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Can’t say that "I Love New York"

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The origin of this show was described in an earlier post, but basically it’s a knock off of reality dating shows such shows as The Bachelor... at its very worst. Slowly men are eliminated at dramatic elimination rounds after they go on extravagant dates and when they are kicked off they are either totally bummed because they were completely “in love? or they rant and rave about how they can do better and the show was a waste of their time.

The episode I watched was the one following the one already written about. With four guys remaining New York takes them on double dates in Palm Springs and at the end of each night one guy is asked to spend the night with her. Each guy really ‘steps up their game’ and battles to remain in the running to win New York’s heart. New York’s mother Sister Patterson again steps in to help New York with her tough decision and she decides to let ‘white boy’ go (despite what mama tells her) because of his recent break up and how mysterious he is.
I Love New York is on Monday nights at 8pm on VH1 and reruns can be viewed at various other times as it’s apparently very popular (had the highest debut of any VH1 reality series.) Cris Abrego, Ben Samek and Mark Cronin (the creator and producer of Flavor of Love) were the executive producers and the show was created to help Tiffany “New York? Patterson find a love of her own after being heartbroken on TV twice before. The show is aired prime time at night which allows for a large audience of viewers in their teens and early 20’s. New York herself is 24 so generally the viewers that would find her most entertaining would be those a little younger. During the show commercials ran for cell phones, internet hosts, new movies, concerts and other VH1 shows. Stores such as GAP had multiple advertisements as did Jeep and Honda. These advertisements reinforce the expected age of the viewers.
To quote Yep and Camacho in “The Normalization of Heterogendered Relations in The Bachelor?, “Heterogender refers to the asymmetrical stratification of the sexes, privileging men and exploiting women, in the institution of patriarchal heterosexuality.? In the case of I Love New York the woman has the patriarchal role as 20 men compete for the attention of one woman. She has all the power to eliminate anyone and the men just hope to stick around; their only say in the matter is if they choose to leave on their own. She mentions boldly multiples times throughout the show that “everyone should love New York? and the guys readily agree that they should and that they do. During one dinner Chance questioned her and talked back to her and immediately she got turned off and her mother told her to get rid of him. In the whole process New York is hoping to find “true love? but the guys can’t speak their minds and truly be themselves; instead they do and say everything she wants them to just so they can remain in the running showing who ultimately has the power.
A second part of the show that is quite prominent is the focus on identities and physical aspects of all of the cast members. New York is the obvious main focus in any shot, but she flaunts it and the guys acknowledge it. The first date took place on a golf course (because New York says that all men love to golf) and she shows up in a tight, short skirt, “her boobs popping out? (her words exactly) and flip flops. On the way to the date all the guys talk about is what New York should be wearing (their hopes come true) and how good they look. Not one mention about their excitement for what’s planned or getting to know New York better. The guys are fully accessorized and always have the perfect outfit for the time and place. Gender stereotypes are broken through all the shots of the guys ironing their pants for the evening and wiping the dust off their shoes on top of their desire to look put together.
There isn’t a shot where New York’s lips aren’t fully glossed nor is her hair ever out of place. She always has a revealing top on and skirts or shorts that show off even more skin. Even Sister Patterson is clothed in her skimpiest dresses and made up as if there was a shortage on make up. The two women get most of the camera time when all are in the scene and the attention is only drawn away if the guys are fighting over New York. This again reverts back to the amount of power New York holds as the star of the show and the prize for the last one standing. Each cast member had a nickname that was their identity. For ‘white boy’ it highlighted the fact that he was the last guy around that wasn’t African American. Tango I took to be the smooth talker and he claimed to be the ‘passionate one’; however he was all over New York just like the other 3 every chance he got and all he really said was “I love you?. Real and Chance fit the last two, one kept saying he was ‘keepin’ it real’ and the other ‘just take a chance with me baby’. New York is referred to many times as a “true woman? and she calls her self a “real honest woman?. The guys repeatedly get the label as “real men? but their manners and behavior suggest otherwise.
Lastly in the 9 short episodes that have played all of these guys have “fallen in love with New York?. They all repeat the three magic words throughout the episode and she is blown away by the feelings they have for her and how much love she feels for all of them. The show gets super sappy and New York confesses frequently that “she doesn’t want to get hurt.? Knowing that it is her third appearance on TV it is surprising how much she hasn’t learned about reality TV. In the humiliation article by Mendible she states that ones “sense of injury increases the more we presume ourselves worthy of respect regardless of race, gender, or other variables? and it seems to fit New York quite well. The whole basis of her show is to make up for the heart breaks she had on her first two TV experiences, according to humiliation trends she’s bound for one bigger and more painful the third time around. As a first time viewer I don’t see what all the hype is about, but I hope that it works out for New York’s sake so she can move away from the reality TV life and pursue something bigger and better (and less public.) That’s the kind of love I feel she is really looking for.