With typically forensic attention to the extremes of American existence, the results are so startling that prolonged exposure could start an anti-capitalist uprising among the senior executives of a Swiss bank.
It is not so much the flagrant distribution of wealth or the demented demands of the debutantes themselves-every teen is entitled to the odd tantrum after all-but the unholy fusion of both that makes this programme so astonishing. If you have any form of social conscience at all then the only way to get the full comic value of the show-and it does have it’s moments-is to keep reminding yourself that this is in effect a form of wildlife documentary. Little of what you will witness has anything to do with ordinary existence at all.
The series got off to a flying start by introducing to a Marissa, a girl so far embedded at the centre of her own universe you’d need a tractor beam to get her out. With all the innocent charm of a spam e-mail, Marissa yells “I’m a hot 16 year old!” at the camera while proceeding to plan the biggest 16th birthday party “Scottsdale Arizona has ever seen.” You may laugh, but it turns out that the party in question has a production budget in the neighbourhood of $150,000. Such largesse is only possible because “my Daddy own three car dealerships.” And clearly Daddy is no Frank Butcher as there in neither a Poartakabin or a sheepskin coat in sight, unless of course he had to sell them to pay for the party.
Having flown to LA to get one of her three outfits for the evening, dyed her dogs pink and forced her peers to audition for a ticket, the party commences with no more fuss than say the average Royal Wedding. Dad is at least able to claw some of the money back by only giving her cars. “I look like a supermodel!” she wails from a gilded throne. And none of her grateful guests seem disposed to tell her any different.
This week’s nightmare hails from Miami and spends a goodly portion of her time marching up and down the beach in a pair of angel’s wings making outrageous demands of her father. It is a situation he is only able to diffuse by intervening with a vehicle. Which is to say be buys her one, having fought what must have been at least a fleeting temptation so simply run her over.