The Simple Life Season One DVD Review

If You Have Been Living Under a Rock:
The Simple Life is a new reality show that follows the antics of a couple of semi-famous and very rich young ladies as they take a month away from jet-setting to live on a humble family farm. Paris Hilton is the great great granddaughter of the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain and Nicole Ritchie is the daughter of famed 80’s pop legend Lionel Ritchie. Neither have had a job or had to live under the thumb of rules like curfews or being grounded. FOX has taken up the task of showing us the ultimate fish out of water story.

Two starlet wannabes who are used to limos and limitless credit cards now get to cope with living on a porch, doing chores, and working at minimum wage jobs. The small town of Altus won’t know what hit it. Various jobs, breaking rules, and learning that while Hollywood appreciates a couple of wild party girls, small town folks aren’t quite so easily impressed.

Cover Art & Menu: 8/10
What can you say about the cover of a DVD for a TV show? They stuck to their ad campaign and put the pouting princesses on the cover touting their version of country chic. It’s a fun show and I had no expectations of the cover to do anything but follow through with that. I’m never happy to see classic works of art twisted and jerked around to look like original ideas that have come out of modern day pretentious graphic designers and advertising sleezoids heads, so using American Gothic by Grant Wood does prick my last nerve a bit. I guess I can get over it since it’s just for a laugh.

The menu is equally as cheeky with some cut and paste animations and funny sounds. It’s a well put together DVD package all the way around. Somebody took the time to give it consistency and I appreciate that, no matter how silly it may seem, it’s still something worth noting. Some DVD’s are slapped together with no thought or sense of design. This may be a campy approach, but it’s nicely done, so I will give credit where credit is due.

Extras & Features:

  • Never Before Seen Out takes Reel – Some goofs and blunders set to music. It ain’t much, but it’s something.
  • Deleted Scenes – We see a few clips of never before seen bits and pieces, but the main feature of this section is the rough cut of the girls packing to leave their lives of wealth to go live on the farm. This is almost a whole episode in and of itself. We see Paris talking with her sister and picking her outfits. We see Nicole choosing her own fashions and catch a glimpse of her charmed life as a woman packs for her…hmmm how’s this little lady gonna do working for a living?
  • The Simple Life Test Presentation – Every hit show starts somewhere and this one is no exception. Here is what might be considered a pilot episode that puts the girls in a situation similar to what they might be facing down the road. They go to a dog grooming shop and do their THANG as only two rich girls who have never had a job can do. This is also basically a whole other episode. It’s longer than any of the other episodes are so it’s a great bonus to toss on the DVD.

The Show: 8/10
Fist of all, this is a two sided DVD. What century are these people living in? You have to turn it over to see the final two episodes and the extras….I know it’s a cheap way to do it, but geez. I feel like I took a step back in time when I had to get up and flip this baby over.

How do I score this show? What in God’s name do I base my opinion on? It’s funny, most of the time. It’s charming about half of the time. It’s entertaining 90% of the time. But it’s a toss up between the new hybrid version of pseudo-(cough cough) reality TV and pure unadulterated phony-bologna promotional bul**hit to hype these two socialites. You can see why I find myself between a rock and a hard place.

I personally looked forward to watching the show each week. What does that say about me? I’m a sucker for a cheap idea and a well constructed TV version of pretend-reality. There are genuine moments when I do think we saw some of the girls’ charm and personality. The rest of the time I’m pretty sure we were watching these two ham it up for FOX. I can live with that since they never have pushed the show as anything but total fluff.

Everything from the cheezy circus like narrator to the show’s chop-shop beginning sequence, this is not a show that takes itself too seriously. So why should I? I say it’s a no-brainer, literally. Come on, I watched it and laughed at something every single episode, I can admit that with my head held high. They don’t try to make it a REAL reality show, just a goofy way to spend 30 minutes a week. I can think of worse ways to spend my time (Married by American, or Mr. Personality come to mind). It’s funny to see anyone put their hand up the backside of a cow for the first time. Maybe that’s the hint of a Tom Green/Jackass fan in me talking, but it’s not something you see everyday. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you cringe like people eating cock roaches on Fear Factor, but you can’t turn away for some bizarre reason. It’s harmless voyeurism and beats the hell out of Meet My Folks, The Bachelor, Are You Hot or Temptation Island..which are my examples of total TV crap. Here is a link to what looks like a complete list of “reality” TV shows to date if you are afraid you might be missing something.

