The College Admissions Scandal Review: #RichPeopleProblems


The war against the one-percent will be televised and laughed at a lot.

Grab your Rosé and pumpkin-spiced crappaccinos, lovelies. Lifetime had The College Admissions Scandal plotted and cast by the time Aunt Becky perp-walked into the courthouse smiling and signing autographs.

They hammed it up in glorious fashion, too.

Sadly, the movie was highly-fictionalized, so we didn’t get reenactments of America’s favorite Desperate Housewife and Uncle Jesse’s ageless wife enduring this juicy scandal.

Instead, we got Caroline and Bethany — two successful and overbearing momsters — who were caught up in Operation Varsity Blues.

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One can only hope the efforts put into making them as detestable and loathsome as possible was intentional. Bethany’s entitlement and vapid Caroline’s obtuse grasp of her own privilige were stunning.

However, it did make the sweet sound of metal clinking around privileged wrists all the more satisfactory. White-collar criminals should have special handcuffs (to go along with their special sentencing of diddly- squat time at Camp Creampuff).

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What do you think; solid gold cuffs or diamond encrusted? Does Rolex make handcuffs? Tiffany’s? They should get on that.

If there is an abundance of name-brand dropping and fancy names mentioned in this review, it’s only because of my need to keep up with the movie.

Caroline: We are sicking an army of tutors on him once we settle on a consultant.

If you took a swig of white wine or fine scotch every time someone, with a straight-face, mentioned one of the Ivy League schools or flashed something to show off their money, you may land yourself in rehab.

But what will your neighbors and colleagues think about that? Not good things and their opinions matter more than anything in the world, so please, drink responsibly.

Caroline and Bethany made getting into an Ivy League college out to be as though it’s life and death.

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Neither of their kids’ success ever hinged on whether they could claim they went to Yale, Stanford, or Princeton.

The moms deluded themselves into thinking they were doing what was best for their kids and that dipping into unethical waters was for some greater good and primal.

Primal was a cavewoman bashing a sabertooth’s head in with a rock and dragging it to a cave to feed her kids.

Primal is not whether Cumberland Atticus the IV and Moonwater Sage Carrington can claim they went to an elite school they weren’t suited for in any way.

But whatever, people.

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Despite everyone having actual jobs and six-figure salaries, a bunch of stressed-out parents of teenagers gathering together to cluck and tsk over their children’s journey to Ivy League was a legitimate thing.

Caroline was embarassed — mortified to admit her son Danny scored in the 12’s on his PSAT’s. THE HORROR!

It made you miss the days when they gossiped about affairs and country club squabbles. It was about wanting the best for their children, so it was supposed to make them more sympathetic.

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Heh. Try again.

The collective gasps over these unconscionable setbacks were spectacular, though.

Bethany, who doubled down on being the posterchild of unchecked privilege and entitlement, was the one to mention a godsend in the form of Rick Singer.

Slick Rick is what they called him. No, they didn’t, but that’s what they should have referred to him as the man was a schemer who ran all kinds of games.

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Assuming he doesn’t manipulate himself back to the top of the wealth gap, he would kill it as a used-car salesman.

But we all know he’ll put together a Ponzi scheme in no time. He’s got that Midas touch. See, that’s funny because of the wealth and all.

Oh, Bethany.

We should have known she was going to be unlikable when she made a green smoothie with kale and fruit but no base of water or milk.

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Ma’am, that is a dry smoothie. Actually, that’s not a smoothie, that’s a chopped salad.

Bethany was the villainess of this movie, but Mia Kirshner was so damn good at playing this hellion in heels and dark power colors.

She brought that Lana Parilla as Once Upon a Time‘s Evil Queen/Regina energy that was irresistible.

Bethany Slade was probably a dominatrix in a past life, and she’ll probably need to be in this life after the scandal. She radiated Big, um, Energy.

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Maybe if she and Caroline’s kids were remotely interested in attending a fancy school, their actions would be more compelling.

Caroline, and kudos to Penelope Ann Miller, for nailing the overbearing soccer mom with a Karen haircut vibe (apologies to the Karens) was a mess.

