Love My Way: Behind the Scenes of the I Love New York Reunion

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If you don’t have time to read a post about the I Love New York reunion featuring dozens of photos (like the ones you see above) and a smattering of anecdotes, here’s all you need to know about what happens after the jump: I got to meet Sister Patterson, and she was kinda mean to me. I can die a happy man.

It was thrown over six months ago, but the ghost of Buckwild’s shoe still haunts the Hollywood soundstage where the Flavor of Love 2 finale filmed. That much was clear when, back on that same soundstage last week for the filming of the I Love New York reunion, I heard someone with an official-deeming headset say, "I need everybody to go away from the stage except for the police officer." Police officer? The powers that be meant business. Bum rush the stage and risk being tazed. Get salty and face pepper spray.

Luckily, I was able to get in some shots of the set before any potential madness went down.

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The only way to make New York larger than larger-than-life is to immortalize her with a 6-foot painting. Seeing that thing hanging in person was surreal, even for the world of reality TV. On the right is a shot of the seats and couches the guys were to sit on. The audience sat to the right of them — note the velvet ropes in the background. That was all that separated the talent from the spectators. Knowing how rabid people are about this show, that seemed like a potentially hazardous barricade. I hope the guys wore mylar under their Bang Bang-esque reality-show reunion threads. One final thing to note in the chairs picture is that the brown leather love seat in the middle is where 12 Pack and Heat ended up sitting. They sat in a love seat. The producers’ tongues are not only in their cheeks, but their furniture, as well.

Before the show, I stopped by some dressing rooms to say hi to the guys. I heard a crazy racket coming from one before I entered — someone was carrying on, virtually barking to a riotous response. I figured Chance was in there. I was wrong.

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Instead, I found Wood, Trends, Bonez, Ace, T-Money, Token and T-Bone, eating, laughing and taking turns mugging for my camera.

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They all seemed really excited to be back on TV again, which makes sense because none of them lasted very long on the show. Well, everyone seemed excited except for Wood, whose brooding presence made me wonder if I should even ask to take his picture. I did and he graciously brooded for me (see above). Oh lighten up, Wood. It’s just reality TV.

A few other notes about these guys: T-Money does a killer Chance impression (hence my confusion before entering the room), Ace is more attractive and taller than than the camera let on and, if you enlarge the shot of Trends above, you’ll see that he’s wearing a shirt plugging his website. He also gave me his demo CD and told me to blog about it. So, uh, there you go. I thought it was funny that he was still so bent on self-promotion, as this is the very reason New York kicked him off the show. Whatever, at least he’s consistent.

The next dressing room I visited did contain Chance. Finally!

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Of course, Real was in there, as well, along with their other brother, Micah. Together, they form the Stallionaires. It’s kind of like Voltron, except instead of fighting intergalactic wizards, they rap. I had already talked to Real for the blog, and I mentioned to Chance that I hadn’t talked to him, and not for lack of trying. "Man, I didn’t talk to anyone," he told me. He said that, at some point early on in the season, he read something on another blog calling him a homo thug, and from that point, he checked out and stopped reading stuff about himself. Great idea. Seriously. It would help the sanity of many a reality show participant if they followed Chance’s lead and let the noise be noise. In my experience, a lot of them forget that when people talk smack or even benignly comment on their personality and/or behavior, what these people are responding to isn’t them, but the televised version of them. Even the most fair portrayal is still just a portrayal, you know? The whole story can’t be told because that’s outside the realm of physical possibility. For real: Chance is wise.

He’s also extremely charming. He told a few stories about being recognized from unlikely sources (including one involving a guy in a turban at a gas station that I couldn’t do justice to in this space). He commented on the nude photos of Wood that surfaced during the show’s run ("He should have been called ‘Log’!"). Before he could say too much more, though, Whiteboy entered the room. I introduced myself to him and asked if I could take his picture. "Oh yeah, let me get my glasses," he said. How Hollywood!

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He made sure to check the picture on my digital camera before giving it the final OK. I found his mild vanity endearing. He should have been called Prettyboy.

Before leaving, I gathered all the guys around for a group shot.

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And then, as I was turning to go, Whiteboy and Chance started talking. "They’re everywhere down there," said Whiteboy. "All we have to do is put a towel by the door and turn on that shower," said Chance. Wow – flashback to dorm life. "Have fun with your bleezies, guys," I said as I left. "My neezy!" Chance called after me. See? Charming.

I didn’t get to visit any other dressing rooms because it was time for the guys to start getting making their way to the stage.

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I took a similar shot of Token getting outfitted with his mic, but it came out blurry because he decided to flip me off as my shutter was closing. I guess it makes sense that someone who lasted as briefly as he did on the show would be camera shy.

And then, standing off to the side of the guys’ seating area, I saw this:

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Absolutely amazing. Romance’s exact words to me after I asked if I could take his picture were: "Fifteen carats, baby. No cubic zirconias up in this bitch." Honestly, I wouldn’t have known the difference if there were cubic zirconias up in that bitch.

When 12 Pack entered the stage, his frosted tips blazing like white fire, girls squealed. I imagine that happens a lot. The guy’s an entertainer!

And entertain, he did, settling into his cozy seat with Heat.

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It’s almost adorable.

The rest of the guys filed in. Here’s Chance talking to…someone.

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The purple haze on the photo is probably no coincidence.

With all the guys on stage, their intro shots were knocked out. These are the individual shots of the guys you see as La La calls out their names, one by one, at the start of the reunion. The most notable thing about this involved T-Bone: you’ll notice in the shots of him above that he was wearing sunglasses, obviously because his eyes were so mocked on the show. When it came time for T-Bone to be called, he received direction: "T-Bone, would you bring your sunglasses down?" This way his legacy can continue via his eyes and their computer-enhanced wonkiness. Poor guy.