No, I don’t waste my life watching TV. I do catch glimpses of shows here and there and believe me, I can spot boring a mile away. That is the curse that most current TV shows suffer from and I don’t get bored easily. Every show has it’s place and a lot of what I like to watch consists of shows like Real Life ER, Biography, Forensic Files and other real life crime shows, documentaries about almost anything, and Court TV. That’s the honest truth, but then there is the OTHER stuff like Fear Factor, marathons of Real World/Road Rules, Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, EastEnders (British soap opera), and Nick at Nite. So, you decide if I can make a clear judgment as to what is entertaining or not. 🙂 All I know is that if something catches my attention and I want to watch it again, that says something about the show and me too I suppose.haha

Episode 1: Meet the Ledings
The girls pack up and find their humble home on a farm with a very friendly, hardworking family. They get a lot of double takes and reactions from the family that scream, “these city slickers sure are weird”.

Episode 2: Danny’s Dairy Farm (Job #1)
Whew, it’s the old arm-up-the-cow’s-behind trick that is so trendy these days. When it’s all the rage amongst the cool kids to slip into a long plastic glove and put part of yourself in such places, I’m proud to be an unfashionable kind of gal.

Episode 3: Working at Sonic (Job #2)
“1/2 Off Anal Salty Weiner Burgers” What more is there to say about this episode? Well, there is one thing, the girls get a good old fashioned talking to by the head of the family. They have their own dads somewhere out in the world who may or may not have ever admonished them in their lives. But, when Albert sits them down and tries to administer some discipline, they don’t quite respond the way he had hoped.

Episode 4: Town Festival
Ok, social events should be right up these girls’ alley. But when they are plunked into the surreal world of small town festival things are bound to get tricky. A kissing booth where a “kiss on the cheek” takes on a whole new meaning….if you get what I’m saying. (wink wink)

Episode 5: Cattle Auctioneer (Job #3)
“My name is Nicole and I’m a charge account addict.” The infamous dead cat lie and ill-gotten birdhouse make for classic TV folks.

Episode 6: Gas Station/Convenient Store/Bait Shop (Job#4)
Now here is a boss who appreciates the fact that he has young, pretty, flirty women working for him. These city gals are magnets for the local male population. Why not bring in a few customers and cash in on Paris and Nicole’s sexy outfits and talent for being the center of attention?

Episode 7: Time to Go Home
After a month of staying out too late, worrying their surrogate family, avoiding their chores, abusing the family vehicle, promising young men lucrative modeling careers, terrorizing the quilting club, and misusing a bottle of bleach, it’s time to go home to a life of luxury.

Lost Episode (never aired): Taxidermist (Job#?)

I’m not sure why this episode would not have made it to the airwaves, but it might have something to do with what could be considered unethical treatment of animals, even though they are long since dead and given the taxidermy treatment. A stuffed bear gets a make over, a fox loses an ear, and the tail feathers of a prize turkey get crushed in a car door. This does not reflect nicely on Paris’s efforts in the area of stopping cruelty to animals. It’s funny though.

Test Episode (never aired): Dog Grooming Shop (Test Job)
A full rough cut episode that you will only see on the DVD. The girls head to a dog grooming shop outside L.A. to test out their work place skills. Between their lack of enthusiasm for performing the anal squeeze and hanging up on real life customers, the producers of this show obviously saw some serious potential for a hit TV show.

Value: 8/10
I could have had something to bark about if the price ended up to be one of those “let’s suck the life out of the audience now while the gettin’s good by charging an arm and a leg for our little surprise hit show.” However, they got all decent on me and put a reasonable price on the DVD.

The cheapest I’ve found this DVD is at around $14-$15 online. I’m sure that in the near future when Paris and Nicole are not longer the flavors of the month the price will drop to around $10 or even less. That is a great price for a full season of a TV show in my opinion. You get about 5 hours of entertainment, goofy and mindless, but entertainment nonetheless. 🙂  So, if you are a fan of the show you get some bonus materials like the two “lost episodes” and deleted scenes, and if you haven’t seen the show you get the whole thing brand spanking new which is a lot of fluffy TV fun for the money.

Overall: 8/10
This is not something that compares to a fantastic DVD of a serious film with hours and hours of extras and commentaries, but for the full first season of a TV show that has real entertainment value, it deserves a descent score. I wouldn’t put it up against The Lord of the Rings series, or Aliens Quadrilogy..but then again, this is just a TV show, so it’s apples and oranges. It’s a good DVD package, fun and well worth the meager investment if you are a fan of the show.

Overall Score 8/10