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Poor Little Pop-Star Girl Fails to Elicit Sympathy

Celebrity narcissists

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Television Review | 'Kaya'
Poor Little Pop-Star Girl Fails to Elicit Sympathy
Published: October 29, 2007
If you asked an 11-year-old girl what she imagined it must be like to live as a young female pop star in America today — a young female pop star earning commercial success and seeking critical recognition — she might tell you that it is really, really tough because everyone wants something from you and maintaining a sense of yourself is next to impossible and the business just hacks away at your efforts to maintain artistic integrity.

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David Drebin/MTV
Danielle Savre play the title role in “Kaya,” a new scripted series on MTV.

Sometimes you might bang up a hotel room, sure, but it is not because you are a violent person by nature; it’s because things can just get to be too much. And if you’ve slept with a few of the guys in your band, well, it couldn’t really be helped. Making music together is just such an intense experience; look at Fleetwood Mac. This young girl might provide you, in other words, with something like a treatment for “Kaya,” a new half-hour drama on MTV, the network’s first scripted series in some time.

The show revolves around Kaya (Danielle Savre), who, at 21, has had a platinum-selling album with her band, Crossing Coldwater, a name that stands as a metaphor for what we must assume to be her transition from San Fernando Valley suburban teenager to glamorous, paparazzi-chased Beverly Hills celebrity. At a news conference Kaya, who fusses with her hair, is asked how she might respond to fans who see her switch from an indie label to a major one as a sign that she has sold out. Suddenly the confidence drains from her face. She looks nauseous and disoriented; she can’t answer the question. She wants to be Joni Mitchell, and she’s being pushed to become Britney Spears.

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As her new producer, the hotshot T, tells her about a song she is working on: “It didn’t rock. It was too slow. It was morose. It was depressing.” He continues: “Nobody is going to listen to this song except maybe some cutter laying on the floor of a bathroom with a razor blade in her hand.”

We’re supposed to feel sorry for Kaya here, but we don’t. For starters her song has a plaintive stupidity to it, and second Kaya is so deeply self-infatuated that you want her stardom to backfire so that she might end up working in prison reform or handing people their dry cleaning.

“Kaya” asks us to participate in a collective nostalgia for what the music business was before iTunes, overproduction and MTV itself, at the same time that it wants to elicit our sympathies for the star system that has resulted from it. “Kaya” seeks our sympathy for young people ill-equipped to handle quickly begotten, astronomical fame. But it comes nowhere close to a single image of a shorn Britney wielding an umbrella at a car window in getting us there.

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MTV, tonight at 10:30 Eastern and Pacific times.

Tony Krantz, Deborah Joy LeVine and Steve Levitan, executive producers. Bradley Walsh, consulting producer and director. Ms. LeVine, series creator. Chris Linn and Meghan Cole, executives in charge of development for MTV. A co-venture of MTV and Protocol Entertainment.

WITH: Danielle Savre (Kaya), Cory Monteith (Gunnar), Joe MacLeod (Manny), Justin Wilczynski (Taylor), Mike Dopud (Don Lawson) and Eric Benét (T Davis).

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Jun/24/2015, 5:35 am Link to this post  

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