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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Super Sweet Sixteen, Part 9 -- Amanda

My Super Sweet Sixteen, Part IX – Ashley, er, Amanda’s Rant

“I love money”

“My dad gives me whatever I want.”

“Right now the girls are hating on me, but that’s what I love.”

“He’s such a f___ing a___ole.” (referring to her dad)

“My Sweet Sixteen Party’s going to be the best party this town has ever seen.”

“Right now I wish I could f___ing punch you in the face.” (again, to her dad)

There are few terms I hate more than the recently minted word hater. It’s short for the 90’s invention player-hater, and it basically means “one who is derogatory toward someone who is successful at something scummy.” The word’s implication is that those who are haters are in fact just jealous and should be dismissed. Every time I hear it, I want to say,

“No, I’m not a hater. You’re just a horrible, horrible person who should not be doing whatever it is you’re successful at, whether that be waving money around, attracting golddiggers, simulating sex while dancing, wearing clown-like clothes, etc. If that makes me a hater, then why are you hating on my hate? You’re a hater-hater, fool!”

Look at that -- I just invented a new term. All these girls are hater-haters.

Which brings us to Amanda, the carbon-based teenage life form whose tiny brain formed those quotes with which I began this recap. The thing is, those quotes are pretty dang myopic/needlessly pugilistic/cocky/crass, but they don’t even scratch the surface of this 80’s-haired (put an aqua-net poof in the middle of her head, and she could have cheered at my high school) she-beast. She says some other things I can’t even imagine thinking, much less saying out loud.

Amanda’s quite a girl – she’s clearly stuck in that stage of development where you think the world revolves around you. Normally this goes away when one gets out of the crib and into social situations, but she just twists all social situations into being about her. And when they aren’t, she goes out and makes them be about her. It’s like she’s using her dad’s money to support her infantile illusion that she is in fact the most important person in the world. See what happens when you push self-esteem instead of intelligence in school? Amanda’s the poster child for a positive self-concept, but all that’s done is make her more bitchy. Think about that at your next school-board meeting.

We are first introduced to Amanda in one of those patented MTV-reality montages that compress a lot of information into just a few seconds of screen time. She introduces herself as a 15-year-old from Ocala, FL. She looks at least 18. In fact, she looks way older than those 18-year-old triplets from last week. She’s like a 2-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body. I guess that adds up to 15 somehow.

And her hair is trippin’ me out. She keeps looking at it lovingly, so I guess it’s supposed to be like that, but it needs some relaxer or something. Something to make it look less greasy.

This is the point of the episode where Amanda starts saying things that make you realize she’s one of those girls whose moral compass is upside down, so that north is south and east is west and bitchy is good and value is determined by how much money you have. She says: “I’m like the rich snobby girl in school that everyone wants to be.” Add an “a” and a “t” to the end of that, and she might be on to something. What this means is that she’s developed her “they’re just jealous” thinking to the point that she actually believes other people would like to be her. She doesn’t know this to be true (and how could she?), but she’s made it true in her own mind to advance the illusion that she’s the Most Important. This is truly fascinating. They show her doing things like cheerleading (big shock there) and riding an ATV (?), and she says, “I’m high maintenance, and I love money.” That’s something you tearfully admit to a friend or counselor when you’re having a breakthrough about your crappy life, not something you cockily admit to MTV’s cameras in an effort to seem cool. Then she follows that with this doozy, which makes me laugh out loud:

“People say it doesn’t buy happiness – I think it really helps.” I think she’s on to something here. She should write a book and get on Oprah. I think Oprah might even agree with her, in her darker moments. Amanda, of course, uses money to prove to herself that she’s the most important. Without her dad’s money, Amanda’s self-directed world would cease to exist. So for her, money does buy happiness in that it’s the thing that keeps her from becoming a real girl with real feelings. She’s like Pinocchio, only instead of a puppet, she’s a snob.

