F-Rated: Confused about House of Carters?

Watching the shenanigans of the highly dysfunctional, pop-loving Carter family is such a guilty, dirty pleasure, it should be outlawed.

Not only are audience members selling off their last ounce of TV self-respect, the relative side-effects of millions of eyes tuning into the family means we’re stuffing an endless pot of cash, stardom and life-long dysfunction into their overly-filled pockets.

No there’s nothing at all really likable about a bunch of ridiculously spoiled, wealthy young kind-of-adults living in an expansive California mansion, driving any and every car they want, yet still finding the need to complain when things don’t go according to whim.

So why watch? Why rot your brain pondering the moves of individuals so remarkably removed from the realities of life that their own reality has become a parody? Because the show, as obnoxious as it may be, is a living, breathing re-enactment of the most important lessons of life. Albeit, wrangled up in a mass of superficial indulgence and a peppery dose of melodrama. But hey, isn’t that how we like our reality TV?

House of Carters trumps the copycats in one way. Walking into the show, most viewers already have a preconception of what they think the family will be like. This perverse want-to-know factor comes from big brother Nick Carte’s uber-stardom with the Backstreet Boys and his lingering stint as a late ‘90s heartthrob. We’re not being introduced to new contestants or people we have to get to know, we think we already know them. It’s the same key to success that worked for The Osbournes, and multiplies itself in the Carters because of their more mainstream Bop-magazine-style fame.

So how can you learn from the Carters? As bratty as they may be, every one of them is the victim of the same weakness that gets us to tune in every week. The chase to grasp celebrity status and a perpetual dream to catch the cash advance that comes with it.

What you don’t know about the Carters is that their picture-perfect bleached-blonde family was birthed by parents who wanted celebrity so badly they pushed their kids into the spotlight to get it. Though talented vocalists (talented being a relative term), the kids–particularly Nick, was treated instead like the main breadwinner of the family, with his Backstreet success financing his big parental spenders. When Nick became of legal age, little brother Aaron was tossed into the spotlight. And that’s how the story goes—so the young’un’s say.

Whatever blemishes caused the financial blips in their family, the kids, harbor very real damage from their experiences with their parents who subsequently fell through a tough divorce. Sister B.J. in particular seems a little out of her mind, drinking/crying/ranting her days away, making her well-suited for reality TV stardom.

The youngest of the bunch, Aaron has a chip on his shoulder the size of the family’s cerulean blue swimming pool and has reckless outbursts that reflect a young man who was just never given the opportunity to grow up. The sad part being of course, that he thinks he’s grown up.

It’s all rather distressing when you watch the Carters closely, especially considering that the antics of the rest of the family, a total of three sisters and two brothers–make Nick, often mocked for his dimwittedness, look level-headed.

Lock all that into place and you have a reality TV show that, amidst its brotherly tussles, drunken rampages and family feuds is the shadowed allegory of a generation raised on the importance of finding fame and wealth beyond all other priority. It’s quite satirical, in its own ditzy, unawares way.

So is it worth the permanent loss of your TV dignity? Yes, and no, ultimately earning it a C-Rate on our F-Rated scale: Make your own Carter Conclusion.

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Sir Linksalot: House of Carters