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Rock of Love Bus

Rock of Love Bus, VH1, Sundays, 9pm

A middle-aged man, overcompensating
A middle-aged man, overcompensating

What do you get when you mix tequila, Xanax, silicone, and plastic underwear? A miraculous fourth season of Rock of Love: Rock of Love Bus. Picture the scene in Some Like It Hot with all the dancers crammed on that train car, but instead insert a bunch of washed up Playmates, pets, and porn stars clogging the toilet and dumping drinks on each other. It’s got all the insanity of Rock of Love, but the ladies are shut inside tour buses with no escape in sight.

Rumor has it that the producers were sore because they could only use a small portion of the footage they shot due to its inappropriate content. If girls taking shots out of other girls’, uh, private parts (in the first ten minutes of the season) is considered appropriate, even I may not be able to handle what isn’t. Rock of Love Bus is Dante’s third concentric ring of hell on wheels, and I keep expecting the highway to split open and to swallow the buses whole.

Things sure have changed, and Bus makes the first season of Love look like child’s play. Now a household name, Rock of Love has created an unspoken set of rules as to what one must be willing to do in the name of reality TV.

1. Put out. 2. If you’re not prepared to do something horrifically slutty in the pilot to get Brett’s attention, you won’t make it past the first elimination. And Brett’s rationale for this is, “ I really didn’t get to know who you are.” 3. Have big implants. One no longer needs to win challenges to get picked for dates. One of the challenges was to answer word problems, such as, “If Brett has sixteen groupies on the bus, and three pass out, how many ménage a trois can he have?” The poor girls who answered correctly lost to the ones with the biggest cans. 4. Violence is no longer grounds for dismissal. Marcia, the crazy Brazilian whose best line so far is, “When I drink Patron all night long, in the morning I smell like blueberry muffins!” chokes Ashley in a fit of rage. Ashley’s Pepto Bismol pink Uggs flail wildly as the ladies crowd around, yet Marcia’s nice legs save her from elimination.

Not a trace of humanity is to be found on Bus, only a host of invented personalities carefully wrapped up trashy clothes, self-tanner, and cheap extensions; this description totally includes Brett. The bar has been raised, and the franchise now has role models for the other aspiring groupie-ho's to look up to. After appearing on a slew of shows: Beauty And The Geek, Rock of Love, I Love Money, and Charm School, Meghan Hauserman has “paid her dues” (dues: being a sociopathic, backstabbing skank) and now has her own show. It is also rumored that Daisy De La Hoya from season two has a reality show in the making. It’s an incestuous, ever-expanding Rock of Love family, and now Brett’s former cast mates revisit the show to help him weed out the un-sluts and anyone with brown hair/natural breasts.

The new psycho-blonde this season is Brittaney, the token porn star, and also the first girl to pose for Brett’s famous dirty photo session. Brett instantly recognizes her, and remarks, “I’ve, uh, seen your movies.” In response, Brittaney thoughtfully says, “Sex is a beautiful thing, and if we can do it behind closed doors, why can’t we do it on camera?” There’s no question about the fact that they are doing it on camera, but nobody wants to come out and say it. Everybody’s sucking the sex industry teat one way or another. There’s an aspiring Madame, a Penthouse Pet, and plenty of nude models, yet Brittaney is made scapegoat for them all. And the only difference between Brittaney’s movies and Rock of Love is that Brittaney actually gets a paycheck for the porn. These girls are just hoping to get paid.

The cliques form fast on Bus, and poor Brittaney, (who may as well be wearing a sign that says “Don’t end up like me!”) is shunned by the younger, more nimble cougars. If sobbing incessantly and screaming, “Why doesn’t he like me?” is unattractive for a 25-year-old, it’s downright depressing coming from a 45-year-old porn star whose implants have fallen past her knees. Brittaney claims she’s trying to repent, says she’s looking for her soul mate, so what the French is she doing on Rock of Love? They are all selling themselves, their bodies, and marketing their invented personalities in hopes to cash in. Who is better? Brittaney, or the fifty-year-old Penthouse Pet who appears the most conservative, yet when is up for her photo says, “ Well, I don’t want to be the first one to get naked. How about I just show you my ass?”

Challenge #1 was for the ladies to write vows for Brett, dress up in skanky wedding dresses, stand before him like the desperate cases that they are and profess their “love.” Some of the girls came bearing gifts, like Britanya (not to be confused with Brittaney), who removed her vaginal piercing and handed it to Brett, then sucked on his lips like a piranha, surely catching a mouthful of silicone. I think Love may have lost its luster.

What happened to the good ol’ mud wrestling sessions and pole dancing competitions? This is like the Twilight Zone, Brett standing at the altar in his tight tank top emblazoned with a tuxedo design and tight, flared jeans. I looked at him, closely, and realized that—well for starters he’s wearing rouge, and he’s also starting to remind me of that guy. The one who insists on bragging about all his conquests to make sure everyone knows that he’s the man, but when doing so, absolutely cannot look you in the eye because you know he’s full of shit. What confident man would go around wearing a shirt that says “Brett Michaels: Rock On”? At first I thought Brett was a total scumbag, but after seeing the result of three seasons of shameless, depressing behavior, Brett and his groupies have proved to be a bunch of delusional, projecting freak shows, all compromising their dignity for some sad trace of recognition. Is Brett not a poster child for the possibly closeted, insecure guy that lurks inside many? The only difference is that someone else foots the bill for him to parade around and live out his sick little dream on national television.

Brett claims to love women, but seems to be a bona fide misogynist. How could someone who is able to stomach watching these women get down on their knees for him (literally) and beg and sob for him to “keep them around” for just a little longer have any respect for them? If another season comes out, I fear the end may be nearing.


Mary Hanlon


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2009

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