Monday, April 16, 2007

It's strike three for Miss New York and she says she's out


Tonight was the night. The I Love New York reunion aired twice on VH1. It lived down to the precedents - of bad taste, of dubious realism, and of dumping Miss New York - that were set on The Flavor of Love series that spawned it.

Reaching low on VH1 has proven time and again to generate record-high ratings. Tonight was no exception.

Count me among the viewers.

Now, not only has Flavor Flav (William "Rico" Drayton) dumped Miss New York (Tiffany Pollard) twice on cable TV's highest-rated shows to-date, rapper/suitor Tango (Patrick Hunter) has kicked her to the curb, too. And on her own show, where she's (supposed to be) HBIC, no less!

As of tonight's show, it's strike three for Miss New York and, Tiffany told VH1 Host LaLa (who had issues of her own), she's taking herself out of the game of looking for love on TV.

Good thinking! No one should count on happy endings like those of Survivor's Amber Brkich Mariano (who married fellow Survivor contestant Rob Mariano in May 2005), and The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn (who married on air suitor Ryan Sutter in December 2003).

Finally, after three humiliating TV seasons, New York may have learned a thing or two. ONE: Even a show's star does not call all the shots, especially in the final episodes. In the I Love New York reunion show, LaLa [who the directors remote-controlled like a puppet on a string (read: wireless earbud)] had more say-so than New York, who couldn't even get Pumkin (Brooke Thompson, who was promoting Charm School, which followed) kicked off the set or keep Tango (who had no further obligations to VH1, that I know of) on it. But I'm skipping ahead.)

TWO: As The Springer Hustle backstage scoop reveals, participants in reality and trash TV shows are fair game for whatever ratings-whorish (and oh, so successful) tactics the producers choose to adopt. That truism has applied throughout the history of reality television and game shows, such as Candid Camera, The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game.

An important third lesson New York should have, but did not, learn is: don't diss others cuz it'll come back to haunt you. View the Trendz' New York Diss music video, "I Still Love New York."

An opening announcement by LaLa set the tone of tonight's reunion. Jersey (Bryant), Pootie (Lamonty Council) and Rico (Sandro Padrone) couldn't be there, she explained, because one was in jail, one was on crutches and one had issues. She left it to viewers to guess who was whom.

More trash and flash followed. From Miss New York's strip club-worthy entrance, to footage and discussion of 12 Pack (David Amerman) and Heat's (Jason Rosell) Party Boys Tour, the video clip of Heat's mother and yaya dissing New York, Romance (Ricky Perillo)'s bizarre exchange with New York and introduction of his new (canine) love, and the fighting words and postures exchanged among Tango (Patrick Hunter), White Boy (Joshua Gallander) and Chance (Kamal Givens) the I Love New York reunion showed the depths to which the show's producers and participants were willing to dredge to elevate exposure and ratings.

The most shocking segment was Tango's public disengagement from New York. When he first saw her (after months of separation since the show's finale, when he proposed), he greeted the woman he'd kneeled before on international TV by slobbing her down and then cuddling up with her onstage.

However, their love-seat soon became a hot-seat and Tango "lost his sexy" when VH1 ran footage showing Miss New York (and her mother) dissing him harder than his rivals had. "I fell in love with Tiffany," Tango sneered, after backing away from her, "but I got New York." [...] "It's over."

(View the videos of what aired... Blog....and what didn't. The clips that didn't make the cut show sides of Tiffany and Michelle that make their on air behavior seem demure.) Blog

Tango also raged, as he stormed off set, that he would permit no one to disrespect his mother (as Tiffany and Sister Patterson had).

Horrified and crushed, New York told Chance (who she was was built like a python), "I should have [f*ck!n] chose [sic] you!"

Tango's response: he told his former rival, "You're good to go, pimp" (meaning New York was back on the market), and shook the smiling Chance's hand.

Tiffany, obviously shocked and stung by Tango's behavior, belittled the "two inch" anatomy of the man who, she'd cooed earlier, was the perfect fit. It will be her shriveling retort, not Tango's god-awfully bad behavior, that will make it hard - if impossible - for the match made in VH1 ratings heaven to ever reunite.

And maybe that's a good thing. Tango's fuse seems longer than Chance's, but once lit, it makes him equally volatile.

Ironically, just before Tango's tantrum, Miss New York said she'd chosen him because he (unlike Chance) could help her become more mature. Apparently, Tiffany had missed or ignored the reality that Tango's willingness to tolerate, and even engage in, Miss New York's drama bode poorly for a mature, healthy or long-term relationship.

Unfortunately, Tango got that memo while onstage (or before). His less than discreet or gallant reaction to it, proved my point publicly and painfully.

The unexpected drama rivalled that of the two Flavor of Love finales combined. So did Miss New York's humiliation.

Apparently, it wasn't enough that she sat in the wrong seat after her racy entrance, that she was tricked into kissing Mr. Boston's (Lee Marks') twin brother (Ben) and commenting that he's still the best kisser, or that she had to share a stage with Pumkin, who not only spit on her but is now hot and heavy with Mr. Boston.

Nope. Tango trampled all over whatever shreds of dignity New York might have had tucked deep down in her newly expanded decolletage. And to add insult to ratings-generating injury, VH1 aired it and backstage happenings for the world to see, gloat and blog about.

Runner-up Chance offered New York sympathetic words of support. (He could personally identify with being strung along and then dumped on TV.) LaLa invited him onstage with her and the crying New York to save the day, but true to the boundaries he erected after being eliminated, Chance confined himself to his couch and his gestures to urging New York not to cry.

Fan reactions to the show's outcome were mixed. Mine follow.

Putting time on a couch wouldn't be a bad idea for multiple participants in tonight's show. No doubt they could negotiate a group discount with Pootie's therapist or the shrinks who counsel Survivors who, torches snuffed, take the walk of shame.