Sunday, February 13, 2005

Liberating Brigitte

My favorite thing on T.V.? “Strange Love,” the new reality show on VH1 chronicling the romance of Flava Flav and Brigitte Nielson. There are few sights more gratifying than that of Flav jumping around in a white bathrobe, slippers, and a Viking helmet, upon whose horns he has impaled two croissants, declaring his love for an aging, brain damaged hysteric.

But this is not your usual reality T.V. show. It is, in fact, a heartfelt homage to the first term of George W. Bush.

When we first tune in, we find Flav on vacation. Already, we begin to see the parallels.

He is attempting to wrest Brigitte (a sort of Iraq-figure who is fond of long, flowing head scarves) from the clutches of her fiancée--in France. His aim is to take her back to New York with him and show her what life’s really about.

But when Flav gets a bit crazy and breaks her stuff while they’re in the bath tub (Baath-tub?), we see Brigitte’s Arab-like ambivalence surface with some not-quite-intelligible verbal abuse. Flav makes it up to her by firing her maid.

Of course, during this difficult but morally correct courtship, Flav, like W., has to deal with the snobbery of old Europe. An Italian vintner is at a loss for what to do with him when, after being invited to stomp on a few grapes, Flav decides to go on stomping for hours on end, demanding more and more grapes, and screaming “we gonna get drunk tonight!” (Purple toes—purple fingers?)

Brigitte puts the whole thing in perspective for us, renewing our sympathy for our noble but misunderstood commander in chief, when she comments to the viewer that “Fufie Fufie” has to understand Europe isn’t like America.

What happens next? Will Brigitte make the transition to Flav’s Laissez-faire values? Or will she remain in the service of her despotic fiancée, content to enjoy the support of the old European establishment, haunted by the painful knowledge of what could have been as her life continues to dissolve into chaos? If he fails in this first attempt, will Flav be able to make the case back home to Chuck D. and Terminator X to loan him more money so he can go back to Europe to finish the job? Only time will tell.