If I had to sum up Rock of Love with Bret Michaels in a single hand gesture it would be this:
If I had to sum in up in a double hand gesture, it would be this:
Clearly, there’s a lot to talk we have to talk about.
It’s probably best not to spend too much time thinking about introductions. Let’s not get caught up in the hows, the whys and the why-must-I-cries of Rock of Love and instead just accept the fact that it’s here and it’s not going away until your world is utterly rocked. Resistance is futile. You will be swinging on a stripper pole by the end of the season.
We open with footage of Poison frontman Bret Michaels, who will be picking among 25 babes, looking totally angelic while riding his motorcycle and explaining his impetus for the show.
"Rock and roll is the reason for and destruction of all of my relationships," he explains, but instead of giving up on rock, he’s taking it to reality TV. Makes sense — it’s where most people sort out their problems these days, anyway. Bret explains that he has a ranch in California that’s home to his two daughters, but before he introduces them to the woman he calls his own, he’ll test them out in a decked-out pad in Hollywood. When he says, "Hollywood," he introduces a new bound-to-be-international hand gesture to accompany it:
This replaces the old Hollywood hand gesture (which was placing both hands on one’s forehead as you rocked in the gutter). Please take note and update your bookmarks.
Then, Bret reveals his mission statement: "There’s plenty of women out there that you wanna be friends with. And there’s a lotta women out there you wanna have sex with. But if you can find one that you can be friends with and have sex with, henceforth, Rock of Love." Henceforth insanity.
We get our first taste of these, uh, potential sex buddies with Erin.
She explains that she’s a former Miss Hooters of Illinois. Just when you thought slanging hot wings and cleavage was as dignified as it gets, along comes a beauty pageant to determine superiority within that field. Fascinating.
Even more fascinating is Raven.
She gushes about Bret’s music. "One of my favorite songs was ‘Every Thorn Has Its Rose,’" explains Raven. A normal person would quickly catch themselves and realize that the song’s name is actually "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," which makes a lot more sense since, you know, thorns grow on roses, and it’s not the other way around. Raven is not that person. She continues on, labeling the song "poignant" and calling out its heart, soul and depth. No song in the history of music has more depth than Raven.
And then, Bret rolls up and the girls cheer.
He cuts his hellos curiously short, but not before introducing Big John, his security guy and, it would seem, the maestro of Bret’s good times. Big John lays down the ground rules: 1. No one enters Bret’s room unannounced 2. Please don’t touch the guitars 3. Please don’t puke in the Jacuzzi. No one laughs at the last item — it’s as though that, until Big John said something, throwing up in the Jacuzzi had been an option. On the upside there are not audible, "Aw man!"s, so maybe there is some class to be had. And then, John starts picking girls out of the crowd.
Five girls, to be exact:
While he’s choosing them, the other girls fume like a virgin’s scalp during its first double processing. A woman we come to know as Magdalena looks particularly perturbed:
But Mags should seethe not as, after the five presumably "lucky" ladies are called, the remaining 20 girls are told to enter the house. When they’re gone, Big John tells the Top 5 that they’re actually the Bottom 5. They’re told to pack their bags and head back to…in the interest of thinking nice thoughts, we’ll leave where they’re headed back to in the air.
Kelly verbalizes the seeming cruelty in this banishment, saying she didn’t come all the way from Chicago to be humiliated. Vis a vis what happens in the rest of the show, this could very well be considered a mercy killing. Be happy that you got off easy.
Another girl, Tiffany, adamantly states that she’s not going home. That’s both a promise and a threat…of a good time.
One of the girls, Lacey, whose name pleads for butchy, beige-haired partner (Bret?), spots some musical instruments strewn about the pad and proclaims that she’s in her element. She immediately takes to a drum kit and gets Animal on it.
In response, a girl named Tamara starts, "When I was listening to the drums…" and you think for a second that maybe she’ll say something positive, maybe she loves those primitive rhythms. She does not. "…I was like, ‘This sucks.’ You’re trying too hard. Just stop." Ha! Five minutes in the house and the girls are already bitchy. That’s the reality show equivalent of Frenching on the first date, which given the show’s context, is utterly appropriate. Excuse me while I get misty. Sniff, sniff. It’s just that Rock of Love feels like home!