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The melodrama was too damn much. Oh, Caroline, Danny isn’t going to end up homeless and in the streets if he doesn’t go to Stanford.

Caroline: You’re going to end up homeless and in the streets!

Danny is white, mediocre-looking, with a penis, and two wealthy helicopter parents. Danny is going to be OK.

If she did all of this so he could get into college, are we supposed to believe she wouldn’t fix up the guest-house for him if his rockstar plans fell through? Come on, Caroline. Get real.

All Danny wanted was to play his music and be a teenager, and his parents, but namely Caroline, wouldn’t let him be great.

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Sure, parents get testy when they find out their child is more interested in the arts, but at no point did they enforce a career choice on him. Their interest was limited to where he went to school.

Caroline: It’s Rick Singer’s foundation, and that foundation is supposed to provide scholarships for underpriviliged children.

Jackson: But it doesn’t?

Caroline: Apparently not!

Jackson: Oh my god!

Caroline: And the parents put money into the foundation, and the foundation–

Jackson: Pays the bribes.

Caroline: Are they bribes? 

Jackson: Yeah, they’re kinda bribes. No, they’re actually bribes.

If you don’t force your child to be a doctor, lawyer, or run a family business, then what’s the point? Let the boy play his guitar in peace.

He got offers from legitimate music managers, and his lawyer dad wouldn’t even listen. If you’re going to be this awful about your kid not choosing the right path, commit to it and don’t half-ass it.

They looked like their only concern was a double-legacy son getting into Princeton for the look of it. It made them seem too concerned with image, and Danny looked like an asshole when he cherry-picked when he was interested in Stanford.

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Shoutout to Danny’s brown, middle-class best friend who had to watch this basic white boy with a guitar blow off all of his tutoring and academic focus, only to get into Stanford.

Tristan: I’m trying to think of an unmelodramatic way of walking out of here, but nothing’s coming to me.

Tristan didn’t have the same means, had the passion and work ethic, and he wanted to go to Stanford; it was his dream.

He had to stand there and watch his best friend celebrate after doing the bare minimum to get in.

If Danny didn’t even try to study or anything like that and thought he got nearly 400 points higher on his SAT and admission into an Ivy-League, what kind of message does that send to him about the efforts of everyone else trying?

Did Danny believe he was a closet genius? Did he think his best friend — who worked his entire life to get what Danny got with a quarter of a million dollars — was unlucky?

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The thing is, you go to Ivy League schools for the prestige and image, sure, but mostly, you go for the connections.

These people had connections! Bethany could cast her net far and wide with her job at a firm, and so could Caroline’s husband, Jackson.

Caroline was an interior designer for celebrities. Wouldn’t it have been easier and cost-efficient to introduce her son to a client in the music industry?

The meritocracy is an inevitability with these people, but there were smarter ways of doing things outside of paying Rick Singer thousands of dollars to photoshop pictures and take tests for kids too lazy, uninterested, or incapable of getting into these schools themselves.

They were casually talking money figures like an episode of Billions.

Rick’s scheme was a doozy, but it sucks how little of it we saw in action. Isn’t that part of the fun, dammit?

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We know he funneled the money and did all of this through a charity he set up for, you know, actual underprivileged kids who needed help getting into college.

Rick could’ve helped the needy, but instead, he lined his pockets. Rick was such a sleazy slimeball.

The movie showed bits and pieces of him making moves, but we didn’t get a full idea of those moves he was making.

Sure, we got a few shots of Emma pretending to kick a soccer ball in front of a green screen with someone photo-shopping her onto a field.

Rick: Listen, I got some people here I gotta go.

We saw the one guy erasing answers and telling kids what bubbles to fill in too. We saw a couple of the coaches and other people making their deals while the FBI had them under investigation, but it could’ve been fleshed out.

The FBI was tipped off to Singer because of another person caught. Maury turned on Rick faster than milk in 99-degree heat in the desert.

These bros ain’t loyal.

Outside of the super sassy FBI agent (who was a MOOD), the investigation portion of the movie was lacking.

