[To enhance your comic pleasure, please read the following intro in the voice of Adam Sandler’s “Cajun Man” from Saturday Night Live] This here is the introducshon to my recapitulashon of the televizhon producshon of the Simple Life with Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton. This week, the girls’ navigashon leads them to Lousiana, home of the Cajuhn and the pelicahn, and recent object of derizhon, Britney Spears, a fact that Nicole herself brings up for our cogitashon. “No wonder she lives in L.A.,” Paris says with denigrashon, looking at the vegetashon around the habitashon of their new familial relashons, the Mequets.
Romp in the Swamp
Paris and Nicole drive the pink pickup past alligators, turtles, and miles of marsh to meet their new host family, the Mequets, who live right in the middle of the swamplands of Lafayette, Louisiana. A warm and friendly Cajun clan, the Mequets consist of Mitch (the father), Laurette (the mother), Jude (the older son), and Jenny (the youngest daugher). Jenny is especially excited to have Paris and Nicole stay because “I’ve never had an older sister before.” Take one long last look at her sweet, innocent face before Paris and Nicole get their hands on her.
The girls are greeted warmly by Laurette in the office of their adventure boat business (so I guess this whole host family thing is a savvy bit of promoshon for the Mequets), but Laurette confides to the camera that “I might keep an eye on Paris and Nicole with Jenny, just in case they try to teach her something fancy.” If by “fancy,” you mean turn her out like a ten-dollar hooker, then, Lady, you better keep your peepers peeled Clockwork Orange-style for the duration of their stay.
Laurette brings the girls out to meet the rest of the family. Nicole asks how old Jude is, and he answers that he’s 18. “That’s legal,” Nicole says, meaningfully. He smiles and looks down at his feet in aw-shucks fashion. Everybody else just laughs, proving that these people are considerably less uptight or antagonistic than past host families.
Mitch tries to think of fun activities for their new visitors, and asks them if they like to fish. The girls say yes, but also look completely blank when he ask them if they know what croppies and perch are. Mitch asks Jenny what she thinks, and she very wisely responds, “I think we need to go shopping.” Now you’re talking their language.
Paris & Nicole’s Finishing School for Young Ladies
“I’m not like my family,” 13-year-old Jenny says in an interview, “I like to shop a lot.” Jude remarks that Jenny is not like the rest of the rustic, outdoorsy Mequets, and even Mama Laurette concurs, adding, “I think Jenny will fit in better with Paris and Nicole because she’s interested in that kind of life: you know, the makeup, the fancy clothes...” The heroin...Ah, a budding young lady in the making.
Jenny reveals that she is having a “friend” of the male persuasion come over to visit—her first date! Nicole grills Jenny, asking if she’s ever kissed this boy before. Mama Laurette steps in, and says, “You’re talking…just like a little kiss on the cheek, right?” Nicole says that, no, she means “some tongue action.” Laurette’s eyes open wide like dinner plates. Jenny swears that no, she’s never kissed the boy, but come on the girl is in front of her entire family, what the hell else is she supposed to say.
Paris defuses the tension with her best, ingenuous “good-girl” voice (which you know means that her intentions are just the opposite), promising Jenny that they will help her get dressed for tonight and put on makeup. “We’re good at that,” Paris assures Laurette, whose rising panic is beginning to show. Still Laurette, trusts them enough to hand over her credit card for them to use, though she clearly states Jenny’s limit to be $75. $75. Remember that. They haven’t even made it to the car yet before Nicole declares, “[Bleep] that, let’s go crazy.”
They head to a store I have never heard of before, called “Stage” (or is this, perhaps, some subtle message that this entire show is, in fact, “staged”), a women's clothing store that looks like the Softer Side of Sears times ten. Paris and Nicole are finally in their element, and plow through the racks with expertise and precision, preternaturally able to zero in on the sluttiest and most revealing article of clothing within seconds.
“If you are having a guy come over then you need a new pair of underwear,” Nicole announces, handing some pink satin knickers over to the (may I point this out again) 13-year-old Jenny. “G-string,” Paris adds, helpfully. They go to the dressing room to help Jenny try on a gaggle of outfits, and Jenny appears to be having a blast. But then, what girly-girl wouldn’t? Paris and Nicole are the ultimate shopping companions.