I wonder if it ever occurs to gold-digging girls that money is actually their weakness, and can be exploited by any old rich guy that comes along. See: Anna Nicole Smith and that one old guy. Amanda’s like a younger, uglier version of Anna Nicole. I’m sure she’ll soon be medicating to keep the myopic illusion alive. The more I think about it, the more I fear for Amanda’s life. See? We don’t want to be you. We pity you, Amanda.

Amanda shops for some $500 purses, saying, “You can never have enough purses,” which is going to be the title of the second chapter of her book. I guess if she had like a million purses she’d just roll around in them all day, because they’re all hers! Yay! And that would never get old, because Amanda isn’t smart enough to get bored.

Her dad is introduced next, and he is a real winner. As we first meet the man, he seems like your average nice, easy-going doormat of a dad, albeit one who dances with blonde girls half his age. He owns “the hottest nightclubs in Central Florida,” which is why he has all that money. Remember Natalie from season one? Her dad owned nightclubs, too. Owning a nightclub = wacky behavior and materialistic daughters, apparently. During MTV’s dad-montage, they show him not only dancing uber-inappropriately with hot young blonde girls, but also spotlighting (literally) his 15-year-old daughter as she sultrily jiggles around in his nightclub. This is where Amanda says, “He gives me whatever I want,” and I bet she told her dad to spotlight her, and he did. Dad doesn’t seem to notice what his only daughter has become, or he doesn’t care. But wait…

“I can’t stand when he tries to act like a parent, and tells me what to do.” This foreshadows the climax of the episode, so I won’t get into this here except to point out that again MTV has chosen a subject (like Sophie) where her single parent acts more like her single friend. Consequently, when the parent tries to discipline the subject, the spoiled girl reacts as if the world no longer makes sense.

Dad also has hired a bodyguard to watch (guard) Amanda when she’s out and about in the greater Florida area. This is a good idea, since Amanda looks like she’s 18, and is dumb as a box of hair. The bodyguard (BG) especially comes in handy when Amanda’s in one of dad’s clubs trying to attract attention from 21-year-old “boys,” or when dad hands the girl 2 grand and tells her to go buy something nice. I’m sure the fact that she has a BG just feeds Amanda’s view that she’s most important. I mean, how many 15-year-old girls have BG’s? For his part, the BG seems like a decent guy as he tells her to “stay away from that boy.” He clearly knows what jailbait is, and how every bone in Amanda’s body wants to be it.

This whole family has kind of a vague mafia vibe going on. There’s definitely an air of menace here. It makes one wonder if dad does anything besides just own nightclubs. I’m sure undercover police (the BG?) are looking into it.

Flash to boring, old Ocala, which Amanda says is “such a small town.” To illustrate this, they show a horse, a broken sign, and Amanda walking and telling her friend she hates it there. When the Ocala City Council heard that one of their town was going to be featured on MTV, I don’t think they were anticipating being trashed like this. I mean, sure, the median age is 39 and it’s quite poor, but there are 45,000 people living there! That doesn’t sound like “such a small town” to me. It also has some lovely horse farms (which is where the horse comes in), and Ocala National Forest, which Amanda probably isn’t interested in since it has nothing to do with money.

Now that the back-story is set up, we can get to the party. Amanda is planning her entrance to the Hawaiian-themed shindig, and she predictably tells her father that she wants “every single fricking light in the whole place” to be on her. She practices strutting in, and practices the crowd shouting her name in adoration. Seriously, people are cheering for Amanda inside her head. It’s more confirmation that she’s the Most Important. I’d better copy that phrase, since I know I’m going to need it again later.

Her and her dad also discuss the fact that they’re trying to get talentless R&B singer Ciara to perform at the party. Wouldn’t that make it a concert with a party attached? How will Amanda react to this, since Ciara would undoubtedly be the Most Important person there? Dad says, “Anybody who’s anybody knows, Ciara’s hot.” You’re right, those people out there who don’t listen to R&B simply don’t exist. Amanda predictably twists everything and says, “We have to get her…cuz I’m hot.” Amanda, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. In fact, this whole episode is just a way to promote Ciara on MTV. It has nothing to do with you, except to make fun of your selfishness as you provide a venue for a Ciara concert.

