I really wish there were something new and interesting to say about Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Yeah, there’s the usual junk – spoiled, dumb, staged, obnoxious – but we already know that. Oh well. I guess I’m feeling a little uninspired because last night’s episode of The Simple Life was just another routine exercise in watching the girls abuse a poor family, make a mockery of some sap’s business, and then waltz away as if they had been the ones through the ringer. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the ouevre of Bunim/Murray Productions, it’s that formulas are meant to be used… over and over and over again. And in this case, Paris and Nicole are happy to oblige.This time around, the gals zoomed on over to Louisianna – sorry Mississippi, no love for you – where they met their new Cajun family for the day. I don’t remember anyone’s names because I was too busy fixating on the bizarre sound of that Creole accent. I’m surprised Paris and Nicole didn’t marvel at the non-Los Angeles dialect. Surely the accent warranted a “that’s hot” comment, or at the very least “Do you love it?”. The latter was reserved for the family’s eldest son, who at seventeen was already attracting the horny eyes of Ms. Richie.
The girls were put to work doing something they love – shopping. Turns out the thirteen year old daughter would be going on her first date the next day. The pleasant mother gave over her credit card and imposed a $75 limit on the purchases, which of course was never going to be observed. In the most shocking of twists, Paris and Nicole rung up over $400 worth of purchases at a J.C. Penney-esque store in rural Louisianna. I did enjoy Paris and Nicole’s contempt for the busty shirts on sale, as if they were any worse than the shards of fabric these two drape on their bodies. Maybe if this couture were showcased at Fred Seagal they’d be more receptive.
Upon return, our wallflower housemom quietly reprimanded her daughter, which in this case meant forcing her to endure a polite dinner. Could any of these people ever raise their voice once in a while? I guess when they’re being paid by producers to go along with the gag, it’s hard to be really upset.
Speaking of gags, the girls reported to work the next day, and this time they had the undaunting task of chopping up fish and baiting nets. Surprisingly, the girls seemed to be taking to the job fairly well. They were cleaving and chopping and following orders with minimal balking. The producers must have been on a coffee break because Paris and Nicole seemed like they were – shock of shocks – being themselves! Well, there’s none of that to be had here. The girls turned naughty again by over-baiting the crawfish nets. Wow, that’s real rebellion. I can understand if you’re stuck working in a fast food restaurant for hours and you’re spoiled and you want to just leave. That seems like natural, snotty, no-work-ethic behavior. But overbaiting the nets? Come on. We’re not idiots, and even Paris and Nicole couldn’t have a hard time sticking fish in a net and dropping it in the water. Just how many hundred dollar bills did executive producer Kevin Lee dangle in front of the girls to make them do that? Of course all these shenanigans meant that the girls would not be reaching their crawfish quota. What to do?
Cut to Paris randomly cutting it up with the locals at a crawfish bake. Why she was there? I don’t know. For a moment I thought she was being a good sport and enjoying local culture. But then I realized this, like everything else on the show, was just some staged and contrived way to make Paris seem like a brilliant schemer. Just in case we weren’t convinced, a little bubble showed up on screen with her head as she said “I have a plan.” I have one too: go away.
Nevertheless, Paris filled her conveniently oversized pocketbook with boiled crawfish and took them back to an ailing Nicole Richie. The next day, the two stuffed the already cooked fish into a sack and sold them, with about five raw ones, to an unsuspecting chump for $78. Exactly what sort of an idiot would spend that much on Paris Hilton’s fishy offerings? I’m not sure.
Time to go back to that first date storyline though. Proving to be two of the most irresponsible parents on the face of the earth, mom and dad left Paris and Nicole to be the chaperones for the big date. I’m now convinced that these people have no television or access to the internet. First they give these shopaholics their credit card, and now they want Paris Hilton – of the Paris Hilton Sex Video – and Nicole Richie – of the Nicole Richie Heroin DUI Variety Hour – to ensure no mischief? I shuddered to think of what was to come.
Actually, it was pretty tame. And for all you sarcasm-deaf people out there, no I didn’t expect the girl to be shooting up on a night-vision homemade porn. After the obligatory makeover (which featured a “that’s hot” and “do you love it?” every two seconds), Paris and Nicole greeted the awkward male suitor with a stern round of interrogation. The poor kid tried to seem unfazed, but he looked scared out of his mind. When the two adolescents finally got some alone time, they sat on the couch and stared ahead, occasionally glimpsing at the cameras. Paris and Nicole, relishing their big sister roles, got them in a boat and they all went frogging. Amazingly, Nicole was shriek-free when it came to handling a bullfrog, and she even kissed it on the lips. And so did Paris. What creature has she not made out with? Cheap shot! Score one for me. Anyway, I guess when there’s no Von Dutch-wearing hipster for miles, a frog’s the best you can do.
Well, the boy never kissed the girl. A parting hug was about as intimate as this date could get. Paris and Nicole were refreshingly mature, and once again I was baffled as to why the producers insist on making them act so vile for most of the show. Like I’ve said before, the strongest moments of every episode are when the girls stray from the roles they play and actually let their guard down. This usually happens in the pickup when the travel-weary belles forget about that nifty surveillance camera, and we hear funny asides about Brittany Spears and Wal-Mart. These scenes are fleeting, and often upstaged by over-the-top staged scenarios. One of these days Bunim/Murray will trust us to enjoy something that’s not exaggerated to the nth degree.
For more hottie/frog news, check out this item on Survivor’s Jenna Morasca.