There are few things in this world that will turn a person into an absolute idiot with no regard for their own dignity. For a starving man, it may be a Big Mac. For a lonely man, it may be a naked woman who wants to sleep with him. For an addict, it's that cigarette or shot of whiskey. For G-Rob, it's any of those things.
For a lot of people on TV these days, it's money.
Exhibit A: The appropriately named "I Love Money" on VHI.
If you're not familiar with it, it's VHI's answer to MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenges (and if you're not familiar with that, think Battle of the Network Stars but substitute people in minute 14 of their 15 minutes of fame). This show gathers together some of the more stupid and desperate contestants from previous reality shows Rock of Love, Flavor of Love and I Love New York. Remember, these are people who spent weeks demeaning themselves while fighting for the affection of Bret Michaels, Flava Flav and some crazy woman whom Flava Flav nicknamed New York.
Now they gather to battle it out for something a little more tangible: Cash.
One contestant is apparently attempting to get herself into the reality show Hall of Fame. Megan (pictured right) is now on her third reality show. She's already split $250,000 for winning Beauty and the Geek. She was then dumped by Bret Michaels. And now she's back for more. She may or may not have been a Playboy Cyber Girl of the Month, I don't know, I haven't Googled her.
Anyway, she's the kind of person in this world who is clearly getting by on the only talent she has. If you don't know what it is, you haven't looked at the picture. Should I begrudge her that? She clearly enjoys the attention and yearns to be on TV as much as possible. If we've only got 15 minutes, I guess we better get all we can before time runs out!
What the hell does this have to do with poker?!?
Good question. But if you can't guess the answer, then you haven't been paying attention to the poker world over the past 5 years.
Exposure is everything. Had Hevad Khan acted like Eric Seidle, would you still remember his name? If Mike "The Mouth" Matusow was as animated as "Action" Dan Harrington, would he get a featured table every year at the WSOP?
Hole card cameras, the WPT and and ESPN changed everything. It's not just enough anymore to be good at poker. You have to be good at poker AND have a schtick. For many, you have to be willing to make a complete fool of yourself.
I'm not suggesting the characters didn't exist before the TV cameras turned on. Scotty Nguyen has always been Scotty Nguyen. But there is a new breed of TV hogs out there. They know if they're loud and obnoxious, they get their own 5 minutes on ESPN. And if they get 5 minutes on ESPN, some online poker room out there will hand him some cold hard cash to wear a patch.
We all love money.