In a summer that's been largely bereft of tantalizing television moments (The Two Coreys notwithstanding), the premiere of Vh1's I Love Money has been shining like a beacon of bad taste on our horizons for some time. Conceived as the network's version of the now stagnant Real World / Road Rules Challenge franchise, I Love Money puts some of our favorite former contestants of dating shows like Flavor Of Love and I Love New York together in a villa to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real ... real drunk, that is. The show's first episode aired as a 90-minute special last night and, as expected, it blew our collective minds in the way it unabashedly celebrates the lowest of lowbrow culture.
Produced by 51 Minds' Cris Abrego and Mark Cronin, who together with Michael "Mr. Bad Taste" Hirschorn elevated the entire genre of reality dating shows to levels not seen since Joe Millionaire with their landmark Celebreality work, the show derives its strength from its unrivaled cast of charismatic, shameless and fame-hungry characters. While "real" dating shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette systematically place the focus of their shows on the show's primary character's search for love, the Vh1 shows revolutionized the genre by deciding to keep the cameras trained squarely on the contestants. And now, after multiple seasons and endlessly repeated marathons, millions of Americas have developed relationships with bizarre cast of characters (all of whom truly are "characters" in the truest sense of the word). I mean, come on. Mr. Boston? 12 Pack? Pumkin? Chance and Real? Rodeo? Midget Mac? Hoopz? After spending an inordinate amount of time watching their antics over the last few years, we would gladly pay money to watch these loveable bozos "compete" to see who's going to take home the $250,000 first prize — fuck finding true love! Fortunately for us and for you, we don't have to pay anything at all to watch the madness go down. Maybe summer 2008 isn't going to be so terrible after all.