We are really feeling New York
Ahhh, reality TV. What would we do without you? We know we’d get more work done if it didn’t exist because we’d have less to gossip about.
Mindless you say? Yes it is. White trash, you say? Definitely. Why would we love something so unreal you ask? Why not?
The best “oh no she didn’t” reality show that we have followed the past few years was Flava Flav’s “Flavor of Love” where the former Public Enemy hype man tried to find love after his weird affair with Brigitte Nielsen that spanned most of a season of “The Surreal Life 3” and then spawned it’s own show, “Strange Love.”
“Strange Love” drew criticism from the black community. The Rev. Paul Scott of the Messianic Afrikan Nation of Durham accused Flava Flav, AKA William Jonathan Drayton Jr., performing to a “coon act.” Chuck D of Public Enemy publicly called out his former hype man for his actions on the show and Flav’s treatment of his six children and their mother. Chuck D claimed that Flav didn’t financially support them.
Flav left a few broken hearts in the wake of two seasons on “Flavor of Love.” One suitor who was hard to forget was Tiffany “New York” Pollard. New York – Flav insists on giving the ladies nicknames – was rewarded for her performance on both seasons of “Flavor” with her own reality stage “I Love New York.”
We use the word performance because even though it’s reality TV we’re not sure whose “reality” it is. We believe that only a handful of the women or men are truly here for the prize of love given out by the show’s host. New York sniffed out “Wood” – who had admittedly been on “elimiDATE” and the short-lived “Mr. Romance” – was using her show as a vehicle to further his “celebrity.” “Trends” – a dreadlocked music teacher – was booted off the second episode for distributing his CDs to the other cast mates behind New York’s back.
The men aren’t the only fake characters on this “reality” show. New York herself announced last week that she wanted to find the guy “who can bring her the bling,” which in New York-speak means: “If you don’t have money I don’t want your broke ass.” In the ultimate attempt to lose all credibility, who does she invite to interview the men about their portfolios? The fakest reality-show fame-hootchie ever, Omarosa from the 2004 season of “The Apprentice.”
Tiffany Pollard, we think, has perfected a new generation of the Jerry Springer-esque bed-hopping, smack-talking persona. Listed on the internet as 24 years old, the chain-smoking, champagne-loving New York is a beautiful woman who would look her age if she didn’t try so hard. She dresses slutty, but oftentimes in a business suit, yet forgoing the blouse under the jacket. She has a boob tattoo that reads “Princess.” She’s curvy. She’s sassy. She’s hot. And she can definitely find a man on her own. Are reality shows like these setting women back a century?
If you miss the first airing of the newest episode, then it’ll be replayed at least 20 times throughout the season, giving you ample time to watch and re-watch New York’s favorite tag line: “I’m really feeling you.” Her dark eye makeup, false eyelashes and flamboyant stripper-like wardrobe play a big as part of the show as what she says. When we watch her heavy-lidded confessional segments we wonder if there is someone off camera plying her with shots of vodka to get her to say some of the stuff she comes up with.
One of her suitors – “Chance,” a gold-toothed guy who has a habit of wearing his Yankee hat with a slight tilt to the right, is a contender who New York really felt – did not get along with New York’s mother, Sister Patterson. In the first episode, Sister Patterson blew a big puff of cigarette smoke in Chance’s face setting him off. Sister said that New York had to eliminate him, but for the sake of good TV, New York went against her mom’s demand. New York had this to say about Chance: “He is a thug. And he is not a fake thug. He is dangerous. He wears baggy clothes. He has a great face. And he drinks a lot. I like that.’ She likes that?
We agree that everyone deserves to be loved – even crazy New York, even Flava Flav, and even Chance – but at what expense? Has New York not lost enough of her dignity chasing after a washed-up hype man – not once – but twice on national television? Would Chance have a second chance after almost stepping outside with yo’ mama? We think not.
We both feel guilty about liking this show, and we do agree that Flav and New York play to certain stereotypes – ones that aren’t always positive. As much as we don’t like to see someone get their heart “broken” three times in a row we hope that there’s a second season of “I Love New York.”
To comment on this column, e-mail Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.