At long last, America, it’s the moment you, the viewing public, have all been waiting for with bated breath…the return of Paris and Nicole, for The Simple Life 2: Road Trip! Like two blonde Jack Kerouacs without all the, like, substance and stuff, Paris and Nicole will spend the next month on the road in their hot pink pickup, trying to find their way home and perhaps in the process…finding themselves? Eh, who are we kidding, we’re here to see the rich bitches get splattered with animal excrement—so without further ado, your first heapin’ helpin’ of recappy goodness for the second season of The Simple Life.
Obligatory Life of Luxury Opening Sequence
In order to develop the proper feelings of hate and envy that allow us psychologically to enjoy watching prissy, privileged pretties get splattered with poo or other such public humiliations, we are exposed to a montage of Paris and Nicole’s glamorous five star life; this time on the tony beaches of Miami, Florida, where the girls are doing pre-show publicity and, naturally, walking around slow-motion wearing bikinis.
It’s like building antibodies. The more we are exposed to shots of the girls (and their dogs TinkerBell and Honey Child) being massaged (yes, that’s Tink with Paris on the table getting a shoulder rub too), groomed (yup, that’s Honey Child getting extensions alongside owner Nic), photographed, attended to, and coddled by everyone around them, the more we want, desperately and judiciously, for their pristine lives to be soiled by the muck of proletariat reality. By the time they’re in the store dropping thousands of dollars on shoes ($2958.55) and clothing ($112,760.20), I’m about ready to fling a handful at them my own damn self.
As if any introduction were needed, we are reminded that Paris is a “fashion model,” “jetsetter,” and heir to the $350 million fortune of the Hilton hoteliers. Nicole is presented as a “singer,” “party girl,” and “daughter of superstar Lionel Richie.” Their challenge this season? To travel 3000 miles, from Miami Beach home to Beverly Hills by (gasp) driving themselves, without money, credit cards, or any accommodations other than trailer parks. On cue, a big pink pickup (not the one from the last season, a brand new one, quite nice actually) with an Airstream trailer in tow drives up to the curb where Paris and Nicole are waiting in gauzy little sundresses and pink stilettos. “Shut the [bleep] up,” Nicole blurts, in trademark blowsy style.
They briefly check out the interior of the trailer, that looks like it was decorated with scraps from Divine’s wardrobe in Pink Flamingos, and deem it “kind of cute,” but observe there’s only one bed for the two of them, and their dogs, to share. Well, thank God Paris is only size – 2, and Nicole not that much larger, otherwise I’d be worried about space. The biggest problem for the girls, however, is not the bed, or tiny bathroom, or itty bitty kitchen…it’s that, they realize quickly, there is NO MIRROR! How dare FOX treat these sweet girls like such animals. They decide they need to buy one right away; “Walmart,” Paris suggests smartly.
Being the troopers they are, Paris and Nicole say that even though their trailer is small, they’ll make it work. They like the pickup. “It matches our outfits,” Paris chirps with alacrity. They climb into their chariot (Paris in the driver’s seat, as usual, and Nicole riding shotgun), and get ready to take off—but not until they do one last thing. A man comes up with a silver tray, and Paris and Nicole relinquish a cell phone and a wad of crumpled cash before pulling away.
The Trip Already Takes Its Toll
The girls have barely been on the road before they encounter trouble: Paris struggles with driving the truck and its attached trailer, taking up several lanes and causing angry motorists to honk, and the girls are flummoxed to find they must pass a tollbooth on the freeway outside of Miami. They are disappointed to find a woman at the booth, as Nicole had planned on using her feminine graces to talk their way out of the 75 cent toll. The woman is not buying any of the girls’ pouty, pity-me ploys or offers of gum and contact solution; instead, she asks Paris for her driver’s license. “I didn’t bring one,” Paris says with an insouciant flip of the hair, as if it’s, oh, not illegal to drive in this consarned country without one! Rich hot chicks must never get pulled over.
A line of cars has quickly collected behind the pink pickup, and as Paris begs the toll lady to let them send her $20 later in the mail, Nicole gets out and starts begging for money from people in other cars. All she needs is 75 cents for toll, but the enterprising young beggar is able to squeeze out $5 extra for gas from a pair of good natured young men by blowing kisses, batting her eyelashes, and basically acting like a ho—making me glad to see TV does have empowering role models for the girls of today. “This is gonna be easier than I thought to get across country,” Nicole says, after doing a happy dance.
