Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rich Kids on TV: NYC Prep

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?


SavingDiva said...

I watched a preview of the show, and it looks horrible! The kids are ridiculous and obnoxious!

Becca said...

I actually sat through the whole thing last night, and it is horrendous. I have never been so happy to be a lower-middle-class North-westerner in all of my life. I hope that the show will be a learning experience for these kids - to show them how ridiculous they actually are so that they can change sooner rather than later.

NYCity Mama said...

My husband and i started watching and changed the channel we felt so sick to our stomachs with it. It was horrible and disgusting and we can't believe that these kids have parents even. It was awful, awful, awful.

Lindsey said...

I watched part of it, as I am a sucker for Bravo's reality shows. But I stopped watching halfway through because I couldn't stand watching how incredibly spoiled these kids were, and how most of their parents were completely absent. I like Gossip Girl because it is totally fake and seems completely ridiculous, but after watching a bit of this maybe it's not so uncommon.

Revanche said...

What strikes me is that we have these disgusted reactions because we have another frame of reference to "normal." I bet that the kids wouldn't think anything was at all awry if they watched themselves.

mapgirl said...

HAHA! Welcome to my teenage world at fancy prep school!

Most of my classmates were not upper-echelons of rich and were actually very nice. Peer pressure at our school was not to flaunt it. But at the same time, it was very galling to have WASP-y kids come back from Christmas break in Jamaica with deep, dark tans.

I have news for you though, most teens, whether rich or poor are kind of spoiled, obnoxious and terrible. Not all, but a lot. I go drinking with their Yuppie analogues in DC all the time. They just turn into horrible adults.

BTW, your subliminal messages just flashed a stripper photo. She's pulling down her shirt, flashing her mammary gland's spout while some gives her money. V. NSFW.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the show, but in real life I'd like to depend the people you are being disgusted over.

If they made a show about middle class/lower class children in high school you would probably be more disgusted. Growing up many average income family children have zero guidence and absentee parents too! Atleast wealthy parents are out working long hours and providing for their children. The lower class are more than likely negleting their kids for the same reason to work long hours to put food on the table or for other reasons like ignorance, studpity or some chemical dependence.

Before you go criticing take out your jealous and you'd realize there is no difference in their behavior other than no sense of money and a hard days work of earning it.

I'm not wealthy, went to public school and grew up in a middle class long island town.

Anonymous said...

Bronx Chica...I look at it for entertainment..they are hilarious & spend their parents money in ways that are horrible.

Tired of being broke said...

I see nothing wrong with the show. It is not what I would consider normal especially for the young lady whose parents live in the Hamoptons while she lives in the city with her teenage brother. However, for those kids, this is all they know. It is their way of life.

Anonymous said...

Ah that show is one of my guilty pleasures. Some of the kids are nice - some are kind of snotty. They don't really seem all that different than normal teenagers actually ... other than having no idea how much things cost.