say, “Why yes, I do,” and then run him over.

    • I think a new wave of femism is fomenting as a backlash to the current so-called sex-positive, violent kink-embracing, Onlyfans/sex-work-is (uninsured)-work third wave. As millennials age, some in gen Z are following the work of Dr. Gail Dines and re-evoking Andrea Dworkin and 70’s feminism (though according to Susan Brownmiller, 70’s feminism was felled by the same internal debate).

      At an indigenous feminist congress in Chiapas, the Zapatista Women Warriors caused a ruckus with third wave tourists in attendence by refusing to lend the platform to the sex workers who serve the military installations erected to crush the Zapatista movement. The sex workers, who also take scarce marital assets from Zapatista men and act as a sexual pressure valve for men to resist Zapatista women’s struggle for equality within the movement, are literally viewed as sucking the dick of the patriarchy.

      Anyway, I heard some white middle class feminists who traveled to the event complaining about the censure of sex workers and felt hopeful that things might finally start turning around.

      I understand that the 2008 crash and student loan crisis have driven 5 to 15% of (mostly female) US university students to sex work. So why not fight the conditions instead of embracing the fallout as somehow “feminist” in itself?

      Some third wavers complain that the anti-porn/ant-sex trafficking platform is shared by the most violent radical right-wing groups. So what? Should I wear fur because Hitler was a vegetarian? To quote Margaret Atwood, “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.”

      • It’s always a win when relevant issues become nonpartisan and more people jump onboard. Support from different groups of people can only bolster a cause, expand understanding, and bring people together. So tired of all the polarization, censure, name-calling, and shaming.

      • Yes and it shows a real White North American centric attitude to not understand that sex work in one place is not the same somewhere else. I hate when women do that.
        Have you read the book The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan? I think you would like it. She talks about the renewed interest in Dworkin’s ideas in her classes.

      • Not all right-wing (even many on the far-right) are against porn or sex work, because the majority of them are for free-press, freedom of expression, the right to be heard, and free enterprise. The religous right is another matter.

        • That’s why I specified radical right. Anti-porn activists on both sides mostly seem to understand the freedom of speech issue. The approach seems to be more about exposing trafficking, abuse of performers, use and abuse of underaged performers and too-easy access for minors to extremely violent and explicit material. Credit card companies were put under pressure to divest from companies like Pornhub for not documenting ages and consent of performers once it came out that actual children were being actually raped on camera.
          Literally millions of videos had to be removed.

          The screams and howls from porn users over it haven’t ceased since. Maybe part of the turn on was the idea that some sim rapes and some “fake children” were real and the credit card companies spoiled it.

        • You’re thinking of libertarians. They are right wing fiscally but liberal on social issues.
          The rest of the right is the religious right and they are the majority of right wingers, not the minority.

          • You make an important point. I didn’t realize libertarians were so thin on the ground.

            Just like anarcho-capitalist is an oxymoron, I find the North American concept of libertarianism impossible. It’s such a strange amalgam of borrowed ideas since libertarianism was first conceived as a form of socialism during the Enlightenment. Meanwhule Hayek would have been lynched as a socialist today because he supported socialized medicine.

            I must be missing something.

  • The dating dance is something I’ve been watching on a screen since I saw Cinderella as a child. The whole concept of “catching” a spouse seems to permeate our society. It works both ways, some men feel women only pay attention to the wealthy “bad boys” and some women think men are too focused on beauty and sexual conquest. We have to learn to value other parts of a potential mate’s particular values — those compatible to our own and stop following the crowd over the edge of the cliff like a bunch of lemmings.

    I remember having this conversation, several times, with my own sons. I think the message finally got through, but they had several experiences which ended painfully before they actually figured out physical beauty wasn’t all that, and sexual promiscuity was not a desirable trait in a potential mate.

    I went on vacation last week to Ireland, with a mostly delightful group. Two single women, 34 and 44 were particularly wonderful in my point of view. They were brave to travel alone, they were smart, funny, empathetic, and attractive. They had good jobs. Despite our age difference, we got along marvelously. Both had had bad experiences, eerily similar to mine, and they asked me what I thought. I told them they were worth more than they thought they were. I thought the men they described were controlling jerks. I told them to fix their pickers, and stop trying to rescue this type of man, to pick someone who didn’t need to be “fixed”. Strange, but they knew the terms, narcissist, and had self-identified weak traits in their FOO thinking. These women gave me great hope for the future!

