Suspect IQs don't hurt 'Joe Millionaire'

Monday, February 10, 2003

Boy, was I wrong about "Joe Millionaire" (8 p.m., Fox). I never expected viewers to warm up to the cynical premise of this silly series. But the ridiculous, over-the-top fairy tale has taken the nation by storm.

The squealing cast of females doesn't hurt. Week after week, their desperate maneuvering, mangled syntax and other stupid human tricks light up a million chat room discussions. Hateful Heidi disappeared too soon. Mojo's million-dollar check (to herself) and her "puzzle" (of herself) were priceless. Who can forget Melissa's confession that she wanted to go to Africa and bathe children and become "a mercenary"?

But real credit must go to the casting of Evan Marriot as faux Joe. He's the 21st-century descendant of a long line of American archetypes. He's tall, dark and handsome. He's rich and (in Sarah's words) "uncomplicated."

Tonight's other highlights

"Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives" (7 p.m., HBO) presents Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and other actors reading from historical interviews with surviving slaves collected by the Works Project Administration during the 1930s.

Ray relishes his role as disciplinarian on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).

A fire in a meth lab burns out of control on "Third Watch" (8 p.m., NBC).

Andy fights his feelings for an itinerant therapist (Jane Krakowski) on "Everwood" (8 p.m., WB).

Radiation poisoning on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS).

Paul discovers a connection between the supernatural and disease on "Miracles" (9 p.m., ABC).

Series notes

Doug cancels a romantic dinner on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Romance blossoms on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... The team hunts for an occult item once coveted by Nazis on "Veritas: The Quest" (7 p.m., ABC) ... The elixir of love on "The Parkers" (7 p.m., UPN) ... Lucy's rocky Valentine's Day on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB).

Jimmy defends a woman (Rosanna Arquette) he secretly admired during high school on "The Practice" (8 p.m., ABC) ... Hide and seek on "Girlfriends" (8 p.m., UPN) ... Mona juggles two exes on "Half and Half" (8:30 p.m., UPN) ... A search for passion on "Still Standing" (8:30 p.m., CBS) ... The death of a witness seems suspicious on "Crossing Jordan" (9 p.m., NBC).

Late night

John Hammond appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Michael Clarke Duncan on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Matt Damon, Rita Wilson and Jurassic 5 are on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Clipse and Faith Evans are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).