Yesterday, I was reading about a new TV show called NYC Prep. It's supposed to be a sort of real world Gossip Girl, looking behind the scenes at the lives of wealthy New York teenagers:
These six swaggering rich kids — four girls and two boys — dutifully spend and text their way around the Upper East Side like their fictional counterparts on “Gossip Girl,” only they do it haltingly. Like real-life adolescents, their arrogance is dotted with hesitation, nervous laughter and assertions put in question form.
“Everything in New York City is about pulling connections,” PC, an 18-year-old who is cast as the spoiled, manipulative Chuck Bass figure, explains. “It’s who you know, and how much money you have. And it’s really sad? And I’m not saying I’m like that? But that’s what New York is: money is power.”
All the money in the world cannot change the sexual politics of high school or the pull of the herd. The show doesn’t name the schools, but Web sites found out fast. Taylor, 15, who goes to the highly selective Stuyvesant, a public high school, worries that wealthier students from places like Nightingale-Bamford and Dwight could look down on her. To improve her status, she decides to throw a party at a chic Japanese restaurant downtown....
As I always do when reading about reality TV shows, I found myself wondering why anyone would agree to participate in something that is designed to make them look ridiculous. Even if the kids didn't realize how obnoxious they'd appear, you'd think the parents would. Robert Frank at The Wealth Report apparently wondered the same thing, and unlike me, he could just call up the producer of the show and ask him!
RF: What did you say to get the parents to agree?
[Lenid Rolov, executive producer]: We used an honest approach. We had two producers who came from this world and we said we wanted to present these kids as they really are. These kids are dealing with the same issues that other kids are dealing with, but maybe they’re growing up a little faster. These kids don’t flaunt their wealth and they want to be seen as everyone else. The parents want to have their kids work for their money and have the same opportunities as everyone else.
I guess this tells me two things: that people in the upper echelons of wealth really have no idea how the rest of the world live, and that parents are easily blinded by the idea of anyone paying attention to their very special, very wonderful children.
Has anyone actually watched the show? What did you think of it?