The first seconds of this DVD gives away the entire show. The commercial advertising I Love New York 2 that plays at the beginning of the disc recaps and spoils the outcome of the first season before you even get to the menu. Now that’s just cold. But the plus side to the spoiler is it allowed me to view the show in a different light. The new, more enlightened viewpoint brought me to a startling conclusion. Why is New York famous? No, really, why is she famous? And why did we use to like her?
For those who have other things to do than to dabble in low brow entertainment, New York is actually Tiffany Pollard, a contestant who made her first reality TV debut on Flavor of Love. The show, which took about 30 women who would do anything to be on TV and had them compete for the heart of 49-year-old deadbeat dad and washed up rapper Flavor Flav, was an instant guilty pleasure for millions of viewers. New York might have lost to Hoopz for Flav’s love, but the fame she gained was priceless. New York was the quintessential TV villain and her bizarre antics were too entertaining to dislike. Unlike the other desperate contestants, New York showed a unique blend of humor and genuine insanity. She not only convinced viewers she fell in love with Flav after only a few days of meeting him, but also how passionately she wanted to win the heart of “that BEAUTIFUL man!”
But after she made her second appearance on Flavor of Love 2, there was something mysterious about the character New York. Her antics no longer seemed genuine and her theatrics seemed staged and over the top. By the time New York got her own dating show spin off, I Love New York, it became clear the character New York was spinning out of control. New York, who became famous and rich simply for being crazy and mean, was trying too hard to live up to the character she created.
The New York of I Love New York is too “on”. Jumping on tables and having screaming matches no longer seems that entertaining, especially when there’s too much winking and nudging involved. OK, we get it; New York is crazy. But whatever happened to “fun” crazy? Watching New York trash talk her competitors on Flavor of Love was funny because her competitors were equally despicable. The New York of I Love New York is mean just for the sake of being mean. In one scene, she trashes the appearance of a contestant’s mother, calling her fat and handicapped. It doesn’t help that New York’s own mother, Sister Michele Patterson, or “Peppermint Patterson” as brilliantly invented by a contestant, is just as unpleasant. They both cackle evilly in their confessionals and it makes me question why we ever liked them. Even for television’s sake, their antics are quite redundant and boring.
But the big twist with I Love New York in comparison to Flavor of Love are the male contestants. One group simply makes better television than the other, and although my women’s studies professor will slap me for saying this, people like cat fights, not schoolyard fights, which is what I Love New York offers. In fact, besides little scuffles here and there, most of the male contestants get along. One contestant, the beefy and questionably homosexual 12-Pack, even refers to the other contestants as family. Most of the drama revolves on Miss New York herself, which isn’t much of a surprise. Whenever there’s drama lacking during a particular event, New York will add drama by spewing fighting words in her confessionals. When that isn’t enough, Sister Peppermint Patterson is usually waiting in the wings to instigate whatever situation is at hand.
And that brings us back to the DVD itself. There are no extra features on this DVD. Zilch. So if it’s not for people like me who don’t have cable anymore and can’t see the show, and if it’s not for hardcore fans that want something a little extra, then who is it for? And watching the show with such bare packaging simply solidifies how useless its existence truly is. One of the contestants gives New York a little of her own medicine during the reunion episode in which all the contestants re-gather in a Jerry Springer-type studio. Tiffany Pollard’s alter ego is out of control and unfortunately with I Love New York 2 already airing on TV, there doesn’t seem any stopping her. The final conclusion to I Love New York does hint at a glimmer of redemption for Miss New York, but I won’t spoil it.
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