    I learned a lot from these young women. I don’t think they will fight for some dud to give them a rose. They may continue to struggle to seek a companion, at their age I don’t blame them. They asked me if I had “given up”. I told them no, I had finally chosen myself and I was enough. Although I paid the steep price earlier in my life for getting married, and having children, and being cheated on sexually and financially, I had survived, and I valued the good things that had come from some of my bad decisions.

    We can learn from our mistakes, we can grow and choose a better life. That is the essence of hope!

  • (Music by the Chi-Lites, lyrics by Joe Millionaire)

    Oh, I’m watching Shantel and Tiffani
    As they diss and bitchslap just to be with me
    I’m a Caesar
    Baby, I’m a Caeser

    Oh, they pick-me dance in designer clothes
    And they hope maybe that they’ll get my rose
    I’m a Caesar
    Baby, I’m a Caeser

    My, oh, my
    Don’t you know this whole thing’s a cliche?
    They’re bein’ used to peddle implants and botox
    And I’m a god, baby, I’m a god . . .

    Tune at

  • I have never watched any of this type of show (or reality tv in general), and can’t fathom the appeal. (I’d rather watch anything by David Attenborough, or Nature on PBS.) I could understand these “pick me dance” shows better if I thought it was all play with the conventions, a wink-wink “isn’t this whole idea ridiculous?” But they don’t seem to be that at all. Articles are written and late-night tv segments address the week’s developments, as if these were serious relationships and an accurate representation of relationship dynamics. To me the problem with shows based on the pick-me dance is that they add value to the cultural currency of the pick-me dance.

    • Spinach, you ate NOT old. I’m 67 and leaving my life long cheating, lying ex. As a stay at home “wear every hat” “do everything” wife, I’m leaving my beautiful garden and home to start over in a very small rental. Ex has the $$$ but I have integrity. Fixing my distorted thinking about my capabilities, my responsibilities, and focusing on my hopes and dreams. Even if my brain is still foggy, sleep is elusive, decision making is difficult, I get a late in life chance for a makeover crafted all by me. Adelante, nature shows are my very favorite shows on television too. Although it’s really good to listen to podcasts that make me laugh, like Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on NPR in the USA. Hopefully more women will someday be in charge of Television Network choices in the future. Thank all you moms who raised yer daughters to be true to themselves and take no crap from undeserving men. Time is a precious commodity when you are older. Choosing how to spend it is more important to me now for sure.

      • Carolina, I’m wondering where you are, as I’m currently in the Carolinas.

        Stay at home mom is the hardest job I ever had. Your schedule is non-stop, you don’t ever get to leave, everything you accomplish gets undone almost immediately, no one acknowledges what you do, you don’t get paid or promoted, and you accrue no sick leave, retirement benefits, or personal time. Oh, and everyone refers to you as “not working.” No wonder so few men volunteer for the position – they value themselves too highly.

  • Ugh! I find bachelor and bachelorette triggering for the same reasons even without the maybe, maybe not millionaire status. Actually, I find most reality TV triggering. Survivor? It’s all about strategizing the best way to stab someone in the back and the most devious person wins. No thanks. If I was on a romantic reality show though I would rather be one of the contestants, not the prize. How humiliating would it be to go through all of the trouble to pick one out of so many only to have that person later reject you because he/she wasn’t really that into you, just wanted to win. Love really has nothing to do with it. How could it under those circumstances.

  • I always think of CL as the judge Judy of relationships. When I see the ads for these shows, I think of her eye rolling, cartooning, snarky remarks. CL your new career, mediating relationships. Calling BS, on TV, on RIC , unicorns etc. I would definitely watch, with popcorn

  • I hung up my pick-me dance shoes after I realized the ex’s dance card would always be full.
    I dance with myself now; dancing alone is better than feeling alone with your “partner”.
    And I don’t watch much television, but I would definitely carve out some time for a Chump Lady show!