As Amanda hands out invitations, one of the kids tells MTV, “It’s probably the biggest thing to happen in Ocala.” They cut out the part where she’s actually talking about the Ciara concert. They then show some black students, who clearly are more into Ciara than Amanda. It’s a good thing Amanda’s clueless, because this whole episode is threatening to turn into something that’s not about her.

Amanda, 2 skanks, her mom, and the BG go to Miami (of course, they play that accursed “Velcome to Miami eeebee eeebee eee Meeyameee” Will Smith song in the background. Does Miami know that song sucks? Do Miamians cringe when they hear it? The mind boggles), where they do the ceremonial dress-shopping ritual common to all Sweet Sixteen episodes. Dad hands her a credit card and $2000 cash, and Amanda start to glow with power. She just got a power-up, Mario-style.

This whole dress scene is just a set-up, as none of the hooker dresses that Amanda tries on ever appear on her during the party. The important thing is that Amanda’s dad phones her, ominous music plays, but two seconds later we find out that Ciara has agreed to do the concert, er, party, and happy music plays! You can almost hear MTV’s guns being pointed and cocked at Ciara’s head as the phone call happens. Regardless, Amanda’s so happy right now. It’s more confirmation that she’s the Most Important.

You know, Amanda’s not really all that attractive. She’s kinda average and unspectacular. Especially the hair, which is long, wavy, and looks greasy all the time, apparently by design. I say that because Amanda and her dad next go to the hairdresser, who has what can only be described as a poofy white mohawk. Here’s a rule I’ve found helpful: When your hairdresser looks like the lost white member of “Ready for the World,” it’s time to get a new hairdresser. Oh, Oh Sheila, I highly doubt that a mall hairstylist is the “best in Central Florida,” as Amanda claims. She likes going there because she can “Stare at herself the whole time.” What teenage girl does that? She’s like the Wicked Witch from Snow White – “Mirror, mirror, on the wall” and so on. The sad part is she probably sees herself as Snow White in that scenario. She is, after all, the Most Important.

Dad then farts(!) and Amanda wishes out loud that she could F___ing punch him in the face. You know, just the normal fun conversation that a father and daughter would have at the mall. It gets better – Amanda’s pretending not to hear her dad, so he gets out some money and puts it in front of his mouth and asks, “Amanda, can you hear me now?” Nothing like mocking your only daughter on national TV for being a spoiled money-grubber. I guess we can now see where she gets her views re: money buying happiness from. Sheesh. I can’t even…I mean…this is so far out there I just don’t know what to say. Except maybe BE A PARENT, YOU PUTZ! GET THAT MONEY AWAY FROM YOUR FACE! After the brazen display of anti-parenting, Amanda admits that she can never stay mad at her dad for very long. Aww. She loves money more than she loves him, and they both know it. How cute.

We viewers get an extra bonus Sweet Sixteen party this episode! It’s for a relatively unimportant blonde-haired classmate of Amanda’s named “Katie.” Amanda and her unnamed brown-haired henchwoman we’ll call Grand Moff Skankin (GMS) drive to the ol’ costume shop to search for a way to upstage Katie, and boy do they ever find one. They go into the dressing rooms and come out in matching french maid costumes that look like hefty bags with some white lace on them. They are now literal slut bags. Is that all it takes to make a costume these days? The costumes are both tacky and skanky, and of course the MTV editors make them “sparkle” like they’re something good. Cynical MTV editors. Dad points out the inappropriateness of the costumes, and asks her if she would like it if somebody came to her party dressed like that. She says she’d be mad, but that she doesn’t care. Dad, dressed in a bright green Nike ensemble that includes a baseball-style cap, acts as though he doesn’t have the power to stop her from doing this. He’s like Commissioner Bud Selig, and Amanda is his tied All-Star Game. He’s like, “What can I do?”

