The Simple Life, Episode 6: Where the Boys are…Arkansas!
Air Date: 1/7/03
Ah, the wealthy and their niggling sense of entitlement…On tonight’s episode of The Simple Life, the Entitlement Tag Team’s back again, dear viewers, and this time the girls prove that not only are they incapable of keeping their hands off other people’s cows and charge accounts, they can’t keep their well-manicured paws off anyone else’s menfolk either.
The show opens with a shot of a shabby, fading sign declaring “Cornee’s Downtown Beauty Shop.” Well, it’s not exactly Burke-Williams, but at least the girls have found someplace in Altus to get their nails done. And that’s exactly what Paris and Nicole are doing, along with Janet and Grandma Curly who are also there for a Day of Beauty, as it were. As Curly’s getting her “hair-did,” we’re treated to an alarming close-up of Janet’s gigantic, varicose-veined farmer’s foot getting sloughed off by the pedicurist. Nicole is at a manicurist’s station sharing a good-natured laugh with her beautician, and Paris is lazing, as per usual, on a reclining chair. I am concerned with Paris’s almost perpetual state of woozy idleness; she often appears on the verge of passing out. What is wrong with her? [Insert your own Paris anemic/starving/undead joke here.]
But I digress. As all girly-girls know, beauty salons are our chemical-scented, outdated magazine-strewn church of female bonding whether you’re in Beverly Hills, California, or BFE, Arkansas. Janet takes this opportunity to ask the girls to describe their “ideal of a man, someone you would marry.” Paris answers, “Nice and sweet, smart and good looking, fun and honest.” Janet asks if the guy has to be good looking even if he’s nice, and Paris unequivocally responds, “Yes.” [Insert your own Paris being superficial joke here.] Janet then presses Nicole, who responds, “I don’t like good looking guys. I like them to be skinny and pale and look like they’re dying,” which sends Paris into a fit of laughter, and Janet into a shocked state of horror. When Janet asks what her dad would do if she brought that type of guy home, Nicole answers that she has, and her Dad did not, as expected, start dancing on the ceiling, but instead “he started crying”. Janet asks if it is possible for her to find love in a small town guy, and Nicole answers gamely, “Yeah, I don’t care.” Paris says it’s because Nicole “likes dirty, ugly boys” although Nicole denies this.
After a while Janet relaxes for long enough to start laughing along with the girls, and Nicole suggests to Curly that she get her hair done “like Scary Spice, like a big afro with blonde streaks.” In dead seriousness, without cracking a smile, Curly responds, “If I went home like that what do you think my husband would say?” Nicole answers, “He wouldn’t say anything, he’d just drag you into the bedroom,” which finally breaks through Curly’s tough exterior and sends the normally grim Grammy into a wild fit of laughter. [Insert your own Grandma Curly & Grandpa having sex joke here—or, actually, don’t. Oh no, image already seared in retina, AAAIIIGH!!!]
On Day 20, the infamous blue pick-up rolls up to the Lakeside Food Mart and gas station where the girls will report for their first day of work as gas station attendants under “Buffalo” Bill (station owner, proprietor, and ambiguously-related member of the Leding Family)…two hours late! Their excuse? Getting dressed for work, of course. “We had to make our outfits,” Paris says. The affable Buffalo exclaims, “Good Lord!” but obviously feels that though they’re late, they’re worth the wait. “Alright! Good girls,” he declares when he gets his first gander at Paris and Nicole’s flimsy, tie-dyed ensembles [insert haute streetwalker from “Klute” collection joke here], replete with barely-there fringe skirts and short fur jackets.
Buffalo tells them to help out some customers by pumping their gas and washing off their windshields, and the girls trod off to the truck in their spindly stilettos, arguing over who gets to do what. “I’m wearing a white jacket, I don’t know how to wipe windshields,” Nicole claims. “I don’t know either,” Paris whines. In a later interview, Paris explains that she at least knows how to pump gas, whereas Nicole has never pumped gas and “she’s never been to a gas station in her life.” Nicole tells Paris to bleep off, and offers, “I’ve been to a gas station, but I don’t like going.”