  • I never watch reality tv either but I’m still amazed by what some people will do for money (more like, what won’t they do for money, I guess). I only know about this because it made the newspaper but one Youtuber (what IS an influencer anyway?) filmed herself licking the toilet seat on a plane – I guess she got loads of clicks for that one! After my husband left I tried internet dating for a couple of months after being half nagged to death by my friends. I have to say it was an ok experience and I met a few nice men. I’ve written about this before but one guy who asked me out was loaded – and I mean loaded! We had been dating for a while and he asked how much the mortgage was that I had had to take out to buy FW out. When I told him he offered to pay it off for me on the grounds that he had “given more money than that to the Prado”! It took me all of 10 seconds (ok, I admit I wobbled) before I thanked him and said no thanks. He was stunned and asked why, but the only answer I could give him was that I couldn’t put a price on my freedom. That may be why we’re still friends 10 years later!

  • I married when I was in my late 50’s and refused to change my name again. Pre-marital that was fine with hubby. But post-marital, a different story. He claimed it embarassed him, but it was really that my not changing meant he didn’t control me. He refused to put my name on the voicemail message and sometimes threw out mail intended for me because “I’m not used to seeing so I thought it was junk.”

    • I married in my early 30s and refused to legally change my name. I’m so glad I did because I didn’t have to go through the hassle of changing it back. Or living with his name for the rest of my life.

      Anyway, I had the same situation. X was perfectly fine about the whole thing at first, but then got a bee up his butt. Even though I educated him about the offensive tradition behind it and explained how strange it would be to give up my identity, he still got upset. Because screw my identity. His sense of ownership was more important.

    • I married in Switzerland in 1985 and never had any intention of changing my name – except it was obligatory!!! After my divorce I changed it back and felt whole again!

  • Back around 2000, there was a show “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire”. Same premise as this show. Contestants competed to marry “Rick Rockwell”, a self proclaimed “millionaire”. The winner was a contestant, Darva Conger. Turns out, Rick Rowell had a previous restraining order for domestic violence and stalking against him from former fiancé. Also, he was not a millionaire (news outlets found a discarded toilet in his yard) and he lied about his career. Darva annulled the marriage after the honeymoon.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    • I remember Darva Conger. Her Wikipedia article doesn’t mention this. But back in 2000, I remember an interview where she said that she never intended to marry anyone. To her, it was just entertainment, a chance to be part of a flashy show in Vegas. She was shocked when pressured to marry on TV. I don’t remember Honeymoon mentioned. But it made a mental impression, that to her it was just some wild Vegas show which got out of hand. But it all feels skeevy to me.

  • Just as Queen Elizabeth, on her 70th Jubilee celebration of being on the throne decided to elevate the OW Camilla – her Polo Pony horses ass son to Princess Consort so that when/if fkwit takes the throne they’ll have to call her Queen Camila. Sure, sleep with a married man, break up the family, contribute to driving Diana to the brink of insanity as a 19 year old bears 2 children living in a loveless marriage in a cold castle, and for that you are promoted to Queen. The Royal family make my in-laws look like nice people and my in-laws were evil narcissistic arrogant and self-centered. Instead of HR Her Royal Highness, Camilla should be HWW, Home Wrecking Whore.

    • Jo, Thank you, Thank you for bringing this Queen Camilla issue up! CL when I saw this in the news I thought this would be a GREAT topic for you to address in your CL blog. Please do!

      • I was about to post that, here in the UK, I am still so angry about the Camilla situation that I haven’t got the anger left to start on reality TV. I said to my mother yesterday ‘I definitely won’t be singing God Save The King’ ever while Charles is on the throne. And I was never a particular Diana fan (I was neutral). But hey ho, look at our Prime Minister! Boris singing ‘I Will Survive’ to his demoralised civil service team. Charles wittering on to Camilla about his desire to be her tampon! Ok that was 20 odd years ago but leopards don’t change their spots. Fortunately the Queen doesn’t tell me what to think. I’m verging on entirely disgusted with the UK.

        • As an American, I don’t really have a dog in that race. But yeah, I’m going to weigh in anyway.

          My best guess is that the Queen figured Prince Charles was going to let the Duchess of Cornwall be called Queen anyway, so she decided to give her approval to make it look good. But I have to admit I was quite surprised. And also indignant on Lady Diana’s behalf.

          But as I understand it, the Duchess can’t be crowned Queen Consort because that’s a religious ceremony, and their marriage isn’t considered completely regular by the Church of England. But also as I understand it, several English Queen Consorts were never crowned, I believe in most cases because they were Catholic and the ceremony is a Church of England ceremony.

          It may be irrelevant anyway because it’s always possible that the Duchess will die before the Prince succeeds to the throne. She’s 74.

