Well, I’ve been watching Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and I’ve got to say it’s left me cold. At first I wondered what I – an avid reality show watcher who scheduled her everyday life around VH1 Celebreality, food competition shows, and true crime and police procedurals – was doing letting episode after episode of Rock of Love slip by.
At first I wondered if I had gone racist. I mean, it was possible. Maybe enduring all the Rock of Love blondes who thought they owned the world was turning me off. One can take just so much entitlement, after all. I’d hate to think that I was racist however. And it’s not as if I disliked everyone on the show. I liked Rodeo. She was real. She was human. She had substance. And she seemed to actually – as the catch phrase in these love shows goes – “be there for Bret.”
The trouble with the Rock of Love girls is that they lack the desperation and personality of the Flavor of Love girls. If anyone challenges me and says that I just don’t understand white girls, I beg to differ. I understand white girls well enough. Most of my female friends have been white. Long story.
The plain fact is that while both sets of women probably aren’t all that enamored of the fading music icon they pretend to adore, both groups differ in what they want. The Rock of Love girls seem to want fame and all the partying that goes with it. So many stripper poles, so little time. The Flavor of Love girls, on the other hand, had a little more depth… or perhaps desperation. With the Flavor of Love girls, I had to get in touch with my inner gold-digger. Which wasn’t so hard because I live in the 'hood and I understand poverty. I know what it’s like growing up without money and having one’s eyes on men with power and money. And while I married for love instead of money, I can totally understand why those women – black or white – would see the Flavor as a possible sugar daddy with fame benefits. It’s no secret that the two women (Delishis and Hoops) who have “won” Flav’s love in two different seasons simply went on to bigger better things after using Flav as a stepping stone. Most of those girls were poor and in need and the show was their way of getting money – and fame – even in some small fading hip-hop hipster kind of way.
The trouble with the Rock of Love girls, however, and the reason I can’t quite click with them is that they seem to be attracted more to the excitement of a partying lifestyle and to fame than they are to money.
Call me cynical, but love, with the rare exception of Rob and Amber and the cowboy in the second offering of Joe Millionaire, is rarely part of the package. Many of the women who go compete in these shows compete because they want fame, excitement or money.
Now, why should money matter to me in this particular case? After all, I watch other reality shows where competitors cook, argue, scheme, and live with each other … all for one goal: money.
I got an insight on this suddenly when I heard Nickleback’s latest hit, “Rockstar.” For those who haven’t heard this country-styled rocking song, I’ll just say that the song pretty much cynically defines rock star fame by its monetary and sexual benefits. It’s an honest song. There is none of the cliched “rock is about freeing the soul and pushing societal and emotional boundaries” stuff one hears when rock stars tout their craft. We get the basics: it’s about sex, power, money, and being away from regular life.
Do you see where I’m heading?
The Flavor of Love girls were more “rock” chicks than the stripper blondes on Rock of Love. The Rock of Love girls take themselves seriously, but their lives don’t have that edge of desperation that makes a good rock and roll life or even a good rock song. And money aside – because although I have talked a lot about the desperate need for money, it’s not money alone that makes a good rock star girlfriend – a good rock star girlfriend is desperate for something, whether it's world peace (Yoko Ono and Bianca Jagger) or heroin. A true rock and roll girlfriend smashes her boyfriend’s guitar of burns his house down in a fit of uncontrollable rage. They, in short, have personalities — and if they want to party it’s because there’s some desperate urge within them calling them to drinking and wild sex.
The Rock of Love chicks love partying. They drink a lot. A whole lot. They are wondrous pole acrobats. But the remaining ones seem like posers. And they all have such a sense of entitlement that I find myself wondering if all beautiful white women in America think the world is owed them. I’m waiting to see if I’m proven wrong, but so far no one but Rodeo really touched me. None of the strippers here have the humanity of Flavor of Love’s Leilene, a stripper with two kids and a heart of gold. And none of them have the inner pain of, say, Flavor’s Saaphyri or the complexity of Flavor’s blonde spitter, Pumkin. Rock of Love’s Brandi C — who was in the running to vie with Flavor of Love’s Schatar as deluded flake of the year– is so overwhelmed with her sense of blonde entitlement that one simply cannot like her. And even Lacey, whose mean-spiritedness vies with Flavor’s Larissa, is questionable because her spitefulness seems to come more from a sense of entitlement than from a hard-earned scrappiness.
Okay, I'll admit it. I like Bret Michaels. He's a sweet, intelligent, and insightful guy. But I wonder if his personality alone will help me continue to watch this show. Other folks might enjoy spending ten weeks with gals with no personalities, but honestly, for me watching girls “do” rock stuff instead of “being” themselves gets wearing. It's tough watching a competition show and being unable to choose someone to champion. The real world is all about surface stuff. Maybe in real life, rock chicks are really nothing more than over-privileged suburban girls with a sense of entitlement who are desperately in need of a party, but I demand that my reality shows show substance. If these girls want Rock – or even if they only want money and fame – they better show me something substantial soon to make me keep watching them.Powered by Sidelines