Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Savor the Flavor

Every man's closet contains a dark skeleton or three.

My name is SwanShadow, and I have seen every episode of Flavor of Love.

You are about to enter my secret shame.

Flavor of Love is train-wreck television. It's so awful that you can't bear to look at it, yet so compelling that you can't look away. It may well be the singularly most grotesque example of a grotesque genre: celebrity-based "reality" shows, or "celebreality," as the folks at VH1 like to call their offerings in that field.

But doggone it, Flavor of Love is more fun than "Take Home the Leftovers Night" at the all-you-can-eat buffet. And just about as nutritious.

In case you've managed to avoid viewing this sordid business thus far, I'll briefly synopsize the plotline of Flavor of Love. (I throw out words like "sordid" and "synopsize" just so you know I haven't completely gone down-market on you.)

Flavor Flav (real name: William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.) is a rap performer best known, before his flirtation with cathode-ray stardom, for his membership in the seminal hip-hop group Public Enemy. Flav, as he likes to be addressed (it rhymes with "rave"), pioneered the concept of the over-the-top "hype man" or caricature rapper with Public Enemy, serving as comedic relief and contrast to the group's politically vocal front man, Chuck D. Flav also played drums for Public Enemy.

A homely, scrawny, 47-year-old recovering crack addict with a mouthful of gold-plated teeth, Flav's outrageous stage persona derives from his garish attire -- he wears a wall clock (the round, boldly screenprinted kind typically seen in the bedrooms of teenagers) as a medallion, favors wild sunglasses that even Elton John would be embarrassed to be seen wearing, and sports neon-hued clothing -- and inane catchphrases, such as "Yeah, boyyyeeee!" and "You know what time it is."

Flavor of Love (actually the third "celebreality" show on which Flav has appeared, following The Surreal Life and Strange Love) plays like a psycho hip-hop version of The Bachelor. Flav started the season with 20 prospective female suitors — most of whom, judging from their demeanor and appearance, could previously have been located in trailer parks, bowling alleys, massage parlors, or perhaps the "for mature audiences" section of your local video rental joint.

Ostensibly, Flav's task is to select the woman "who loves Flavor Flav the best." Or, at the very least, the one with whom he would most like to get jiggy — which, for a guy who used to date Brigitte Nielsen, is no small challenge. Each week, our hero winnows the field of possibilities, searching for his true soulmate. (Or at least, a willing victim.) At the end of each episode, Flav dispenses his trademark clock medallions to the contestants moving on to the next round. The contestants getting the ax are told, "Your time is up," and sent packing.

One look at the show's star will tell you that the women contestants are here only for a quick grab at the brass ring of fame, not because they have been overwhelmed by the manly charms of Mr. Flav. For his part, Flav can't even be bothered to memorize the women's actual names. Therefore, on the first episode, he christened each babette with a nickname by which she would be known for the rest of her run on the series. Girls tagged with such colorful handles as "Bubblez," "Sweetie," "Red Oyster," and "Miss Latin" have already hit the bricks during the first five shows.

Thanks to the Super Bowl, there was no new Flavor of Love this week. (Perhaps there's too much crossover between the two audiences.) As we look ahead to the home stretch, the six remaining candidates duking it out for Flav's affections are:

Goldie, the most fun-loving and outgoing of the remaining contestants. Goldie seems to be having the best time of any of the women, which under the circumstances makes me question her sanity. A statuesque creature, she towers over...

Hoopz, an elfin, athletic woman who, as her nickname suggests, is fond of sports in general and basketball in particular. Hoopz is the least pretentious, most charming, and — in my opinion at least — the most conventionally attractive woman among the survivors. She'd be the one of the final six with whom I'd hook Flav up, because I wouldn't want to see him get stuck with...

Hottie, who either is the dimmest wit among Flav's Angels, or is willing to be relegated to that role. On a show when Flav challenged the women to prepare fried chicken for his mother, Hottie attempted to microwave a whole bird. Flav has kept Hottie around mostly in appreciation of her Brobdingnagian chest. I don't have a good reason for why he's keeping...

New York, an abrasive, whiny, nettlesome individual who seems to thrive on making life miserable for her sister contestants. Her role on the show is clearly that of the villainous instigator — the Omorosa to Flav's downscale Donald Trump. I think that if they turned off the cameras for an hour and left the women in a dark room with six Louisville Sluggers, the other five would beat New York to a bloody pulp. One of the bat-wielders might be...

Pumkin, a petite peroxide blonde and the lone person of the Caucasian persuasion remaining in the mix. Personable, engaging, and trailer-trash cute enough to place second in the Miss Monster Truck pageant — even if she's not exactly peaking the intelligence quotient scale — Pumkin would be my runner-up behind Hoopz if Flav let me do the choosing for him. But he hasn't asked me, so we move on to...

Smiley, an otherwise unappealing and unremarkable contestant who owes her continuation on the show to her forthright sexual aggressiveness. Of the final six, Smiley is the one whose antics in her one-on-one moments with Flav have pushed the broadcast standards envelope to its outer limits. If all Flav is after is a few quick rolls in the hay, he's probably going to wind up choosing Smiley.

If I had to make a guess, I'd wager that Flav will make his final cut between Hoopz and either Goldie or New York, the latter of whom I suspect will be kept around as long as possible just for the "what will she do/say next?" factor.

Time will tell. But then, you know what time it is.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous The Survival Gourmet offered these pearls of wisdom...

I admit it! Me and my wife are hooked. Once you watch it, you are sucked in!

So now that Hottie and Smiley who do you like?

9:27 PM  

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