For the last time (we think), Judge Brett Cullum expresses his inexplicable love for this godawful TV show.
Paris Hilton: Hello, ladies, do you know about polar bears?
Is it possible America's love affair with Paris Hilton (non-fiction author and House of Wax star) and Nicole Richie (fiction author and daughter of Lionel) is waning? The first season of The Simple Life was a surprise ratings hit, wherein the two gal pals went to live on a farm with a genuinely nice family in Arkansas. In some strange act of fate, Paris (who is related to the Gabors) was reinventing Green Acres for a new generation. The inevitable second season had them touring cross country in a pink pickup truck doing odd jobs to get money for gas to make it back to Beverly Hills. Now we have the third season, where the blondes have to intern at various businesses in the Northeast while traveling by Greyhound bus. The show remained watchable and funny, but the ratings weren't as high. Still, a fourth season seemed likely until a string of events poured salt on the wounded show.
The word was out: The Simple Life was a manufactured reality show from the start. Both girls admitted they were playing "characters" on talk show interviews, and often had the best lines and antics fed to them by producers. Then I Want to be a Hilton debuted, with Paris's mom Kathy showing the world she was a classy, down-to-earth lady. Paris made quite a few cameos on the show, and was surprisingly reserved and respectful in comparison to her Simple Life persona. It was suddenly hard to buy the act that Paris would have no social graces when she had a mom who was so well-mannered and empathetic. The relationship between Paris and Nicole became strained over the course of the third season, too. Several events led them to hate each other, including a rumored impromptu screening of Paris's sex tape, arranged by Nicole, with Paris in attendance thinking it was a viewing of her stint as a host on Saturday Night Live. Whatever the reason really was, they had no interest in reuniting for another season. Meanwhile, a failed engagement rocked Hilton's world, and an eating disorder revelation followed Richie. Cable channel E! has decided to try a new batch of episodes, with the girls on separate adventures to get around the feuding stars. We'll see how it works.
Surprisingly, the third season of The Simple Life remains as funny as the first two runs of the show. Despite obvious setups, the girls are gleefully inept at any task assigned to them. The formula remains from the second season: meet an unfortunate host family; watch them bond with the girls. They go to work and screw things up, and then do something sweet but misguided for their new acquaintances. The only thing new in this season are the bus trips, provided by Greyhound. The girls remain charmingly spoiled, air-headed, bitchy, and bratty. The cool thing about them is they have a sense of humor about themselves, and show a sweet side in every episode. I loved their working at a television station, giggled through the plastic surgery antics, and laughed out loud during their stint as daycare attendants, zookeepers, and airline stewardesses. The disrespect shown in the funeral parlor seemed a bit much, but thankfully there's a disclaimer stating no remains were harmed.
The Simple Life 3: Interns collects sixteen episodes, spread across two double-sided flipper discs. The presentation is ironically simplistic, with a fullscreen transfer accompanied by a basic stereo track. The show looks slightly soft, and the censor bleeps are still in place. The menus are static with no music or animation, and there are no extras like the ones on previous releases of the show. Luckily, we do get each twenty-minute episode divided into four chapters, so you can skip around easily inside an episode. The package isn't quite as impressive overall as the other two releases, but it's fine for fans.
I still love Paris and Nicole, even if their popularity is waning and they don't like each other anymore. We at least have three seasons of sexy, silly fun, but all good things must come to an end. It's time for the girls to grow up a little, and decide what's next in their respective careers. Paris has been working on an album with ex-Go Go Jane Wiedlin. Richie is back together with her deejay boyfriend, and has just published a fictional story about the daughter of a rock icon who struggles with wealth and fame. At least The Simple Life didn't overstay its welcome, and will go down easy in syndication airings or on DVD. It's hot, sexy, and I love it.
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