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Sadistic Television: Why Flavor of Love is the best thing on TV April 15, 2008

Posted by ashiah in old.
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Flavor Flav: Still getting by
on looks

(This is a VERY OLD article. I no longer agree with it!!) Last season when a loogey the size of a coin came spiraling out of Pumkin’s mouth and landed in New York’s weave, a masterpiece was born. True, not a masterpiece in the classical sense, but fit enough to satisfy the 21st century’s taste for public humiliation. In the medieval times, people had to settle for public executions. Today, watching a woman unapologetically shit on the floor is good enough for us.

It’s kind of funny to think that Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav thought he was too much of an icon to go on the Surreal Life, a reality show that’s home for washed up starlets. At the time, he was living in a tiny apartment and making money by scalping baseball tickets with his then girlfriend. (Looks like the rumors that he lived in a shack behind Chuck D’s house were apparently false.) Turns out the Surreal Life appearance not only made this ex-hype man a household name again, but also started a string of reality shows – strangely, all tied to him finding love. On the Surreal Life, he had a brief fling with an aging Bridgette Nielson. This gave birth to Strange Love, a boring series about their love life and called “a minstrel show” by critics. In the end, they broke up and apparently Vh-1 felt partially responsible. With hits like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette getting adequate ratings for network television, Vh-1 decided to create a dating show specifically targeted to finding poor Flav a mate. The result? A golden turd of perfection.

The first season of Flavor of Love became America’s guilty pleasure. Everyone watched it, but didn’t want to admit they watched it….and loved it. The contestants became instant D list celebs and were the talk of most message boards who felt the show was too ridiculous to be real. On the first night a woman threw up in the living room, others showed up wearing their best $2 dolla hooker outfits in a desperate plea for more attention from Flav. The one who stood out the most was New York (real name Tiffany), a woman who probably goes Fatal Attraction on all her ex-boyfriends. New York’s antics, cat fights with Pumkin, and over the top WTF-ness made her an instant favorite.


“Ohmigod, I’m too skinny! Ohmigod, what am I gonna do?!”

Gradually, Internet research enthusiasts and message board posters began investigating the past of all the contestants. It turned out that all the women were either porn stars, actors, models or general famewhores. But of course, no normal/sane person would fall in love with Flavor Flav, a fortysomething man who refuses to pay child support for his six kids. In the end, the final two came down to Hoopz and New York. Hoopz won and got Flav and a set of gold teeth as her “prize.” During the Springer-esque reunion show, it was revealed that Hoopz was never in love with Flav, and since then, has gone on to be what she always wanted to be – a video ho.

Fast forward a few months later and now Flavor of Love season 2 promises to be just as brilliant and repulsive as the first. The premiere, which aired Aug. 6, gave just that. Within minutes there was a fight over a bed, which ended with a girl “with $800 hair” to be carried out kicking and yelling. The night also included Buckey (the mini New York), Spunkee, a woman who twirls her hair like she’s on Dynasty, and Toastee, a woman so drunk she could barely stand up during elimination. The night ended with Sumthin, a loud mouth drunk, who accidentally took a shit on the floor as she dashed upstairs to the nearest bathroom.

There are plenty of critics who say Flavor of Love is the downfall of entertainment, but these people said the same thing about Jerry Springer. The problem with these people is that they can’t decipher between good low brow and bad low brow. The bad kind mostly are associated with movies, such as Soul Plane and Little Man. These movies show how low the movie industry has slumped and has no subtle brilliance in its soul (pun intended). The reason these films are “bad” low brow is because the producers of such films have a clear goal of making a “good” film, and yet, they fail. The difference with “good” low brow is that the producers’ goal is to make something bad, and they succeed. Take Snakes on a Plane for instance – it has a cult following simply for being silly and ridiculous. If Snakes on a Plane doesn’t turn out to be stupid and campy, viewers will be justifiably upset. The makers of Flavor of Love knew they were making trash television and they succeeded in making the most trashtastic show on television. It’s terrible and brilliant at the same time.

Human beings are naturally sadistic – it’s a part of our animalistic tendencies. There’s always the classic example of people who can’t look away from a car crash. It’s not just curiosity, but a deep rooted urge to see strangers in pain. Reality television is a haven for this because it’s crawling with attention whores who are ready to put themselves in demeaning situations for cash prizes, fame or, er, Flavor Flav. Because reality television is volunteer based, viewers are less likely to feel guilty for the fame hungry losers, and why should they? Television was created for this sort of thing and people should revel in its repulsiveness. Sadistic? Yes. Terrible? Of course. But it’s all done brilliantly.

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