Alas, the happiness is but fleeting, as a short while later a beeping noise gives them the low fuel warning. They manage to find a gas station, but with only $5, are unsure how they’ll be able to fill their tank. So what do they do? Continue to rely on the kindness of strangers. The approach a young man, and Nicole coaxes him into busting out his wallet for another $5. “You know what, keep the five, I’ll do you a favor and take the ten,” she says when he doesn’t have change.
They go into Quickie Mart section of the station and cajole men in line to part with more cash, rewarding some with hugs and cutesy smiles. I don’t see why they didn’t just get these girls jobs in a strip joint, because I’m seeing a lot of wasted potential here. In truth, there’s something rather deplorable about seeing two rich girls palm money of off hard-working American people, considering $5 means a heck of a lot more to these guys than to Paris and Nic. I only hope FOX reimbursed these people.
The owner of the mart looks gloomily on as Paris and Nicole solicit customers for money, and tear open bags of junk food to stuff into their mouths (well, just Nicole, who moans, “I’m hungry, we don’t have any money” through a mouthful of pop tart). Nicole finally approaches the owner and offers to work in trade for gas. “How many hours,” he asks. “I don’t have hours, how about five minutes,” Nicole offers. He does not look amused. They get the rest of the money by continuing to beg, and manage to get at least enough to cover their $31 bill at the register.
The trouble does not stop there. Paris, with Tink in her lap, has extreme trouble driving the gigantic truck and trailer up to the gas pump (I can’t blame her here, I wouldn’t be able to do it either), so they enlist yet another friendly male stranger to back up the thing to the correct pump before finally getting fueled up for the ride to their first destination: the Batten Ranch, just north of Tampa.
Welcome to the Ranch
The Batten Ranch is owned by J.O. Batten, a real, live good ol’ boy with a huge cowboy hat and the attitude and presence to match. Flashbacks to last season at the Ledings as we meet his family. Mary, J.O.’s girlfriend declares, “Even though the girls are guests in our home, we’re not going to cater to them or treat them any differently than anyone else here.” Schyeah right. Travis Batten, J.O.’s son and the most honest person I’ve heard on this show thus far, says simply, “I’m looking forward to having them around. Beautiful women, who wouldn’t want ‘em around?” Probably not your wife, but Grandpa Batten, smiling toothlessly, appears to agree.
“Who’s J.O.?” Paris asks as she and Nicole pull up in front of the ranch, “Sounds like J.Lo.” The Battens greet them, then give them a tour of the house—with all the animal heads on the walls and fur strewn about, you could mistake it for a museum of natural history. They peek in the master bedroom, and Nicole spies mirrors above the bed and asks what it’s there for. J.O. slyly answers, “Just somethin’ ta look at ever once in a while. I make sure when I get up in the morning, my hair…is not messed up.” “Don’t’ lie,” Nicole teases; it appears she’s tapped into a whole other side of J.O., a side that I, quite frankly, wish would stay buried in secret.
Time for work, though it’s not yet clear what that work is supposed to be. J.O. asks them to change into “long britches.” “What are those?” the girls ask. J.O. says that means long pants to cover their legs for horseback riding. “What is this place?” it suddenly dawns on Paris to ask. “We’re gonna have a rodeo,” Travis tells them, looking at the girls intently while his wife sits stiffly beside him. “We’re gonna do it?” Paris asks, bemused. Nicole says, “I want to do this thing,” then mimes as if she’s a matador with a cape. “We don’t do that,” the Battens answer flatly.
Next, important cultural lessons from J.O.: 1) never touch a cowboy’s hat and 2) the size of a cowboy’s hat is supposed to denote importance or power. Proudly, J.O. points out that out of the men in the Batten family, his is the largest, meaning he’s in charge. Paris then puts her hands up in the air, high and wide, and says, “Nicole and I are gonna get hats this big.” “We want big, big hats,” Nicole agrees. J.O. does not appear amused by the crack.
Bunch of Bull Caca
The girls get gussied up in their britches, and check their makeup in their compacts. “The bulls are not gonna care how beautiful you are,” J.O. remarks. “Yeah they will,” Nicole snaps. First job: scooping up bull manure from the arena. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Paris grabs a shovel and gets to work. J.O. tells her to get “all the big piles out there, the ones that look like turtles.” I, personally, had no idea bull crap was so large, and Paris struggles to shovel a pile, to which J.O. hollers, “Put your back into it!” Nicole assists by holding open bags for Paris to put the future fertilizer in (the circle of life, my friends, the circle of life). “This is a juicy one!” Paris notes about one particular pile, seeming almost gleeful about it.
Time to pen the bulls. The girls, who both claim to have riding experience, climb up on horses (causing much low-rise pixellation from behind) and follow J.O. out onto the field. Paris whines to Nicole about how their horses are so much slower than the men’s. “I want to go really fast,” Paris says petulantly. When Paris asks Travis, “How do you make them go fast?” he tells her, simply, “Kick it.” Which she does. And the horse takes off. Really fast.
