Nikki Fre$h

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Nikki Fre$h TV Poster Image
Some edgy jokes, progressive messages in amusing satire.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Underneath show's silliness and satire are many positive messages about caring for the health of people and the planet. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nicole and her assistant, Jared, both present as clueless types who barely understand how normal people function. "Tampons are for women ... " Jared starts out, "for your period," prompts Nicole, "which comes every day," finishes Jared. Meanwhile, Nicole asks her husband if she can spend a million dollars to make an album for plants. It's all a joke about oblivious rich people, and they're both intentionally ridiculous. The relationships between the people on the show are loving, and it all comes off as fun, not scathing. 

Violence
Sex

Occasional references to sex in jokes, like an "air-bee-n-bee" with a mirror over the queen bee's bed "in case she gets horny." 

Language

Language is infrequent, but "damn" and "ass" are used. 

Consumerism

The trappings of Richie's wealth are played up (usually for laughs). We see gold records from Richie's husband's band Good Charlotte, her massive house, her assistant, her elegant and expensive clothes. In a music video she shoots for one episode, she sports designer gowns in a chicken coop and is showered with bills. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some jokes reference drugs, like when Nicole says her bees "smoke the trees" (a reference to marijuana). 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nikki Fre$h is a series starring Nicole Richie, who plays a riff on herself and explores various topics related to wellness and the environment. Beneath the satire of Richie as an airy and clueless rich woman are some thoughtful and positive messages about health and the planet, which Richie clearly cares deeply about. Some jokes are a little edgy, like one about a queen bee getting "horny" and smoking "tree" (marijuana). Language is infrequent, but "damn" and "ass" make an appearance. Richie's wealth is on constant display. She wears high-end expensive clothing (including club wear and designer dresses in her music videos), and spends money freely. 

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What's the story?

Her name's no longer Nicole Richie: It's NIKKI FRE$H. That's Richie's new persona as she embarks on a series of ridiculous adventures satirically spotlighting wellness and environmental issues. Each of the six episodes ends with an original song and music video dedicated to those concerns. Dubbing her socially conscious hip-hop its own genre called "parent trap," her songs showcase things like her garden, the earth, crystals, and honeybees. Her husband, Good Charlotte's Joel Madden, features prominently as a music collaborator, and real-life expert Bill Nye shows up, too. 

Is it any good?

The Simple Life debuted almost two decades ago, but Nicole Richie's "clueless rich person out of her depth" shtick has aged very well -- hence this fun, frivolous romp. Now she's in on the joke, satirizing herself ably but also making surprisingly cogent points about health, the environment, and wellness in general. Richie definitely presents herself as an airy-fairy dreamer who only gets anywhere because of her wealth and connections. In Nikki Fre$h's first episode, she gets her husband and brother-in-law (Benji Madden, also of Good Charlotte) to sign off on a million-dollar budget making an album for "people, kids, bees." She follows through by rapping about how important bees are to humans and condemning the U.S. practice of discarding vegetables that don't meet a beauty standard. 

Lionel Richie fans should note that Richie's famous dad shows up in episode three, gamely hitting a farmer's market to try the honey that Nicole has harvested from her beehives. (Along with honey tastings, her booth sells beekeeper-friendly products like a black-veiled hat that Nicole says is good for fall and winter, but you do need a lighter color for "resort season".) He's just here, he says, to support his child who's "a little cuckoo," his exasperated-but-loving act clearly all part of the game. And he's not wrong about Richie, who's daffy and colorful. She walks around a grocery store hawking a "modern Cabbage Patch" doll with an actual cabbage head, a tampon seemingly made out of Spanish moss, and something called Crystal Granola that might have real rocks in it. It's a goof, but it's a charming goof, and she makes a good case that bees matter and ugly vegetables need respect, too (just ask Aretha Franklin). This series is an odd but compelling kick, and don't be surprised if you see more of Nikki Fre$sh and her "parent trap" earth songs elsewhere around the internet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what genre Nikki Fre$h is. It's obviously meant to be a comedy, and it stars a real person playing a version of herself. Is it a reality show then? Is it a scripted show that retains elements of reality shows? Is it a mockumentary?

  • Nicole Richie often talks to "real people" on this show, where conversations don't appear scripted. Do you think she's surprising real people? Or do you think they're actors? If they're real people, do you think they're given any kind of prep or advance notice before appearing on camera?

  • Many TV shows and movies work off the premise that rich people are clueless and ridiculous. What other shows or movies can you think of? How is Nikki Fre$h similar to or different from these examples? 

TV details

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For kids who love comedies

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