Just as I’m thinking this has got to be the most inane argument I’ve ever heard in my life, I’m finally rewarded by the sight of Paris leaning over windshields in her insubstantial halter top with a squeegee, and Nicole behind the pump asking “Fill it up?” Nicole attempts to chat it up with one customer, a fidgety, gawky-looking young man in a baseball cap, hands plunged deep in his pockets, who won’t make eye-contact with her. I’m figuring he’s having a hard time keeping a wood-be erection down, and who can blame the poor guy? It’s like he suddenly stepped into a scenario straight out of porno--all that’s missing is the bass line (Insert your own Boom chicka bow bow here).
The sensual aspects of pumping gas are not lost on the girls either, who confess, “It’s just fun to, like, look at cute guys.” Nicole pleads to the camera, “After feeling cows’ udders and walking around in their bleep and just doing all these jobs, let us have something! These boys, it’s like the excitement. It’s fun.” Cut to Nicole socializing with a truckload of boys who must point out to her which pump she should use. “Everyone’s eighteen,” Nicole says, followed by several shots of boys in ever-present baseball caps, with lumps of chaw in their cheeks, answering the same thing when asked their age.
“We had so many groups of guys,” Nicole says over a montage of Altus menfolk, “It was great, and then came the young ones…” Cut to a shot of Nicole and Paris flanking a wizened, toothless little, old man, also wearing a cap, who appears to be having the single greatest moment in his entire life, laughing and chatting with the girls. When asked how old he is, he answers that he “thinks” he’s this year going to be eighty-six. “That’s awesome,” Paris says, smiling. He puts his arms around both of them and clutches them tight to his chest, declaring, “I love you gals!” The girls laugh warmly and say, “We love you too.” “You’re hot,” Paris adds. [Insert your own Viagra joke here.]
The girls spot a cute guy and holler at him, “Blue shirt! Tie-dye! He’s hot!” Buffalo, who maybe likes the girls’ outfits for other reasons than we might have initially assumed, walks over to the girls with Paris tiny fur jacket draped over his huge shoulders [insert Buffalo transvestitism joke here] and explains that the cute guy is Anthony, his nephew [insert your own Arkansas In-Breeding joke here]. The girls double-team the boy with questions, such as is he in high school (yes), does he have a girlfriend (no), and then coo, direct-to-camera, about how “Buffy’s nephew…is really cute and sweet.”
Later on, the girls saunter into the Food Mart and walk straight up to a group of young men. Nicole rests her elbow up on the cutest guy, the by-now infamous Trae Lindley, who is smiling so hard it looks like his head’s about to explode, and says, “Hey guys, I’m Nicole,” before sticking her hand out to the other far less cute guys to shake. Paris then moves in for the kill, asking what they do for fun aside from bowling and movies. When Trae answers, “Fishing,” Paris answers, rather unconvincingly, “I love fishing.” Trae continues to regale her with tales of shooting guns and killing snakes. “Cool,” Paris says. “I want to kill a snake,” Nicole adds. [Insert phallic imagery joke here.]
By now it’s clear that Trae’s friends, the Jay Mohr and Chris Farley look-alikes, are not so much a factor in the conversational equation, although the mere proximity to Paris and Nicole’s big-city hotness is enough to freeze freaky rictuses of joy on their faces. Smiles have never appeared so painful. Paris tells Trae he should come out to L.A. to model, to which Trae replies, “Everyone thinks I’m pretty.” [Cue “Deliverance theme and insert own “Pretty Boy” joke here.] Nicole explains in a DTC interview that she dubbed Trae “Chops” because he has the whitest teeth she’s ever seen. To prove it, they run a close-up of Trae’s smile, a huge, gaping smile, the kind that displays every single tooth one has in one’s head.
“Can I have a pen?” Paris whines. Don’t you work there, Paris? Get one your own damn self! Anyway, once she gets Trae’s number in the palm of her hand, Trae and his friends beat a hasty retreat, probably to do something that involves a few palms and beating of their own. “If as many hot guys came in there every day as there was that day, I’d go in there for free,” Nicole claims.