Paris starts to bounce dangerously atop the racing horse until, finally, she is thrown off the top of the horse, which also nearly tramples her when she is on the ground in a thicket of spiky reeds. For a moment, I really do feel sorry for poor Paris. I feel sorrier every time I rewind and replay it, over and over, multiple times, trying desperately to suppress the laughter that wells up in my belly. Everyone rushes over to the dirt-covered Paris, who gets up slowly, moaning about how she “didn’t know it would go that fast” and J.O. picks “organic” (bull crap?) out of her hair.
Yes, it was a nasty spill. But did it require being airlifted out by helicopter to go to a Tampa hospital? Because that’s exactly what happens, surrounded by a flurry of press. I’m sure meanwhile some poor guy having a heart attack is barely getting 1/10 of such attention. A hospital spokesperson says, “Anytime that there is an incident that meets trauma criteria, the patient is flown to the nearest trauma center.” A reporter asks if Paris’s case was considered trauma, and the spokesperson says she doesn’t know. I wish they could show how it would be if Paris had to deal with the sort of insurance most people living a real simple life would have to deal with, assuming they even have insurance to begin with. She’d have gotten maybe some bactine and an ice pack, but in the end money gets you everywhere.
Paris is finally wheeled out of the hospital after some tests, makeup and hair returned to perfection, and gives a statement about how she was bucked off a horse (“I have no idea why”), she fell under it and it stepped on her but “luckily there is no internal bleeding.” She adds, “I’ve been riding horses my whole life and this has never happened to me.” Rich people probably even have different horses, I suppose. A car picks Paris up and, I assume, she gets a break from the “simple life” at least for a night.
Cheerio, Old Chaps
The next day, J.O. talks about how bad he feels that one of his horses “nearly killed Paris.” He’s actually quite fortunate she’s filthy rich, otherwise he’d have a huge potential lawsuit on his hands. He goes to their trailer (which has already gotten trashed and is strewn with clothes and makeup in just one day) to see if he can make amends to Paris. Nicole says buying “ice cream” will “usually makes girls feel better.” Somehow I think this would make Nicole feel better than Paris, but no matter, J.O. is determined to do anything to make yesterday’s fiasco up to Paris.
They grab a couple of ice cream cones then head over to feed the monkeys. Yes, you read that right, they get ice cream then, apropos of nothing at all, go to feed some monkeys. You’d think Paris would be hesitant to deal with any more animals, especially screaming, leaping primates that snap at your fingers, but the experience seems to liven everyone’s spirits up, proving the old adage that monkeys are a lot of fun, even when they’re not in a barrel.
Paris parlays J.O.’s guilt into a shopping trip (ladies everywhere take note!), where she and Nicole pick out a ton of cheap jewelry, hair accessories, and toys. J.O. starts to count his cash, looking nervous, then asks Paris, “How bad are you hurting?” She lifts her skirt to give not only a good flash of perfectly bronzed legs, but also a fairly large, dark bruise shaped not unlike Iceland on her upper thigh. I don’t know if it was the bruise or the panty flash, but it’s enough to get J.O. to agree to pay for everything they want, which comes out to $113.56. “What?!!” J.O. exclaims, alarmed. The lady at the register smiles as if this is the biggest sale she’s ever made, and then practically sings, “Since you’re the Sugar Daddy, you’re payin’ right?”
J.O. admits, “I’m pretty easy when it comes to good looking, young women.” And how! On the ride home from the store, the girls ask him if he’s ever “done any modeling?” He confesses that for his “wives” (I hope they were not all at one time) he’s walked around naked in nothing but chaps. Dear God, you need the visual of this man (who has to be in his 50s and not exactly an Adonis) to understand how disturbing that is. Back at home—and where the hell is Mary?—the girls lounge on a couch and beg J.O. to model the chaps for them. And you know what? Gosh darn it, J.O. goes into the master bedroom (yup, the one with the mirrors above the bed) then reappears with suede chaps on and a red towel wrapped around his waist. He turns around and whips off the towel to reveal his back-end business to the girls, and a big round blob of pixellation to us at home. This is the one time I am glad for censorship, thank you FCC. “That is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen,” Nicole commends, as Paris falls over laughing. The show ends, informing us we’ve got 2507 long, long miles to go.
Would you be a dear and lend me $5? *bats eyelashes and makes pouty face* No? Aw damn, okay, then just send questions and comments to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com. Stick around, Episode 2 recap is coming right up!