I’m on the train heading back to New York from Ogunquit, Maine (an extraordinarily magical little coastal beach town) reading some of the recent press on “NYC Prep.” It’s astounding how many people are talking about this show and how emotionally charged many of the articles are. The New York Times ran an article this weekend titled “Who’s Afraid of NYC Prep?” which talks to school officials and parents who are “outraged” and “mortified” and their kids who think it’s “better then Gossip Girl.” Next I opened this weeks New York Magazine which printed an in-depth feature claiming that the show presents Manhattan as a “moral hell” and that PC took the bait to be on the show because we “supplied trappings of wealth… even a private plane.” I chuckled at the absurdity, imagined PC doing the same and put the magazine down. Then I turned to Richard Lawson’s recap of episode two on Gawker (so beyond devilishly witty!) and laughed so hard I woke up the woman sitting next to me on the train. Thanks Richard!
After only two episodes on the air, I’m not really sure what to make of the reaction from the schools, parents, and press. The show has certainly hit a nerve and it feels good that people are watching and talking. I guess it would be nice for the articles to mention that these kids are also running charities that raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, are landing coveted internships, and are pursuing their dreams of attending Ivy Leagues and beyond. All this while dealing with the same pressures from friends and parents that all high school kids face. I am honestly extremely proud of the way the cast has been handling themselves since the show started airing and hope they continue to have fun and enjoy the ride.
A few things that stood out for me in episode three…
This is the episode where Taylor started to feel major pressure from her ex boyfriend Cole to get back together. Taylor and Cole decided to stop dating because Taylor was too busy to really focus on a relationship and Cole was too busy looking at other girls. Well we all know there is nothing more attractive then a girl who is unavailable so when Cole found out Taylor was dating a private school kid; he decided he wanted Taylor back. I was impressed with the way Taylor handled the situation. Somehow she was able to make both Sebastian and Cole yearn for her, while she quietly weighed her options and considered which one appealed to her more. Meanwhile, both guys were on edge waiting with bated breath while Taylor made up her mind. None of us on the production team had any idea which way she would go… but we were all excited to find out and to see what the result of her decision would be and how the boys would react... Just wait.
Kelli was always very open to have the cameras cover every aspect of her life and very honest with her emotions during the process. However, when her dog passed away she was extremely hesitant about having the cameras capture the grieving process… which included a funeral at a pet cemetery by the families Hampton’s home. This was Kelli’s childhood puppy and she considered her an important member of the family. Plus, Kelli had never been to a funeral before so she had no idea what to expect and how she would react. It was a very personal and emotionally draining day for Kelli and her family and ultimately, Kelli decided to give us full access because she realized it was part of her commitment to the show… even if it meant we would see her in a way that made her vulnerable. I thought she handled herself in a very mature fashion and was truly impressed.
Winter Break is a very important time for these kids because the Schools put an insane amount of pressure on them during the academic year so any chance to escape the pressure cooker and relax is essential. Honestly, I was surprised PC was heading to Cancun. I imagined him skiing in the Alps or soaking in the Cayman Islands, but PC didn’t want any part of that. He just wanted to chill with his best boarding school buddy JP in a place that was pure fun and no pressure. A place he could let loose, relax and be a kid. Matt Elkind, our director of photography and Nick Budabin, our producer, flew to Cancun to meet up with PC and arrived a few hours before PC’s plane was due to land. However, PC’s flight got canceled and rescheduled for the next evening so Matt and Nick got to spend a full day and night sipping margaritas on the beach while we panicked back in our New York production office that PC would never even make it. Well PC did and I wish we could show you even more of the footage, because it was a real joy seeing PC away from his element… relaxing, smiling and being a kid.
Alright, pulling into Penn Station now. More next week.