[The following was composed back in March but I didn't get around to posting it until now. Please pretend it's still relevant.]
In an interview in the AV Club section of The Onion, Win Butler (of Arcade Fire) touched on how the way MTV doesn't promote the hip and cool but the glamorous and vapid seems to be a disservice to the youth of today. Shows like My Super Sweet 16 ostensibly are presented with a wink, in a let's-see-how-ridiculous-the-rich-are way, but he fears the young fail to grasp the irony.
I'm not sure whether the reality show world is deteriorating the minds of the children any worse than anything in pop culture did in the past, but I see his point.
However, at least the Sweet 16 show (which I've had to sit through more than a few times due to my girlfriend's occasional fascination with it) is relatively overt in its hints of how risible the feted ones are; there are far worse shows.
Anyway, shortly after reading that, I caught a bit of the "Chefography" of Food Network personality Sandra Lee, host of Semi-Homemade, a show where she takes pre-made ingredients and spruces them up a bit. The special is part of a series showing the biographies of some of the popular chefs on the network. Overlooking how she is even less of a "chef" than the new queen of overexposure, Rachel Ray (who at least approximates cooking), I didn't think Sandra was popular enough to warrant this level of spotlight. They must be desperate for programming, or she must have embarrassing photos of someone high up in the network. (That would explain a lot, actually.)
I found her annoying before ever seeing the special, not merely because of her utter lack of qualification to be on a "cooking" show; her personality reeked of insincerity, even though I'm sure her on-air presentation was more-or-less how she really was. (Sad to say.) Her "tablescapes" (which I presume is intended to be an amalgam of "table" and "landscape") seemed only of interest to the vapid but utterly uncreative.
After seeing what I did of her special, with a college friend of hers lauding how she decorated her dorm room with lace (while the rest of the girls were lucky to pick up their dirty clothes from the floor), and hearing of her "harrowing" start at the network (where critics picked on her lack of cooking skills) and her alleging that when the critics picked on her they were picking on women across the country "just trying to put a meal on the table" (as though she represented middle America), I came to realize that I was kind to have only found her annoying; she was insufferable.
Then I saw a few minutes of The Real Housewives of Orange County reunion show (after, admittedly, not sitting through more than 30 seconds of the actual series), where a host interviewed the women featured in the show as though they were exemplary humans, and I realized that there were levels of insufferability (go with it) so far below Sandra Lee that I held little hope for the future of our species.
Spoiled rich kids didn't seem so bad at all.