Monday, March 9, 2009
"I Love Money 2" is the Greatest Television Show of All Time
It just is.
It is difficult to put into words exactly how movingly wonderful is the experience of watching I Love Money 2. In most reality programs, the participants at least superficially act in logical ways- or at the very least in their own best interests. If for no other reason than that they want to "win" the game, and the cash prize at the end. Not so the contestants of "I Love Money." Their actions are so bizarre, so thoroughly divorced from logic and reason that watching them produces a sort of ecstatic delight at the sheer mind-boggling number of possible scenarios presented in each episode.
If you've never seen it, I pity you, and envy you. Please track down the episodes and watch, no scratch that, savor them. No synopsis can do justice to the delights that come from watching these people. But I'll give it a shot.
Basically, the show brings together participants ("characters") from the VH1 "Of Love" shows: "Flavor of Love," "I Love New York," and "Rock of Love," places those characters in a large resort home in Mexico, plies them with tequila and other adult beverages, and turns them loose on each other. Yes, there's a structure, as the characters are divided up into teams, and are given challenges, with a member of the losing team being voted out, but the structure is almost irrelevant to the proceedings. That's been done before. It's how the characters interact with one another that makes the show.
In the end, the "winner" gets $250,000.00. But the way these people behave, you wouldn't know it. These people are-- well, they're not stupid. They just do not behave in any logical way.
Frank the Entertainer is the least logical (and loudest) of an illogical (and loud) bunch.
In the most recent episode (today, March 9), the remaining contestants, divided into a green team and a gold team, were pitted against each other in a challenge that involved three team members building a catapult that would fling chickens that would be caught by the remaining team members. The gold team performed pathetically, barely able to construct their catapult, and, once built, only managing to get a few chickens airborne (some of the chickens even flew backwards). The green team managed to get their five chickens thrown and caught, no problem. The captain of the green team, a slightly moronic but ultimately lovable brute called Frank "The Entertainer" caught all the chickens himself, gloating all the while that "someone (from the yellow team) is going home!"
As the captain of the winning team, he is given the opportunity to decide which member of the losing, yellow, team, will be sent home. If you have not seen either this show, or "I Love Money 1", or "I Love New York," then it will difficult to understand this character. He is the perfect example of the arrested alpha male- constantly yelling and gloating about his elevated position among the other characters on the show, all the while never letting anyone forget that he needs the money to "move out of my parents' basement." Yes, this figure of menace who believes he's in charge of everything that goes on in the house still lives with his parents. It's unclear if he has a job at all.
In fact, I don't think any of these people have "jobs" in any real sense; my suspicion is that they are simply "reality stars," and spend their time making personal appearances and serving as escorts. Buckwild might actually be a stand-up comedian, if her myspace page can be believed. Also this.
Anyway. The yellow team must enter "The Vault" and decide which three of them will be placed at The Entertainer's mercy. One of them will be sent home, which is ignominious in itself- but being sent home by The Entertainer is doubly humiliating.
Frank is in an alliance with five or six other people across both teams. He fully expects, given his firm, some might say delusional, belief that he is in control, that the yellow team will send three people that he opposes for possible elimination. It's almost charming how completely clueless this man is.
Instead, another alliance has formed, and only the most dim-witted could not have seen this. The leader of this new alliance is a character called "Tailor Made," who apparently "won" the most recent series of "I Love New York." Somehow, his romance with New York did not last. Anyway. Tailor Made has convinced four members of the yellow team to vote out The Entertainer's compatriots, "20 Pack," "Heat," and "Becky Buckwild" (all characters have clever nicknames earned on their previous VH1 reality series). These three cannot believe it. They've been outsmarted, which is no small feat. Their reactions are beautiful; full of confused anger that leaves the viewer feeling simultaneously sorry for them, and delighted at their predicament.
Tailor Made's reaction is priceless, too. He manages to barely conceal a smug smile- he should win the show for his self-control alone. The man has orchestrated a coup, and almost single-handedly turned the momentum of the game.
But, as I've said, one of the delights of this game is its unpredictability. These people do not think with their brains.
Tailor Made is the least stupid person on a show full of- well, people who don't think too good.
Now, a thoroughly dejected and miserable Entertainer must choose from amongst his three compatriots (actually, two, since he has no intention of sending home Becky Buckwild, given the fact that she has been "feeling him up lately," and kissing him in bed. it's hilarious the way the other two, Heat and 20 Pack, just accept this. Entertainer even says at one point that 20 Pack and Heat are the only two people he can "100% trust in this game," but it never occurs to him to eliminate Buckwild- so much for "bros before hos"). Heat is so depressed, in fact, that he starts drinking even before the "power outing," during which Entertainer will spend time with the three of them, deciding which to send home.
It's during the Power Outing that the Entertainer shows a glimmer of intelligence, positing that perhaps the yellow team's pathetic display in the chicken-chucking challenge might have been deliberate, so as to put the Entertainer in a position to have to eliminate members of his own alliance. At this point we're treated to some delightful footage showing that in fact that was Tailor Made's plan all along.
Heat, even more saddened and confused, seems about to cry, slurring his words, promising to give everything for the game, but vowing not to be angry at The Entertainer should he decide to eliminate him, then railing against the "snakes and scumbags, and they all begin with s" who "betrayded" him.
If it weren't so hilarious, I'd feel bad for him.
In another bit of knife-twisting, we learn that the waiter who served the drinks on the Power Outing was the same waiter- Heat recognizes him through the blurry drunken haze in which he now finds himself- who served him drinks in the Power Outing he had with the Entertainer in season 1 of "I Love Money" (yes, these two have some back to play again, and yes, neither seems to have learned anything from the experience). It was right after that Power Outing that the Entertainer eliminated Heat.
Tragic, two-time loser Heat. Someone should probably have him on a suicide watch.
And of course, The Entertainer ends up doing it again. He cops out and has his team vote, and they ultimately decide to send Heat home. It's hard to imagine anything that could be worse.
Four looks for Becky Buckwild, stand-up comic and VH1 reality show contestant. Also probably available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Not Buckwild. Never even crosses his mind. And I have to admit, it probably wouldn't cross my mind, either. She manages to be hot, strange, and cartoonish all at the same time. That's a rare combination in a woman, even a reality show character.
Anyway. Sorry, I think Buckwild kind of hypnotized me for a moment. Really, the pictures don't do her justice. She talks like a character from the film Idiocracy- a sort of mixture of urban and rural slang, in a mildly irritating voice that careens between screech and howl. I'll leave it to the reader to seek out the show, if he hasn't already. In any other show I'd say she doesn't stand a chance, but with this group, she just might win the whole thing.