Especially if you come from, I don’t know, some kind of Aryan conclave.
That’s Brandi C, bonding with Kristia, whom she decides to be best friends with on the spot because they’re both blonde. In this house, that’s like choosing someone to bond with because you both have vaginas. The criteria, if you will, is loose. Sayin’.
They immediately revel in their blondness as sort of a show for the other girls. "If we put our boobs together, we can think better!" squeals Kristia. While watching the show, it’s hard to pay attention to anything but her words, but I urge you to check out what Brandi C does as Kristia says that:
Another way of thinking better is by moving your head like that. Brings oxygen to the brain cells.
And then, just when you think that you’ll never have to think again as long as Rock of Love is on the air, something happens to blow your mind. Tiffany, she of last scene’s foreshadowing, comes stomping back and pounds on the door.
Big John takes her call.
Tiffany pleads to be let back into the house. "I had a hat made!" is one of the reasons why she says she should be let back in. We never see the hat, so it’s hard to imagine what the hell she could be talking about. Equally hard to imagine is why she’d ever want to cover up those chunky highlights. Let us love them, Tiff. She begs some more, saying that she’ll sleep on the couch or in the bathroom. Seeing that her level of dignity is perfect for the Rock of Love house, Big John lets her back in.
And then, we get the first good look at this person we will come to worship.
Tiffany’s style can be summed up as: saucy, like Ginger Spice circa ’97. Tiffany’s face can be summed up as: careworn, like Auntie Em circa 1938. She is the hottest thing on the planet and she’s only gonna get hotter.
But first! Boobs.
Brandi C estimates that only two girls in the house don’t have fake boobs. She could very well be right. Erin, above, says that she has something called "Gummi Bear boobs." As a Miss Hooters of Illinois, you’d probably want a set that can bounce here and there and everywhere. More breast discourse takes place, but really, it’s just an excuse for the girls to touch themselves.
And each other!
Kiss! Touch! Ass to ass! (All in good time! All in good time!) Closing off the boobs segment, Brandi C says, "I love my boobs! They are the best birthday present I got." And then, you think it’s time to laugh because that statement is hilarious in itself. Brandi C keeps going. "…from my parents," which: double ha! And to cap it off, "…last year." I believe that. I believe that a set of boobs would even be better than a black Trans Am and a pink guy.
Bret corrals the girls to take their pictures. He has an interest in photography and he figures that this will be a good way to start getting to know the girls. More importantly, this will be a good way to start getting to know the girls’ boobs. He has to catch up with the viewing audience, after all!
Brandi C, whose insistence on acting even more blonde than her hair might grate on some nerves, but actually is awesome, enthuses about Bret. "He’s tan and he’s blonde and we probably look like brother and sister a little bit, but that’s hot." Clearly, this show will not rest until it breaks every taboo. It’s going to feel like a letdown if they don’t bust out the gerbils by episode 3.
Pictures get underway.
We meet Rodeo, whom Magdalena hates on immediately. "Rodeo goes out there, takes some pictures. She tries to flex those muscles, look a little bit more manly for Bret. I’m sure he likes that." What’s crazier? Her rumbling basso voice being used to call someone else manly, or her suggestion that Bret likes dudes? What is that? Wishful thinking?
And then there is Tiffany.
Bret says Tiffany’s sexual eagerness combined with her seeming chemical romance turned him on. Chemicals in a science lab would turn Bret on. Regardless, it’s clear that Tiffany is the exact picture of Jerri Blank from Strangers With Candy, before Jerri hit bottom. With unpredictable Tiffany only one thing is certain: when she leaves the house, she will steal the TV.
Then, more pictures:
When it’s Magdalena’s turn, she, like many of the girls, goes in to kiss Bret. The difference? Shockingly exposed tongue.
