Friday, March 20, 2009

Winner of PWR Webby: Him Again???

Poison frontman Bret Michaels is back looking for love in Rock of Love Bus. After two competitions failed to yield a long-term love interest for the washed-up rocker, VH1 is at it again with the third and final installment of one of its most successful reality franchises. What makes this season different from its predecessors? Not much, other than the setting. This season, contestants get a taste of life on the road by traveling around the country on a tour bus. In vying for Bret’s affections, the girls compete in various challenges, ranging from a stage appearance during one of his concerts to a hockey game against the University of Illinois women’s hockey team.

While the season has only just begun, the first three episodes already have established contestant personas. For starters, Samantha is a party girl who frequently suffers from motion sickness, a good condition to have on a tour bus. While she is amusing, she cannot compare to Nikki, a woman who looks like she went three rounds with Mike Tyson before undergoing breast augmentation surgery. But it is not her silicone bosom that separates her from the rest field. After all, most of the women on the show have been “enhanced.” Nikki is unique because she combines plasticity with lasciviousness, drug abuse, alcoholism, rage, and general incoherence. Not surprisingly, she is the most volatile and ridiculous contestant of all. Other contestants, such as Gia and Farrah, are similar in some respects but do not have the same full package of personality traits. That is not to say, however, that all the contestants are blonde women of ill repute. In fact, much of the action and drama occurs between blondes and women with very different appearances and personas. For example, Stephanie is a relative prude whose personality smacks of the all-American girl next door. Another contestant, Natasha, is a mouthy black woman who constantly fights with Nikki and her blonde cohort.

As in past seasons, much of the conflict occurs between the blondes and the brunettes. The lone foreigner, a Brazilian named Marcia, endures teasing and ridicule from the horde of blondes for her thick accent and brown hair. Similarly, Beverly, a brunette who claims to be “all natural,” clashes with the blondes over her appearance. Alas, such conflict does not make this season any different from the other two. The drunken tirades and catfights are just as much a part of this show as in competitions past. On top of this, it’s not like the people have changed either. Bret Michaels and the women who fight for his heart are just as debauched and superficial as before. Perhaps, if even possible, it has gotten even worse this time around. The show is so trashy that Taya, the only contestant famous before the show, pointed out in a confessional that, “I’m a centerfold model for Penthouse and I’m the classiest one here at this point.” There are no signs that the rest of the season will be any different.

-Joseph Golden

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