The girls pick up their cash for the day from the amiable “Buffy,” who tells them warmly, “Y’all can come back and work any time you want to.” As the girls saunter off leaving everyone with a nice view of their swaying backsides, we hear one last exclamation of “Good Lord!” from Buffalo Bill.
Back home at the Ledings, the girls gather around the supper table with Janet and Curly. Asked how they liked working at Buffalo’s, Nicole answers, “We love it!” and goes on to say, “Paris and I are in love with this boy named Chops. He smiles like this,” she drops her spoon of baked bean, sticks her fingers in each side of her mouth and stretches it out in a fairly accurate impression of Trae’s wide-mouthed grin. Nicole doesn’t even remember his name, but when Paris says, “It’s Trae Leonard or something,” Janet knows exactly who it is. “Lindley?” she says, with that classic Janet look of disapproval setting into her face.
You’d think she would just be happy they’re distracted from corrupting any of her sons, but off-camera, Janet expresses her concern over Paris and Nicole hanging out the local boys because the girls “can get pretty wild.” Nicole, however, feels that “All we do is work these stupid jobs, and hanging out with the guys is our only escape.” Aw, poor girls! Can’t we see how rough they have it? How could anyone possibly deprive them of their only comfort in their harsh existence? Albert doesn’t feel the same way. “We need to watch what circumstances come up,” he says ominously.
Cut to Nicole in the arms of some unnamed local laddie, as Paris and Trae canoodle in a booth at the Food Mart, surrounded by a group of Trae’s male friends. Then Paris and Trae, perhaps in preparation for his possible future in modeling, pose for pictures together.
Then comes another fun montage sequence set to a hillbilly version of “Feel Like Making Love”, which tick off the passing days:
Day 21—Janet and Albert at home doing Paris and Nicole’s chores at home, while the girls chillax with the boys at the local mall’s food court. Janet and Albert peeking out the window waiting for the girls’ return.
Day 22—Trae snuggling with…Tinkerbell! Nicole hanging out with…Buffy’s nephew Anthony! Albert and Janet..doing more chores!
Day 23—Nicole shooting hoops with some boys and…Anthony, who either has only one shirt, or this show is badly edited. Paris leaving a nightspot with Trae. Nicole and some other anonymous local boy. Albert checking his watch.
Day 24—Nicole in Anthony’s lap. Paris and Trae tongue wrestling in the moonlight.
“Anthony’s a great guy to pass the time with while I’m here,” Nicole says. “So’s chops,” Paris concurs, “I think he should come to L.A. to model.” The way Paris repeats that, that must be the ultimate expression of love she can muster, the rich girl’s “I love you.”
The next day, the love fest is interrupted by a reality check from Janet: “Some of these boys, I don’t think you need to be every day with ‘em…because they’re breaking up with their girlfriends. Do you know how many people y’all are taking back to L.A.?” Paris and Nicole, lounging (again!) on the couch, laugh and look at each other before answering, “No.” “You are taking every boy y’all have been with to L.A. Y’all are putting ‘em in modeling, y’all are getting ‘em jobs.” The girls, who are by the way, surprisingly pretty without makeup (particularly Paris), cackle some more until Janet says, a bit more seriously, “You don’t have a clue, girls. This one guy is so excited, I mean, it is unreal the people that knows that he has got a modeling career started out there.” [Do you have any idea how many times it took me to transcribe that sentence, thanks to Janet’s garbled elocution and not-so-charming country grammar?] “Is it Chops?” Nicole asks. Janet won’t mention any names, though. “And he says he has a modeling career,” Nicole adds, before laughing again. “I think he could,” Paris rejoins, in defense of her sweetheart, “He is a good-looking kid.” Producers flash a video collage of hunky Trae close-ups. With dark foreboding, Janet warns the girls that, “These kids are a whole lot younger than y’all are. Alls we asks you calm down and stay away from the boys a little bit.”