Nicole and Paris decide to try on a few items themselves, and emerge in absurdly padded bra-tops. “I love my new, big boobs,” Nicole cracks, looking at her instant mammoth mammaries, “Ignore the space in between, I swear they’re all mine.” Paris can barely walk out of the dressing room, she’s laughing so hard. “We look sexual,” Nicole observes, as she and Paris stand next to each other, checking out their new hoots, “Your boobs are touching mine, it’s silly.” Paris concludes, “I would die, I’m so glad I’m flat.” They then proceed to ask the naturally busty saleslady to snap some photos of them groping each others’ falsies.
The girls proceed to teach Jenny how to walk in high heels, or “sticks” as Jenny calls them—or maybe that was Jenny referring to Paris and Nicole’s physiques? Paris demonstrates how to work it like a model, runway-style. Jenny, who’s clearly never watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model, toddles demurely down the aisle. Paris looks slightly appalled, but her young protégé practices over and over until Paris and Nicole both decree with genuine pride that “That’s hot,” and “You could do the runway.”
They haul all their purchases (clothes, shoes, a huge makeup palette) to the counter, and the saleslady rings up the total: a whopping (well, for a place like Stage, because where Paris and Nicole usually shop, it would probably only buy a keychain) $489.76. Jenny’s face flashes in horror for a brief moment, but she signs for it anyway. Paris murmurs, “I feel bad,” wanly, but Nicole asserts, “There’s no price on looking beautiful.”
Back at home, Jenny gets a lecture from her mom for continuing to shop even when she knew she had a budget (how did she find out so fast, did the Chesty McChesterton the saleslady rat them out?). Laurette is also cross with Paris and Nicole, for not stopping Jenny when they also knew about the $75 limit. Of course not, they were too busy egging her on. Gathered around the supper table, Laurette very calmly tells the girls that, “Y’all taking her shopping was really sweet and y’all bought some nice clothes, but you have to take some of them back.” There is some pouting and protests, and those are just Paris and Nicole, but Mama Laurette is firm (but very fair). Mama and Papa Laurette will allow Jenny to keep one outfit and the “makeup packet” since they figure she will be able to get some use out of it.
Crawfish, Crawfish, Crawfish
At lunch, Mitch gives Paris and Nicole the 411 on their next job. They are to go to the Pierre Port public boat landing and ask for Mr. Bradley. Out at the dock, they find Mr. Bradley, and his son “Boo Boo” (not to be confused with Boo Radley, I hope!) chopping up bloody hunks of fish in the open air. Bradley (fisherman, trapper, musician reads his title) explains that the girls’ task is to chop up the fish for the bait, set up traps, and collect a bag of crawfish, from whose sale they get to keep the cash.
Bradley openly berates the girls for showing up to work all dressed to the nines and with perfect polished manicures. Boo Boo states his own opinion with a devilish grin, “It’s not crawfishin’ clothes, but it was good enough for me.”
The girls get to work. Bradley emphasizes that he wants 65 traps set with 65 pieces of fish. 65. Remember that. Anyhoo, we are treated to the immensely fulfilling sight of Paris and Nicole hacking away at dead fish with bloody knives. It is accompanied by the requisite ewwwing. “They’re city girls, you can tell,” Bradley observes. What gave it away, Bradley, the Dior sunglasses or the fact that they have all their teeth?
Once the fish choppin’ is done, Boo Boo whisks the girls away in the boat to where the place where all crawfish traps are. Paris and Nicole get to work filling them, but it’s not long before they’re up to more mischief. Boo Boo, who seems like such a sweet kid, is worried about getting in trouble and tells them not to put too much fish in each trap. Of course, they defy the rules anyway, putting a ton of fish in each trap as Boo Boo looks on nervously. “We’ll probably get a lot more fish than you do because we put a lot of fish in each thing,” Nicole says matter-of-factly. Boo Boo, obedient son as he is, points out that they only did 24 traps when they were meant to do 65. “Y’all gonna lie to my Daddy and tell ‘em y’all did 64?” he asks, concerned.
