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The Simple Life
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In a reversal of The Beverly Hillbillies, reality show THE SIMPLE LIFE follows socialites Paris Hilton (heir to the Hilton fortune) and Nicole Richie (daughter of singer Lionel Richie) as they find themselves living the country life with a hosts family in tiny Altus, Arkansas.
Is it any good?
On one level, teens will love seeing two spoiled girls being forced to do ordinary things such as going to the grocery store, sharing a bathroom with others, being interns, or taking care of someone's house. Their exaggerated reactions to everything from pig's feet to a pickup truck are funny.
But parents might want to talk with their kids about the way all of the characters are portrayed here. Are the show's producers combating stereotypes or furthering them? For example, the host family laughed when Nicole said she heard that people in the South hang out at Wal-Mart for fun (which appeared to dispel a myth about rural life), but producers cued Deliverance-type banjo music every time the family was shown working on their farm (which promoted the "country hick" idea). Bottom line: This show may be a guilty pleasure for older teens and adults, but unless you want your younger kids imitating the socialites' bratty behavior, you're better off avoiding The Simple Life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the behavior of these young ladies. Is it appropriate to treat people the way they do? Do they play up their behavior for the cameras? They cheat, lie, and steal, yet the show has been successful. Are Paris and Nicole role models? Do teens think that these women are truly this vapid, or is all clever editing (and possibly even some scripting)?