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MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” is clearly an adaptation of the birthday concept I personally created: It’s my fucking birthday so if I say you’re going to play your clarinet and attempt break dancing, that’s what you’re going to do. But I’ll let MTV take credit for the elephants and custom designer duds.
When I was in third grade, I decided that my birthday party had to be in the form of a talent show. Guests could choose from a limitless list of talents; all musical genres were fair game, and all dance moves were possibilities so long as they could fit on the mini “stage” in my basement.
I can see now how this party theme could have been interpreted as incredibly cruel. For those who fear the spotlight, an invitation announcing that a performance of some sort was the only ticket to a slice of cake and the highly anticipated goody bag—come on, why else did we ever go to parties? —is better left unopened.
Because it was my party, I didn’t stress over my indecision, I went with it. Unable to settle on one musical genre, I allowed myself two performances. I chose to explore two very different fields: show tunes, and pop hits, namely “My Favorite Things” from a true classic, The Sound of Music, and another one of my favorite things, the “Macarena.” Who needs a guest appearance by Rihanna when you can choreograph your own moves to Los del Rio and save valuable time by not having to wait for an Escalade to roll in fashionably late?
There were a surprisingly high number of standout performances considering I might have been the only party girl in favor of the theme. One friend who shared my love of Broadway sang “Castle on a Cloud” from Les Miserables. My basement stage may not have housed an elaborate set of barricades, nor were there huddled masses of peasants, but there is no doubt my friend gave Cosette a run for her money. Another extremely talented friend opened our eyes to Carnatic music. I also convinced a few friends to be my backup dancers for the “Macarena,” because that song should never be performed alone. In public. Or anywhere for that matter.
My love of talent shows only continued to grow after this party. I became that girl who performs epic ballads in the middle school talent show. Sixth grade was “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Seventh Grade I paid tribute to the late Selena with her hit “Dreaming of You.” That one got pretty emotional. And Eighth grade was the year I attempted to out-belt Christina Aguilera by performing “Reflections” from Mulan. There were none of the candles and lily pads of the Disney music video, but I found my own way to call upon nature and tranquility. I wore an obnoxious, and bright red, animal print tube dress.
I never celebrated my birthday this year. Maybe it’s time to revisit an old theme… But this time I’m going to have to call in the big guns since MTV has been trying to steal my thunder for six seasons. Has anyone ever descended a grand staircase atop an AmeriGlide stair lift?
I’m pretty sure that the only thing sadder than wasting valuable bytes on a download of “Save the Last Dance,” is opening the finished file, only to discover that the downloaded movie is in fact “Save the Last Dance 2.” This “sequel” of the classic hip-hop meets ballet on dangerous urban streets that are of course the setting of the eventual drive-by shooting, seems to me to be no sequel at all. If my definition of a sequel is correct, there has to be a continuation of a story. “Save the Last Dance 2” is instead the product of some bored MTV employees who felt like spicing things up by creating a film almost identical to the original version, with the only variation being the lead actress’s occasional slip into her native Polish. If I recall correctly, Julia Stiles’s portrayal of the ballet dancer with an edge did not inspire audiences to wander down Second Avenue in search of pierogies.
Yes, I suppose it is technically a continuation in that Sarah Johnson has made it all the way to Julliard, and as we learn in the amazingly awkward intro during which she talks “openly” to the camera, she and her boyfriend “decided to see other people because he’s off studying somewhere (?) and I’m in New York.” This statement is immediately followed by, “My ankles are a little weak.” Obvi. But what keeps tripping me up, is the fact that MTV’s film is simply a less glamorized retelling of the first. Same plot line, same internal struggles, oh, but instead of the evil “Nikki” we have “Candy.” And I think we can all agree that Candy is a much more exciting name!
In any case, I spent my train ride home to the apple orchards of Connecticut watching this masterpiece, and its ultimate effect on me was identical to the effect of the original movie. I desperately need to take a hip-hop class, because soon, very soon, my abridged version of the Harlem shake will fail to impress and mystify. Hey Syl, want to go rent the “You Got Served” instructional DVD with me? …for the third time?