Flavor Flav and the cast of 'Flavor of Love'

Is the World Ready for a ‘Flavor of Love’ Reboot?

Let’s get right to the point: Yes. What the world needs now is not more Taylor Swift discourse or a thoughtful recalibration of the MCU. What the people want—what we deserve—is a Flavor of Love reboot.

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And we actually might get one. Deadline spoke with Julie Pizzi, president of Bunim/Murray Productions, about the company’s new series, Vanderpump Villa, and her upcoming plans for the world of reality TV. Pizzi, whose name comfortingly evokes pizza, also oversees 51 Minds Entertainment, the group behind the Below Deck franchise and—if Pizzi has her way—a reboot of Flavor of Love. “We’re in the process of working with Flavor Flav to reimagine what Flavor of Love can feel like in this in this decade, which is very different,” Pizzi said. “The project is really fun, a comedy in the dating space.”

For the uninitiated and those born after 9/11, Flavor of Love was a VH1 reality series in which a group of women—plausibly comprised of former “out of control teens” from daytime talk shows—vie for the affection of Flavor Flav. I realize now that Flavor Flav probably also needs to be explained to you, the child I’ve imagined to be reading this article. Flavor Flav is a founding member of the rap group Public Enemy, which was popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Flav is a rapper, sure, but he’s better known as a hype man whose schtick is wearing full-sized clocks on big, fat chains around his neck and shouting, “YEAHHHH, BOYEEEEEE!”

To millennials, Flavor Flav is best known for appearing in multiple VH1 reality TV shows, starting with The Surreal Life, an extremely exploitative series in which several celebrities were recruited to live in a house together. Sort of like The Real World if the cast was made up of famous people past their prime, including the likes of Corey Feldman, Dave Coulier, Charo, and Stormy Daniels. The Surreal Life is where Flavor Flav met and fell in love with Brigitte Nielsen, former model, ’80s movie star, and ex-wife of Sylvester Stallone. Flav and and Nielsen’s relationship was such a fun cultural curiosity that VH1 gave them a spinoff called Strange Love, which only lasted for a season. The pair broke up, and that’s how Flav got his own show, Flavor of Love.

Flavor of Love premiered in 2006 and ran for three seasons, none of which resulted in Flav finding his forever partner, but nonetheless resulted in even more spinoffs—the genealogy of which we must bypass for now. The show went a little something like this: A group of women, eager to be on TV for reasons that were once considered deranged, assemble at a mansion and participate in a series of challenges to win one-on-one dates with Flav. Each woman is given a nickname that defines their persona, like New York, Pumkin, Krazy, or Bootz—all actual nicknames chosen by Flav, who only ever refers to the women by their nicknames.

What made Flavor of Love different from The Bachelor, aside from replacing the leading man with a rapper from the ’80s, was what made a lot of VH1’s “celeb-reality” shows so popular: they embraced the crass nature of chasing fame for fame’s sake. There was never a question about why these people were on our TV. They wanted to be there, they knew what they signed up for, and they were ready to serve it to you week after week. They weren’t surgically polished for the camera, they weren’t pretending to be friends who work together at a bougie bar, and they definitely did not have personal stylists.

According to Pizzi, Flav won’t be dating anyone in the rebooted Flavor of Love, but he will be involved with the series. I imagine as a wise old dating guru, giving the contestants nicknames and guiding them through ridiculous scenarios. Reality TV is in a weird space right now: Stars are attempting to unionize, there are concerns about the extent to which production companies and networks are responsible for cast members’ behavior, and the fourth wall has all but disintegrated. There is no better time than now for a reality show that doesn’t try to pass itself off as anything but what it is, featuring people who are exactly as advertised.

(featured image: VH1)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.