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Top This Party
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality show involves outrageous displays of wealth -- all in the name of a party. Clients spend several hundred thousand dollars on events to celebrate everything from Halloween to being single. Houses are huge and poshly decorated, and clients themselves are expensively groomed, from breast implants to Botox. Female clients sometimes appear in very revealing clothing. Party throwers sometimes treat their hired planners poorly -- expecting them to break laws or cater to emotional fancies. Not to be outdone, the planners also criticize their clients, giving viewers license to disdain them.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TOP THIS PARTY shows off the decadence of the very rich -- and the patience of the party planners who work for them. Revolving around well-known (in their industry, anyway) event planners like Brian Dobbin and Brian \"Breakfast\" Rice, this reality show follows the fellows as they create and execute lavish parties, coddling their clients, managing their staff, and mediating various meltdowns along the way.
Is it any good?
In one episode, for example, Dobbin meets a newly divorced client who fits every Orange County stereotype: she's rich, blonde, and has huge breasts. She and her personal assistant want to throw a six-figure party to celebrate her single state. They proceed to complain every step of the way as Dobbin -- in his mellow, half-hippie way -- tries to accommodate their wild desires, only to nearly get fired when a yacht won't allow an open fire for a pig roast and plans for a backyard helicopter entrance don't pan out. But Dobbin pulls through, and his chef whips up a gorgeous Casino Royale-inspired menu.
The party planner shares his frustration with his clients and his staff with the camera in a very low-key way, and that's what saves the show from utter absurdity -- though not by much. When Dobbin complains, viewers share in his frustration, laughing at the follies of the rich. But laughing at the rich doesn't feel very good. And seeing the kind of money being spent on decorations alone is sad. Overall, Top This Party feels like one more show in a long line of reality shows about rich people that doesn't serve much of a purpose -- even plain old entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the kind of wealth on display in this show. How would you describe the featured folks' attitudes toward money? How is their outlook similar to or different from your own? If you had millions of dollars, would you live a lifestyle similar to what you see here? What's the best party you could imagine? How much do you think it would cost? Does watching these fancy parties make you wonder how else the money could be spent? Do parties have to be big and lavish to be fun and memorable?