I Love Money is a VH1 reality game show, starring contestants from Flavor of Love, I Love New York, Rock Of Love, Real Chance of Love, For the Love of Ray J, Daisy of Love and Megan Wants a Millionaire, who all immediately proceed to have sex with each other. The show is Refuge in Audacity in its purest form.
For a chance to win $250,000,- and a couple of extra hours on TV, the contestants must win a series of challenges, hosted by VH1 personality Craig J. Jackson. Much of the show's appeal lies in watching Jackson slowly realize he's taken a wrong turn in his career path: he visibly goes from generic TV host enthusiasm to boredom, then to abject horror, and finally (around season 2) to simply enjoying the show for what it is. By the time the season 2 finale came around, he was really getting in on all the fun.
The contestants, meanwhile, are split into two teams. They form alliances and friendships, fall in and out of love, beat each other up and partake in Fear Factor-inspired challenges such as "the kiss-off", "race around a Mexican square in a rickety go-kart and eat disgusting food while the locals wave tiny flags", and "save the drowning Midget Mac doll". With each new game, contestants manage to disqualify themselves in increasingly idiotic ways: by not understanding the challenge to begin with, by injuring their opponents (or allies), or most commonly, because they're sleeping with the other team. So Bad, It's Good doesn't begin to describe it.
After each season, several contestants got their own reality dating shows, contestants of which ended up in new I Love Money seasons — and the whole cycle would start all over again.
A third season was taped, but never aired because of extreme backstage drama. Specifically, one of the contestants was found dead in an apparent suicide after having possibly strangled his wife of six months to death. The entire series now feels Harsher in Hindsight as a result. Season four was already in the can and was eventually aired more than a year later, but the show was not renewed for a fifth season.
For general tropes about the contestants, please see the pages for their respective shows.
This series provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Frenchie to 20 Pack.
- Aesop Amnesia: Buckwild and Smiley didn't learn much in Charm School after all. Averted with Saaphyri, who seems to have genuinely bettered herself since Charm School and even jokes about other contestants' anger issues.
- All the Other Reindeer: The primary reasoning for Buddha's elimination in Season 2. He did not help his case, though, because he was mean towards the other contestants. In Season 4, it is stated to be the direct reason for Blonde Baller getting her check voided.
- And Your Little Dog, Too!: Said literally to Megan a couple of times. She carries around a mentally disabled chihuahua.
- Arch-Nemesis: Chance and Mr. Boston. They temporarily set aside their differences to pair up for what they thought would be an eating contest. It turned out to be a kissing contest. Mr. Boston was up for it, Chance... wasn't.
- Batman Gambit: In Season 2, 20 Pack throws a challenge specifically to force Tailor Made's alliance to go on their word. What this ends up doing is revealing that Tailor Made doesn't have as much authority over his alliance's actions after all.
- Butt-Monkey: Heat. Especially in the Season 2 reunion show.
- Call-Back: All of the challenges are based on events from other shows. Often badly.
- In Season 2, Heat's elimination was remembered by the Entertainer to the point where "the same freakin' waiter" was also present. In addition, the Entertainer's downfall was a challenge hovering above water, just like in Season 1.
- Tamara's presence on the first episode of Season 2 wasn't too different from her presence on Rock of Love, being not only short, but involving her getting directionally confused as to how to get out of the mansion in ILM. This is precisely the same thing that happened once she was eliminated on ROL.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Its a lot of backstabbing on this show.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Tailor Made plays this for all it's worth.
- Megan, too.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Most of the girls, but most notably Megan and Myammee, try to avoid elimination by wearing as little as possible. Megan also charmed Whiteboy to get into the Stallionaires alliance, but ended up actually liking him.
- Frank is disqualified from the butt-kissing contest when, after having his lips on 20 Pack's ass for a good ten minutes, he slaps it.
- The Ditz: It takes it to whole new levels.
- The Dragon: Multiple instances of this include, but aren't limited to:
- Brandi C. to Megan (Season 1).
