Wednesday, September 6

Thoughts on "Flavor of Love"

Do you watch "Flavor of Love?" Wait, of course you do. I'm sure you also probably know the second season premiere gave VH1 the highest ratings they've ever had. But why? It's by no means the best ("Project Runway") or most innovative ("American Idol") reality show out there. The star power of Flavor Flav is non-existent - he is not a star, he is a character, one who fluttered back into pop culture consciousness with his stint on "The Surreal Life."

So why the success? You can see crazy bitches fight on "Maury" or "Cheaters," you can see competition over an unattractive man on "Next" or "Elimidate," and you can still (barely) get contestant personality fixes from "The Real World" and "Survivor."

"Flavor of Love" is brilliant because it claims to revere what it does not possess - the quality of reality, or "realness." The girls on the show backstab and bitchtalk and tattle-tale on one another in almost every episode, questioning the other's motivation for being on the show, as if anyone is there to win the affections of Flav. He has dismissed girls who have appeared on other reality shows, girls who have lied about pornographic pasts, and girls who cause "too much drama" in the "Flavor of Love" mansion.

Flav is not looking for a soulmate, he wants to be on TV. The girls are not looking for a fingerbang from Flavor fucking Flav, they want their 15 minutes on VH1 to expose their "real" careers: acting, modeling, comedy, whatever. The fact that there's even a pretense of reality that is so easy to see through is what makes the show entertaining. The girls aren't even allowed to use their real names until they're eliminated - Flav christens them with monikers like "Nibblz" and "Deelishis" in the very first episode.

All reality television is artifice, and most shows now take pride in the impossibility of the situations, creating drama through location, casting, or just plain old-fashioned writing. They give little more than a wink and a nod in the direction of "reality," but the quality of "realness" is fought for, screamed at, and punched in the face on "Flavor of Love."

Everyone is in on it, but it's still nice to watch them pretend.


Blogger Keith said...

Hang on there... Did you imply that American Idol was the most innovative reality show? I know you're young, but once upon a time, there was this show called Star Search. If Ed McMahon was more of an asshole, it would've been pretty much the same.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Trashley said...

I clearly recall "Star Search," but of all the current celebrities (Usher, X-Tina, etc) who appeared on that show, not one of them can attribute their success to that program. "American Idol" is directly responsible for the greatness that is Kelly Clarkson. "Star Search" was nothing more than the "America's Got Talent!" of its day. Those kids got lucky.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Well regardless, I don't think a glorified tallent show is all that innovative.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Trashley said...

But there are real rewards at stake - tours, money, contracts, etc...what reality show is more innovative than that?

Okay, maybe "The Price is Right," but game shows don't count.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Yeah, I would hardly classify American Idol as "innovative" ... come on know better.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of comedians got their start on Star Search. Kevin Pollack, Roseanne Bar.

Britney and X-Tina got their Mouseketeer ears after appearing on Star Search, and their connections with Disney eventually lead to their record contracts.

9:50 AM  

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