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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/10/2006

'Flavor' Leaves a Bad Aftertaste

By Liz Kelly

For anyone who hasn't chanced upon the train wreck that is VH1's "Flavor of Love," you'll have your final chance on Sunday when the season finale airs at 10 p.m. ET. The show's premise is a lot like "The Bachelor": Former Public Enemy sidekick Flavor Flav starts out with 20 women all living in one house, vying for a chance to be Mrs. Flav. The field is slowly narrowed down as they primp, gossip, plot against each other and jump through inane hoops to prove their love for Flavor.


Reality TV poster child Flavor Flav and "Strange Love" Brigitte Nielson in 2004. (Post)

There's something about Flavor Flav you just have to love. Sure, he's a little "eccentric" and despite the fact that he should be a footnote (though an important one) in the history of hip-hop, he's still out there working it and on his own terms. But that doesn't forgive VH1 for this egregious show and for going back to the Flavor Flav well one time too many.

While ABC's "Bachelor" did a pretty good job of reducing women to catty basket cases totally dependent on a man's affection, "Flavor of Love" has taken the idea to a ridiculous extreme. In what is arguably the worst moment of the show (and there are a lot of moments vying for this title) one of the contestants spits in another's face. The spit is shown again and again, from multiple angles, in slow motion. And, according to the spitter, "Pumkin" (aka Brooke Thompson), VH1 producers suggested the spit, hoping for a big ending.

It's a far, and probably profitable, cry from where VH1 started out in 1985 as the home of so-called "adult contemporary" videos. Slate's take on VH1's evolving m.o.:

"The network's reality shows exist to show what desperate lengths they [celebrities] will go to revive their careers. VH1 is the network where a has-been will submit to live in a house with other has-beens (The Surreal Life), go to fat camp (Celebrity Fit Club), or endure a prolonged and excruciating emotional crisis (Breaking Bonaduce). It is riveting television, and more than a little bit cruel."

I'd like to join Chuck D in saying "enough already." After all, Flav has been reduced to a ridiculous self parody. I mean, this is the guy who called 911 a joke (Note: "911 is a Joke" is a Public Enemy song written in the early '90s and has nothing to do with 9/11/2001) and asked a generation to "Fight the Power." And, yes, I do see the irony here. I'm embarrassed for a man who is laughing all the way to the bank.

I'll probably tune in Sunday night to get one last look at the circus before it leaves town. I crave closure. Let's just hope it doesn't come back ever.

By Liz Kelly  | March 10, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Pop Culture, TV  
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