One of the most sensitive-slash-lurid creations MTV has ever devised, True Life, returned Wednesday night in a slightly altered format—it’s titled True Life/Now, and features occasional talking heads opining on the issue du jour. This episode followed three people who idolize the Kardashians to the point of emulating them physically and, wow, was it depressing.
Multiple, if not all, of the subjects on the show aspired to get either paid to party or simply unadulterated attention. That’s what they wanted from their lives—what was once the byproduct of doing something (often, not even well) is now the goal. While it’s hard to look past the inflated sense of self-entitlement and superiority one would need to have to assume that they should be wealthy and famous simply for existing (they need their specialness materialized), it’s easy to see how someone would get the impression that that’s possible and they’re deserving of it given the system they live in. If they didn’t choose this culture, can they be fully blamed for perpetuating it?
Things were never more bleak than in the clip embedded here, in which 26-year-old Brooklyn mom Sherrah attempted to land a gig bartending at a “gentlemen’s lounge” called Vanity in Elmhurst, Queens. Sherrah explained that she needed money for her lips and her boobs, but in a Showgirls-like turn, club owner Milos sent her away to “work on herself,” by which he meant she needed to get her boobs and lips done. This was after he made her don a body suit, telling her, “I’m going to see exactly what you can do.” But once he saw her in costume, per True Life’s editing, he looked her up and down a few times and told her to meet him in his office where he promptly dismissed her.
So Sherrah’s dilemma is that she needs money to get plastic surgery, but she can’t make money without plastic surgery in her chosen field (at least according to this guy). That’s a hell of a paradox to cram your life into, but Sherrah went forth, undeterred because she was interested in becoming a “startender”—or star bartender—which, as she explained to Milos, is a bartender who has an audience of guys who make it out to the club to see them “because they’re like, almost like D-list celebrities.”
“I know that I could be a lawyer or a doctor and make my mom proud, but that’s just not what I want ultimately. I don’t want to sit behind a desk when I know that there are people getting paid to do what they are actually passionate about,” she said in a voiceover that accompanied her scrolling through Kim Kardashian’s Instagram.
The show’s final segment delivered an update on Sherrah—she had temporarily abandoned her quest for plastic surgery because she found out she was pregnant with a second child. She planned to resume after her baby was born.