This tense exchange at the Leding house is followed almost immediately by, what else, a shot of Paris and Trae in full lip-lock that night, which is itself followed by Nicole and Anthony macking out on a street bench.
Upon return from the commercial break, we see Trae and Paris walking hand in hand down the sidewalk. Trae is telling Paris about his day, which included going to the dentis, shopping and going home. “What did the dentist say about your nice teeth?” Paris askes. Trae flashes his blinding white chompers, and says, “He cleaned them.” Paris even manages to leave her self-obsessed ego for long enough to actually apologize to Trae for Nicole calling him Chops. He says he doesn’t mind. And why should he? This dude is all about the teeth.
Direct-to-camera, Paris comments that “Trae, a.k.a. Chops, is a really nice guy and I like hanging out with him. I just know I like him, I think he’s a special person.” We see the couple sit down on a bench underneath a starlit sky, and surprisingly tender Paris says to Trae, “When I came here, I didn’t know I was gonna meet someone. I just thought I was going to come here and prove to everyone that I can make it on a farm, away from everything I have…and I have.” Huh? What, is she talking about the same show we’ve been watching the past six weeks? “I’m so happy I met you,” she concludes, looking at him with what appears to be sincere, googly-eyed crushiness. “Me too,” Chops replies.
Over on their respective bench, slice-of-cute-pie Anthony and Nicole are having their own tender moment. With a serious, good ol’ boy drawl, he says, “Well I’ve had lots of fun hanging out with you. Not many girls around here that I know of is as crazy and outspoken as you.” Nicole looks back into his eyes deeply before declaring, “You’re a hot bitch,” then grabbing the back of his head and pulling him towards her for some serious tongue plumbing.
Back with Trae and Paris, Trae is saying “It seems so weird that I’ve, like, seen you in magazines, and I never expected to meet you.” “You are like the hottest guy in Arkansas,” Paris remarks [insert own “How hard is that to manage” joke here], “You don’t even look like you belong here. You could move to New York and become a model for bleeps sake.”
Meanwhile, Nicole and Anthony are still making out, until she breaks away and says, “You smell like onions.”
“Everyone thinks of you as being a stuck-up supermodel, but you’re like so sweet and polite and nice to everyone. If someone gets to know you, they’ll really like you,” Trae tells Paris. “I didn’t even know I’d meet anyone like you,” Paris says, “You have made this bearable for me.” Close-up of their hands folded together.
“It was special,” Paris says later, DTC, “I felt like I was fifteen again…It was sweet.”
The next day, Janet and Albert discuss what they feel has become a problem: the girls carousing with boys has taken precedence over staying with the Ledings and getting to know them better (well, Nicole has gotten to know one Leding very well, or at least the roof of his mouth). Ma & Pa are also distressed by the way people around town are talking, and they decide to put their foot down as parents. Albert tries to talk the girls into staying home tonight instead of going out bowling with the boys. Nicole negotiates, saying they’ll stay home and “do the family thing” tomorrow.
Albert talks this over with Janet, then the two of them go into the girls room and offer them a deal: they can go out tonight but that means they’ll have to talk about staying at home the whole weekend “as a family”. Albert adds, “I think you need to know, some of them boys you been hangin’ around with, their mommas are runnin’ around talkin’ about the all the trouble you been getting’ them boys into.” Okay, now this strikes me as ludicrous, because it’s not as if these boys are being forced against their will into anything, and Paris & Nicole aren’t leading them into a life of crime. This pisses the girls off. “Stay here and be miserable for a whole weekend and do nothing,” Paris whines, “We are 21 and 22, it’s not really fair.” Albert acknowledges that they are adults (although I would argue they don’t act as such), but he’s not treating them any different than he would his own sons. “Bull-bleep,” Paris counters. Nicole calms Paris down when she points out a loophole—they agreed only to talk about staying home this weekend, not actually staying home. Methinks Nicole should go to law school!
