July 14, 2005

Embarrassing Personal Confession, Followed by a Lengthy Self-Justifying Explanation...Until I Give Up and Say "Screw it."

Hublet and I watched Brat Camp.

I'll pause here while you gasp in horrified dismay.

Here's a paper bag to breathe into--I hear it really helps with the hyperventilation.

Yes, I know. It's exploitative! It's eeeeeviillllllle! And it's probably not even that "real," given that these kids are baring their souls on national TV.

But.

Even though the teenagers have been reduced to characters complete with helpful labels like "compulsive liar," or "hostile outcast" or "tried to stab his twin," and even though you spend a hell of a lot of time wanting to shake these kids, or their parents, or maybe all of them in a crazed and indiscriminate manner, it's fascinating. And sad.

But mostly sad, and not in the "poor production values, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" kind of way. It's sad because you wonder how these kids' lives would have been different if they had different parents. And that's REALLY sad, because you know that at least these parents care enough to try something, to finally admit that they need help, that they don't know what to do and that they're not so far gone that they're going to just kick the kids out and let them take their chances.

It's sad because as much as a 17-year-old's decision to be a complete ass is totally their own, and that they're ignorant, arrogant and possibly violent little assholes, you realize that parents can love their kids and still really suck at parenting.

As a parent, that's kind of horrifying to contemplate, in a "there but for the grace of God go I" kind of way.

Hublet and I were fascinated. I think it was cathartic for Hublet, as he kept saying about the "compulsive liar" whose parents were completely weak-willed and affluent, and who spoiled her horribly, "God, she's just like so-and-so the drama queen from last term!" And I'll be upfront about it: watching a spoiled, lying brat get her comeuppance--and from other brats, yet--was a beautiful thing. So. Catharsis. And schadenfreude. Lots of that. But also lots of "pleasepleaspleaseplease don't ever let that be my kid ohpleaseohpleaseohplease."

And there's the rooting for these kids to get over themselves and grow up a little. They're just kids, after all, some of whom have been dealt a pretty crappy hand, even though they think they're far too sophisticated and independent for the likes of, you know, authority. I'll pause here while we all take a moment to remember a firmly held conviction or two from our teenage years that now makes us cringe in horrified embarrassment. Yeah, that was fun, wasn't it?

So we'll watch next week, when Isaiah, the "hostile punk," tries to make a break for it into the Oregon desert winter. Personally I'm hoping they tackle him.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 14, 2005 02:51 PM
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