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Thursday June 15, 2006 7:15 pm

Spoiled Brat Shows Have Not Gone Bad Yet

Launa BeachWhy is it that we, as a society, are so obsessed with watching other people with bottomless pockets throw away their money? I never realized how many shows there are out there that focus on what can only be called “spoiled brats”. These past few years there have been an excess of reality programming documenting the lives of these spoiled brats. 

The first one to come to mind is, of course, FOX’s Simple Life, which stars America’s most famous spoiled brat, (famous for nothing more than being just that) Paris Hilton and equally-spoiled Nicole Richie. MTV has Laguna Beach which follows around a group of rich teenagers and was so popular it inspired both a spin-off (The Hills) and a rip-off (8th & Ocean). Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County follow women who those teenagers will be in twenty years. Bridezillas gives us a glimpse into the lives of spoiled women throwing elaborate weddings, while MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen is the sixteen-year-old’s equivalent.

Joe Millionaire tricked women into falling in gold-digger’s-love with a “millionaire” who wasn’t rich after all, while NBC did the opposite in For Love or Money by offering the winning female contestant a large monetary prize for “winning” the heart of a man who is unaware of the incentive.

There has also been E!’s The Anna Nicole Show, A&E’s Growing Up Gotti, the WB’s Survival of the Richest, and MTV’s Rich Girls, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and sister spin-off The Ashlee Simpson Show. At least WE’s Daddy’s Spoiled Little Girl openly admits that their “stars” are spoiled rotten.

What is it that keeps us tuning in to these shows? Do “have-not” viewers live vicariously through these “have plenty” stars? Does watching their excessive waste make us feel superior for own conscientious frugality? Do we take pleasure in their seeming lack of intelligence? (I’m not implying that all spoiled people are stupid; I’m simply questioning the brainpower of certain wealthy people from some of the above shows, no names, no names).

A male friend in his twenties recently confessed that he sometimes watches My Super Sweet Sixteen. He and I both find the show extremely funny (even when it might not mean to be), but he also described it as a type of social-commentary. While some people might watch the show from a “wow-isn’t-that-cool” position, he sees it as a mockery: “how ridiculous that these children are complaining that they’re getting a $100,000 party instead of a 500,000 party!”

Whatever it is, America has not stopped watching.

Read More | Mercury News

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