  • Remember that reality shows were invented as a way to get around a writers’ strike.

    Of course these shows are scripted and carefully edited, and the contestants are chosen for maximum drama.

  • The fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi said that reality tv is people being nasty and manipulative to one another as entertainment. Circling drain, society, blah blah.

    • “Nasty and manipulative” behavior does seem to be encouraged on most reality TV shows. (A few exceptions would include the talent competitions where sniping and belittling other contestants is actually frowned upon).

      I think most of these shows could be referred to as Personality Disorder TV because I bet 99% of the contestants who are nasty and manipulative meet the criteria for one or more personality disorders.

      It’s a sad commentary on current society that these shows are so very popular.

  • Did you see the new film Spencer? Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain has spent his career focusing on the role of sexual cruelty and control in political repression starting with his films about rape/exploitation under Pinochet’s dictatorship or within the church. Lately he’s been doing closeups on the lives of iconic western women like Jackie Kennedy and Diana but the same theme is just under the surface. Spencer is shot like a horror film and completely de-normalizes and de-minimizes adultery and gaslighting. Cheaters would find it unwatchable.

  • Men and women are shallow in different ways. Fluffy men want hot women and fluffy women want rich husbands. Then they’re all shocked Picachu face when things go wrong. Who would have thought … Well, most of us.

  • I watched one episode of the Bachelorette with my college-aged daughters and spent the entire time poking fun of how ridiculous it was. The bachelorette had this “endearing” (not) way of licking her lips every time she was talking to a guy – very contrived and the narcissism oozed for all the attention she was getting. I said we should turn it into a drinking game – a shot for every time she licks her lips. Alcohol poisoning would have set in within five minutes.

    On a slightly different yet tv topic, the first three episodes of “Secrets of Playboy” were enlightening. I grew up in the 60s and 70s so had a vague awareness of girls in the bunny costumes as glamorous. I read Gloria Steinem’s book in the 80s in which she writes about going undercover as a bunny in a playboy mansion and had a better understanding of what playboy was really about. But this documentary is pretty horrifying.

    Former playboy employees talk about “the cleanup crew” (so that playboy could keep the glamorous image and not get closed down), the celebrity men who preyed on young naive girls, how Hefner videotaped all the girls in the mansion and the implicit blackmail. He was a sanitized Jeffrey Epstein who duped girls into thinking that a white cottontail uniform gave them power.

    Seems like these reality shows are just a variation of the same old story.

  • “Brandi, Muffin, Tiffani…”. Thanks for the LOL ChumpLady!

    I would humbly suggest renaming Ashley to Ashleigh. ????

  • I don’t think any of this is triggering because the people going on these shows are only doing so for their minutes of fame. These minutes of fame might even get them more followers on their social media accounts. The more drama they produce – the more camera time – and then even more followers.
    Remember Meryl Streeps character on Don’t Look Up.. when she gets insulted and feigns a little bit of hurt but you can see in her expression that she truly doesn’t care? (She played that role perfectly) Well I suspect the same thing with all of these contestants. Especially in todays Marketing media savvy population.

  • I live in the town where Colton Underwood grew up, met him before he was on TV, worked with his cousin for 7 years. So while I never watched the Bachelor (well, 5 icky minutes that left me wanting a shower), I do have some insight into the whole premise of these shows.

    EXPOSURE! That’s it. No one thinks they will find love. They want contracts, modeling, acting, they want to make money and be discovered.

    Colton’s occupation was always listed as “former NFL football player”. He never played in the NFL, he was signed to a practice squad and cut. How much money do you make as a “former” player?
    He banked all this exposure to give himself more exposure so he could make money like that. And that’s all those girls are doing.

    The relationship stuff is just the game they play.

    (Oh, and I can confirm that Colton is very handsome, and polite. He also comes from a “good” Catholic family that is proud of virginity. That hides the babies before marriage, the living together before marriage. And my kids go to the same high school where football is everything. My son graduated a couple of years after Colton and those kids had zero tolerance for anyone different.)

    • Now that my daughter is in HS there, there is a LOT more tolerance and acceptance. It’s refreshing to see kids that are inclusive and accepting. Most of her friends are gay, bi, trans, non-binary, and they also happen to be the smart and involved kids, not those relegated to the sidelines. Football is still king, and bullying happens, but it’s better than it was.

