This is less of a review than a “The concept itself is insulting, so I will pass judgment on it having seen only a couple of YouTube bits of the original series and a single episode of this new one” post. Please excuse any inaccuracies that may follow.
For those of you who were lucky enough to avoid any knowledge of Rock of Love, it’s a reality dating show from VH1 that’s run for two seasons with Bret Michaels’ attempts to choose a girlfriend from the twenty or so women who were willing to be drunk and do horrifyingly embarrassing things on camera, as well as willing to date Bret Michaels. It’s like The Bachelor, but with less dignity and more questioning the future of humanity.
Wait, come back! I’m not going to expose you to details of that terrifying debacle, I promise. Even I didn’t have the stomach to do more than read about it online, and I watched far more seasons of Big Brother than anyone should so that takes some doing.
This is about the follow up.
In the grand tradition of milking reality show participants beyond the bounds of sanity, VH1 does this thing where they take the ousted contestants from their dating shows and send them to charm school to learn how to behave like functional adults, or at least how to pretend they know what that is. On a visceral level, I’m totally okay with this. In fact I’d normally think it was a public service. Especially with Sharon Osbourne heading up the project this time around, since she’s awesome. However…
The whole thing about the original show was that they cast the women who were the most likely to embody walking personality disorders because those are the people who create drama. They intentionally chose these women, and reveled in putting their most embarrassing moments on display for the world to see. But now that they are no longer useful in that capacity they have brought back these castoff women, forced them to watch their most embarrassing moments in front of the other women involved, to tell them how unacceptable they are.
Talk about a mixed message: “First, we will exploit your terrible behavior. Next, we will exploit your embarrassment about your terrible behavior, and hopefully, someday, you may be allowed into polite society. Aaaaand just in case some of you might realize how hypocritical this all is, we’ll dangle a big fat check in front of you for the ‘winner’ of this one”.
Is it possible something good might come out of this? Maybe. It’s also possible that I will wake up tomorrow and be crowned Queen of something or other, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Sharon does seem to have genuine compassion and concern for these women (the reason I got sucked into watching the whole episode was in the hopes that someone would do something about Courtney’s obvious alcohol problem — for the love of cheese and crackers, she passed out into a potted plant! — and Sharon did, telling her that she would be leaving and they would be sending her to rehab) but I suspect it’s far more likely that the producers will tell them that they need to behave better while giving all the camera time to the ones who fail to do so. That is not the way to break the cycle of what is mostly attention seeking behavior — actually it’s probably counterproductive — which is rather obvious, so as it is I’m forced to conclude the producers who created this show are the ones who might really benefit from some lessons in etiquette. Perhaps it might even have a trickle down effect on the shows they create.