We’re all about comics here at Panels On Pages, but a geek cannot live on comics alone. Outside the Longbox is our chance to spotlight something outside our typical 4-color realm, be it movies, music, TV or whatever.
This week on Outside the Longbox: VH-1′s Trash TV!
Following the ridiculous success of MTV’s The Osbournes, a new genre of reality television was born, which VH-1 dubbed “Celebreality”. Aging superstars, down-on-their-luck actors, one-hit-wonders, and tabloid cannon fodder now had a viable way to make a buck that didn’t involve blowing a guy on Mulholland, simply by allowing cameras to follow them around at thier lowest of lows. One of VH-1′s marquee Celebreality series was The Surreal Life, a Real World living situation featuring D-list celebs from all walks of life. Arguably, one of the more entertaining seasons of the show featured former crack addict and Public Enemy hype-man Flavor Flav wooing aged Rocky IV starlet Brigette Neilsen. Their Surreal Life relationship begat their own series, Strange Love, and after having his heart broken by Brigette, Flav was given his own VH-1 “Bachelor” style dating show, Flavor of Love, which raised the bar on mindless, trashy television that serves as VH-1′s bread and butter to this very day, and it has created a television universe on par with the Marvel 616.
Flavor of Love was somehow able to corral enough women into an LA McMansion that seemed at least slightly interested in this diminutive, gold-toothed, viking-helmeted rapper.
On episode 1 of season 1 of Flavor of Love, Flav admitted to being terrible at remembering names (crack’s a helluva drug), so he gave each stipper-shoed suitor a ridiculous, often misspelled, and sometimes downright demeaning nickname (Pumkin, Hottie, Red Oyster), a ceremony that would continue through 3 seasons of the show, 2 seasons of I Love New York, and 2 seasons of Real Chance of Love. Each episode, the girls were put into laughable challenges and the winner(s) would be granted a date with the gentleman Flav, while at the close of each show, someone had to pack their bags. Flav sifted through the hoodrats and skeezers, and eventually narrowed the field down to two women, New York and Hoopz, the latter of which he would chose to be his “boo”, and gifted her with a custom set of gold grills. Unfortunately for the couple, things didn’t work out, and on the Flavor of Love reunion, they admitted to being only “friends”, but fortunately for the show producers and VH-1, season 2 of Flavor of Love was all but definite.
Season 2 debuted, and with it came another gaggle of crazy beetches, one of which, Sumthin, took a shit on the staircase on episode 1 because she couldn’t hold it any longer. That’s the kind of classy lady that takes part in a Flavor of Love show. Season 1 contestant New York returned in a surprise twist towards the end of Season 2, and once again, was rebuffed by Flav and sent packing in the finale. Again, Flav and his “winner”, Deelishis, did not last forever, and a final third season of Flavor of Love was aired, and in the end, the man known as William Drayton said “Fuck It.” and married his baby mama anyhow. But at least we got three seasons of mind-numbing television out of it, and the beginnings of a Hanna Barbara-esque crossover universe.
New York went on to star in two seasons of I Love New York (as well as New York Goes to Work and New York Goes to Hollywood), a surprising feat considering she’s a vapid, horrible human being (but great for television!). Two of her suitors from season 1, brothers “Real” and “Chance” would also get their own spin-off dating series, Real Chance of Love, currently in its second season, wherein both brothers look for love (obviously, in all the wrong places).
We can’t leave the aging 80′s rock star out of it, though! Bret Michaels, frontman for 80′s hair metal band Poison, also hitched his trailer to the VH-1 dating show bandwagon with three seasons of Rock of Love, almost identical in format to Flavor of Love, but with less melanin and more silicone. It’s really quite an easy formula for any of these shows: Take star, gather 20+ shameless men or women, lock them in one of three mansions VH1 keeps on rotation, stir in gallons of tequila and vodka, shake vigorously, and set the cameras to record.
These four dating shows have spun-off two other “All-Star” series, the first, Charm School, wherein the cursing, spitting, shitting, and sucking tramps and trollops of Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, and Real Chance of Love are made into proper ladies, and the other, I Love Money, includes the boys from I Love New York in a loud, sweaty race to $100,000 and more screen-time.
Rock of Love, not one to be outdone by Flavor of Love, has also spun off two other dating shows featuring the not-so-lovable losers that Bret Michaels didn’t want on his tour bus, the first being Daisy of Love, featuring the tattooed dimitted runner-up of Season 2, and Megan Wants a Millionaire, starring Rock of Love season 2′s Megan, with a body from heaven and a personality from a septic tank.
However unlikable New York, Daisy, and Megan are, I cannot NOT watch, because then how am I going to know who the new contestants are on I Love Money!?
It truly is TERRIBLE television, each show is more or less a carbon copy of the other, and the Elimination ceremonies are like fingernails on a chalkboard, no one will EVER find true love on any of these shows (but probably a mean case of gonorrhea), but they are all enjoyable to watch while snuggled up in bed on a Monday or Sunday night when no one else is around…because frankly…I don’t want people to know I watch this garbage.
Shout out to August FGotM Kristin “Foxy” Allen, who is also an admitted addict!
Also, stay tuned to PanelsOnPages.com for my exclusive Chicago Comic-Con interview with Leilene Ondrade from Flavor of Love, Charm School, and I Love Money!
UPDATE: Thanks to my homegirl and fellow VH-1 Trash TV addict, Kristin “Foxy” Allen, I’ve been alerted to some pretty disturbing news!