Saturday, August 12, 2006

Good Flavor With a Strong, Lingering Aftertaste

Becoming gradually busier as the weeks go by, I don’t watch too much TV anymore. It sucks, really, especially when my job now requires me to be in contact with the most immediately popular forms of culture. So yesterday afternoon, I turned on the TV, ended up flipping to VH1 and had it blaring with its bright and cheery colors for a good three hours.

Things watched: “The Best of Celebrity Weddings,” “The World Series of Pop Culture” — where, by the way, I would have cleaned up — and the season premiere of “Flavor of Love 2.” I didn’t watch the first season of “Flavor of Love.” I didn’t understand the appeal. But I can only guess that the current season must be better than the first in every conceivable way.

Here’s a recap for those of you who, like me, don’t really give a damn about the romantic travails of Flavor Flav: After being a founding member of influential and uberpolitical rap group Public Enemy, Flav lost all credibility by being the resident Urkel on the third season of VH1’s “Surreal Life.” Instead of a music legend, Flav carried himself with the air of a goofy, drunk uncle or a benign homeless person. Eventually, he fell in love with model-actress-golem Brigitte Nielsen, with whom he later starred in the VH1 series “Strange Love,” which chronicled a romantic relationship that people watched the same curiosity they regard car wrecks and live, televised surgery. The woman who won the first season of “Flavor of Love,” Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander lasted about as long as you’d expect a girlfriend you got through a reality show. “She a golddigger,” we’re informed. And all that brings us to the start of the second season.

Apparently, Flav was displeased with the caliber of girls selected for the first season and so he picked the new girls himself. It shows. The twenty girls look exactly the kind of girls a legendary rapper would pick. Now, this is not a bad thing. Far from it, the girls of “Flavor of Love 2” represent a much wider cross-section of body types than the average reality show — or, really, the average TV show. As far bigger girls, there’s a good handful here. You also have a mix of flakey model-actress types — not much different than Nicole Alexander, really — but also quirkier picks, like the stringy haired hippie white girl astrologist. (Flav’s birthday, we learn from her, is the day of realistic inspiration. Who knew?)

Not five minutes into moving into the new house, the girls — shrieking giddily like children running through an ice cream, fireworks and puppy factory — explode into a fight. Two of them have a disagreement over a bed that they decide to settle in the manner of lunchroom bullies — quickly, one is punching the other and then knocking her head against the wall. It’s great. She even screams “Don’t you ever throw flowers at me!” Any show that features “Don’t you ever throw flowers at me!” being yelled seriously, I can happily invest myself for the hour. When Flav interrogates the fighting girls separately to determine who threw the first punch. The instigator claims she barely tapped the other — that she reprimanded her like one might do to a toddler. Quite the speaker, she even describes the other one as not being the “fawn trapped in the headlights” that she’s made out to be. Poetic! Especially for a girl who just bashed someone’s head against a wall. Flav reviews the footage, finds that the alleged toddler sitter is more of a little Clobberella. Away she goes.

Apparently the trend on “Flavor of Love” is that Flav renames the girls. I couldn’t bother to actually learn most of their names, so I’ll just make up my own. For example, the one I call “Goat.” Origin: Bakersfield, I’m guessing. Talks like a “Jerry Springer” guest. Looks like a trannie dressed up for wild west night. Then there’s one I call “Coral.” Because she’s perfectly interchangeable with Coral from “The Real World.” She makes sarcastic comments about everybody because she thinks she’s better than them. My personal favorite, however, is the girl I like to call “Donut.” Easily the biggest girl out of the girls, Donut further sets herself apart from the rest by being the only girl who’s fluent in jive. When Donut pulls Flav aside, they have this little chit-chat completely in jive — complete with subtitles. Yes, like in “Airplane!”

All in all, however, the best part of the show would have to have been the shitting. That’s right: shitting. The actual expelling of feces from the body. Apparently, one of the girls — I call her “Jigglypuff” — had a stomach problem during the taping of the episode’s climactic moments, in which Flav picks the girls he likes and awards them clocks, for some reason. The girls must remain standing during this segment, and because the producers wouldn’t let Jigglypuff leave to use the bathroom, she ended up running up the stairs and letting a small fraction of the deposit slip out. Yes, she shit on the stairs. Soon after, the rest of the cast heads up the stairs and sees — and smells — the shit. (Thankfully, we the viewers on the other side of the glass screen have to do neither.) Surprisingly, Jiggles owns up to the deed right away. Even more surprisingly, she doesn’t seem that embarrassed by it. You know, like it’s something that just happens to people. In my estimation, that should make Jigglypuff the first person on a reality show to publicly shit in a place that’s not normally intended for shit and not get immediately kicked off the show. You know, because maybe Flav liked that.

I probably won’t make an effort to watch “Flavor of Love” again, but it’s good to know that in that quick hour of TV I could realize what I’ve been missing by doing other things. Oh, and also the shitting. That was pretty crazy.

And for anyone who knows more about Flavor Flav than I do, please explain: Why all the fucking clocks?

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