"Love & Hip-Hop: New York" Season Premiere: It’s On [Recap]
Bang a gong, it is on! The season premiere of "Love & Hip-Hop: New York" happened on VH1 Monday night and it's started off with nothing less than full-court drama! (Which is why y'all watch it in the first place...)
I have to admit: When I first saw that Joe Budden was going to be featured on this show, I had a few reservations. Though I appreciate his work—especially in Slaughterhouse—his tendency to live his life completely in the public eye (and with seemingly no filter) made me a bit nervous. Yet, from the minute Budden came onto the screen, he completely shattered all of my expectations, and in a good way: He was calm, cool, collected, and—dare I say—endearing. Sure, he has his quirks (the inappropriate laughing at all the wrong times, the childish game of "Truth or Truth"), but then again, don't we all? And, in the preview of the season where he speaks to his mother about his recent relapse, he actually brought heaviness to my otherwise cold, unfeeling heart—because while much of this show is merely "for the cameras," Budden actually is one of the realest "characters" on the show, and he has a likable personality overall.
The same, however, cannot be said of Tahiry Jose. Best known for gracing the covers of various "men's magazines" in the urban world, Tahiry kicked off the show with the arrogant proclamation of being a "model, cover girl, and actress," but I don't think Meryl Streep had to wait tables at Il Sole once she started getting magazine covers. (In defense of Tahiry, at least she wasn't shown stripping or prostituting...) Tahiry may have an above-average face, but her body is lumpy and out-of-shape (Photoshop is, apparently, her best friend), and as the show progressed, her increasingly hostile attitude—"AIN'T NOBODY WANNA HUG! Do I LOOK like I wanna hug?"—took her from passably-cute to straight-up-and-down UGLY, especially when paired with the perpetual "stank face" scowl that would not leave her face throughout the show. Aspiring models, take note: A pretty face and a fat ass means nothing if your attitude sucks. While we can blame some of this on "editing," remember than even the most exploitative videographer can't edit what you don't give them. And unlike the funny and lovable ratchetness of, say, Mama Jones—who is sorely missed this season—Tahiry comes off as sour and unlikable...tipping over tables, threatening to beat everyone's ass, and ranting about a relationship that you claim to be over are all indicators that Tahiry doesn't have a clue as to how a real model is supposed to act. Only Naomi Campbell could get away with such behavior, and that was only after she made a real name, and real money, for herself on various high-fashion runways. You, Tahiry Jose, are no Naomi Campbell.
Moving right along: Unlike last season, where Yandy seemed to revel in being right in the middle of the Jim and Chrissy drama (and even instigating it, to some degree), she's staying all the way out of the messes of the other ladies (at least for now) as she focuses on the birth of her son, Amir Harris. (And what a cutie-pie he is...) Aside from the standard "family" drama (we get it, Yandy, we get it: You didn't make the baby by yourself...), Yandy's storyline seems to be the least controversial of the season.
But that's okay, because Erica Mena and Olivia are more than making up for the lack of drama in the Smith household. Last season, we saw Erica hint that she was trying to "break away" from the "urban model" label that defined her early career and this season, she's hired Rich Dollaz (Olivia's manager) to take her career in a different direction (beginning with a Maxim Magazine shoot). And, oh yeah, they're schtupping. Obviously not learning anything from Yandy last season, Olivia made sure to stick her nose right in the middle of their relationship (Erica gets a tattoo of Rich on her hand, Rich says they're "just hanging out"...no one read "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man"?) and impart her opinion on what, exactly, she wants to see happen here, and how it affects her. Now, while Olivia is one of the few people on this show who has a discernable talent (unlike Rashidah Ali, who bills herself as a "shoe consultant to the stars," or Raqi Thunda, who—despite her correct assertions of Tahiry being unstable—bills herself as "having the nastiest secrets in the industry"), I'm almost positive that the reason Olivia didn't go further than she did was because she was too concerned about what the next one was doing, and not about what she was doing. Olivia, boo, I actually like you, and I want to see you win (I'm sorry, but "Twist It" is still my shit!), so please step all the way out of your manager's personal business, please and thank you in advance.
Needless to say, with all this drama packed into the first hour, not all of the storylines could be covered. We saw nothing of Jen the Pen and Consequence, and we saw but a glimpse of Winter (thus far only billed as "Tahiry's friend") and Kaylin Garcia (the latest—and prettiest—significant other of the aforementioned Joe Budden, who is single-handedly bringing banana clips back into fashion). It should be interesting to see what the rest of this season holds, considering how this episode started off with a BANG. —Bernadette Giacomazzo (@bgiacomazzo)