Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie begin a second season of 'The Simple Life'
06:54 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 16, 2004
By MANUEL MENDOZA / The Dallas Morning News
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie could charm the pants off of just about any guy, a central Florida rodeo operator included. He's but one of their conquests in the premiere episode of The Simple Life 2: Road Trip
, the cleverly concocted sequel to last summer's surprise hit from Real World
producer Jonathan Murray.
Mr. Murray has managed to remake the original by other means, all but guaranteeing another well-received run. Last time, the insouciant scions lived on a rural Arkansas farm for a month. Now, they're on the road from Miami Beach to Beverly Hills without money, plastic or cellphones, pulling an Airstream behind a pink pickup. (Except on Sundays, their day off away from the cameras.)
The idea is that these privileged, famous-for-being-famous gals have to struggle or at least pretend to. Their well-practiced feeling of entitlement means they rarely get flustered, even when they have no cash to get through a toll booth or buy gas. They can't be bothered.
The key to the show's entertainment value is Mr. Murray's masterful editing. The quick cutting and sound effects he uses to punctuate the action turn Road Trip
into vaudeville, a slapstick comedy starring a pair of poor little rich girls.
Ms. Richie, the larger personality, makes panhandling seem fun; if you think about it, it's not that different from her usual routine. She's a born charmer, and you get the sense that she could lighten a stranger's wallet even without the cameras rolling.
Meanwhile, Ms. Hilton gets over by playing the ditz. Her infamous ignorance of the existence of Wal-Mart in the first Simple Life
, feigned or actual, cemented her role. In the first episode of Road Trip
, she asks, among other beauties, "What are britches?" and "What do you mean, 'heavy equipment'?"
Just as in the last series, the hotel heiress and her best friend, the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, go nuts on one last shopping spree, dropping 100 large at just one of the stores they raid.
The first stop on their road trip is the home of J.O. Batten, who sets them up in their first job, working his rodeo. As followers of celebutante news know, Ms. Hilton fell off a horse and was airlifted to a Tampa hospital. The biggest injury turns out to be her pride.
When she returns, her formerly tough-talking boss ("What I say is gonna go") takes them shopping out of guilt and dons a revealing outfit for their pleasure.
The coming attractions show Ms. Hilton and Ms. Richie making sausage, waxing a dude's back, showering in slow motion and having profane arguments with rednecks.
Much has been made of whether The Simple Life
mocks regular folk. In a teleconference last week, Ms. Hilton said absolutely not. And she's mostly right. The show is focused on making fun of her and Ms. Richie. She says they're laughing right along with us.
So if it was unclear whether they were in on the joke before, they certainly are now.
The Simple Life 2: Road Trip
7 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox (Channel 4); regular time slot 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Executive produced by Jonathan Murray. 30 min.