The Simple Life

The Simple Life
Sample two rich (ok, that doesn't even cover it when dealing with these fortunes), dumb blondes, take daddy's credit cards away and send them to Arkansas. They were going to ground them, but this seemed so much more like punishment. In the small town in Arkansas, Paris Hilton (heiress to the hotel fortune and sometime sex-tape star) and her best friend Nicole Richie (daughter of crooner Lionel) have to get jobs, drive a broken-down truck and make heads turn with their skimpy clothes and their big city attitude. It's a fish out of water story that depends on two things: that we hate these girls enough to want them humiliated in the face of a hard day's work (Nicole has an arm up a cow's ass at one point) and that we like them enough to keep watching and eventually to cheer for them. And through seven episodes of The Simple Life (the rushed-out DVD doesn't include the after-the-fact "reunion" episode), it's Paris Hilton who does just that. She's a brat, a giraffe with no manners and fewer social skills, but her bullish insistence at getting her own way, not to mention, yes, a certain charismatic presence, does begin to wear down the resistance after a while. Of course it wouldn't work without the poor Arkansas family who have to baby-sit (literally) these dependent adult-infants. They're the butt of jokes for their "backwards" ways, their poverty, their traditional values and their attempts to control at least what goes on in their own house. Their concern over their standing in the community is real, but they needn't worry — the moment these girls arrived, they became the most talked-about happening this town had ever seen. In some ways, that's all The Simple Life is — a flurry of water-cooler chitchat that amounts to nothing. It's candy television that dresses itself up as part social commentary and part reality spy cam when really it's neither. The DVD includes a pilot of the show that demonstrates Paris and Nicole to be much more competent in a given task than the series ever does. Like any good actor (or even celebrity), they can take direction and they dumb it down when necessary, hamming for the camera like Paris strutting on the runway. The DVD includes the requisite deleted scenes, but sadly no commentary, since that would likely reveal the machinations operating behind the scenes. It's a good thing that Fox is rushing this DVD to shelves now, because if you haven't seen it, Simple Life coffee talk in a couple of months is gonna seem as relevant as last month's Michael Jackson court appearance — just not with the celebrity stalking times. (Fox)