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Much more than charmed with VH1 show

BY LAUREN SIEBEN | MAY 06, 2009 7:26 AM

Former Metro reporter Lauren Sieben crosses over to arts to discuss the reality TV show that gets her pants wet. Not like that.

I am peeing-my-pants excited right now.

I bet you are, too — maybe about the end of the semester or the start of summer. But I don’t care about your internship or summer abroad, because I am literally peeing my pants right now in anticipation of a delicious reality TV smorgasbord of slutty, trashy, and ridiculous.

Before I get too deep in one-sided discussion of the awesomeness that is about to descend upon VH1, I would like you to be acutely aware of my shameless addiction to reality television. I watch “Wife Swap” between classes, I’ve seen every season of the “Real World” since my family first ordered cable in 1998, and Bravo’s “Real Housewives” makes my Tuesdays, and of course, the Holy Grail of all reality programming: “Rock of Love.”

When the latest season of Bret Michaels’ drunken debauchery tour ended, a little piece of my heart crumbled with Mindy’s departure. I gained 10 pounds and experienced regular night terrors. Taya appeared in my dreams in the form of a reality TV confessional, wearing a pink Penthouse tank top, whispering like a broken record — I’m not a promotional tool

The “Rock of Love” reunion show lifted my spirits enough to elicit a half-smile. I like to think of myself as an honorary member of the Blondourage, and being back with my gurlz from the road was wonderful, but fleeting. One hour of semi-staged VH1 drama was hardly enough to satisfy my sweet tooth for smut.

A few weeks ago, the VH1 gods graciously threw me a bone in the form of a cheesy video montage. In between my weekly viewing of “Tough Love” and “Daisy of Love,” a new commercial announced the May 11 première of “Charm School 3 with Ricki Lake.” I just about fell off the couch and dropped my bag of Doritos at the news.

“Charm School” is a low-brow (and presumably low-budget) reality spin-off that brings together the trashiest of trashy women who have appeared on VH1 celebrity dating shows. The premise is essentially a reality bimbo boot camp, and the woman who demonstrates the most positive change in her personality by the end of the show walks away with a cash prize.

The headmistress — Lake, in the new season of “Charm School” — decides the show’s winner. Previous headmistresses include Mo’Nique and Sharon Osbourne, the latter being my hands-down favorite. “Rock of Love: Charm School with Sharon Osbourne” was like watching a cracked-out new version of “The Osbournes.” I could almost hear her yelling, “Ozzy, the dog is pissing on the couch!” in her endearingly high-pitched British accent.

Although I’m not entirely convinced Lake is the best headmistress to follow in Osbourne’s legacy, I am still peeing-my-pants excited about the cast, which is a mix of women from “Real Chance of Love” and “Rock of Love Bus.” The girls from “Real Chance of Love” competed to date Real or Chance, brothers and quasi reality celebrities who were only mildly famous for their stints on “I Love New York” and “I Love Money.” Bay Bay Bay and Bubbles, two of my favorites from the show, will return to VH1 on “Charm School,” and thank God. I’ve missed them.

But more importantly, my favorite mentally unstable perma-drunk strippers from “Rock of Love Bus” will make up half of the new “Charm School” cast. VH1’s five-minute-long “supertrailer” for the new season shows Brittanya breaking down in tears, Ashley getting emotional about her son, and Brazilian tequila-fiend Marcia supposedly pledging to stop drinking.

According to Ricki Lake, “A big heart is more important than big breasts and big hair,” and that’s the new “Charm School” motto. But would anyone tune in if it weren’t for the big breasts and big hair? Hell no.

I’m thrilled for my favorite drunken messes to return to TV, not so much because I have any faith in their abilities to reform, but because I enjoy watching their antics. And this latest batch of “Rock of Love” girls is more shameless than ever. On the first episode of “Rock of Love Bus,” Gia took a shot from another girl’s vag. When she comes back to VH1 on “Charm School,” I won’t give two shits about whether or not she grows from the experience. I just want to see the next disgusting and unprecedented drunken act she commits.

So thank you, VH1, for always refusing to keep it classy. Only five days until you bring back my favorite women of reality TV, and I couldn’t be more ready. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to retrieve a new pair of pants.


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