The biggest lies on My Super Sweet Sixteen

MTV's My Super Sweet 16 reality series plays out like a master class in excess. From the moment Hilary Duff sings the iconic "Sweet Sixteen" theme song to the inevitable sports car reveal, these parties are gigantic, the celeb cameos are plentiful, and the teens are vicious. It's got all the ingredients of good TV, but is it real?

MTV reality shows aren't exactly known for their authenticity, and My Super Sweet 16 seems less like the Real World and more like the Real-ish World. In fact, according to at least one former Sweet Sixteener, the price tag is just about the only thing genuine in this series. From manufactured drama to fake fancy cars, party planners and former stars have spoken out about the show's complicated relationship with the truth. 

You're invited to watch us unwrap all the behind-the-scenes details about these big birthdays — including that story about A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence celebrating her 16th on the show. Without further ado, here are the biggest lies of My Super Sweet 16.

What's My Super Sweet 16 without a surprise car?

From Cadillac Escalades and Hummers to custom Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes, are you even worthy of being on My Super Sweet 16 if your parents don't buy you a fancy car? Sweet rides are a show staple, yet somehow the privileged teens never seem to figure out that it's an inevitable gift. If their general lifestyle doesn't tip them off, the extravagant party definitely should — or, maybe it's just that the whole surprise is totally fake.

Former birthday girl Nikki Cain admitted that her surprise car was anything but. She told Babe that she already knew which vehicle her dad purchased — which was, of course, the exact one she wanted — before the crew filmed her picking out cars in the lot. "And they made me test drive a different car that was grey, and they knew that the car that I wanted was white, so they kept saying, 'Well how to you feel about the color? You don't like the color, right? You don't like this, right? How does that make you feel? Does it make you mad because it's not white?'" Cain recalled. "So they're pushing you to be annoying…"

Doesn't that sound torturous — fake care shopping when you already know you're getting the car of your dreams? 

Too bad those fancy wheels were totally for show

A first car defines you. There's something to be said about scrounging together $1,000 from your summer job to buy a rusted beater that barely runs. While most of us were borrowing our parents' minivan or taking the bus, the kids of My Super Sweet 16 were having meltdowns over not getting the specific sports car they wanted. As nice as it is, what 16-year-old kid really needs a BMW?

It looks like some of the parents on My Super Sweet 16 totally agree with us, and the fancy cars they gift their kids may be staged by producers. According to Stacy Zeigler, who worked for a catering company that assisted with an MTV birthday bash, the snazzy ride was "just for the show." In an interview for Special EventsZeigler claims the teen "really got a Honda or a Toyota," but cameras showed her getting a BMW X5. 

In other words, some of those whips may be just for the cameras, unless you're Lil' Wayne's daughter. In that case, you get a BMW and a Ferrari.

The party crashers are totally staged

No birthday bash is complete without a couple party crashers — at least not in the world of My Super Sweet 16. Either this a concerning trend among high school kids or something fishy is going on. Are you guessing the latter? Well, you're probably right.

According to Houston Chronicle reporter Kristin Finan, the whole concept of renegade revelers was staged. Finan spoke to some My Super Sweet 16 party crashers — two dudes identified as Alex Satler and Deezy. Finan said the birthday girl initially invited Deezy to the party, but he later "received a very public revocation" at the "invitation distribution party." 

Satler claimed an MTV crew member called him before the party to confirm that he was, indeed, planning to show up uninvited. "They asked us to crash the party," Deezy told Finan on the night of the soirèe, right before someone from MTV reportedly called Deezy's cell phone and told him not to talk to the press. 

What guest list?

My Super Sweet 16 makes distributing invitations a full-on spectacle, and there are always disappointed kids who don't receive a coveted invite because, well,  what's an exclusive party if everyone can come? 

Rapper J. Cole famously crashed one of MTV's My Super Sweet 16 parties while he was a college kid (before he was famous.) Never mind the notion that Cole was admittedly too old to be attending some kid's 16th birthday party. The big bash was for Aaron Reid, the son of famed music exec L.A. Reid, and Cole said he was hoping to rub elbows with some famous faces in the music industry. Looking back on that moment years later, Cole told MTV that he totally faked it for the cameras, and the cameras knew the whole time.

At the party, Cole said he fessed up that he didn't even know Aaron, but a crew member supposedly told him, "It's okay. It's TV. Just say something." Behind-the-scenes footage even show's Cole being coached to tell the camera he's "Aaron's best friend." Cole got into character and wound up making the cut, so yeah, apparently those exclusive guest lists are just for show.

Everyone loves a dramatic entrance

Dramatic entrances are the cornerstone of My Super Sweet 16. Who doesn't love to see a birthday girl appear in a life-sized Barbie box? As it turns out, the real-life party may be even more dramatic than we originally thought because those grand entrances — and other entrances on the show — are supposedly shot over and over and over again.

