January 18, 2005 -- THIS ain't your mama's sweet 16 — and it prob ably wasn't yours or your best friend's either.
The latest MTV real-life series, "My Super Sweet 16," premiering tonight at 10:30, explores the real world of overindulged American teens as they plan their extravagant birthday bashes.
"Being 16 is a power struggle with parents — there's a lot of push and pull at that stage," says executive producer Nina Diaz. "We wanted to capture that exact moment when someone is turning from childhood to adulthood..
"Every week we're documenting the journey of what it's like to turn 16 in these times, which is much more complicated [than it used to be]. Kids can sometimes be more focused on the material aspects of the world."
The first of six episodes revolves around a pair of popular (and filthy rich) La Jolla, Calif., teens, Jacqueline and Lauren, who are having a joint 400-person party at the local Hard Rock Café. They estimate the festivities will cost a mere $100,000.
In the half-hour show, the girls deal with the horror of an overflowing guest list, the sorrow of not having Beyoncé (her half-million dollar fee was somewhat too expensive) and a near catfight over wanting to wear similar dresses.
Upcoming episodes feature a party thrown by the son of a celebrity caterer — including a father-son stop at a dance club to pick podium dancers for the party — and an unpopular girl who uses her talk-of-the-town bash to exact revenge on all the people that have been mean to her.
Fortunately, here's a healthy dose of humor too.
"At first, we didn't know what shape the show was going to take, but comedy has really become the heart of a lot of these episodes," says Diaz.
Take, for example, the unintentionally hilarious moment when the high heel-and-miniskirt clad Jacqueline gets sucked into the party's mosh pit, while Lauren squeals and scampers away.
Despite all this, the teens weren't merely interested in spending money.
"They honestly worked very hard. We were all impressed by how dedicated, diligent and adult-like they were in handling all of their arrangements and advocating for all of their needs," says Diaz.
The La Jolla girls even collected $10 from each guest and donated it to charity.
Still, "a lot of times we're blown away — just when we thought we'd seen it all, we have Ava come along from Beverly Hills, having her 'Arabian Nights'-themed sweet 16 at the Four Seasons," says Diaz — with four shirtless college polo players carrying her on a silk pillow.