You wanna talk about keepin' it real? Judge Ian Visser keeps it real, son.
"B*tch, I will f*ck you up!"—Contestant New York, to everyone
Rapper and Public Enemy alumnus Flavor Flav, tired of all the fake shorties out there, decides to find his true love the old-fashioned way: on television. Will the diminutive duke of dialogue find his one-and-only, or will he be left loveless and broken-hearted, listening only to the sound of the enormous ticking clock around his neck?
Facts of the Case
Loosely based on the swath of reality-based dating shows that have come before it, Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season assembles twenty young ladies who compete for the attention and hand of Flavor Flav. Roomed together in a single house (and plied with copious amounts of alcohol), the result is ten episodes of cat-fighting fury, with Flav holding court over the festivities.
MTV presents ten episodes from the series on three discs:
1. Fifteen Beds and a Bucket of Puke
>From preening peacocks to fisticuffing felines, the bevy of beauties that Flav has access to in Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season is anything but dull. I can honestly say that I've never before seen such a collection of foul-mouthed and vicious women, each clamoring for the right to be Flav's girl (although it's never made clear exactly what that entails).
Nobody but Flav seems to realize that they are being made fun of on this show, or that the ultimate reward of becoming Flav's girl is most likely as much a curse as it is blessing. Fierce competition ensues, as Flav pits the girls against each other in contests ranging from chicken-cooking (Flav loves his chicken) to hot tub speed-dating. Each girl gets opportunities to impress Flav, but you can tell his main concern is how they each fill out a bikini. Based on the competitions and Flav's own preferences (Flav likes 'em thick, if you're interested) one of more of the ladies goes home each week. Those remaining receive a clock (much like The Bachelor's rose shtick) and the reassurance from Flav that they each "know what time it is."
And "knowing what time it is" involves just one thing: Realness. See how I capitalized that? That's because in Flav's world, "keepin' it real" is what really counts. Flav's Doctrine of Realness can be boiled down to three main points:
1. Never rat out another girl in the house, 'cause Flav hates a rat
As far reality television goes, Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season works, based largely on the charisma of its main character. As ridiculous a character as Flav is, you really do have to like the guy. Flav revels in his role of court jester, his portrayal of which is only made more entertaining by the deadly seriousness that each girl seems to impart over the proceedings. A few of the ladies seem sincere enough, but the majority appear bent on getting as much screen time as possible, if not ultimately gaining access to Flav's bank account.
Every show needs a villain, and in Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season that honor falls to one special lady: New York. To call New York aggressive is an understatement; this girl would start a fight with a nun. It's intriguing to watch how one woman can turn any event or passing comment into a full-on battle replete with enough profanity to have sailors blushing. Throw in New York's mother, with her intense dislike of Flav, and you have more than enough fireworks for one show (or two, since New York was brought back for the second season of the show).
Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The quality looks to be about the same as the initial broadcast, so the episodes are easy on the eyes. The audio offering is a 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo track, ensuring that every bit of profanity comes through loud and clear for the home viewer.
For extras we get some juicy morsels. Chief amongst them is the famed reunion special "After the Lovin'," which includes some serious smack-talk and attempted punch-outs by the ladies. In addition, we get Flav's outlook on today's riveting issues in "Flav's Filosophies, "a highlight reel of the lovely New York in "New York Hospitality," and an education of a kind in "Pumkin's Blac-u-cation."
The Rebuttal Witnesses
As good as it may be, Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season is best dolled out in smaller quantities. Watching all the episodes straight through is an exhausting experience, what with the constant battling and non-stop cursing. Most of these women are just irritating, and the endless assertions of who is "keeping it real" and who isn't wears thin very quickly. Flav may have gotten the fringe benefits of the ladies' attention as compensation, but home viewers may want to pace themselves a bit more.
And keep the kids away from this one, folks. The amount of uncensored profanity in this show is off the chart, and pity the poor child who learns their concept of gender roles from Flavor Flav. Entertaining or not, this shouldn't be any parents idea of suitable viewing for youngsters.
Flavor of Love—The Complete First Season deserves kudos for admitting that the dating genre of reality television has always been trashy garbage, and for taking advantage of that truth. If the requirements for this kind of show are non-stop craziness and drama, then this one hits a home run.
This show is only guilty of keepin' it real!
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Scales of Justice
• Reunion special: "After the Lovin'"
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