Well, for the first time the girls are actually anxious to be at work, and the next time we see them at Buffalo’s gas station, Nicole is snuggling in Anthony’s lap, and saying, “I have to be happy to work, and I’m only happy when I’m seeing Anthony. And Paris is only happy when she sees Chops.” Trae is also at the gas station, playing with Tink, and following Paris around is he too is her lapdog.
Paris says that she and Nicole have finally figured out that the gas station is like a hub of the community in Arkansas, “You like buy your clothes there, food there, and gas there. They hang out there…It’s like a big part of their community.” I see that this show has been a learning experience for the girls, breaking stereotypes about all southerners hanging out at Walmart, and replacing them with new ones about hanging out at gas stations!
That night, Janet watches the clock, and phones the gas station. Trae’s Chris Farley-looking friend picks up the phone and blows the girls’ cover, telling Janet that the girls are just chilling with Trae and Anthony. Janet orders the girls to return home in a half hour. One hour and ten minutes later, they’re just getting ready to leave. They bid a brisk adieu to their beaus, and head back to the farm.
It’s the morning after, and as Paris and Nicole wash the dishes (Yes! By hand!) Albert and Janet forbid them from going to the mall with Anthony and Trae, causing another ruckus. Paris, angered, says she feels “trapped,” and says they aren’t going out tonight, but only to the mall for an hour. “It’s not like it’s a nightclub.” I feel like I’m watching an ineffectual father argue with his snotty thirteen-year-old daughter, and wondering why this passes as entertainment.
“This is our house, this is the way…It’s not about going or not going to the mall, it’s about following the rules,” Albert says, continuing his lecture in the living room, as the girls lie down together on the couch. This whole Daddy power-trip of Alberts on day twenty-something of the girls’ stay strikes me as too little, too late, and too tedious to recount. I’ll just sum it up like this…
Albert: Scold, scold
Girls: Pout, whine
Albert: Scold, chores, scold
Girls: Sulk, ignore
The girls, retreat to their room with their tails between their legs, and make their bed. Come sundown, Paris is already screaming about how bored she is. “We’re going out,” she explodes, “I really could care less.” Before you know it, they’re in the bathroom getting tarted up. “We’re tired of living how the Ledings want us tp live,” they proclaim in voiceover, “We’re adults and we should do whatever we want.”
They head off to a bar with Anthony and Trae, where they carouse with what appears to be Altus’s rowdiest locals. They drink, dance, and even sign autographs and take photos. The local men all appear pretty excited to have the girls around, even doing silly dances at Nicole’s request, and the women? Oh, if looks could kill, Paris and Nicole would be frozen into stone. Stone that is 50 pounds heavier, hairier, and wearing turtlenecks and slacks. Shannon, the bar’s manager, says that when the girls walked into the bar, they certianly caused quite a furor. We see a shot of Nicole dry-humping Anthony, and shoving her tongue down his throat.
Big trouble arrives when Nicole emerges from the bathroom and can’t find her purse. She asks the local gals if they’ve seen it, and the crusty, old country bar whores who don’t much seem to appreciate the girls horning in on their action prove to be of no help. A seemingly drunken and increasingly belligerent Nicole roams around the bar in search of her purse. When she doesn’t find it, she starts to scream and curse, and somehow manages to find a bottle of bleach, opens it and throws into the bar. Okay, what kind of bar leaves bleach lying around and easily accessible, anyway? All the patrons watch on in amusement as Nicole throws a certified bleep fit, culminating in her pouring bleach all over the pool table. Paris, this whole time, has been ineffectively following her friend around, trying to get her to calm down, but if the drink in her hand is any indication, she herself is probably too drunk to be of any use, and keeps slipping into laughing fits of her own.
Thus endeth the episode, along with a caption informing us that this drama will be continued (and concluded) next week. [Insert your own clever concluding remarks here, because, quite frankly, I’ve run out of the strength to formulate my own. These girls have run me dry!]
Questions? Comments? Did you even make it this far in the recap? [Insert your own crappy recapper joke here] You can contact this girly-girl at SnowflakeGirl@fansofrealitytv. com. I’ll write you back when my nails are dry.