The Nod

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Hey Fam! 

This week on the show, Eric presents three reasons why he believes 2016 was the year that reality TV peaked. Once you hear his argument, I think it will all make sense to you! However, it did remind me of how much I really miss the golden age of reality TV. I consider that to have happened in the mid-2000s. This is when I think reality TV was not so new that it was underproduced, but also not so old that it started to become a caricature of itself (like now). The best reality show of all time dominated the mid-2000s... and that was Flavor of Love. The show was designed for twenty different ladies to compete for Flavor Flav's heart as they live together in a "Bachelor"-styled home. It introduced the world to Tiffany "New York" Pollard, but another star should have been born on that show and it's time we say her name!

Larissa “Bootz” Hodge does not get nearly as much credit as she deserves!!!!

New York was a pioneer of reality television, yes. I don’t think the genre had ever seen a villain that was simultaneously so likable. However, there is an air of theatre to New York that I think made it easier for contestants and audiences to feel disrespected by her, while always slightly amused. New York had a performativity to her villain routine, but what made Bootz great was that she just truly gave no fucks. 

Bootz was straightforward. And she was scary. Both New York and Bootz were manipulative and calculating, but their approaches differed greatly. New York represents the “I dare you to touch me and you’ll be eliminated!” reality TV school of thought. Bootz is more, “I dare you to touch me, becuz I’ve been waiting to beat you up!” And I believed her, EVERY TIME! 

Anyway, here we go. Here are a few of my favorite Bootz moments that prove why I think she is an unsung icon of reality TV. They also prove why it’s probably best for everyone involved that she’s NOT on reality TV anymore…

Bootz won't get in line.

On the second season of Flavor of Love, Flav surprises the girls by bringing New York back into the competition (for a second round of exploitation). This is probably one of my favorite reality TV clips ever, so watch it please 😂. New York is “in charge” of making sure the girls look “good” for a photoshoot (don’t ask me to explain the relationship dynamic here because I still have no idea how she got to play contestant and judge at the same time.) She demands all of the girls come downstairs and line up. All of the other girls go running. Bootz takes her time. New York demands an apology for “her tardiness.” Bootz asks for one right back. She’s unwavering. Look at her face. The way she looks right into the eyes of the devil herself. None of the other girls in the house are built like Bootz. 

"I feel that Pumkin spit on New York because she is racist." 

You only need to watch the first minute or so of this clip. On the final episode of season 2 of Flavor of Love, a white woman named Pumkin decided to spit on New York after being eliminated. My classmates and I followed this show religiously, and the next day at school we couldn't stop talking about how this white lady spat on New York! Anyway, VH1 was so dedicated to the cause of further exploiting the women of the Flavor of Love franchise, that they decided to create a spinoff show called Charm School. The aim of the show was to “reform” the Flavor of Love ladies who had so badly “disgraced” themselves on national TV. And of course, it wouldn’t be a show without Bootz. On the first day that the cast moved in, Bootz needs to make one thing clear to Pumkin, who had conveniently been assigned to share a room with her: “If I get touched, if I get spit on or ANYTHING, it’s going down.” And she called Pumkin racist. Because she was. This was a major moment for me because I remember wanting vengeance so badly for New York after the spit incident. New York’s confrontation with Pumkin at the season 2 reunion was entertaining (remember what I said about New York and theatrics?) but not necessarily satisfying. Bootz got it straight on DAY ONE— won’t be no spittin’ and carrying on in this dancery. I felt that. 

"You full of sh*t Mo'Nique!!!"

This clip is pretty significant to me because I had never really seen a contestant on a reality show break the the fourth wall like this by essentially telling the host not to talk to them... LOL LIKE WHAT? This wasn’t Bootz’s first time going at it with Mo’Nique but it’s my favorite because it’s the first time any of the ladies really expose her. Throughout the season and in real life, Mo’Nique enjoys feigning moral superiority over people (as if she wasn’t complicit in exploiting these women as well). And Bootz wasn’t for it. So she told her. Because that’s what Bootz does. 

Anyway, now Larissa FKA Bootz is 33 and raising two beautiful kids in LA. You can follow her on IG and her now idle YouTube channel where she’s done a few Q&A’s about reality TV, life after it, and her new found relationship with God. Bootz, if you’re reading this, I hope you have a great day!  

- Mack

Whether you're obsessed with reality TV or want to avoid it altogether...
you can't escape it, so forward this to someone who loves it! Sharing is caring.
Shameless plug: I produced a segment on this week's show (my first)!
Tune in to hear Brittany impart her wisdom with us all!
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Thanks for listening!
-Brittany, Eric & The Nod team
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