Who could have imagined that a show that began with such a skanktacious bang would go out with -- well, nothing so melodious as a whimper; Rock of Love went out with something like the first cough of the morning from a four-pack-a-day smoker.
Hack, wheeze, horrrrrk.
That's Riki Rachtman, by the way, former host of the Headbangers Ball on MTV. I remember seeing him in The Decline of Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, in which he wore more eyeliner than a gross of drag queens. Of course, so did everyone else in that documentary, so that's neither here nor there.
Rachtman introduces the contestants sitting near the stage. Let's take a moment to remember these folks, shall we?
Because that's the last we'll see of any of them.
And then, here he is...
Bret. Hon. You're not storming onto the stage of the Duluth Civic Center. Let's keep a sense of proportion here, shall we?
Ma'am, you're not helping.
Rachtman blows the requisite smoke up Bret's ass, talking about what a major hit the show was. To his credit, Bret says the real draw of the show was the personalities of the women. Man, Bret is still clearly not properly managing his diabeetis. Or maybe he looks fine for a 44-year-old, but hideous for a guy clinging on to 24 as if it's his last shot of insulin.
First up are the Barbie twins. Eh, I suppose there was no avoiding them. Here, Kristia tells the wacky story of sharing a bed with Brandi C. during a road trip and getting sleep-punched for her trouble. The blondes are pretty entertaining, especially when Rachtman flubs his line and Brandi C. tells him that if he and Bret put their boobs together, they could think better. Zing!
Oh, bless her crazy ass. Rodeo talks about her connection to Bret and how she hopes he'll give her a second chance. Bret remains as breezily noncommittal as ever (while looking as sincere as possible) and the two of them share one of those 30-second hugs where you kind of adjust your grip on the other person a lot. Then...
Rodeo plugs her barbecue sauce! Honestly, I hope she does well with it, 'cause I don't see the Bret thing working out. Also: crazy people make the best barbecue sauces. Just be sure to strain it in case the odd tooth makes it into the jar.
And speaking of absurd additions to otherwise delightful things, what the crap is Sam wearing around her neck?! I don't even know what that is; is it some new ultralight dookie rope, a braided length of gold lame or some Celtic-knotted tinsel?
Sam's time on stage is mostly dominated by flashbacks to her reactions to the insanity of the show. She and Bret seem to agree that if they'd met in another world, they would've made it work, but bottom line: she's not cool with the nonstop cheating thing, and he simply cannot understand why a woman wouldn't be cool with that. Seriously, I don't think Bret understands monogamy even on the conceptual level.
Oh, lord. Must we?
The only interesting part of the Lacey one-on-one is when she says that Bret was on the show for self-promotion, just like everyone else. An indignant Rachtman insists that Bret is stratospherically successful and needs none of this "promotion" of which Lacey speaks, that Bret was on the show purely to find love. Because that's where one goes to look for love, of course: on a cheesy reality show. Whatevs, Just For Men Jet Black.
As the designated "crazy bitch" on the show, Lacey must share couch time with her assorted nemeses.
I am momentarily distracted by Dallas' hair and let out a near-involuntary cry of "WEAVE!", but snap to when she delivers the classic line: "I don't dislike animals, I dislike Lacey."
There's my girl. Let me remember you like that. Even with that matching dookie bracelet.
Lacey, never one to let the last word slip away, offers Dallas a lovely gift...
... and offers to fix her up with dog-fighting (and -strangling and -electrocuting) fan Michael Vick. "I don't date black men," Dallas retorts, and it seems to me that of all the possible reasons to reject Michael Vick, individual racial preference is way, way, way down the list.
Moving on. There's some rehashing of the manufactured drama of the Vegas trip, where a hungover Brandi M. told Lacey that Bret might not be the one for her. Okay, yes, that was stupid of her, but it was just plain trife for Bret to eliminate her for it.
Brandi says that she wouldn't want to sleep with anyone who'd slept with Lacey anyway and points out that Lacey snuck into Bret's bedroom just about every night. Lacey says that it was because she wasn't winning any challenges, so she had to get her one-on-one time with Bret. Honestly, I think Bret comes across as the much bigger ho in this story.
Brandi gets in a good dig over Lacey's video on YouTube and does a great impression of Lacey's artless walk in it. But soon we're treated to the full spectacle of Lacey in performance mode, as she performs a song with her band.
Okay, I'm within spitting distance of middle age here, but isn't nu-metal, industrial-ish, crunchy guitar stuff kinda 10 years ago? Or is it back in already? Hell, I don't know; you damn kids move way too fast for me. Lacey says she wrote the song "Shallow" for all the other girls on the show.
Yes, they are clearly scathed and chastened by such an eloquent rebuke.
We mercifully cut to a commercial before too much of the song is played. But when we return, Lacey is still on the couch.
Out of nowhere, Rachtman directs a question to Mia, who relays a great story about being housed on by a naked Lacey and throwing a strawberry daquiri onto her in sheer panic.
I always liked Mia.
Finally, we're down to the last person Lacey pissed off on the show. She and Heather chat for a bit, forgive each other for saying shitty things about one another's parents, and hug. It's rather charming, assuming any of it is remotely real.
Speaking of unreal things, Heather reveals the work she had done to her "Bret" tattoo. When the audience doesn't immediately erupt with laughter, Heather protests, saying that it's fake -- and hilarious. I kinda admire her "ah, come on" attitude on this one.
She and Bret talk about... something; I'm honestly not sure what. They seem to interrupt each other with laughter a lot, and I'm sure it's awesome for them, but kinda confusing for the rest of us.
Then we bring out the "winner"!
Hmmm. I could be wrong, but I'm getting a certain amount of reticence in the body language here. Kind of a "get your old-man-hands off me" sort of vibe.
Jes sits on the couch, as far away from Bret as physically possible, and basically tells us that they didn't work out, that she didn't feel terribly valued by Bret, and that he picked her because he was afraid of picking Heather and having a real relationship. This is ... holy crap, this is actually pretty cool.
Big John is clearly loving this. Wait, why is his own face on his shirt?
So after essentially handing Bret his ass, Jes goes into the audience and hugs Heather. Bret ends up alone with only Wilford Brimley for company, and all the girls except Lacey go off and have a wonderful drunken night out with Big John driving them all safely home. Riki Rachtman begs to come along but is told to go touch up his roots.
That's the ending I choose to believe in, but I know it's just a beautiful lie. Nope, we've got Rock of Love 2: Bret's Ego Hasn't Been Stroked Enough looming in our future. This time around, I'll be rooting for the psychotic contestant.