According to Nikki Cain, whose sweet 16 was featured in a 2009 episode, many moments were replicated multiple times to produce the perfect material. Cain claims she had to walk into a room and walk back out repeatedly so the small film crew could capture different angles. The team also allegedly made her repeat her very best lines. "If I would say something funny or that they thought was dramatic they would ask me to repeat it, which is annoying because then it's not the same," she told Babe. "It's not as genuine as it was before. It sounds kind of fake."

The teens aren't that mean

My Super Sweet 16 has had its fair share of divas and meltdowns. Where there's money, there are sometimes privileged kids who don't understand the word "no." From tantrums over birthday gifts to publicly shaming best friends over petty arguments, the teens in this reality show would fit right in with Regina George and her pink-clad Plastics. At least, that's what MTV would like us to believe. 

The truth is, those teenzillas on screen are just ramping it up for the cameras. Guest Lauren Hillin told the Houston Chronicle that the star of the party looked "really mean" on the episode, "but in real life she's just worried about what everyone's going to think about her. She's scared everyone's going to hate her after this, because she had to act so mean for the camera."

This notion of acting salty for the cameras but sweet behind the scenes was corroborated by caterer Stacy Zeigler, who said her client was "actually really sweet." Mild-mannered teens apparently just don't make for good TV.

Jennifer Lawrence was on the show...sort of

Before Jennifer Lawrence was an Oscar-winner, she was a small-time entertainer posing for Abercrombie & Fitch and acting in MTV commercials. Rumors have long been circulating about the A-lister appearing on My Super Sweet 16, and she'd hardly be the first star to make a cameo. Curiously enough, no one on the internet seems to have uncovered the footage of J Law's birthday bash. Why? 

We hate to break it to you, but much like that Sinbad genie movie, it doesn't exist. As much as we'd like to see Lawrence have a public meltdown over party decorations, she was no teen diva. However, the star was a paid actress for a My Super Sweet 16 promotional video

"I wasn't on the show, because we weren't rich and my parents aren't awful, no offense," Lawrence said in a Wired Q&A. "My first job was an MTV promo for My Super Sweet 16, so I was acting like one of the Sweet 16 girls, but I was not."

The most expensive parties take place off-screen

There's no doubt that the parties on My Super Sweet 16 are more extravagant than most people's weddings. It's hard to even imagine the type of wealth required to have Rihanna, Kanye West, or Nicki Minaj perform at your party. Yeah, we get it when it's L.A. Reid's kid, but who spawned the rest?

Though MTV likes us to believe the parties on its show are as luxe as it gets, that may not actually be the case. In fact, the network may not even be filming the biggest teen parties out there (and our jaws are now completely off their hinges.) Stacy Zeigler told Special Events that her catering company made less money on a My Super Sweet 16 party than on a non-televised sweet 16. Wow, if the Shakespeare-themed MTV bash included jesters for the grand entrance, what happened at the other party?

That said, according to the companies interviewed by Special Events, sweet 16 parties make up "a mere 1 percent or less of their business," so you're not alone if you didn't have an extravagant event to commemorate your 16th birthday (and neither is Jennifer Lawrence.)

Who isn't a diva on three hours of sleep?

Admit it: You aren't very pleasant when you're tired. If the teens on My Super Sweet 16 look like actual nightmares, a huge part of that cranky attitude could be attributed to lack of sleep. That's right: MTV might be manufacturing divas through sleep deprivation.

According to former Sweet Sixteener Nikki Cain, MTV didn't allow her enough downtime to get a good night's rest. She told Babe that MTV filmed "from waking up to falling asleep … I would get three or four hours of sleep at the most. They're already at my house before I even get out of bed. They're there until after I go to sleep. It's crazy."

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who worked as a producer on The Bachelor, told The New Yorker that depriving her contestants of sleep was part of the job description. Sleep deprivation is proven to trigger intense emotions — the kind that might contribute to a spoiled teen's very public party meltdown. It's their birthday and they can (and probably will) cry if they want to.

The term 'documentary' is used loosely

My Super Sweet 16 is framed as a documentary — an authentic depiction of the lifestyles of privileged teens on their milestone birthdays. That's the reason one Houston Chronicle reporter claims they were barred from an MTV birthday bash. Apparently, the network thought it wouldn't be "real" if press attended the bona fide "documentary" shoot. 

MTV may be tossing around that documentary lingo loosely. "It's all fake," former My Super Sweet 16 star Nikki Cain told Babe. "Everything is scripted. You have to sit in a room and read off a script for like eight hours. Just completely boring, saying things that I wouldn't even say, things that most people wouldn't say, like, 'I think that people are so jealous of me because…' It's just too much. I would never say that. I would ask if they could reword it and they would say 'No, you have to say it exactly as it's scripted.'" 

As fun as it is to watch, this series probably won't be earning a Pulitzer Prize for its groundbreaking realness anytime soon.