Funny, Bret didn’t even order conch. Magdalena’s picture looks, true to her name, equal parts chaste and for sale.
Not coincidentally, immediately following Jessica, we hear Heather say that the other "dumb-ass broads don’t know s*** about sexy." She resolves to show Bret sexy. Literally.
She is playing to win! Her picture comes out to be possibly the most gorgeous picture in the history of photography.
Quite literally, I want that blown up and hung on the wall of my living room. It’s like, per her sign language, she loves you so much that she’s willing to cover up her nipples to prove it. Heather has such huge…heart.
Responding to Heather’s revelation, if you will, Erin says "I’m not going to lower myself to a stripper/whore level." She’s very happy at her Miss Hooters of Illinois level, thank you very much.
The getting-to-know-you segment of our show continues with a mingling session. While girls pile on Bret…
…Brandi C gets jealous. She asks Bret to teach her how to shoot pool and he yeses her but continues what he’s doing (which probably involves concentrating to keep from ejaculating in his jeans). This incenses Brandi more. She reasons, not incorrectly, actually, that if he found her attractive, he should have seen her and immediately rushed to hang out with her. Brandi’s boobs may know nothing about the laws of physics, but her brain is well versed in the laws of attraction.
Bret goes from girl to girl, at one point offending a few with his unflinching recounting of his, erm, groupie-hosting lifestyle.
He then sits with Tamara, who looks like Faith Hill after being caught in a cyclone and talks like her brain’s still caught in that very cyclone.
"I am like Bret…girl," Tamara says, apparently laughing at her own joke. If it is in fact a joke. Whatever, at least someone gets her.
And then, we cut to Tiffany.
Don’t drink it, Tiffany! You’ll shrivel until there’s nothing left!
And so she does, if not literally, then socially.
Tiffany’s substance-fueled antics include using Raven as a pool cue…
…or, perhaps, a blow-up doll…
…and unleashing gems like:
(Seriously read that as many times as it takes for it to make sense. I’ll give you 45 minutes. It’s like a word jumble on Boons!)
And to think that it all started with a toast…
"I’m Tiffany and I’m an alcoholic." Finally some honesty on reality television. Tiffany is like a breath of fresh air. A booze-reeking, saliva-infused, hot breath, but a breath all the same.
Meanwhile, Bret talks with Samantha, who reveals that she has CDs by Pantera, Slayer and Tom Waits in her collection.
"You have a pretty eclectic group of music, which is cool, ’cause that’s the way I am," says Bret. Ha! Leave it to Bret Michaels to eloquently sum up attraction’s inherent narcissism. If nothing else, this really explains his predilection for girls with long, blonde hair. Heather the boob-slinger doesn’t let Samantha hog the attention. Heather spots a tattoo on Bret’s arm that says "May 5," and says that it’s her birthday. It turns out it’s Bret’s daugther’s birthday. Whoa! Birthday twins. How…hot.
We cut to Heather showing girls how to work a pole.
You know what’s the most awesome thing about this? The tape the producers made her put over her nipples. It’s practical, but it also really completes her look.
While Heather hangs upside down, Tiffany heckles her. "You ain’t s***! You ain’t s***!" says Tiffy. She then gets on the pole herself to prove that she is s***.
And though accompanying sound effects suggest that Tiffany sucks, she actually is really good on the pole. But then again: of course she is.
While you’re trying to scrub these images out of your brain, let’s check in with Bret, who’s talking to Brandi M.
Brandi M reveals that she’s a Scorpio and so she’s ruled by her genitals. That’s cool, because that’s how I am.
Jessica is also there.
She calls herself "a Jessica Simpson knock-off." She’s the Coby to J.Simp’s Sony, if you will. You get the feeling when she says this that it’s NOT so that she’s the first to say it so that the sting is lessened when someone else notices. It also doesn’t exactly seem to be something she takes pride in. It is what it is.
Jessica reflects on her time with Bret, saying that she thinks she made a good impression before breathing heavily in an attempt to convey her…I don’t know. What is that? Nervousness? Constipation? Dementia?
No really: what is that?
