March 29, 2010

Decline of Western Civilization, Part III: The Television Years

Oh, my sweet lord.

The worst show on television - and that's a category that sees a surprising amount of competition - has just been dethroned with the premier of Pretty Wild.

I stumbled upon this trainwreck Saturday morning between holes wrapping up my second round of Tiger Woods '10 and was amazed, shocked, stunned, repulsed and a whole bunch of other words as I tried to understand just what the show was...well...showing.  And this is coming from a man who has come to accept that Keeping Up With the Kardashians seems to have some sort of niche in the cosmos.

Pretty Wild, on the other hand, isn't anything that I can accept as having a place in any sort of society of which I want to be a part.  The basics of the show go like this:
  • The main characters are 16, 19, and 20 year old girls/young women.
  • Apparently they are attractive young women.
  • Mom is, herself, a former playboy model.
  • The two younger girls are sisters - Mom's daughters.  The other one seems to be...uh...well...she's a playboy model.  (No, I'm not going to link to more proof, shut up)  And she doesn't seem to be, in any way, related to Mom or Step-Dad.
  • The older sister (the middle of the three girls) is also an accused thief, having allegedly stolen clothes and such from Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and others.  (The connection of a reality show about a girl who robbed stars of other other reality shows is hilariously ironic.)
In other words, this is a show about people who are pretty and who are tangentially related to famous, attractive, wealthy people.  That's depressing and merit-less, yes, but it alone isn't enough to deserve the title of my post today.

The addition of three more aspects earn the post title today, however:
  • The girls all look to be underage.  I get that two of them are supposed to be older than the legal age of consent.  All three of the girls, however have looks drastically young for their ages making the watching of them feel more like watching the actions of a trio of spoiled, immature, pampered fifteen-year olds.
  • The show doesn't shy from nudity.  It's on a basic cable network, so I'm sure the producers won't show anything too for fear of legal repercussions, but I was stunned when they showed two of the girls (I assume them to be the older two, but the three look and act so similarly that it's hard to tell) changing clothes and didn't cut away.  They showed topless imagery of two women who look like ridiculously endowed fifteen-year olds with only an absolute minimum of blurring - and they repeated the shot moments later.
  • An LA Times article also states that the participants are "regularly fed lines by a producer, but you don't need to know that to feel that the series is remarkably stage-managed, and that its subjects -- who clearly sincerely cherish their particular realities -- are being used less with affection than cold contempt."  So, not only are the leads portrayed as vapid, spoiled, and stupid, they are either too vapid to do/say anything interesting on their own or desperate enough to allow themselves to be entirely fictionalized.
I'll admit that I don't like reality television.  Outside of a couple of cooking shows (Top Chef: Masters, in particular) and Last Comic Standing, I don't watch any reality show for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

I accept that shows like the Kardashians aren't showing people of any greater social value than these girls, but at least the people being oggled on the Kardashians are of legal age and look like it.  This show seems determined to appeal to pedophiles.

This is a new low.

I'll go ahead and link to Hulu and YouTube in case you want to see the clips for yourself, but I'd hope that you won't linger.

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