Sunday, March 12, 2006

Savor the Final Flavor

An All-Day Marathon Precedes Tonight’s Series Finale

When we first saw the advance previews for the VH1 series The Flavor of Love, I flippantly remarked to my husband, “That’s another stupid reality show I’ll never see.” One more lousy prediction down the drain.

My husband had been a fan of Public Enemy, the influential rap group that unleashed Flavor Flav on the world. I never really paid any attention to Flav’s career until he became a cast member of Surreal Life 3, another stupid but perversely addictive reality show I did watch - and where he made an improbable match with Brigitte Nielsen. Their spinoff, Strange Love, was too excruciatingly awful to watch and their strange love – or whatever strange excuse brought them together – burned out quickly.

Nielsen is a magnet for cameras, men and trouble. Without her sucking most of the oxygen out of any given room and contaminating the rest with ever present cigarette smoke, Flavor Flav – with his crunk, Viking helmets and billowy costumes – seems like the lovable pimp next door.

And that would make his Flavor of Love harem of hopefuls . . . the ones who put the ho in hopeful. To protect their real identities or perhaps their families, Flav gave them nicknames to help him tell them apart, no doubt.

The show’s premise is similar to The Bachelor, but then it goes hilariously off kilter. A bevy of lovely ladies move in with Flav and must compete to prove which one loves him the best. Instead of a perfect rose, the women he selects to return for another episode receive a trademark Flavor Flav clock to wear around their necks as he tells each one, “You know what time it is.”

The challenges by which they are judged include baby-sitting bratty children, cooking his favorite meal of fried chicken, going to church and dinner with his mother, and taking a polygraph test supervised by Brigitte Nielsen. Goldie, the sweet and zaftig country girl, was the only contestant to pass the polygraph. She survived until the final four, when she balked at intimacies with Flav that we saw him enjoy with other ho-ho-hopefuls. That makes Goldie a winner in my estimation.

His ultimate choice is between Hoopz and New York. Hoopz is the prettier, younger, more fit, easier to like of the two. Mama Flav gave Hoopz her stamp of approval and Brigitte seemed threatened by her. Hoopz’s hot single mother made her own icky, inappropriate play for Flav. Hoopz says she is falling for Flav, but her wide eyes and barely concealed laughter when she first spies him in one of his usual unusual getups belie those words.

Pumkin, who spat at New York on her way out the door at the dramatic climax of the last elimination show, shares Brigitte’s Nordic facial features and her obsession with appearing on TV. Like Nielsen, New York is totally nuts – and Flavor Flav seems to go for that. We discovered why she is such a needy drama queen when her vicious, controlling mother arrived from hell via Syracuse, N.Y.

New York appears to be the behind-the-scenes favorite. By far, she has amassed the most camera time of anyone, including the prize bachelor himself. Mostly we see New York telling the camera how much she loves Flav. She is the most obnoxious contestant, although she had plenty of competition in that category. She cannot get along with the other girls. In fact, she barely gets along with Flav. He looks at her in the same scared way that Hoopz looks at him.

Whomever he picks, I am sure their love will last until the batteries on those clock necklaces wear out. They should stay together long enough at least to film The Aftertaste of Affection or Affectation or whatever they decide to call Strange Love 2. And then Flav will move on to his next VH1 project.

I don’t think this is the last we will see of New York. If she isn’t cast in the reality TV show version of Fatal Attraction, I expect her to star in Surreal Life 8 with J.D. Fortune of Rock Star INXS, Brenna Gethers of American Idol 5, Jeff Conaway of Celebrity Fit Club 3, Kristy Swanson of Skating with Celebrities, and Wilder Valderrama.