MTV follows the spoiled teenagers around town as they plan their overweening celebrations costing as much as $200,000. They gloat over how their parties will display their greatness, obsess over who can come (and more importantly, who cannot), whine, cry, and fight with their parents, and traipse through fancy auto dealerships trolling for their first cars. The show's producer, Nina Diaz, explained to the New York Times that ego trips and extravagance are required. "We're looking for the parties to be over the top, and we're looking for originality," she explained.
The teen divas on the show aren't all female -- one of them was the son of top soul-music producer L.A. Reid -- but the girls seem to relish the pouty-brat role more So we're exposed to insufferable Marissa, who had her poodles dyed pink, and Daddy bought her not one car, but two. He fools her by getting her an SUV, and then in the end, he also gives her the blaze-red sports car she badly wanted. My zany Daddy!
But that was chump change. Priya, a 16-year-old Indian-American in Texas, planned to enter her party during an elaborate procession led by elephants. Priya received a Mercedes convertible and an assortment of diamond jewelry for her birthday. Her older sister Divya's graduation gift package included a Bentley, diamonds and two homes in India."I was really surprised," said the sister, "because I was only expecting a Bentley and one house."
The show is so garish and over the top that you can feel that MTV's "reality" producers are manipulating the brattiness of the starring teenagers, but to some, the egomania just comes naturally. Sophie, a Florida teenager, received piles of hateful e-mail when she marched around announcing "the moral of this story is I'm always right." Sophie defended her mother's decision to spend $180,000 on her party to the New York Times thusly: "Unless they were crazy or hated their child, any parent who was financially able would do it."
MTV knows that this spectacle of self-indulgence will have viewers coming back each week for another dose of outrage. Every one of these shows ought to end with a serious spanking. Maybe for the parents as well as the teenagers. But MTV would only find a way to spin another reality yarn out of that, too.
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