Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie. Another go round for the wealthy bobsy" twins trying to manage a 5-week Green Acres lifestyle. Includes 10 episodes on 1 DVD. 2004/color/4 hrs., 30 min/NR.
For Depression-era audiences, much of the fun of screwball comedies such as It Happened One Night
and My Man Godfrey
, was the pleasure of watching rich people act like loons or get their redemptive comeuppance from some Average Joe. The same vicarious kicks are at play in the sophomore season of The Simple Life
, in which Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie drive from Florida to California. With no cash or credit cards, they must depend on the kindness of strangers (invariably nonplussed men whom the ladies approach for handouts at toll booths, gas stations, or fast food joints). The series takes great delight in putting the pampered and privileged duo in embarrassing situations, such as getting them jobs as maids at a nudist resort. But through it all, our uneasy riders are game for almost anything and never lose their 'tude. And just when their antics try the viewers' patience or sympathy (at the nudist resort, they shamelessly goldbrick on the job, posing as guests and calling for a maid to clean up the room for which they are responsible), they somehow redeem themselves. On a cattle drive, they pull a City Slickers
and save one steer from slaughter. But comeuppance? These girls don't know the meaning of the word (insert your own joke here). They are forced to take it from several of their less-than-impressed hosts, but they also dish it out, as witness one episode in which one unwitting antagonist is served a dog food sausage courtesy of Nicole. How much of this is staged is probably beside the point. The Simple Life
is unreality television at its most addictive. Fasten your seatbelts. --Donald Liebenson