What happens when two rich city girls head into the county for a month of rectal cow exams, good old boys, and home cookin'? The Simple Life, of course. Paris Hilton (heir to the hotel fortune) and Nicole Richie (daughter of crooner Lionel Richie) agree to spend 30 days with the Leding family, a small town clan who foolishly agrees to take the girls in. During their month long expedition in Arkansas, Paris and Nicole find work on a dairy farm, take part in a disastrous bake off, and annoy/piss-off/anger/titillate everyone within eyesight. What else would you expect from two girls who only want to live The Simple Life?
I was somewhat appalled, as I watched one of TV's latest reality explosions. The Simple Life, is sort of Green Acres taken to a level it never needed to go. The thought that kept floating through my mind was "Do Paris and Nicole realize how idiotic they seem?" Since they plan on showing up for a second season—where they ride cross-country together in an RV (woo-hoo!)—the duo obviously fail to realize they come off as spoiled brats who are only monetarily privileged because of genetics, not hard work or ethics. In fact, ethics is something these girls seemingly lack, or possess only in small quantities. At one point, Paris and Nicole buy their surrogate mother a Mother's Day gift, on their boss's credit card, disinterested in the fact that they're technically stealing from him. It's in moments like these that I wonder how people can go on national television and act like such low life simpletons. I don't know about you, but I'd rather hang out with the Leding family any day of the week than these two bobble-headed beach balls.
In the span of 150 minutes, the girls manage to accomplish the following: cheat and steal at their jobs, show up late to everything, disobey or flat out lie to the Ledings, mock those that are different from them, douse a pool table with bleach, throw tantrums, get drunk, fail miserably at every job given to them (no matter how small), and generally act like women who could use a good swift kick in the rear. Many people are born with silver spoons in their mouths. Guess which orifice Paris and Nicole should have their spoon shoved?
Despite all my disdain for the girls, I was fascinated by The Simple Life, in the same way you must slow down for a motorcycle accident while driving down the highway. When push comes to shove, each episode is really about Paris and Nicole's inability to do anything right. We basically watch the two dim-bulb party mongers bounce from disaster to disaster, shocking the town's inhabitants by talking about threesomes, their cash flow, or how much they just want to head back to Beverly Hills. Paris makes out with as many guys as she can snag; promising them modeling careers which will obviously never come to pass. Nicole gets tanked at a local bar and starts tossing bleach all over when she can't find her purse. Their beastly behavior is filmed for the entire world to see and it is embarrassing. Poor Lionel…the embarrassment he must feel.
By the middle of the second episode, I found myself rooting for the Leding family—good folk who just want to live a good, honest, decent life—to boot the girls out of their house, and quite possibly the state. My favorite moments are when the girls are sitting on the couch, telling the camera how they came to prove they could make it in the big, bad country, and by golly they've done it!
Of course, in the end, you must question the validity of anything in The Simple Life. It has been leaked that some of the lines in the show were scripted (such as Paris' comment about Wal-Mart being a place where they sell "wall stuff") and the editing makes you question in what order things really happened in. No matter.
The Simple Life is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. The show was videotaped and as such retains that typical reality television look. The colors and black levels are in decent shape, though nothing exciting. The show's lighting levels fluctuate depending on where the girls are, at any given moment. Basically, these episodic transfers are exactly what I was expecting—only slightly above mediocre. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English. There isn't a lot to say about this sound mix. The dialogue is usually clearly heard and the music/effects are well defined. The Simple Life definitely wasn't a show that needed a 5.1 mix. Also included on this disc are English subtitles.
For those of you who can't get enough of the girl's dreadful behavior, Fox has included a few extra features on The Simple Life. There is a short test presentation that isn't very interesting, as well as a few deleted scenes of the girls acting like the morons that they are. How shocking.
In this day and age, where viewers play big brother to the world via their couches, The Simple Life—equal parts shame and disaster—entertains.
Give us your feedback!
Scales of Justice
• Test Presentation
Review content copyright © 2004 Patrick Naugle; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.