Amanda is quoted at this point as saying, “If I want something I’m going to get it my way, so shut your mouth.” The thing is, all he has to say is “no.” She’s 15, and totally dependant on his money to keep her myopic illusion alive. Maybe if he puts the money back up by his face she’ll listen to him.

Amanda decides that she’s totally going to stand out at Katie’s party (of course, she doesn’t realize that standing out isn’t always the best thing. When did famous and infamous become identical? Stupid culture), and that “it’ll be awesome.” Dad gives her five sparkling $20 bills to give to the birthday girl Katie, and sarcastically suggests that she put a dollar in her garter to see how much money she’ll make. But seeing as how she is unfamiliar with sarcasm, and is always looking for a way to make money, she takes him seriously.

As Katie, GMS, and another unnamed and uncostumed tag-along are sitting in the limo, driving to poor Katie’s party. You can see the wheels spinning in Amanda’s head as she holds the $100 she’s supposed to give to Katie. $100 in her hand, and she doesn’t get to spend any of it. Isn’t she supposed to be the Most Important? But she can’t just steal it, right? Right? Right?!

She ends up coming up with this selfish Socrates-esqe “proof” for why she should steal $40 from Katie’s gift. Keep in mind that while she’s reasoning all this through, she looking at and talking directly to the person who holding the camera, as if to justify her repellent actions to him. She totally knows that what she is about to do is both wrong and socially unacceptable, and the camera’s steely eye is like the tell-tale heart that won’t stop beating for her. Her proof, as far as I could understand:

1) “My dad gave me $100, which is really nice, and I could be nice for once.” (she actually says this)

2) GMS: “It’s not like they give you awesome presents.” (she agrees)

3) “This is B.S. – I’m taking out 40 bucks.” (steals the money)

4) “I’d be happy with 60 bucks.” (her friends agree. The camera’s still staring at her accusingly.)

5) Some cheap people only give $20 – those scum! (this is classic, trying to make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to someone lower. It’s Mussolini saying, “Hey – at least I wasn’t Hitler or Stalin!”)

The two girls get to Katie’s party (which seems to be getting along just fine without them, btw) and barge through the doors dressed in their slutbags. Amanda voices “When I walk through those doors, everyone is going to be staring at me, which I love.” People start to talk to themselves about how tacky and inappropriate Amanda and GMS are, and Amanda can sense it. She tells Katie’s mom, “People are like, (puts hand to face) heeheeheehee.” Katie’s mom tells her not to worry, her and Katie think the costumes are funny. This only makes sense if they’re afraid of her family, so here again I suspect that the mob is involved somehow. Otherwise, why would people not Katie bar the door when they saw the slut bags outside? Anyway, with that drama over, Amanda’s free to get attention from boys by club dancing. It’s at this point she gives the “girls are hating on me, but that’s what I love” quote. She clearly wants attention, and doesn’t even care if it’s negative or positive. She’s perfect for a career as a reality-TV fame-whore. I wonder if that’s what it said on the ASVAB test. Wait – she’s 15. She probably hasn’t taken it yet.

I also feel the need to point out that the slut bags showed up after Katie, which effectively upstaged her. They stole her money, upstaged her on her big day, and acted like they deserved to be thanked for it. Amanda is a horrible, horrible person, and I’m almost ready to stop this recap right now and pull over and slap that average-looking face right off her.

The rest of the episode deals with Amanda’s party, which I’m going to just gloss over because again, the episode is not about her. It’s about Ciara, and the MTV-sponsored concert she’s having. Ciara is shown getting her hair done with her peeps, and she keeps calling Amanda “Ashley” until one of them points out her error. Hee hee. Actually, Ciara comes off in this episode as really nice, sweet, composed, professional, and an odd combination of laid-back Christianity and whore-like dancing. I won’t comment any further except to say that I just don’t understand R&B. I don’t understand how you can offer a heartfelt prayer to God for a good concert and then go out and make your money by titillating boys aged 13-25 and making girls think that they need to titillate boys too. There seems to be a disconnect there, is all I’m saying. Other than that, Ciara was nice and didn’t seem to notice Amanda was a monster with 12 tentacles and fiery breath.