Then, I caught 12 Pack picking his nose.

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He wiped it on Heat after and Heat loved it. Kidding! What really happened is, at this point, the audience was being prepped for reaction shots, so they’d "Oooh" and "Ahh" and clap and "Oh no you din’t" at the director’s prompt. Since they were effectively reacting to nothing, it was kind of hammy and funny. 12 Pack hammed right along when I caught him pretended to pick his nose. Ah, Jersey boys.

A few more shots to round out this segment:

Onix’s bicep:

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The rare Whiteboy-sans-sunglasses shot:

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Fifty percent less glamorous, I’d say.

The show was about to begin, so I took my spot backstage. It actually wasn’t backstage, but a room off to the side, in which guests of the show were to watch the reunion via a monitor. This differed from the Flavor of Love 2 finale, which I watched in the relatively active backstage area. I guess because of the heightened security, the backstage area was much quieter. Somber even. I wanted to be like, "God, who died?" but if I said that, it would have been too loud. And besides, New York’s heart would die later that day. It was mass mourning in advance.

I didn’t stay in the room the whole time — I’d steal out to catch whomever I could backstage below are some of the shots I squeezed in:

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So Onix is both handsome and socially conscious? What are the chances? Also: say what you want about her, but New York has never looked better than she did, especially in the weave department. I’m even willing to forgive the bra weirdness (seriously, why?), since that dress fits her so well.

As I was stocking up at the craft services table before the long shoot, the security conjurer herself, Buckwild appeared with Flavor of Love 2 alum/Charm School student Saaphyri.

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Soon after walking in, someone complimented Saaphyri, who you might say, literally sticks out. In response Saaphyri said, "Charm School will do that to a bitch!" How etiquette-like! Buckwild and Saaphyri ended up watching the show from the same room I was supposed to, so I talked to them. Early on, was asking Buckwild questions (I’ve interviewed her a few times, so at least she knew the guy who was pestering her): what brought her here? Did she watch I Love New York? ("Yeah, to see the commercials for Charm School!") How did Charm School go, anyway? Saaphyri interjected, "What are you a writer?" You can’t get anything past Saaphyri.

But really, watching the reunion with Buckwild and Saaphyri was great, especially because these shoots tend to run much longer than my attention span. For the 40 minutes of the reunion that you saw on air, about three straight hours were shot. A lot of it was great — it’s cool to see everyone so off-the-cuff and ready to pounce at anyone for the sake of their closure and our entertainment. But for every moment of exciting uncertainty, there was at least one extended montage of stuff we’d seen many times before. Some of the arguments and conversations went on longer than they should have, as though some cast members were ringing all they could out of this last time they might be on TV for a while. La La shot all of her throws to commercial and post-commercial greetings at once, which took at least 20 minutes. That amounted to 20 minutes of watching La La’s head say, "Welcome back!" or "We’ll be right back!" between saying "OK" about 5,000 times as she was fed direction via her earpiece.

But, like I said, watching this with Buckwild and Saaphyri made even the low points tolerable. After one montage, Buckwild noted, "I never really understood it when people would say to me, ‘Ew. How could you guys kiss Flav?’ And then I watched I Love New York and I understood." Ha! Saaphyri was way into the show, cheering whenever confrontation arose and imploring whomever was on screen to "Fight, y’all! Fight!" They both informed me that they ran into Romance in the ladies’ room. Makes sense! I told them how excited I was for Charm School, and that when it came down to it, I’d rather watch a bunch of girls trapped in a house, vying for a prize than a bunch of dudes. "Now, do you think that’s because you have testosterone?" Saaphyri asked me. Hmmm. No. That couldn’t be it.

I only caught a few more backstage pictures as the show went on. Most notably is this of Pumkin:

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This was right after she hit the stage and utterly wracked New York’s nerves. She seems proud, right?

Speaking of New York’s nerves, they were as frazzled backstage as they were on stage. With good reason, too: the entire show had been something of an endurance test for her, an endless parade of agitation between the Mr. Boston-twin switch-off, Pumkin, Romance’s stripe and Tango calling off the engagement. I caught New York as she was brought out after Tango broke things off. She was pissed. "I didn’t do s*** to that motherf***er," she ranted through her tears, as a producer led her to her dressing room. A bodyguard, whom she was never without backstage, during the entire taping, followed. It would seem that the reality of it all caught up with her.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to her before the show, and I certainly wasn’t going to approach her while in that state. But since I’d already met New York, more disappointing was the fact that I hadn’t yet met Sister Patterson, which was something of a life goal for me. After the taping finished, a producer finally led me to New York and Sister Patterson’s decked-out green room, where I met the ladies. I told Sister P that I wrote the blog and she said to me, "You don’t need to talk to me, do you?" I’m pretty sure that by "talk," she meant "interview," though she also may have meant, "Why are you speaking?" Either way: awesome. I was thrilled that she was just as stand-offish in real life as she was on the show. That woman and her new bangs are so hot.

Anyway, I grabbed some pictures with the mother-daughter duo:

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Two more things I love about Sister P: her put-off expression (particularly in the last shot) and her talons. It was an honor to be held by them.

As for New York, she’d clearly been through a lot and was gracious enough to not let that show in the pictures. I guess that maybe it cements her status as reality TV’s rebound queen. Something tells me that even after what she went through, she’s going to be fine. I mean, look at her: does she look like she gives a f***?

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  1. jamine says:

    why your mom ask like a $#~%&

  2. jamine says:

    you ugly new york?

  3. Ruth says:

    erererererererererer……. Next to Sister P who the devil is that???

  4. prince says:

    New york, New york, New york Damn New york i wanna see what u can do without dem clothes gurl!!!!!!!!!!!