...eight episodes of Exiled
I know; I know. I really shouldn't use the word "exile" (or any variant thereof) this close to Caligumas, considering the fact that his mother and two brothers died under mysterious circumstances while in exile, and that he, himself, exiled two of his own sisters (I know what a tough decision that is, having exiled my own older sister to a barren, lifeless group of islands known as "New Zealand").
That said, MTV's Exiled is my guilty pleasure of the moment. Shit Luther, even if Bravo lunched a series in which Tim Gunn and Janice Dickinson opened a pig farm together, Exiled would still be my guilty pleasure of the moment. The premise is that each week a s(p)oiled, nuevo riche teenage girl who recently appeared on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 is forced onto a plane and dropped is some Third World country for a week. It's as if my friend Doc had been put in charge of programming (only these girls survive the ordeal). One girl, upon being told that she's being sent to the mountains of Peru, blinks in amazement before managing to stammer out "I thought Peru was an island." Miss Teen South Carolina, thou art avenged!
Now, I never actually watched My Super Sweet 16 (I did manage to catch a minute or two of a few episodes, but it was a tough watch indeed), so all I really knew about the show was how David Rakoff, who rechristened My Super Sweet 16 as "My Last Birthday Before Rehab", described one of the girls who appeared on MSS16 during an episode of This American Life. He said she looked as if she were "Fifteen going on thirty-five. A hard thirty-five. A two packs a day, on her third husband, trying her hand at Real Estate, opening her bathrobe for the grocery delivery boy thirty-five." He also called her father a "hairy knuckled brute" and "just the first in the long line of men whom she will call ‘Daddy'." So, you have a pretty good gage of the joy I felt when I stumbled upon Exiled.
Not that the show is perfect. Exiled suffers from two major flaws. The first is that the show's producers seem unaware that there are poor people in America. Thanks to thirty years of "smaller government", you don't have to fly all the way to Indonesia to see people struggling to survive. Why are none of these girls shipped off to Camden, NJ for a week? The other is that each show will, no doubt, follow the same formula every week: In Act I, we'll meet and instantly learn to hate some teenage diva living in a gated community. In Act II we'll watch her hate five of the seven days she'll be spending abroad. In Act III, the final act, she'll learn her lesson and come home a changed person, in that she'll spit on the hired help less frequently.
Given the above, you'll enjoy Exiled a lot more if you focus on Act II. Few things in this life are as satisfying as watching some pampered nitwit run screaming into the Serengeti night because she was presented with a side-dish of scorpion-covered goat balls.