"NYC Prep" -- Why Are These Kids So Ugly?
Last week Bravo debuted "NYC Prep" -- a "real-life" version of the CW show -- and it's obvious the producers are typecasting the six rich and preppy kids they follow on the show into the "Gossip" mold. So, why, oh why would Bravo cast such unattractive, annoying, spoiled brats for the show? After watching the second episode of the show last night, I can't help but wonder why these kids, who apparently have all the money in the world, couldn't pull in a little plastic surgery time before getting in front of the cameras. (Mean, yes, but these kids have more money in their little fingers than I do in my bank account and they signed up for the show, so fair's fair).
Jessie the aspiring fashionista is probably symbolic of all that's wrong with this show. I probably shouldn't badmouth a teenager, but homegirl is positively hideous and completely boring to boot (see photo to the right). Aside from dropping names in the fashion biz, something anyone with access to "Project Runway" episodes could do, she constantly plugs her pet charity cause of "Operation: Smile." The funniest moment in the show so far has to be when her bff P.C. -- an 18-year-old who is prone to saying pathetic things like "but that’s what New York is: money is power" and talks to his shrink about how he's sooo past high school -- lectures Jessie about why she couldn't have picked a cause that's more relevant.
The other three girls on the show, with the exception of poor little public schooler Taylor (who attends the competitive magnet school Stuyvesant, not some inner city neighborhood school, but feels the need to cover up this inadequacy with rich and preppy friends), are equally vapid, unattractive and obnoxious. Camille fancies herself as Blair Waldorf with her headbands and Harvard dreams, but comes off as unintelligent and lifeless unlike her fictional counterpart. Kelli, an aspiring singer who lives alone in Manhattan with her brother while her parents live in the Hamptons, is equally bland.
Even supposed playboy Sebastian — whose sophomoric version of seduction is speaking bad sixth grade French and flipping his Farrah Fawcett 'do (may she RIP) — looks and acts more like a Boy Scout troop leader than the bad boy he supposedly is. Also, for all his talk of "hooking up with girls," we're two episodes in and the most Sebastian's done to maintain his player reputation is get a lot of phone numbers and lip lock with Taylor. Sebastian does, however, remind us of another faux-Frenchman -- Quasimodo from Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Check out this photo and make the comparison yourself!
Ken Tucker of EW, no TV reality snob, calls the show actively annoying "with its privileged nobodies flaunting their self-perceived hotness and their my-perceived inarticulateness." I can't help but agree with him, but I also can't help watching. In a way, it's uncomfortable. The best thing about shows like "Gossip Girl" and "The O.C." is that it's made-up, a fantasy of how the other one-half-percent lives to help us cope with the reality of a flailing economy. Watching these privileged teenagers come to life is almost repulsive, but I still can't take my eyes off this train wreck.
"NYC Prep" airs on Bravo TV on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Confess this and other guilty pleasures in the comments. This is a no judgement zone!
--Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org