''The Simple Life''

Staged Show

As Paris and Nicole dis -- and/or kiss -- everyone they encounter in ''The Simple Life,'' Josh Wolk is convinced that they're not keeping it real

Paris Hilton, The Simple Life | 'LIFE' LESSENS Paris is burning -- through menial jobs and small-town clubs, that is
Image credit: Paris Hilton: Sam Jones
'LIFE' LESSENS Paris is burning -- through menial jobs and small-town clubs, that is

Are Paris and Nicole following a script?

After the Dec. 9 episode of ''The Simple Life,'' I have come to the conclusion that Paris and Nicole are coached through every rude act they perform in all of their jobs. No, it's not because I think that no human being could possibly be that selfishly irresponsible.

And it's not because I noticed any script notes poking out of Paris' back pockets, flapping right next to her exposed butt crack. No, my deduction that they are only following orders came when they managed to write ''Anal Salty Weiner Burgers'' on the Sonic Burger sign, and only misspell one word (''Bugers''). There's no way this duo could have pulled off such an intellectual feat without some outside assistance.

The two were snotty from minute one at their jobs at Sonic Burger. (Incidentally, why were they so disdainful of their hairnets? They and their hipster friends certainly gobbled it up when Ashton Kutcher started wearing truckers' hats, and that's not exactly a giant classy leap from hairnet.) Watching their day at the fast-food joint was like watching a training film for goat shepherds. Their poor, flustered red-haired manager was constantly tearing after them after they systematically screwed up each task they were given.

First, Nicole tore through a cup vigorously stroking the shake machine. (Frankly, if you dimmed the lights and put on the night vision, you would have taken her for Paris the way she enthusiastically manhandled that cup while goop flew everywhere.) And then the girls did their little sign trick, and I was delighted the way the manager walked right into their gag, saying: ''Hey, don't put that ladder in the woods before I have a chance to see your handiwork, and... [double take] What the hey!''

Sure, it was likely hamhandedly prerehearsed, but I prefer to think of it as the refreshing naivete of the small towner. It would give me a strange comfort to know there's still an innocent place out there where you might still get someone with the old ''Your epidermis is showing'' gag.

The more the girls screwed up, the more unpleasant it got to watch them. It's not exactly cute to watch them have no respect for other people's workplace. Let's say you spent every day working the onion-ring machine, and then some rich girl swooped in, complained nonstop about how boring it was, and then screwed around with the machine until it broke.

You might go home feeling just a little bad about your station in life, since there are few ways to spin that so the joke is on the rich girl: ''Ha! You failed at my mundane task, and now you have been fired! So while I have the satisfaction of a repetitive job well done and $56 in my pocket at the end of the day, you will go home with no career, and only millions of dollars to help fill the gaping hours of the day that could otherwise be filled by being stung with spattering grease! Advantage mine!''

The nadir of the girls' day was watching them dress up as giant shakes and give the finger to passing motorists. You know, fish out of water stories are one thing, but I don't recall Eva Gabor giving anybody the finger in ''Green Acres.'' (Granted, I was young and perhaps missed some subtext. Was ''get allergic smelling hay'' some sort of '60s euphemism for ''F--- you, hick!''?)

When they wandered into a neighboring supermarket and began tackling each other in the aisles, and the manager had to drag them out, it ceased to be merry mischief and instead became reminiscent of watching a field trip by the mentally deranged gone awry. That really is the only explanation: if you saw two grown women wrestling in costumes in the middle of a market, would you ask, ''Hey, are those people crazy…or just rich?''

The whole episode ended with the girls dashing out to a nightclub. Wasn't Paris complaining to her sister Nicky on the phone earlier that the town only had one store? For a tiny burg, it seems to have a thriving nightlife. And luckily, it has a burgeoning supply of boys who will make out with any visiting ladies, perhaps lured in by the girls' hynotically orangey skin.

As Paris gyrated against the poles, she looked right at home. Perhaps she was just relieved that in dance mode she didn't need the directors telling her what to do: When it comes to acting like an emptyheaded party skank, she takes direction from no one.

Originally posted Dec 10, 2003
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