Then Bret talks to Raven, who goes on and on about how men should like her for her brain. The whole time she’s doing this, her panties are visible.
She also seemingly misuses the word "obtuse," which, uh, yeah. It just makes her brain easier to love.
Then, Bret sits down alone with Rodeo. Rodeo is exactly what would happen if Meredith Vieira and The White Rapper Show’s Misfit had a baby that come out 40-years-old and wearing a cowboy hat.
Rodeo says that in preparation for the show, she didn’t Google Bret. There’ll be plenty of time for Googlin’ later, if you catch my drift. Rodeo has been through so much: she was paralyzed for years after a platform-diving accident and she beat cancer. She’s also a personal trainer. Most importantly, she looks smokin’ with a seagull on her shoulder.
Rodeo is amazing, and not the laughing-through-my-heartache-for-humanity amazing that Tiffany is. She’s seriously amazing and, if nothing else, a seeming respite from all the craziness swirling through the house. Bret compares her health woes to his, as we find out that he’s been diabetic since he was six and must take multiple insulin injections a day. This oughta pan out nicely.
And then, and always, and gloriously, there is Tiffany:
She calls Dallas a "c***" for no real reason. Well, for no real reason than to be incredibly entertaining to those of us following along at home. She and Dallas bicker, which, at one point, gives Tiffy the excuse to bust out what turns out to be her catchphrase: "Don’t threaten me with a good time!" She also gets the opportunity to say, "Here’s what I’m not gonna do!" You know she’s been dying to say that since she heard it on some b-movie on HBO in the ’80s. You know, back when menopause was still new.
While they bicker about absolutely nothing, a few girls look on.
At this moment, it becomes clear that Jes is awesome. It’s like she’s one of us, gleefully aghast at the insanity unfurling before her eyes.
Bret soon finds out about Jes’ awesomeness, too, as he spends some time with her. Time interrupted by Tiffy.
It’s not Tiffany’s turn (apparently, there are turns) to spend time with Bret, so he dismisses her while asking if she’s going to be his wild party girl. Tiffany lets another, "Don’t threaten me with a good time," fly. Like "Unskinny Bop," it makes more sense every time you hear it.
But what’s awesome about Tiffy’s dismissal is that she doesn’t actually go anywhere!
She just sort of hovers and listens in as Jes demonstrates the wall she has built around her, which, incidentally, Bret finds hot. That Bret could find a wall, be it figurative or literal, hot, is of no surprise.
Then, some of the girls wrestle over him. Brandi C and Kristia are still fuming because he’s talked to so many girls, but not them yet.
They finally wrestle him away, only to be interrupted by Tiffany, who has saved her finest display for Bret:
Brandi C tells her that being a slut is so last season. Wrong, Brandi: being a slut is evergreen. Look where you are. Is the silicone seeping into her brain? On Tiffany’s ride, Bret says, "She beat my penis to a pulp and it was, you know, it was a dry beating." But the punchline to the punchline (to the punchline…) is that when Tiffany stands up, her panties are showing…
And, believe it or not, somewhere inside of her is a sense of shame that makes her quickly cover up. Now we know how Adam and Eve felt.
But only for a second, for Tiffany then decides it’s a good idea to bother more people. She attempts to bond with the other girls by standing near them, looking at them sideways and slurring.
Well, you know, at least her tongue works. That’s important. In an interview, Tiffany informs us that, "I don’t scare about anybody." Is that her efficient way of telling us she’s as fearless as she is friendless?
Meanwhile, Bret talks to Lacey, who’s soooooo down with the rock and roll lifestyle.
Lacey says it’s cool if Bret flirts with other girls because she knows that’s the way of the business. The awesome thing is that we’ll be able to see directly whether she can put her guitar pick where her mouth is, so to speak.
And then, guess who we return to?
If you guessed anybody but her, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. Tiffany gets into a minor scuffle with Magdalena over a chair. They both go to sit down in it, but Magdalena claims it’s hers. "I’m not a man, I’m not going to be a gentleman pulling out the chair for you," says Mags. Good thing she informed us — we were all wondering.
