Proud to be addicted to tasteless TV

Jenna Staul

It’s a difficult thing for me to admit, but the first step to solving any problem is acknowledging that it exists.

I am an addict. It’s not alcohol or prescription medications – it’s far more profound than that.

My drug of choice is any one of the mindless, half-witted television shows on VH1’s cable airwaves.

I don’t understand how it began. I’m not one to devote much time to TV, but much of the time I do spend in front of the set is dedicated to my favorite vacuous VH1 programs – and I can’t seem to change the channel.

What I can seem to do is fixate on absolutely mind-numbing displays of insanely entertaining idiocy, played out before my eyes in 30-minute segments.

In recent years, VH1 has made an art of capitalizing on an ADD-afflicted, celebrity-crazed and otherwise all-too-easily-amused culture that I am unfortunately part of.

The gateway drug that pulled me into the seedy underground of VH1’s pop culture programming was none other than “Flavor of Love.” For those unfamiliar, the aforementioned television show features Flavor Flav, a misguided, romantic rapper with a penchant for wearing oversized clocks and Viking hats, as he chooses from a group of rabid women who go to grossly extreme measures to win his heart.

From there, I was hooked.

Now I see myself slowly spiraling downward, wasting precious hours of my life tuned in to the various spin-off series Flavor Flav’s broadcast gave birth to. “I Love New York” chronicled a tawdry, lovelorn “Flavor of Love” cast member (dubbed “New York”) as she, too, searched for a true love, which lasted until the season’s reunion special.

The Flavor Flav torch was then passed onward to “Charm School.” This third reality series documented the “Flavor of Love” women as they attempted to cast off their trashy ways and reinvent themselves into dignified ladies – to mixed results, of course.

And it doesn’t stop there. From “Best Week Ever,” the network’s weekly recap of all things pop culture, to “Celebrity Fit Club,” which finds E-list celebrities attempting to shed unwanted pounds, my dependency on VH1’s prime-time lineup knows no end.

None of this is intellectually stimulating, relevant or in any way meaningful. I’ve never listened to a Public Enemy song in my life. Why then, am I still watching the exploits of this gold-toothed rapper and the women who pursue him? Why do pictures of Britney Spears’ shorn head and Lindsey Lohan’s drunken debauchery and the comedians who love to make fun of them entrance me so much?

Well, I suppose certain questions simply go unanswered.

Some things are meant to be educational and insightful, but let’s face it: VH1 isn’t one of them. It’s the signature brand of shamelessly frivolous nonsense that keeps me and hordes of others glued to the screen, and I say, “Keep it coming!”

I don’t know if there are any support groups for people afflicted with this addiction, but if not, it’s a welcome, unabashedly meaningless distraction.

Jenna Staul is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].