Outside of the In-Crowd – Won’t someone think of the children?

Courtney Enlow

Last week I was back home at my parents’ house for a little vacation. Very restful, relaxing, all that, plus I got a wicked sunburn which has nicely developed into a tan worthy of my peers’ jealousy. But sometimes, rest gets boring, and one must turn their attention to the television.

Look, this column is called Outside the In-Crowd. But let me step out of my parameters as an outsider and take that oh-so hip saunter into the in-crowd. Allow me to adjust my skinny faux-vintage jeans and Ray Bans and muss up my hair a bit. Ah, there.

Okay, I’ve never watched a single episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I don’t want to say I’m above it, but I am. I’m morally opposed to reality shows about people who *aren’t* trying to fight for the affections of Bret Michaels. I’m completely anti-shows about these has-been or never-will-be people just living their daily lives like the vapid sacks of putrid egotistical humiliation they are. That’s ridiculous. Who the hell are these people? Why do they matter? Why do they warrant an entire television program, and a popular one at that? Fuck them. Fuck Kim Kardashian and her (rumored) penchant for golden showers. Aim higher next time, Ray J. Right for the eyes.

Then came last Monday morning, some boredom, my devastation over no longer being able to drink coffee (estrogenny reasons, you don’t want to hear about it, move along) and it being too early to lay out poolside. Nothing else was on. What was I supposed to do? All my movies and TV-on-DVD were back in Chicago, THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE FOR ME TO DO. JUST LAY OFF ALREADY. JESUS!


I watched. I watched for three hours. And I. Couldn’t. Stop. I don’t want to be cliché and say how it was like a car wreck. It wasn’t. It was more like that hamster dance website. Just monotonous and lame, but people keep making you watch it because they think it’s hilarious. And it isn’t. But you still stare at it for way longer than is necessary.

Three hours is much longer than necessary. And in that time, I found myself thinking thoughts I’m not proud of. Thoughts like “You know, Bruce seems like a pretty nice guy” and “The mom’s not too terrible” and “I think Kourtney’s way prettier than Kim.” The only acceptable thing that ran through my brain was “Why in the name of fuck is there still an ‘h’ in her name if it’s spelled ‘Khloe’?”

Speaking of things that are super popular that I just watched for the first time, because I’m feeling a particularly saucy pride from having admitted to watching KUWtK, guess what else I watched? Hannah Mon-fucking-tana. WHAT ABOUT IT. (I’m saucy.)

The show itself is kinda cute. You could see why kids like it. It’s no iCarly (on Nickelodeon, and I shit you not, that show is actually awesome. So Nick, if you need another writer for that show, I’m your girl). But it’s cute. The writing and the rest of the cast is, anyway. She’s really annoying. But don’t worry, it won’t be around much longer. Her fans are already starting to outgrow her.

You know, kids today, with their Miley Cyrus and their new sluttier Strawberry Shortcake, I just don’t know. I mean I’m really trying to pick my brain and think about this. Was there a teen sensation in the early 90s? A manufactured gussied up young person turned into a product for our enjoyment? I feel like there wasn’t. That there was a long lull between the Tiffanys and Debbie Gibsons and the Britney (because there can be only one) and Christinas.

Now Britney was sixteen when she burst onto the scene, flashing her navel and making goo-goo eyes at the guy in the bleachers who was actually her cousin (oh Louisiana). There was an uproar, but I don’t remember it being quite the psycho-mess of Miley’s-Naked-Back-gate 2K8. And why not? She was also a Disney creation. She was also a Christian “virgin” (quotations added for sheer snark. Whether or not you buy it is up to you). Is there really a difference between the two?

Miley better hope so.

Maybe that’s why the nation got so pissy. I mean, last time we had such a superstar teenager, look what we did to her. I’m not telling you anything South Park already hasn’t (“Gonna be a good harvest this year …”). And already she’s not exactly doing herself any favors. Pictures of her flashing her bra and underwear are already all over the blogs. And far be it from me, an actual adult, to say anything derogatory about a fifteen year old, so let me travel back in time to when I was fifteen and we’ll let fifteen year old me say it.

“Yeah she’s a skank. And your hair’s not as cute in the future as it is right now in the past, older Court. Now excuse me, Buffy’s on.”

Thanks, fifteen year old me. People always pull the “Oh she’s just a kid, don’t you remember when you were fifteen, I’m sure there’s tons of pictures you wouldn’t want people to see” blah blah blah. No. There exist no pictures of me flashing my thong to the camera while I make a stupid fake-sexy fishlips face. Because girls who do that – they’re walking a very fine line between a child playing dress up and a woman trying to be sexy. I was both too old for that and too young for that. This girl? She isn’t. And who’s at fault? Her parents? The media? Disney? Us for judging her? I don’t really care. All I know is my little cousins watch her show, and I don’t want them emulating her. But I guess I don’t have to worry about that too much, as come next year, or even next month, they’ll move on to the new thing.

That’s the thing about these two shows, and these two people. In a few years, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian will be trivia. Something people joke about on I Love the New Millennium 2: Attack of the Mike Jones or something. They’ll still be trying. Maybe appearing in one of Friedberg and Seltzer’s latest masterpieces (I have my money on Movie Movie. It’s like a movie, but it’s a movie parody!) Or maybe just showing up on the red carpet of really low-end events like all the other has-beens and never-will-be people. And that’s the difference between Miley Cyrus (and KK too) and Britney Spears. Ten years later, whether they want to or not, people still care about Brit (I do. *hushed whisper* IloveyouBritney). People are still interested.

And for that I feel kind of sorry for them. But not sorry enough to see Movie Movie that’s for damn sure.

Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at courtney@hobotrashcan.com.

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