Faith grills Tiffy about her reasons for appearing on the show. "Why wouldn’t I?" asks Tiffany. Because there’s an outside chance that your brain has not yet been pickled? Somewhere in here, Tiffany mentions her daughter, which makes Tiffany’s behavior seem tragic. It’s all fun and games until you realize that the lovable lush has actual responsibility, you know? But the sadness lingers for only a second because:
…Incoherence is enough to turn any frown upside down!
Big John comes out to check on Tiffany. He basically tells her to clean up or he’ll kick her out. This gives Tiffany the chance to once again say, "Don’t threaten me with a good time." This makes her smile.
See? Everything’s better! What daughter?
Then, we rejoin Brandi C’s quest for Bret’s attention. She informs us that as her trump card (from a naked-lady themed deck, no doubt), she decided to don Kristia’s bikini, which is a bit small. The result is one mesmerized rocker.
Bret’s eyes do not leave her chest.
Right about now, it seems that Brandi C’s kinda smart for figuring out a way to get attention. But then you think about the fact that it took her all episode to realize that those things hanging in front of her aren’t just for her own tactile entertainment. Everything she needed was in her front yard, if you will. There’s no place like silicone, you know?
While canoodling with Bret, Brandi C suggests a polygamous lifestyle for him. Wow, what a shocking idea. Maybe they could make a reality sh…oh, wait. She says he’s allowed to have multiple girlfriends as long as she’s the "Holly," a reference to Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s main girl. After all, why aspire to be anything but the HBIC of several other B’s? This is, after all, VH1.
Right before elimination, we get a wonderful shot of Tiffany eating.
"Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing!" she babbles. Is she quoting Boyz N the Hood?
And then: elimination. Everyone’s beautiful and smart, says Bret. It’s just that some of these girls aren’t beautiful and smart enough. Magdalena registers her disgust for her competitors: "The two girls that need to go home is Rodeo because she’s too manly. I’m scared I’m gonna f***in’ beat up. And Tiffany because she’s a crackhead." Oh, Magdalena, you could take Rodeo, no prob. As for the second part of Mags’ rant: fair enough.
Rodeo is the first girl to be called:
Bret’s little phrase he throws at the girls he’s keeping is, "Will you stay here and rock my world?" Aren’t they already, though, Bret? Certainly, they’re rocking my world, each and every one of them. Magdalena is predictably pissed that Rodeo is moving on. She concludes her rant with what are now very familiar words: "I ain’t no man." Is that some kind of foreshadowing or something? Regardless, Magdalena’s voice is so low that I feel it in my balls. And hers.
The next girl to be chosen to stay and rock the world’s world is introduced thusly: "I found this beautiful young girl to have lovely, hot breasts." Why not tell us that she’s blonde and really give us a clue? It’s Heather, btw.
The rest of the girls are called as follows:
At this point, Bret has just one backstage pass left. Six girls await their fate. Who could it possibly be?
Duh. Brandi C. You thought we followed her that much throughout the episode for nothing?
And speaking of that, it would seem that it’s time for Tiffany to pack her bags, but in the interest of second chances and, much more importantly, entertainment, Bret asks her to stay. He doesn’t have a pass for her. He doesn’t even have a bed for her. But, perhaps realizing that every clown car needs a driver, Bret wants her to continue on.
This, of course, gives Tiffany the chance to say the words that you will no doubt hear in your sleep and everywhere you go from now until the time that you die, and even then, they’ll still be ringing through your lifeless skull: "Don’t threaten me with a good time." Ironically, now that she’s staying, a good time is exactly what we the viewers are being threatened with. Every thorn has its rose, indeed.
All of that means that five girls are leaving. Most of these girls didn’t go out of their ways to talk to Bret. In the case of Jessica, she reasons that she’s too smart for him. That pretty much works as its own punchline, right?
With them out of the way, the remaining 16 girls toast with Bret.
They appear to be toasting with cans of energy drinks. What, no PBR? Not even a Jager shot?