- Toastee to Pumkin (Season 1).
- Tailor Made wanted to do this for Buddha in order to ally against the Entertainer in Season 2, but Buddha flatly refused.
- Ice to Myammee (Season 2).
- Dysfunction Junction
- Failure Is the Only Option: Frank's life.
- Smiley is a dramatic version: As was said to her in Charm School, she's simply comfortable being the loser. She doesn't last long.
- Funny Background Event: So the two teams are in the vault, and... wait. Is Heat wearing KISS makeup?
- Glasses Pull: 20 Pack tries this for extra drama, showing his Manly Tears behind his sunglasses. Slightly undercut by the fact that his mascara was running.
- Guy Liner: 20 Pack.
- He's Back: Frank the Entertainer and Heat in Season 2. 20 Pack in Season 4, albeit not for very long.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Brandi C hopes to make one for Megan. VH1 screws her out of it.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: 12 Pack and Heat were this during I Love New York, but they had a falling out after the show. Their friendship on I Love Money is strained at best.
- Buckwild and Saaphyri became best friends during Charm School, and were inseparable on I Love Money.
- Idiot Ball: T-weed. If Buddha being picked on a team is stated to be a bad idea, why would you go and pick him?
- Kavorka Man: Frank. He manages to bed Destiney, Pumkin and Buckwild.
- Large Ham: Frank the Entertainer.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Would you admit to having been in love with Flavor Flav?
- Love Triangle: Hoopz, Real and Whiteboy. Real actually proposes to Hoopz, sending Whiteboy into a giggling fit.
- Manipulative Bitch: Megan.
- Manly Tears: 20 Pack, several times.
- The Mole: Milf and Onix both fail spectacularly at being this.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Megan's main tactic.
- Discussed with It in the second season finale (Even the promos promoted the idea). But It proves to be just that stupid. He doesn't even complete the final challenge.
- Odd Friendship: Tailor Made and It.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Played straight for almost everyone (and most of the contestants refer to themselves by their nicknames), but averted for Smiley. She only goes by her real name, Leilene. Which is probably a result of Charm School.
- Buckwild is referred to as "Becky Buckwild" by everyone, including Jackson and Frank.
- Jackson himself tries to get people to call him CJ. It's halfway successful.
- Lampshaded with Milf, whose nickname crosses over into Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep". Jackson actually calls her a "Mother I'd Like to F***".
- Only Sane Man: 20 Pack. He breaks his hand during the second game, and instead of making a big drama out of it, he just continues to be a solid part of his team. And was voted "most trustworthy" by everyone except Frank (who voted for himself). His sanity on Season 2 wanes after he voids Buckwild's check, when he loses a loudmouth challenge on purpose the day after.
- The Prankster: Rodeo. She poured flour over Real while he was in the shower, and generally gained a reputation of being fond of pranks.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Brandi C., to Megan. I mean she begged and pleaded to leave after Megan got eliminated, even in Rock of Love: Charm School
- Really Gets Around: Brittanya had sexual relations with almost all the men in the house.
- Revenge Before Reason: After 20 Pack eliminates Buckwild, Saaphyri vows to make sure he gets eliminated.
- Sassy Black Woman: Saaphryi.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Pumkin and Frank. They continued slapping and strangling each other during sex, apparently.
- Small Name, Big Ego: CALIENNNTEEEEE!
- Smug Snake: Toasteee reveals herself to be one.
- Tailor Made continues to be this, and is referred to as a "snake" by his enemies.
- Spell My Name with an "S": VH1 still isn't sure how to spell Toastee(e) and T(-)weed.
- The Starscream: Many instances of a Starscream are invoked on this show.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Megan and Frenchie both seem to have unlimited supplies of bikinis. And not much else.
- The same goes for Myammee, who seems to have an unlimited supply of lingerie. She even lampshades this in the second season. Justified Trope: It turns out she lost a suitcase, and only really had her lingerie and the clothes she came in.