Both happened within a span of a week, bringing about the cancellation of production company 51 Minds’ Megan Wants a Millionaire and the pending I Love Money 3, both in which Jenkins was a contestant (and the winner of the latter). Pulling the shows off the air may be the first decent thing VH1 has done in some time — and no, bringing back Behind the Music doesn’t count.
Like sibling network MTV, VH1’s programming has hit a brick wall, unleashing wave after recycled wave of banal, dating-based “reality” programs and “reality” documentaries about sports stars no one cares about. With by-the-numbers production — one-dimensional characters, trick editing to demonize or prop up characters and story lines and stereotypes galore — increasingly catering to a sinking lowest common denominator, getting audiences to care about the shenanigans of wannabe actors and actresses became a voyage to the bottom of the barrel.
And these thespians, many of them cruising the reality-show circuit, are questionable in character themselves. Whether it’s sex tapes (NSFW!) or pooping on people’s floors, they are grouped into situations aimed at supposedly bringing out the emotions of the contestants. If there are real displays of sadness and anger, having mentally unbalanced people in unstable situations and surroundings is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. (And the reunion specials on VH1 are like UFC brawls in pink bling and glitter.) I wonder if production companies like 51 Minds do background checks on their employees before throwing them in front of the cameras.
Sadly, it took the death of a quasi-celebrity and his ex-wife to even bring about such a question. At the same time, people became interested in the mindsets and motivations of the actors fighting for fame and fortune. Too bad that it came in the face of tragedy, shining such a negative light on the reality that people watch these shows in the hope of avoiding.