This Is Rich The Blogger, Signing Off

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Right now, here’s what I’m like:

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But here’s also what I’m like:

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Allow me to explain…

Today is my last day at VH1.com. My time here spanned Flavor of Love 2 to Basketball Wives 2. So much has changed in that time! Mostly the quality of the footwear and weaves, to be honest. Just kidding (but you know, not really). It has turned out that ladies don’t poop on floors; they get pissy at charity events. Who would have imagined?

The fact of the matter is that for the past 4+ years, I regularly have been dazzled by the offerings of my employer.

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It has been, in a word, wild.

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I have learned all about the mortal sin that is wetting processed and/or fake hair. I have become a huge fan of huge, moving boobs propelled by their owners (my own gayness be damned).

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This is one method of owning your femininity, I have gathered.

I’ve learned about the enduring relevance of rock horns…

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…and exposed tongues…

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…and “Werrrrrk!”

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I have had the privilege of sharing space with outlandish, over-the-top, highly excitable personalities of dubious self-awareness whose arbitrary earnestness has forced me to literally hurt myself to keep from laughing in their faces (biting my cheeks till I taste blood is my preferred method of doing so).

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I loved many of them in the same breathless, pathetic way that Daisy loved Bret.

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Indeed, of the several opportunities afforded to me during my time at VH1, I will treasure none more than the ability to speak to, hear out, bond with and, in some cases, befriend on-air talent. If people who sign up for reality TV are strange masochists, the ones who actually make it on air are among the strangest and most masochistic people in the world. They are fascinating. I don’t pity many of them for whatever complications result from their quest for fame, but I have come to empathize with them. Nothing can humanize a person like direct contact, and through this job, I’ve come to understand that people on reality TV are, in fact, people. Just because they sign up for abuse doesn’t mean that you have to dish it out. Because of this, I learned to keep my commentary about these people confined to that which is situational, and not innate (I also did it because, hello, I was representing the company broadcasting them and I’d inevitably have to deal with them later!). I think my method proved effective — people on reality TV may be particularly sensitive, but in my experience, they also tend to have considerable senses of humor about themselves. It always shocked me when ones I went in on particularly hard (Jen Jowett of You’re Cut Off! 2, to name a recent example) complimented my work. Maybe that’s another manifestation of masochism, or maybe they just like being written about, period. Either way, my relationship with the talent was surprisingly harmonious. Like so many of them, I didn’t come here to make friends…I made them regardless.

My job at VH1 was not without its frustrations. Writing a blog about a network’s shows for that network without sounding like an unending stream of press releases is difficult. I’m not sure that I was always successful. At times, I felt like Rocky at her worst:

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I dealt with a lot of hassle by being like Rocky at her best:

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Certain roadblocks found me empathizing with talent more than ever:

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But it was all worth it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The good outweighed the bad, hands-down. (Insert several more fond-remembrance cliches here. That’s not me being flip. I like cliches.) While I expect to write about television for the rest of my life, I’m almost certain that I will never get to cover shows from the inside out like I did at VH1 (I’m particularly proud of our exhaustive Basketball Wives 2 coverage, especially our absurd role-reversal scene study of Tami and Jen’s food-stamps fight). Here’s me giving myself a round of applause in the most obnoxious way possible:

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Funny, I just happen to be wearing curlers today, and everything!

Reunion sets were not exactly like second homes to me (too cold!), but more like second offices — my biggest regret about leaving the company when I am is that I will miss attending this season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Reunion. (Last season’s reunion was the highlight of my 2010.) That alone is enough to make me feel like this:

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And this:

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I don’t know what my departure means for the future of this blog. I know that there’s a listing for my position somewhere out there, and that Jessica Suarez, whose coverage has been a stellar contribution to this blog for the past year, will continue to freelance for us (for the current roster of shows, she’s covering Love & Hip Hop and Beverly Hills Fabulous). (RuPaul’s Drag Race gif walls will continue on at NewNowNext.com. Possibly here, too?) I know my wonderful colleagues/friends Mark Graham and Matt Muro will help hold down the fort, too. Who knows? Maybe some new life is exactly what this blog needs. I’ve been doing it so long that I fear I’ve lost any semblance of an objective perspective.

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As for my future, I’ve accepted a position as a senior editor at TVGuide.com, which I expect will be similar to my job at VH1.com. I’ll be recapping, reporting, interviewing, just covering a wider spectrum of shows. I look forward to the change of pace and new stimulation. I feel threatened by a good time, and I love it! Of course, I’ll continue to update my personal blog, fourfour. And, like Royce Reed and all of the Basketball Wives, I too am a Twitter-crazed cheerleader.

To everyone who’s kept up with this blog and said constructive things (including always-helpful typo corrections), I thank you. You truly have been my rock of love. All of you. Now, watch as I skip on out of here.

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Bye for real!

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  1. Brian says:

    Bye Rich!

    If you get a mugshot on your TVGuide.com articles, I hope it includes Rudy and/or Winston.

  2. Katie says:

    This is truly a loss for VH1. One of my greatest discoveries was finding out that there were recaps of the shows by a guy who loves Showgirls as much as I do. I’ve watched a lot of shows just because I read your recap of the first episode and laughed myself silly. If I had fake boobs, I would shake them in your honor.