Screen: VH1

Joe Francis Is Still Gross

Catching you up on the breakout un-star of Couples Therapy 3.

I can't speak for anyone else who watches this trash, but for me, Couples Therapy is appealing for two main reasons: it invites the viewer to judge whether the couples in therapy should even be together (generally, the answer is no); and it doesn't scruple to air moments when the couples judge one another. So the latest episode is a major win on both fronts, largely thanks to the work of one Joe Francis.

Having established last week how controlling he is of his much younger girlfriend, Joe ran with that motif some more when the couples all took OKCupid compatibility tests. Joe is initially pretty psyched to learn that, according to the probably unscientific test offered by this free online dating service, he and Abbey are 85% compatible...until the other couples start getting higher scores than Joe and Abbey do (including a group-high 91% for Liz and Flav, who not only shouldn't be together as a couple but shouldn't have each other's contact information or live in the same state). That's when Joe starts talking about the test as though his score were a grade, like in school, and blaming his second-tier performance on Abbey's inability to answer one of the questions: "Abbey and I scored well, but still not an A. We scored an 85 out of 100, and the only reason is because Abbey doesn't know math." It's not enough to blame her in an interview, though: he also has to scold her to her face: "Because of your answers, we got a B on that test." (To her credit, Abbey appears not to give a shit, so at least therapy is working for one of them.)

Earlier in the episode, though, Joe also breaks new ground in shittiness by casting aspersions on Abbey's capacity to give him offspring. As we know, Abbey struggles with eating disorders, and Joe has concerns about how her disease may affect a hypothetical Francis baby: "How can I be sure she's going to be pregnant and not be bulimic during pregnancy, which would for sure terminate a pregnancy, kill a child?" How important is it to Joe to have children? It is a dealbreaker. Let me just say that again: disgusting pornographer/frequent legal defendant Joe Francis intends to be a parent, and it's so important for him to do so that he might break up with his current girlfriend if he decides he can't trust her safely to gestate his heir. Maybe cosmic justice will come into play and Joe will turn out to be sterile? Failing that...well, I was going to say I hope he doesn't have girls, but I don't particularly trust him with boys, either.

Finally: this episode featured the long-teased arrival of Real World alumni Heather and Dustin, who are still dealing with the effects of one questionable decision from Dustin's past.


Even I remember this storyline from The Real World, so I'm kind of surprised that it comes as such a bombshell when Joe (who else) decides to look up Dustin and finds evidence of Dustin plying his former trade.


What makes Joe's reaction especially revolting is not just the grade-school-level "hee hee, he likes boys" glee; we could have taken it as read that most of the boneheads in this house would have the same response (and well done, Tyler, for being more mature than people who are chronologically much older than you are). But if there's anyone in this group who should be understanding about the circumstances that might cause a person to work in pornography and not be terribly proud of it, shouldn't it be disgusting pornographer Joe Francis?! Granted, I don't expect that Joe himself feels any shame over the "adult films" he's had a hand in (ew), but surely all those times women he'd tricked into starring in them sued him, some of what they said about the experience should have sunk in.

And yet, even Joe knows better than Flavor Flav that being gay isn't something a person can choose, so who will ultimately win the race to the bottom is still in question.

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