Shame shame shame

Actual conversation that recently took place in my apartment: Becca: “Do you think that if we had a woman president, they’d stop making shows like this?” me: “God, I hope not.” The show that elicits such delight from me, though it is undeniably deplorable? That’d be VH1’s Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, which is having its second season right now. It’s pretty rare for me to be ashamed of liking something, but in this caseokay, scratch that, I’m not ashamed. But I know that I should be, and that’s what prompted this post. What, exactly, is the appeal of this show? Why do I feel excited when I see a new episode on my DVR? As someone who considers herself a feminist, how can I enjoy such a display of ridiculous objectification? bret-michaels.jpgI can defend myself a bit because of my well-documented love for all things hair band. Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” is my ringtone. I watched that MTV celebrity-rapping-whatever show just because Sebastian Bach was on it. And please, please, if I die anytime soon, bust out some Guns ‘n Roses at my wake (skip “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” thoughtoo obvious). But Bret’s band, Poison, is not one of my faves. In fact, I think they kinda suck. So it’s not like I’m watching because I like him. Although, to be fair, he can be very hilarious, especially when he makes veiled references to what he knows that we know: he’s not actually looking to marry any of these crazy chicks. He may be a little skeezy, but the dude is not dumb. He knows that when he uses his magical phrase “spiritual connection,” we’re aware that he’s really referring to sexual attraction. He pretty much came out and said that recently on Conan O’Brien, in a particularly amusing interview that made it clear Bret is a little more in tune with reality than, say, Flavor Flav. So okay, I find Bret entertaining in spite of his undeservedly overblown ego. But what about the women? There are a couple of gems in there, including the bad-ass Peyton, who chose to play drums during the “peep show” challenge and successfully impressed Bret while fully clothed. But mostly, these women are there to be exploited. And they’re looking for validation through said exploitation. Why am I not more upset about that? Sure, I think everyone should be able to do whatever they want, even if it doesn’t come off as “empowering” for their entire gender. And I was highly entertained by both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette in their first couple of seasons, before they were totally redundant. But I haven’t found anything appealing about any of the other myriad mass dating shows, like Flavor of Love, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, I Love New York, etc, which are much more blatantly sexual and exploitative than The Bachelor has ever been. So why this one? Honestly, I think it’s because it hits just the right level of crazy. I can watch these people, be amused by their antics, and generally feel good about myself for being less insane than them, but I’m not wondering how any of them possibly get by in everyday life (well, for the most partthere is no explanation for Angelique). For some reason, I appreciate that. And sometimes you don’t really know why you like something so much. You just go with it. I know I’m not the only one who likes this show, so fess up if you’re with me.


7 Responses to “Shame shame shame”

  1. 1 Chelsea January 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Words cannot describe how much I love Rock of Love. It just has a certain charm that those other shows are missing. I am endlessly entertained by these crazy women fighting over skeezball Bret Michaels. And how they’re always marveling over his musical talent as he once again busts out Every Rose Has Its Thorn. And how he shamelessly stares at their chests. This show should be on every day!

  2. 2 Aaron January 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I always liked the very first reality show I remeber from Bravo TV. Boy meets Boy. Mostly because it was quite fun trying to decided (after the twist was announced that half the guys were straight) who was gay and who was straight. I think that show was the gay community’s equivelent to the women being exploited on Rock of Love. I guess thats why it got canceled after one season. Oh well, at least I’ll always have the option of renting it again on Netflix. Hooray for guilty pleasures!

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Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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