If you want to celebrate your child’s birthday, by all means, celebrate away. Parties are fun! But if you’re planning to spend a huge chunk of change for said celebration (or in the case of the final episode of Outrageous Kid Parties, more than my four-year college education!) please let TLC film it. We’re leaning against the notion of spending an exorbitant amount of money for a party. And yet we cannot look away while these parents rack up a nearly $30,000 bill for a circus party! Of course, for $30,000, we expect nothing short of a full circus.
Jeff Collins, an executive producer of Outrageous Kid Parties, spoke with EW about the concept for the show and about the cultural phenomenon of outrageous spending for these over-the-top celebrations. “Are they going too big or are they over-doing it? Are they creating monsters? I don’t know, but I think it’s interesting,” Collins says. The families featured on the show do not get any monetary compensation for participating, but a DVD of the memorable event is a nice parting gift. (TLC has yet to make a decision about whether the show will return with new episodes.) After the interview below, you can check out an exclusive clip from the finale, which airs Monday on TLC at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you guys come up with the concept for the show?
JEFF COLLINS: It was TLC’s idea. We were taking them an idea about party planners that do big expensive parties. [TLC] came back to us and said, “You know, there’s all this buzz about people doing over-the-top parties for their kids. That seems like something’s going on there.” We showed some tape to some of the folks at TLC, and they were like this is crazy! We should investigate this more. So that’s kind of how it all began. Who are these moms, and why are they doing this? What’s this all about?
Why do you think outrageous kid parties have become a thing, so to speak?
There are a couple of things I heard over and over again from these moms. And it was them feeling like this [is the] time in childhood where kids are still innocent and can do fun things and not be like nasty teenagers. Like the minute they turn 13, they get the devil injection. Moms realize that that period [in a child’s life] is really short. Also, I think they’re starting to feel like they want to create memories that are really big and over the top because they know that culturally, kids grow up [and might] move away from home.
What kind of reaction has the show been getting?
People don’t really know what to think of it. Some people say it’s too much too soon. They’re saying, “You’re setting unrealistic expectations for the kids.” The mom’s argument to that would be, “No, I’m not.” Because the minute they get out of this innocent stage, their expectations change big time, when they realize there’s no Santa Claus and no princess and sometimes the world can kind of suck, no matter what cards you’re dealt, no matter how blessed you are in life. I think that’s what the moms believe. They [think] life’s going to be tough when they grow up. So they are trying to capture them at that time when everything is still in a bubble.
Why do you think the dads aren’t nearly as interested in these parties?
The dads are always the ones who kind of stand back and look at the moms. It’s puzzling to them. Some of them are really against it, but they know they don’t have a choice. The guys just know you have to pick and choose your battles and, obviously, this one is not one they can win.
In addition to spending large amounts of money, what makes these parties unique?
These aren’t the Kardashians. These are people we know, but they are doing something that is really extraordinary. That’s why we’re focusing on people from middle America. If we go forward with the show, you won’t see anybody featured from Beverly Hills or other wealthy places. That’s not what this is about. This is about regular folks who just happen to be doing something really big.