Amanda and another one of her henchwomen go out and try to sell tickets to the concert, er, party. I mention this because it again illustrates that Amanda’s party is about Ciara. Also, Amanda says, “I’m a business girl…I want money…I thought of this…props to me.” It’s nice that her love of money doesn’t stop at handouts from her dad. She’s going to go out and make her own!

Because this is getting long, I will just highlight the interesting parts of Amanda’s party:

1) Just after one of Ciara’s peeps hopefully muses that Amanda should come to the party in an “old school bus or car,” dad tells her that the limo’s air conditioning has gone out. Amanda ends up going to the party in the back of a “F___ing B.S. Acura.” That sound you just heard is Hart’s dad going into outraged convulsions.

2) As she’s getting ready, Amanda asks God to “let her be pretty today.” Way to bring God into it now, when you need lots of help. So typical. Another example of an Amanda prayer: “Lord, I thank you that I am not like those other people, the ones with less money.”

3) At some point, 3 band geeks come to the club where the party is and get Amanda to come outside, where they play “Happy Birthday” for her. MTV adds wind and jarring bird noises after they’re done, as Amanda pauses and doesn’t say anything. Finally, she lets them in, probably because it doesn’t cost her any money. Btw, the trombone girl is way cuter than Amanda.

4) The friend that was selling tickets with Amanda is wearing a coconut bra. While it is a “Hawaiian Party,” she’s what, 15? Yikes inappropriate.

During the party we get a disturbing view of her dad, and I don’t mean like with his pants around his ankles or something. He gets mad – like really mad. It happens when he wants Amanda to go up on stage for some reason, and she quite brattily wants to stay and dance with her friends, because it’s getting her some attention. They have a heated conversation, and dad walks away. He comes back, and he used the time away to get even madder. He tells her to “drop the attitude,” and she tells him, “Can you just leave, if you’re going to yell at me?” Oh, that we could all tell our parents that. He then pounds the table like a madman, telling her, “You’re going to regret every G__ D___ thing you’re saying!” which is totally something a mob boss would say to a member of the “family.” This gets her attention at least, and dad wins the battle of wills by basically being more of a baby than she is. She tells him to chill out and that she’s going to do it, and as they leave the room he yells, “THEN DO IT!” and slams the door behind her.

My verdict: I may be jumping the gun, but I believe there’s some sort of weird thing going on between dad and the rest of the family, including Amanda. It may be mafia-related, it may be something else, but daddy’s clearly got a temper. Maybe it’s the only way he can get his daughter to listen to him, but it’s still scary. Emotional abuse? Maybe. I don’t know. I just know I wouldn’t want to be around him, or her, or any of these people. Except possibly Ciara and the 3 Band Geeks.

As Ciara performs, Amanda says, “It was like she was performing for a princess (no, Amanda – princesses are good, and you’re evil). I know kids were jealous – I loved it!”

Once and always, it’s all about her. Get me out of here.

The party ends up costing $230,000, which is music to Amanda’s ears. Don’t get all happy, Amanda – I’m sure Ciara took a huge chunk of that home. Amanda closes the episode in the same way she started it – with a crazy, self-absorbed quote. She smiles and says, “No one’s ever going to top it…so try it, bitches!”

I’m so glad this is over. My neck is sore from shaking my head at her antics.

NEXT WEEK: These girls are like, “celebrities, but they’re just not famous.” Kill me now.


  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    You should have seen the spam I just erased.

  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Haha! LMAO! Slutbags, GMS, laid-back Christianity and whore-like dancing! Classic!


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