Joe Fake-Out

What’s up Joe Millionaire’s sleeve?

Evan and his butler in a non-finale finale

The finale of Joe Millionaire (Fox, Monday, 9 p.m. ET) advanced the show’s theme of duplicity by not being a finale at all. Evan the non-millionaire didn’t choose between Sarah, the former bondage star, or Zora, the enigma. Instead, he sat out virtually the entire show while FOX producers replayed scenes from previous episodes. Sarah’s history was rehashed, including all of her great dates with Evan. Zora’s history was rehashed, including the time that Evan asked her, “Did you get that breast in Paris?”

After heartlessly wasting viewers’ time, Fox brought out Paul, the butler, who finally admitted that we weren’t going to learn Evan’s choice tonight. Instead, we’ll have to wait until next week, Feb. 17, when, in a two-hour blowout, the deception will climax.

But Paul also said something else. He confirmed the rumor, set forth on Television Without Pity and other TV rialtos, that the concluding episode of Joe Millionaire will contain a twist. Another twist. Evan is not just a construction worker who’s been lying to his dates about his net worth. Fox has also been lying to us about something.

People have said that Zora has been onto the ruse all along. That Evan is gay. That Zora and Evan are brother and sister. That Sarah and Zora know his secret and are conspiring against him.

In this spirit, I’m going to give my guess. I believe that, next week, poor man Evan will finally become a millionaire, courtesy of Fox. The network will give Evan the big money to quit the bulldozer life and keep Sarah or Zora—or anyone he likes—in style.

But remember: I thought Justin Guarini was a shoo-in for the first American Idol.