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Pretty Wild: so fake it’s real.

April 1, 2010

Oh, where to  begin with the new venture from E!. The network is my normal go-to for all of my upper class reality cavorting needs. Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kendra, The Girls Next Door– this is my genre. I don’t care if these people are fame seeking. I want to be them. Their problems of club appearances, publicity schedules, surprise pregnancies and famous boyfriends seem more appealing than mine, which run along the line of “hmmm, electricity is past due” and “when is my annual 25c an hour pay raise due”. This is why I don’t have a reality show.

Another reason I won’t manage to have a reality show is I am one of those rare people who avoid attention. I am perfectly happy to fly under the radar, I don’t even like people singing happy birthday to me (just ask the waiters I fled from on my last celebratory outing). Part of the (dubious) charm of the reality genre is the power it gives people to garner as much attention as possible. It makes attention-getting a career.

Nowhere is this more clear than in Pretty Wild. For those who don’t know, Pretty Wild is about three sisters, Tess Taylor and Alexis and Gabby Neiers, ages 20, 18 and 16 respectively. What do they do? I’m not sure I can tell you. They try to model. They party. They drink. That about sums it up. The big claim to fame is Alexis’s arrest for her (alleged) involvement in the bling ring, where over privileged teens broke into and looted celebrities houses. So we’re all clear, she says she is innocent. Yes, she is on that surveillance footage, but she was drunk, and was actually peeing in a bush outside Orlando Bloom’s house while her friends were robbing it. It doesn’t matter if this story is true or not, the level of class is about the same either way. Truthfully, I’d probably be more likely to cop to robbing the house than being incontinent and passed out on the sidewalk.

Their mother is former Playboy model Andrea Arlington. As a mother she doles out Adderall each morning like vitamins, encourages their stripper pole activities and home schools them according to philosophy of the Secret. I can only hope, seeing as Tess and Alexis are past high school age, that this is a supplement to additional education. For those who don’t know, the Secret is the philosophy of putting good thoughts out into the universe and having them realised. Or to quote the website: “The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe. The knowledge of this law has run like a golden thread through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviors in the world’s history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women. All that they have ever accomplished or attained has been done in full accordance with this most powerful law”. The home schooling entails making vision boards of inspirational people. All of whom were cut out from fashion magazines.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever been actually repulsed by the people on a reality show. It is hard to describe their sense of entitlement, and the little they do to earn it without watching the show. They are wannabes in every sense of the concept. Normally I understand vaguely why people have their own show. The Kardashians had a well-known dad and step-dad, already had their own business, and were already society figures. Kendra was Hugh Hefners girlfriend. I understand why we’re meant to care about them. We’re meant to like them.

Conversely, I have no idea why these girls have a show. They aren’t rich by TV show standards– they just moved from Thousand Oaks to Hollywood Hills living in average suburban surroundings. They don’t do anything, or know anyone. The show began filming before the bling ring, so that doesn’t even justify it. The show is like a car wreck, terrible but hard to look away.

So, why, despite this rant, am I ultimately justifying this show? This is a weird circular post-modern justification of reality television. They are people pretending to be reality stars pretending to be people. They are so fake in their attempts to project a certain image that the truth is screamingly obvious. The thing is, the show isn’t even encouraging of them. We aren’t meant to like them. It is edited to mock them and their fame grubbing ways, but they’re so focused on being famous that they don’t even seem to realise it. Their crazed antics show that reality tv is worth something, or they wouldn’t be trying so hard. Chelsea Handler is an executive producer on the show. I love Chelsea. But she pretty openly hates the reality fame seeking (note her dubbing of Spencer and Heidi Pratt as “Herpes 1” and “Herpes 2”). She has either stooped to an all-time low, or is focusing on the mockery of a ridiculous group of people with very twisted ideas of the world (who in this day and age thinks having a fake ID torn up while doing a shot with Paris Hilton is something to be proud about?). I suspect, and hope, it’s the latter.

I highly encourage you to watch at least one episode of this show. Despite my hatred of it, I’m addicted. Reality tv becoming so fake it’s real? What a brilliant concept.

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