THE SIMPLE LIFE: SEASON 5
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
Paris Hilton as HERSELF
Nicole Richie as HERSELF
Studio: FOX Television
BY KEVIN CARR
If anything positive has come out of watching a couple seasons of “The Simple Life,” it’s that I don’t utterly hate Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Oh, I’m not nominating either of them for Person of the Year, but I have to admit that after five years on television, they’re not so irritating that I want to kill myself.
Ultimately, I’ve developed a tolerance for the spoiled brats. Paris, while vacuous and emotionally shallow, comes across well in the show and almost embodies the persona of the nice girl. Nicole, while clearly a diva and snotty brat, can be just plain funny sometimes. And this helped me stomach the otherwise weak final season of “The Simple Life.”
This time around, Paris and Nicole have buried the hatchet and joined forces for another season of television. Instead of being transplanted into different families, they get jobs as counselors at a summer camp in Malibu. Over five weeks, the girls try to make it through camps based on weight loss, survival, dramatics, relationships and a beauty pageant.
The biggest problem with this season, though, is that any semblance of “reality” is thrown out the window. The camp they attend is a renamed version of a Jewish church camp. The camp director family and other counselors are cast out of an agent’s office. The “storyline” is completely scripted, including the budding love between Paris and the hunky Hunter. There’s no reality here, and the season serves more as evidence in the WGA’s plight against producers for demanding compensation for writing reality TV.
Still, the season is not without some funny moments. These come more from the insane celebrity has-beens that try to catch a popularity wave on the show. Susan Powder comes in to oversee a fat camp, promptly giving the campers enemas and acting insane throughout the week. However, nothing beats Sally Kirkland going completely nuts while trying to get Nicole Richie to take acting seriously, then agreeing to appear in blackface as Lionel Richie in the “Paris and Nicole: The Musical” finale.
I can’t say I hated “The Simple Life: Season Five,” but I did watch about half the season with my jaw agape as if I were watching someone torture kittens. Still, I laughed at some parts, including when Nicole taught a slate of eight-year-old beauty pageant contestants to flip the bird.
If only this was actually real or unscripted, it might have been better.