To the unsuspecting observer, what supposedly passes for high society may actually be that (give or take the occasional too unbelievable story of $4000 bubble baths) but to the seasoned member of real society what may be passed off as society in their mind is a complicit effort by the media to cash in on their status, legacy and to re invent the cart wheel in a way that embellishes the aspirations of a transient unruly mob as some sort of dynasty to the detriment of the real players who created the wealth and standing that the majority of television’s hanger on’s aspire to. Of course it is one thing to create railroads, steel and coal companies and another thing to make designer handbags that only very wealthy ladies in the back bays of Tokyo can afford.
In the recently launched TV series called ‘High Society,’ the name of the game is to titillate, shock, hoodwink and re apply paradigms that may have once worked for Paris Hilton, an actual real member of high society (in the sense that her family have left a legacy in the hotel and leisure industry) but these days only works to offend us as we are steered into the mean spirited romps of half hearted suddenly divorced protagonists and their vulgar ‘frenemies’ who the producers obviously came up with through the yellow pages.
In principle it is all a lovely idea, but as any real member of society will tell you – they never want you to recognize them (unless of course you yourself are high society…) nor have you pretend that you know them. After all it’s one thing to wear a tight dress and tell the world about your marital woes and another to bite your lip and build legacies and foundations that help preserve your patriarchal name and the fortunes of those less accommodated than you.
In some weird way what has happened in popular culture is for the idea of high society to be hijacked and confused for that of popular culture. On the surface it seems all very possible: find a complicit group of very telegenic our of work (or simply bored ) upwardly mobile actors or social players that either page 6, Gawker or Guest of a Guest have validated surreptitiously over and over to the point of saturation that eventually you give in and accept on face value that they are who they say they are then with a touch of home made and behind the scenes trickery inflame any situation to the point of hyperbole and see what sticks with the public’s imagination, fascination and desire for self validation as also newly arrived members of society.
The trick is to of course tantalize the audience with what they can’t have, what they will never will be but to at the same time entice them with the idea that they too if they believe, watch, talk (bitch and double cross – like the stars before them) they might somehow one day wake and find themselves maybe becoming a member of high society or at the very least be magically recruited like the nebulous actors we see in front of them. Either way high society has now come to resemble ‘mission impossible’ for the television masses.
The inside email exchanges that CW’s ‘High Society’ doesn’t want you to see. Jules Kirby and Malik so Chic confidential.