At the time I didn’t really think I’d yearn for the comparative high entertainment value of a woman accidentally crapping on the stairs of Public Enemy hypeman Flavor Flav’s house, as happened early during the second season of his VH-1 dating show, Flavor of Love. Little did I know that was probably the last moment before this series jumped the shark. Later, Flav’s spurned flame from season one, the comically over-confident bitch-on-wheels nicknamed New York, was brought back, and the hijacked show became a vehicle of her own outlandish self-promotion.
All of which brings us to the recently concluded Flavor of Love 3, now available on DVD. If catty antagonism and a near-endless mangling of the English language — including frequent invocations of the word “romantical,” and the fact that, when faced with drama between two ladies, Flav says, “I confronted all two of them!” — is your idea of high entertainment, then you’ll likely love Flavor of Love 3; others, however, are advised to skip it, or at the very least utilize the series as some sort of communal drinking game.
It wasn’t just the shock value of seeing a (rap star? professional jester? convicted felon?) inimitably zonked celebrity like Flavor Flav shack up with a bunch of bickering skanks looking for a hand-out young women looking for love that made the first iteration of Flavor of Love, and part of the second, so compelling. Remember, he’d already done several other reality series — a season of The Surreal Life and then a couple Twilight Zone-esque romantic spin-offs with Brigitte Nielsen. No, part of what was so fresh about the original incarnation of the show was the shrieking class collision it produced, with women tripping over one another to lap up the material run-off of his fame, and the genuine befuddlement all this seemed to set off in Flav.
Now, after several seasons, the formula is busted and bleary-eyed, and the seams all show. Part of it is that Flavor of Love has been co-opted by similar series like Rock of Love, yes (and it certainly doesn’t help that co-creators Chris Abrego and Mark Cronin have had a hand in almost every single one of these VH-1 shows since 2005’s Strange Love), but no amount of screwball interstitial commentary from Flav can hide the tire tracks of previously visited terrain. More group family dinners where someone says something awkward? Check. Countless scenes where girls sidle up to Flav and impart some back-stabbing information in cooing fashion. Check. Really… another bit where the ladies react with disgust to having to clean bathrooms and showers in advance of family visits? Yawn.
It’s perhaps like criticizing the sun for not being the moon, I guess, asking or expecting new tilled ground from a piece of anarchic, decidedly of-the-moment entertainment like Flavor of Love 3. Still, one would like to think there’s been at least some emotional growth or development, at least on par with what a viewer has experienced. Here, there’s not really that; we just get re-hashed scenarios and for the most part unenlightening confessionals. The sole moment of creativity may be a phony dating show (“The Neverwed
Game,” I believe) in which contestants’ exes are dragged out and asked
a series of questions. We do learn, too, that Flav really loves to bowl. And he may have been wearing his Viking helmet too long, because he manages to rock a twisted braid/horn look that really shouldn’t be worn by anyone older than 4, let alone a man.
The Flav-nicknamed contestants are largely the usual assortment of silicone-enhanced pin-up models, desperate single mothers, conniving up-traders and starry-eyed would-be entertainers, with a few notable exceptions, headlined by a set of twins, Thing 1 and Thing 2. After narrowing things down to a final four ladies — consisting of Black (because she’s white… ha!), Thing 2, the refined Seezinz and the scheming Sinceer — Flav brings in their families to meet his mother, who could pass for Yoda in a pinch. Trimmed to three and then two, the shoe heads to Paris, where the drama gets even more “dramatical” and, after suffering elimination, one contestant offers these words to her erstwhile competitor turned rooting-favorite, without irony or sarcasm: “You better use your thizzle fo’ shizzle, and keep it fuckin’ real.” Errr… OK.
Housed in a sturdy cardboard slipcover that holds four discs in three plastic, slimline cases, Flavor of Love 3 comes presented in full screen, which of course preserves the aspect ratio of its small screen origins. The stereo audio track, meanwhile, easily captures the meager aural demands of the series, which of course makes liberal use of both placed and on-person microphones to ensure no bitchy quip goes uncaptured. A touted “super-trailer,” an extended piece of promotional goosing, kicks off the supplemental extras, which also includes a casting special a highlight-reel-type featurette entitled “Flav Filosophies” (read: him saying crazy shit) and several other featurettes. “Girls Gone Flav” offers up viewers highlights of the women’s (frequent) arguments, and extra footage of Flav’s Parisian dates is also included. Points for sheer volume, I guess. More entertaining, though, might be the series’ hour-long reunion special, in which Sinceer shows off her boob implants and another woman, a Hooters waitress named “Ice,” sums up how her life has changed as a result of the show: “The tips have gotten a lot more better.” Niiiiiiice… To purchase the set via Amazon, click here. D (Show) B+ (Disc)