In 2005, a show called My Super Sweet 16 premiered on MTV. I was 14, fixated yet mildly disturbed as I watched teenagers just a couple of years my senior scream at their parents for buying the wrong type of Mercedes as a birthday present.
Hillary Duff sang the infections theme song (which is stuck in my head as I type this). The episodes typically involved 16-year-olds barking orders at their parents and outlining outlandish demands, such as a casual half million dollar budget. The birthday princess would change costumes more times than Rihanna at the VMAs.
We watched in lurid fascination as catfights unfolded between friends, celebrity guests, and parents. We witnessed harsh consequences for parents who bought their children an underwhelming amount of diamonds:
Yashika, aka the Veruca Salt of diamonds, makes herself clear. (Photo courtesy of MTV)
This was the golden age of early 2000s reality TV. As always, MTV defined what was in vogue—and at the time, it was delightfully depraved, unscripted programming.