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Savor the Flavor

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"It was fuckin' disgusting -- but I couldn't turn away ... "

-- Dave Chappelle

Sunday night was the most dramatic clock ceremony ... ever.

The Flavor of Love (VH1) had just a little too much fun mocking ABC's The Bachelor franchise. Not only did Flavor Flav select his women a la Bachelor rose ceremonies, but the music, camera angles and, er -- clocks, were all scathingly reminiscent of those moments when Andrew or Biff agonized over which addled debutante to hang onto for another round.

And then there's Flav, totally remorseless when it came to who he did and didn't pick. The contestants mud wrestled, spit (literally) in each others' faces and lied about everything from still being in love with ex-husbands to previous appearances on other reality shows. These women, known on the show only by their nicknames -- "Hoopz," "Smiley," "Pumpkin" -- were absolute fiends for their 12.5 minutes of fame. Calling it a cat fight would imply a measure of craftiness that they simply didn't possess.

By doing away with any pretense of fairy-tale romance, Flavor succeeded where Temptation Island and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? failed. The sheer tastelessness combined with Flavor Flav's somehow sincere but insane personality made Flavor undeniably funny TV. The show defied you not to like it. Flav seemed born for this role, as if a whole decade playing Chuck D's hyperactive backup was just prelude to his true calling as a reality TV sex jester. It's hard to believe that this was the same guy who recorded "911 is a Joke" and "Fight the Power."

That the former Public Enemy hype man is now TV's most eligible brotherman is an object lesson in the exception proving the rule. Unlike anyone else -- from Puck to Peter Brady -- who has ever tried the reality TV stunt to springboard himself back to stardom, Flav actually made it work. After their jaw-dropping run on The Surreal Life, Flav and co-star Brigitte Nielsen took their scrawny/brawny, chocolate/vanilla romance on the road in Strange Love. Their inevitable on-air breakup left VH1 a clear trajectory to match Flav, the unrivaled militant show buffoon, with 20 (theoretically) good-looking, unpedigreed vamps who were utterly unburdened by self-awareness.

Now that he's got his Ms. Right, we can only hope that true love will last ... until the first episode of Flavor -- the sequel. "Yeah, boyeee!"

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