If teenage girls are pushing more and more for extravagant 16th birthday parties, MTV's My Super Sweet 16 may be a leading reason-supercharged materialism joined with bad parenting and affluence. Each week, the program chronicles a future bridezilla preparing for a party-of-a-lifetime on Daddy's dime. The parties are usually wildly expensive-sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars-and yet the birthday girls never seem satisfied with the adulation.
One such disaffected girl is Chelsi, a New Jersey teen who plans to celebrate with a Roman-style toga party. "It's my party so I just want it to be about me," she says in a voiceover before launching into an argument with her father about whether she'll get a car for her birthday. Even though her father tells her she could either have the huge party or the new car, she's angling for both. Father: "I've been fair with you. . . . I've given you everything you've ever wanted." Chelsi: "Why should you stop now?"
When things don't go Chelsi's way, she interprets the slight not as a personal offense but as a diminution of her character in the eyes of her friends. As Chelsi tries on a hideous green dress, her friends go against her mother's advice and tell Chelsi the truth. Chelsi doesn't have to agree; it's enough that her friends don't like it. Their approval is paramount. Chelsi is happiest when she feels like her friends are jealous of her.
Pulling away in her new car, Chelsi is beaming: "I'm definitely going to be a legend." Yeah, but of what?