For those of you who thought television shows like 90 Day Fiancee and Married At First Sight were the nadir of reality TV, I need to bring you back to the halcyon days of 2007.
At the time, the cable channel VH1 had a successful run of reality TV shows, including The Surreal Life, then a spinoff of that show with Flavor Flav and Bridgette Nielsen, then a spinoff of THAT show with Flavor Flav looking for love (Flavor of Love), and then an attempt to clone Flavor of Love by hiring Poison frontman Bret Michaels as a rock star bachelor looking for his true love among two dozen women.
Yep. That was Rock of Love.
The show ran for three seasons (apparently Bret Michaels has a problem finding his true love), and it was a complete trainwreck of a show. It was also Sunday night appointment television viewing, the show was just so trashy and crazy.
Let’s put it this way. If you populate the cast members of The Bachelor with strippers, porn stars, groupies, centerfolds, more strippers, more porn stars, more groupies and more centerfolds – then add liberal amounts of Mad Dog 2020-level alcohol – and then FILMED everything – you’d get Flavor of Love.
I should note that Flavor of Love eventually spawned (eww) more spinoffs. Some of the rejected girls appeared in another reality series, Rock of Love: Charm School, while several other girls participated in an endurance reality show called I Love Money. One of the rejected girls, Daisy De La Hoya, got her OWN reality dating show, Daisy of Love, while another failed dater, Megan Hauserman, picked up a dating show called Megan Wants a Millionaire, which was abruptly canceled for reasons mentioned here.
So at the end of each episode of Rock of Love, Bret Michaels would encourage viewers to visit VH1’s website, where they could see content and footage that was too hot for broadcast television. Right. Probably just a few unbleeped hells and damns.
Turns out … in 2022, the entire three-season run of Rock of Love showed up on the Tubi streaming service.
And to say that some shit went down on that program is to say a whole lot.
At this point in the blog, I’m going to warn you. I have a video clip of the first episode of Rock of Love. It is NOT safe for work. There are words uttered in the program that would make George Carlin wince. And during one of the early challenges, one of the girls decided to make her photo shoot more memorable by – shall we say – offering Bret (and the viewers) an unobstructed view of her enhancements.
Yeah, this program was Trash TV in all sorts of ways, and it has aged poorly since its debut 15 years ago. Really poorly. You can see where the producers tried to stir up as much drama as possible for video footage, which was definitely fueled by bottles of alcohol and other psychological manipulations.
And … I guess … we can see the devolution of reality television in this type of program. It’s cheap, it’s lurid, and it runs to the lowest common denominator. I mean … I’m sure that people will watch this and get a bit nostalgic for the “good old days” of reality TV …
But in watching Rock of Love in 2022 … can you really say … those WERE the good old days by comparison?