Motherf*&kersby Imani Khoza / 29.02.2012
The first thing I notice about cousins Liz Stone and Elena Pappas, who star in the Cape Town episode of MTV’s reality-series My Super Sweet World Class, is their eyes. They look like the kind of eyes explorers found embalmed in the sockets of pharaohs. The eyes of someone pampered to death. They quickly tell us “Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world and we’re it’s most beautiful people.” It made me change my holiday plans. Helen Zille and now these two. I don’t care how pretty the mountain is. No thanks.
They brag about having expensive taste in cars, houses and men. “We’re pretty much daddies girls,” one of them says, I think the blonde one, or maybe the brunette, “so when we need cash we just ask our daddies.” I’d always wondered what post-feminism means? This must be it. The right to swipe daddies credit card in the slit.
They whizz through the expensive parts of the city in a powder blue Alpha Romeo convertible. That choppy cutting MTV invented adds to the artificial connection these girls seem to have to the world around them. There’s even a Pretty Woman shopping sequence taking in Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Watching Liz and Elena fly around the city filled me with envy. They’re lucky bitches. Then I got angry at them thinking about Zama and Nomthandazo, two young women harassed at the Noord Street taxi rank in Joburg last December. They were shopping near the rank and found themselves “hounded” and “groped” by a group of men who took the fact that one of them was wearing a mini-skirt and the other’s bra-strap was showing as a green light to terrorize them. It’s outrageous that one pair of privileged young women get to use a city carefree while another must risk assault to get around. We don’t all have Alpha Romeo convertibles. Hurry up and nationalize those mines already!
It was no surprise when Elena and Liz chose the “Magical Garden of Eden” for their party at Café Caprice in Camps Bay. It’s obvious the new South Africa is a bit like Eden when you’re well off. The cost of living is still low here compared to other countries. The weather is amazing. Cape Town has beaches, wine and all that good stuff. It must feel like paradise when you’re hot, young and rich. Which is why it was so unconvincing when the show tried to foist tension and drama on the girls since there is clearly so little of it in their real lives.
Elena, the dark one, a model we’re told, much taller than blonde Liz, wears a stretchy blouse with a black and white American flag print and “I’d wear that” I think which is exactly what this show and all shows like it are for. They’re style guides with fake emotion. PR for fun lifestyles. All about shopping till you drop and partying hard and other worn out phrases I’m sick of by now. It’s a version of us, people under 25, we’re given over and over by the media. And it’s making us dumb. When Liz and Elena walk into their guess who’s coming to the party penthouse party party, “This feels so A list” is their first response. It’s scary because you can tell that’s the ultimate feeling in their lives so far. That’s about as much as their brains can handle. Being the throwers of an A list party for people just as unremarkable as themselves. The kind of people who whoop when they’re told “we need you all to get naked”. The “right people,” as Elena says, “who are feeling our Eden vibe.” So tragic it made me want to cry. Young women are learning to fight fires and operate on brains. They’re in combat or answering the mysteries of the universe while fashion victims like Liz and Elena can’t even think beyond the stupid values of consumer culture.
To prove they have more going for them than being conventionally attractive and to pad out the required running time, the girls learn a magic trick and go white shark diving, visit a fortune teller and other stupid stuff. I laugh out loud at them in a boutique when, unhappy with the sexless gray sacks they’re trying on, they whimper at the camera, “We’re going to need a miracle.” But it’s bad television on the whole. These self-declared “party queens of Cape Town” don’t have an ounce of energy, wit or awareness. It’s like watching the husks of people who have had everything remotely interesting about them surgically removed. The show’s emotional peaks never get much higher than this: “We have to meet with our party planner in 3 minutes…please kill me now.” If only wishes came true.
The best thing that happens is the girls’ mothers send them crotchless body stockings to wear for the party. Both girls are mildly disgusted but it makes me think the show should have been about their mothers all along. After Enrique Igleisias, who must have lost a bet or be paying off Anna Kournikova’s online gambling debts, appears and says insincere things insincerely, the mothers pop up on a flatscreen in the middle of the party. A blonde and a brunette, the mirror image of their daughters, they give them a trip to Italy, saying “Be careful – those Italian men pinch bottoms.” Watching the girls squirm with embarrassment at their mothers, I was thrilled to think that one day they’re going to turn out just like them.