Is Miramonte Meant for MTV’s Made?: Con

Marina Allen

America’s fascination with stardom has seeped through the gates of Miramonte with the arrival of MTV’s Made. Students have a chance to be featured as one high school stereotype evolving into another. What our dear Fore Fathers established as the American Dream has perpetually increased to revolve around glamorized icons. Now, the American Dream is to get onto MTV and have one’s life dissected, the parts removed and then reassembled and sewn up into a new, better image. Miramonte High School has been summoned to deliver the current idea of the American Dream, with 20 students now trying to star in Made, where they can become pawns in the grand game of demographic marketing.

The American Dream has always been partly myth and partly truth. For reality TV, people change and get made over, but they suffer from the shaming exposure of their fears and self-defined faults. The program is attractive to students, unhappy with their current lifestyle, to be “made” into whatever they desire. Why is Miramonte willingly supporting this sham?

We all fall for the premise of Made: that if we change a couple of things, our lives will improve; that there is something wrong with us that can be molded into something that will make us happier. But does it ever work that way? And is that really MTV’s intent? Of course not.

The theory of Made is just as shallow as the reason people watch the program. It’s the theory behind all reality TV. Let’s observe trauma and react to it, and judge where we stand in our own ability to handle shame. Mostly we get to feel superior. By focusing on drama queens and kings, and people who are relentless in the exposure of their own deficiencies, we can feel secure in our own more moderated reactions to hardship. The show isn’t reality. It’s an exaggerated play, modified and refined for your viewing pleasure for the purpose of exploiting another human being’s very real turmoil to increase entertainment value. It fuels our need to be judgmental over others.

Who are the drama kings and queens who make the MTV cut? Usually people caught at a point in their lives when internal forces have reduced their ability to make sensible decisions. They may not give MTV a predictable storyline, but they’ll give MTV a predictable train wreck of emotionalism. And that’s how the MTV audience will view Miramonte through its selected representative as a haven for shallow, self-absorbed dramatic know-nothings. It will appear as a wealthy, insolated suburb that banishes iconoclasts who differ from the conventional norm.

MTV’s Made contributes to a false portrayal of teen life: that we are addicted to stimulants, narcissism, and materialism. To covet our privacy and guard against spectators editing our unwritten lives isn’t paranoia, or a resistance to mindless fun; it’s a kind of freedom. Hollywood has a rotten track record in its promise to be a fairy godmother turning a trod-upon, unhappy stepdaughter into a princess. What Miramonte should pay attention to is its opportunity to tell MTV to stay away, in the interest of its students being allowed to explore their identities on their own, in a deep reservoir of options, unedited and resonant with the true American Dream.