Thursday, December 28, 2006

Super Sweet Absurdity

I've now seen a few episodes of MTV's Super Sweet Sixteen, and I'll concur with Hazzard at Everybody Loves Your Money:

That show makes me ill.

I didn't see the same episode Hazzard saw, but then, I didn't have to: You can look at pretty much any pile of gorilla crap to know what all the others are going to look like.

In my case, I saw a fifteen-year-old boy make a grand, bejewelled entrance to his parentally-sponsored $300k birthday party ... on a camel. And make his exit in a still-showroom-glazed Benz (apparently it'd be his when he became old enough to drive). In between those two things, well, he watched from a gold throne as his "friends" danced around him in some huge club.

Following that, I saw another episode wherein a young girl (with pretty much every other sentence) demanded that her parents purchase her "only the best of everything." This would include, but not be limited to, a Porsche or BMW convertible from the showroom for her birthday. Brand was no matter; she just wanted something to "make everybody else jealous" and show everyone "how rich I am." Mommy and Daddy, of course, acquiesced at every turn. Interestingly, she also wanted to make the entrance to her party wearing a snake around her shoulders. The last bit I saw — the last bit I could stand, really — was Ms. Thang trying on a particularly large python for size.

At that moment, I can only admit that I was heartbroken — not that the whole situation was so untenably ridiculous, which it was, but that network TV surely could not allow such a pathetic excuse for a human being to be painfully erased from the gene pool (Darwin Awards, where are you?) by a really, really hungry snake.

We all can dream, can't we?

Look, I'm not interested in how much cashflow these people have. I don't care that they can walk into a car showroom and only half-blink at price tags in excess of eighty thousand bucks. I'm also not interested in watching folks scale new heights of self-centeredness in some all-important quest for excess and ego-orgasm. And that's what this show is all about. And I'm damn sure not interested in watching glossed-up teenagers prance around like the world owes them their every whim. As best I could tell, the world owes these kids little more than breathable air. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure it owes them that.

As a fairly pragmatic guy, I'd dearly love to see reality slap these kids (and their parents) across the face. Hard. But it probably never will, or at least not to the degree that would make me smile and show a thumbs-up. Fact is, these folks are insulated. They have their world, their money, and their boundaries. And I have mine.

Three hundred thousand dollars. For a party. A freaking teenager's party. A meaningless, ego-engorging party. All that waste, and whose soul was made genuinely better for it? Find me someone. Anyone.


As my wife points out: There are kids out there, great kids, well-mannered and polite and who, two days ago, knew going in that their only Christmas gifts were going to be a warm meal and maybe a smile from someone behind a buffet counter. Most of these kids probably didn't complain much. Here, as in everything else, it was all about expectations.

Some of us expect to have enough money to pay our bills. Others of us expect only to have something to eat tomorrow morning. Some of us cannot even expect that.

And then there are those of us who expect to be handed the keys to an $80,000 Porsche coupe the day we breach the 16-year-old mark. We haven't voted yet, or demonstrated much in the way of mature behavior or adult responsibility, and we damn sure haven't made a single positive, lasting impact on any human who resides outside our own silk-curtained bedroom. But we deserve The Best The World Has to Offer. We, after all, are fortunate.

I know this is the way the world is, and the way it has always been. The Haves have, the Have-Nots don't, and in the middle, there's just a really big mess ...

... of people watching the uber-Haves on MTV.

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— Posted by Michael @ 2:48 PM


I think the point of the show is to show the most exaggerated and lavious parties and in part, to inspire sentiments like yours. I'm not saying I agree with it, but that's reality tv for you - some people will feel sick, others envious, and still others (like my friends and I) who will occasionally watch the show to see what sorts of crazy stuff comes out next. And being that it's reality tv, I'm sure some scenes are cut in such a way to make the participants more obnoxious than they really are.


And we wonder why kids today have the "entitlement" attitude.


I couldn't help but think as I read your blog that these rich kids (and their parents) really ought to read the book, Who Really Cares by Brooks. The book may just make a dent in these teens' hearts and help them realize that charitably giving of their time and money is worth more than sweet-16 parties.


I see both sides, but the theme for the show is awful.


The problem is that they grow up and they have the same attitudes. And even those who do not grow up with luxury expect someone to cater to their whims.

We have a friend who is paralyzed. His caregiver is living with his son in the same house. Yesterday, she threw a tantrum at him because firewood was being delivered and she would have to stack it. She said that she was just a girl (she's 30). Like our friend told her, he'd have it stacked in an hour if he could just get out of the bed. That's entitlement.


I watch it once in a while. It depicts a lot of horrible parents and spiritually deformed children -- and for that reason, it's completely amusing, to me. I can't think of any other show that stokes the fires of my cynicism quite so well.

Of course, if I had to deal with these people in person, I might wish to express my amusement a little more physically than usual.


Well said.

By the way, the girl with the snake ended up with a brand new BMW 7 series at the end of her party. My guess is that she has already piled it up. I've seen grown men struggle to park a car that size. I'm sure a spoiled little brat would have 10 times the difficulty.

I do take a bit of comfort away from this show. It's that I can be far more content in life with far less. These kids will never truly be happy.

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