Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I Love Money" Returns, Question Mark

Thanks to to A.Jaye of the indispensable Thrill Fiction for alerting me to this story over at the not-quite-as-indispensable-but-almost site
I Love Money (4) Returns
Yes, the notorious I Love Money franchise will be returning to VH1, apparently on September 16.

There is a trailer:

There is a screenshot of VH1's schedule, listing that first episode:

There it is, plain as day. VH1 is going ahead with this show.

This after all their pompous sturm und drang about how they were evolving. Moving beyond these trashy shows. Remember that? Well, if you don't, I can certainly point you in the direction of my own posting about it, from (waay, waaaay) back in April of this year. That posting was prompted by a ridiculous story by a Derek Lang, credited as an "AP Entertainment Writer." I hope that it wasn't the AP who paid Mr. Lang for what was essentially a VH1 press release.

Shouldn't a writer for a "respected news organization" like the AP of all places be a little more savvy than that article lets on? Shouldn't he do a little research and not just accept without question the pontifications of people like VH1 executive vice president Jeff Olde? Remember this gem, buried in that "VH1 changing tone" article?
Olde dismisses any past criticisms of "Flavor of Love" and its offspring, mostly produced by 51 Minds Entertainment, by calling the franchise ignited by black rapper Flavor Flav and his multiracial harem "big fun romantic comedies." (Olde confirms that "I Love Money 3," featuring murder suspect and suicide victim Ryan Jenkins, as well as the Jenkins-free "I Love Money 4" won't air.)
That article was all about how VH1 was taking the opportunity presented by the horrid Ryan Jenkins affair to move beyond its "trashy" success, to feature a new type of "classy" reality show.

So what happened? Well, have you seen VH1's ratings since this change? They are, let's say, "trashy."

In the meantime, "Jersey Shore" is topping broadcast network shows. "The Real Housewives" franchise is one of the biggest things on cable. Even Oxygen is finding success with "The Bad Girls Club."

And over at VH1, it's... "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business."

So, now, VH1 is apparently resurrecting the "I Love Money" franchise. ILM was a great reality show. It was as good as any season of Survivor, or Joe Millionaire, or just about any other reality competition you can think of. (In my memory, the only reality show competitions that compared were the WWF, from around the time when "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase paid Andre the Giant to beat Hulk Hogan, and then surrender the championship belt to him [remember when Dave Hebner's evil twin Earl Hebner refereed the match where Hogan lost the belt? classic!], leading to the Wrestlemania IV event in which a tournament was held, with Randy "Macho Man" Savage ending up with belt.) The characters were basically plied with alcohol and allowed to connive and manipulate for a few weeks in a lavish house on a beach in Mexico.

What more could you want?

Then, things got skeevy.

One of the characters from one of VH1's "trashy" shows, "Megan Wants a Millionaire," (allegedly) killed his wife, and then himself. This just after the third episode of MWAM had aired. All future episodes of that program were pulled, and the repeats were taken off the schedule, along with every episode of "I Love Money 3," which also featured the (alleged) murderer in question, Ryan Jenkins.

I have already written a lot about this guy, and I don't have much desire to write anything more. What I would like to point out here is that, VH1 and the producers of the ILM franchise, 51 Minds, shouldn't in any way be held responsible for the actions of someone who appeared on their programs. It's true that Mr. Jenkins had a prior assault charge against him, but there are going to be flaws in even the most thorough background-check system. No, he shouldn't have gotten on the shows at all.

But for crying out loud, when Brittanya was on "Charm School," she had to take a day off to go to a hearing on her assault charge. Saaphyri is in prison right now (maybe she's out?) for identity theft. These characters had, let's say, an edge to them. It's part of what made the shows so fascinating.

So it wasn't the fact that Mr. Jenkins managed to get past the background checks with a years-old restraining order filed by an ex-girlfriend. It was the way in which VH1 and 51 Minds behaved in the aftermath that showed what rotten people they really were.

Most especially, see ILM casting director Stuart Brazell's self-serving and despicable appearance on Larry King Live. It isn't just that VH1 showed disregard for the characters on these shows; it's not even that they have disdain for their audience. The problem is that they displayed open contempt for everyone involved, including the (alleged) victim of Ryan Jenkins, in a cynical attempt to absolve themselves of any guilt in the entire mess.

And, again, I wish to point out that neither VH1, nor 51Minds, had anything to do with Jasmine Fiore's death. But did they really have to dump all over her, and all over the viewers, by sending the execrable Stuart Brazell to talk about herself on Larry King?

And then did they have to compound the sin by sending her out to talk about herself on Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell?

They didn't.

So, anyway, will you be watching ILM(4)? Does VH1 deserve another chance? Does 51Minds?

Or, has VH1 made the questions moot by removing ILM from the schedule? I just took a look for myself at VH1's September 16 schedule, and see that ILM has been removed, and replaced with something called, VH1 Special (1 Hour) POD Version. Here's a screenshot, in case VH1 decides to change their mind about it again:

Does VH1's new more "evolved" strategy include behaving like the classic literary character Hamlet, who could not make up his mind about whether or not air a television show about his uncle killing his father?

VH1, if you're going to do it, do it. If not, don't. But stop treating your viewers like crap. You've already lost a lot of them.

1 comment:

A.Jaye said...

My name is A.Jaye of the "indespensible" blog Thrill Fiction and I endorse this posting.