    • Don’t forget he switched teams lately. His new reality show (really real reality) was/is on Netflix.

  • Lady Loyal: You’re taking these dating reality shows too seriously. It’s a two way exchange. The contestants want to be on tv, have a free (or paid) vacation, and mainly get insta followers (and not have to be “hard working”), get on more reality shows and podcasts, kickstart their modeling, acting, music careers, etc. They are all able to meet Mr. (or Mrs.) Right irl or on the internet. And, ps, the “hardworking” ones are guess what, working at their real careers and not taking six weeks off to play. Ever notice how many of the actual professionals dump their jobs and careers after the show. And the hardworking women that I know, don’t have fake boobs, lips, and faces, many on these shows do.

    • Except for people like Meryl Streep, and the other really good actresses, I don’t recognize faces anymore because they’ve all been to the same plastic surgeon. They have the same eyes, the same nose, the same lips. They seem to have lost some ribs because they have a tiny waist but they’ve added all that stuff to their butts.
      I don’t get on regular TV at all. I suggest you stream because there is everything there. I just watched Netflix about Jeffrey Epstein and everybody on the planet needs to watch that. That is money, power, narcissism run amok and there were so many young women who paid the price. That is reality TV.

  • Know politics should best be left off of this support site, but since we’re talking about Reality TV I gotta go there. Some societal trends can’t be ignored or simply pooh-poohed. Unless more of us tune out, and stop watching for fun, Reality TV will continue to proliferate. I fear the worst of society portrayed in these shows will continue to seep into our societal consciousness. For example, I believe Reality TV style interpersonal conflict has contributed to the breakdown in respectful discourse we now see rampant in western society. And lest we forget, Reality TV solidified the (fake) successful multi-millionaire business tycoon persona for former U.S.A gaslighter-in-chief. Would his improbable bid for the presidency have worked without the media circus of The Apprentice? Reality TV also gave him permission to bring that “nasty and manipulative” Reality TV style of leadership into the White House. And onto an international stage.

  • Yes, I watched “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire” in 2000 and thought that it was just so very crazy. How could someone fall in love so quickly? I had a newborn, a toddler, and a husband who had become a workaholic. I couldn’t figure out at the time where my previously romantic and attentive husband had gone. At times I enjoyed the suspense and romance of that show, not really having much of that in my life, but I predicted the disaster that happened.

    Years later and divorced, my perspective is so very different. Now both of those kids are simply amazing young adults that he pretty much ignored after he left and who have nothing to do with their disordered father. I know that I was over-awed by the show that their father put on during courtship and engagement and didn’t work through his unrealistic expectations for marriage and poor conflict resolution skills. And certainly, my romantic and attentive husband didn’t make the transfer from couple to couple with kids. He felt displaced, a valid concern, but instead of working through that with me, he focused on work. By the time the kids were teens, he had almost nothing to do with them, and they’d ask me hard questions about why their dad didn’t like them and whether he truly had to stay at work so much or if he didn’t like us. They picked up the contempt he held for me and asked why I put up with that as well. I never answered those questions while we were together, but we talked about them after he took off because they had put it all together.

    Better now though. So much better. And I feel sorry for women who fall for men who don’t have substance behind the show. But it has to work, or they wouldn’t do it.

    • Elsie, you just summarized twenty years of my life. How is it that they/we all behave the same way? It’s so odd to me how the story remains the same, even down to the details (ILYBINILWY).

  • I’m busy reading Anita Hill’s “Believing” and Colm Toibin’s “The Magician”. And of course, this blog and all the comments. Why waste my precious time and brain cells watching “reality” tv for entertainment ? ????????????

  • I like the concept of Jerry Lewis’s movie 1960 movie Cinderfella better: an adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, with most characters changed in gender from female to male.

    Here’s Cinderfella playing the pick-me dance-

  • Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV
    By Jennifer Pozner

    A meticulously researched, snarky read investigating the inherent harm in “harmless” trash TV. A few years old but still very relevant. Worth your time. I saw Ms. Pozner speak to a college aged crowd a few years back. Interesting spectrum of responses to her presentation. She hit a nerve. I’ll be lazy and cut/paste the Amazon blurb:
    Nearly every night on every major network,”unscripted” (but carefully crafted) “reality” TV shows routinely glorify retrograde stereotypes that most people would assume got left behind 35 years ago.