FBI Agent: Am I bad if it made me smile to see all those. 01 percenters running around like ants when you poke a stick in their hill?

By the time the Feds rolled up on Singer, it was anti-climactic despite being a bit amusing.

Singer sang like a canary. Go figure.

Once again, they were making it hard to sympathize with these people at all ( not that they had any intention of doing this, the entire movie was a mockery of the wealthy).

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Who does that much talking over the phone? It’s ludicrous and dumb. If someone is mentioning too many details including money figures, then assume the worst.

Good grief, if you’re going to do wrong, do it right!

Also, do it smarter. These folks were, as the kids say, dumb AF.

Bethany is someone you would’ve expected more from, but she was arrogant and entitled, so maybe not.

Bethany was ruthless in her attempts to get her daughter into an Ivy-League. She stopped at nothing to justify her choices and convince her daughter to go along.

Bethany: Wait, I know what this is. Some kind of a privilege thing. This is a twisted revenge on the one percent, and if you think you’re going to deprive my daughter of the support that you would give to any other child, we will see how long that you have your job!

A personal favorite was when she compared fraud to Affirmative Action, proclaimed she was trying to get the same advantages as the disadvantaged and cited Darwinism.

Bethany, please. Laughing at her antics was an actual workout. It felt like crunches and everything.

Ironically, Danny received the learning disability treatment, but Bethany was the one who kept joking about her daughter being special and downright stupid.

Emma wasn’t as vapid, insufferable, and tone-deaf as Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade.

Rick: OK, when Emma meets with the shrink she’s going to need to be a little, you know, stupid. Sell a learning difference.

She probably should’ve joined the Peace Corp and never looked back, but she let Bethany get in her head.

It wasn’t the Darwinism that convinced her; she and her much smarter younger sister had a better grasp of the disadvantaged than their mother.

It was the threat of her Ivy-league boyfriend moving on without her that convinced her to join her mother’s foolish antics. Chase dreams not boy parts, people!

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Emma should’ve left her hip, cutthroat mom with the $1000 designer ripped jeans behind and lived with her recovering addict dad who traveled the world.

In Emma’s defense, with her parents, she never stood a chance. Their extremes alone were insane.

Emma should’ve thought the foolishness through. She didn’t want to go to a fancy school, and she lost her boyfriend anyway when he found out she did all of that lying.

His parents went from being super sweet, to politely suggesting she take all that drama elsewhere.

The Feds snatched Caroline and Jackson up in the wee hours of the morning. They had to head into the station in their pajamas.

Bethany waltzed out looking badass and unapologetic as hell as she climbed into the police car, and she was a hoot in front of the judge.

What kind of cognitive dissonance?

Bethany thought she could schedule her arraignment around her other engagements. The woman thought she had a job after all the bad press she brought to her firm.

Bethany was 50 kinds of delusional and hilarious.

Bethany:Iit’s my suggestion that the next person who uses a subjective go screw themselves. 

The ending was rather abrupt. It’s the downside to making a movie to capitalize on a juicy scandal before everything is resolved.

The parents lost their kids. Danny packed his graphic tees and guitar up and bounced. Now he probably is homeless and living out on the street, or he got famous.

His parents appreciated his music too little too late.

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Bethany was a hot mess, and Emma, who could’ve faced some charges too with her involvement, decided to run to her father.

If it’s anything like the inspiration behind this movie, Caroline will get a whopping 14 days in prison. I’ve had a headache longer, but sure.

And Bethany, well, that’s to be determined. She’ll get longer though since she didn’t show remorse.

Lifetime may want to revisit this one again after we get more details. While this was entertaining enough, it’ll be far more intriguing down the road.

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The drama. The twitter shade. It’ll be epic.

Do you think they made this movie too soon?

What would you score this madness?

Over to you, Lifetime movie fanatics.

I’m off to dig change out of the couch cushions to treat myself to a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino, reminisce on how my mother had other shit to do during the three hours I spent taking my SAT’s, and congratulate myself on getting into college on merit.

But, I’ll see you in the comments!


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Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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