Last night, snuggled into bed, I watched part of MTV’s “The Hills”finale. What? So it’s the most vapid, horrifyingly shallow, “un”reality show ever. Of course, I am well aware that I am almost 35 and this admission may have pushed me a couple notches lower on the “grounded, has a clue, feminist” scale. But, whatever, I’m coming out of my MTV closet. I was watching it. And while hurling insults at that horrid human, Spencer, I saw a commercial for a new “reality” show. My Super Sweet Sixteen – EXILED.
Oh, mother of pearl. My prayers have been answered.
I may have mentioned before my visceral distaste for the show My Super Sweet Sixteen.It stands for everything that is wrong with parenting today. The expectations it sets for tweens everywhere absolutely fill me with horror. For real. It’s televised p*rn for the self centered, materialistic teenaged masses. Hell yeah, I’m getting a Escalade for my birthday. Hell yeah, I’ll fly to Paris to buy four dresses for one party. Hell yeah!! And you suck if you don’t!
Ugh, I am just not sure what to say. Except… gag me with a spoon. I’m 35, ok? As I often do while watching MTV, I am connecting with the permed out 80s teenager still living inside of me.
So anyway, MTV has now decided to take the stars of these shows (I can hardly stomach the fact that there have been 61 episodes to date of this trash) and plop them in the middle of a third world country. And as I watched this trailer, I found myself sitting up in bed, madly snickering and clapping with glee. Oooooh, they’re gonna GET theirs now…
But I have to add in a sidebar here. These parents need some exiling themselves. How could they have EVER gone along with “My Super Sweet Sixteen” in the first place? What part of showering their teen aged children with money, cars, and live performers – and then taping it all for a national television show – was ever a good idea? While their kids are getting schooled in Peru, India and Kenya, I hope someone, anyone (Super Nanny, where are you?) is setting them straight while shredding every credit card in sight.
And I also feel for the families who are hosting these girls. UGH. I suppose our status as the “Ugly Americans” can’t get much worse these days (thanks, Dubya) but I know I will cringe seeing these families react to their horrid, self serving behavior. Please, wonderful people of our earth, ALL AMERICANS DON’T SUCK THIS BAD!
But here is the irony. Back in 1987, I went through my own little teenaged exile. I wasn’t 16, I was 14. And it wasn’t Kenya, it was Swaziland. I may have had my reasons back then, but there can be no denying it – I was a very unreasonable 14 year old. And in the summer of ’87, kicking, “UH-MUH-GAWD”ing and screaming, my parents dropped me in Africa. So there. And was I schooled? Oh, you bet.
So why do I take such glee watching these privileged brats get such a drastic slap in the face? Is it my own issues of wanting to see other kids go through what I did? No, I don’t think so. Or is it the fact that at 35, I am painfully aware of how much excess we American have – and EXPECT to have? Do I shudder at how little we Americans understand about humanity on a global scale? Do I feel heaps of shame when my fellow Americans don’t even WANT to learn more about cultures other than their own? HELL YEAH. And guess what sweet sixteeners… you suck if you don’t.
My brother and myself. Still new to Africa. Getting a clue.