    In Reality Bites Back, media critic Jennifer L. Pozner aims a critical, analytical lens at a trend most people dismiss as harmless fluff. She deconstructs reality TV’s twisted fairytales to demonstrate that far from being simple “guilty pleasures,” these programs are actually guilty of fomenting gender-war ideology and significantly affecting the intellectual and political development of this generation’s young viewers. She lays out the cultural biases promoted by reality TV about gender, race, class, sexuality, and consumerism, and explores how those biases shape and reflect our cultural perceptions of who we are, what we’re valued for, and what we should view as “our place” in society.

    Smart and informative, Reality Bites Back arms readers with the tools they need to understand and challenge the stereotypes reality TV reinforces and, ultimately, to demand accountability from the corporations responsible for this contemporary cultural attack on three decades of feminist progress.

  • There used to be a show on ID Discovery, ” Who the bleep did I marry,?”.
    It was true stories about people finding out that their spouse was not who they thought they were. Sound familiar to anyone?
    Little did I know when I was watching this series that I could have starred in my own one hour segment ????????????

  • A Joe Millionaire or Batchelor type show with a running Chump Lady editorial – and a live UBT? I would pay IMAX prices to watch that!

  • The Hunt for Megadouche

    In this reality show, Chump Lady must spend time with ten contestants to pick out the single fuckwit among them. No contestant but the fuckwit knows the truth, and the contestants cannot ask the others about cheating. CL cannot ask about cheating itself, but must judge by the person’s demonstrated fuckwit character traits. When she successfully picks the fuckwit out (and we know she will) the winner is crowned with a dunce cap that says Megadouche on it and has cabbages thrown at him/her/them by the other, non-fuckwitted contestants. Then they all point and laugh.

    Intrigue is included by the other contestants faking narcissistic entitlement and general douchebaggery to try to fool CL. Should CL have on off day (unthinkable, but who knows) and pick the wrong contestant, that contestant must then try to pick out the fuckwit. If that contestant is also unsuccessful, the next falsely accused must judge, and so on until the fuckwit is discovered.

    Any reality tv producers out there?

  • When I was very little, there was a game show on TV called “To Tell the Truth.” Your idea reminds me of that and The Dating Game mixed together with a whole lot of snark added.

  • What I’m about to say may not be popular but here is an idea, Tracy: Maybe this should be a Friday Challenge….like I challenge anyone on the planet to convince me that ANY REALITY TV isn’t contrived bullshit….seriously.

    Sorry ladies because we are the audience that these literal shit shows target, but there are only 4 (maybe 5) true reality TV shows. They are called, Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey and Soccer (if you’re into Soccer.) They are real and happening in the moment and there is no script driving the outcome. There is drama if you follow sports and some of it is contrived by the media but that’s it folks. Every other “reality TV” show is bullshit. The. End.

    I don’t contribute to this site much these days but I have to pipe up when I feel passionate about something. I just can’t see getting my tits in an uproar over something so fake and I would advise against it for anyone else. As in watch anything else!. Sorry, not sorry! If you’re watching reality TV, you really shouldn’t be surprised by the bullshit content.

  • I second give you a reality show.
    Maybe we should all think about bringing back & revamping………………………………… “Tool Academy”!

  • I recently read a ChumpLady column where she said she didn’t want political comments due to her job. I breathed a sigh of relief because coming here is sometimes a turn off to me due to politics being brought into it. Lo and behold in today’s comments, more political talk.
    I’ve been married twice. My first husband was a white Republican. My second husband was a POC and a Democrat. Guess what, they were both liars and cheaters.

    • Yep.

      It is frustrating, because you see total bull crap posted; and others slandered but you can’t really say anything because it would just become another worthless political squabble.

      My favorite is “I know we aren’t supposed to be political, but I will because of course what I have to say is important.” (insert political sewage)

  • The original “Joe Millionaire” that came out *yeeeeears* ago was a brilliant satire that makes all the exact points you’re making by tricking girls with a fake millionaire and showing how inauthentic everything that occured as a result was when it’s revealed he is not the wealthy prize that was promised. I have a microscopic scintilla of hope these elements of the former were absorbed by the current showrunner and this is all a long con. That maybe at the end we all find out *neither* of them are millionaires and it makes all the exact same points the original made about how shallow and fake these things are. But I wouldn’t hold my breath lol

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