That’s exactly what they do when they get back to the landing. Bradley shows them what a bag of crawfish looks like, which contains about 450-500. The girls ask how many crawfish you get from each trap, and he answers anywhere from 4 to 15. Boo Boo shakes his head with deep regret, “There’s no chance in hell those girls are gonna catch more than 2 pounds of crawfish.”
That night the girls are invited to attend a Crawfish Boil, which is really a big party with a live zydeco band (Bradley’s, I might add) and hell of a lot of boiled crawfish and corn on the cob being eaten in big piles on picnic tables. Paris shows up solo, and explains Nicole is sick. Again? What is up with Miss Richie’s absenteeism? Is she having massive episodes of smack withdrawal this season?
Paris sits down at a table and delicately tucks into a crawdad—then suddenly distorts her face into the most horrifying grimace ever seen on national television. She informs the crowd around the table that the crawfish “grossed me out.” It also, however, provided her with inspiration. Scoping out all the masses of little crustaceans around her (and we’re not talking about the ones that Rick Salomon left her with—and antibiotics took care off—after her little video), she strolls over to the chef bearing a suspiciously large red leather tote and asks if boiled crawfish look different from regular, uncooked crawfish. He says not really, they’re just a little lighter and you can well imagine what transpired next.
You don’t have to imagine if you don’t want to, however, as it’s my job to tell you what happened, no matter how contrived or outrageous it may seem. This one is straight from the “I Love Lucy” scheme book: Paris ends up dumping plate after plate after plate of boiled crawfish into several designer totes and handbags (I did actually gasp at the site of such beautiful leather products being defiled in such a way).
Yet More Crawfish, or Caveat Emptor
Another beautiful morning in the Simple Life trailer. Upon waking up, Nicole immediately blurts out, “You know when we go in to work today, we’re totally [bleeped].” Paris says, cheerily, “I have a surprise.” I wonder how Nicole managed not to smell the “surprise,” which has been sitting around overnight, but when Paris walks up bearing her two bags full of crawfish, Nicole doesn’t seem to suspect a thing.
“Presents,” Paris announces with alacrity. “A purse?” Nicole guesses, looking excited. When Paris opens up the bag, Nicole ewwws and wrinkles her nose in disgust at the multitude of little crawfish lying dead inside. But when Paris’s plan dawns on her, she declares, “Gorgeous!”
They head out to work on the boat with Boo Boo again, totes at their feet. When it’s time to unload their traps, Nicole goes to create a diversion for Boo Boo while Paris surreptitiously pours the fish from their totes into the sack. Nicole seems to have no problem keeping poor, sweet Boo Boo distracted with hugs and compliments on his eyes and “coloring.” Paris makes quick work of filling the sack, stunning Boo Boo, who says in amazement, “Y’all really learn quick!”
It’s back to the dock, where a local man named Rick, and his strapping son appear to buy crawfish. Nicole sniffs out the fresh man meat, asking him his age (17) and if he loves it (yes, he laughs nervously). Nicole hurls the sack onto the scale, where it is measured at 52 pounds. Rick agrees to buy it for $78 (despite Nicoles attempts to get him to pay “$100 so you can just give us one bill.” The girl is a true hustler at heart) and slides over the cash. It’s not until the girls are long gone that Rick and son discover their crawfish has already been boiled!
Date Ex Machina
Back at the Mequets, Mitch and Laurette go over the rules for Jenny’s first date. “You’re only 13-years-old, so no high heels, no skimpy clothes, too much makeup, no short skirts, no perfume, no kissing…Paris and Nicole, make sure you stay with them at all times.” Pshaw, like that’s going to do any good. Laurette says, sweetly, “I have faith in them that they’ll watch over everything and she’ll be all proper.” Do these people not have a TV or access to the internet or magazines or other such consarned modern forms of mass communication? Have you folks been under a rock for the past few years? If so, you would know that these are the last people on earth you want to leave your young daughter with, if you’d like to ensure her virtue stays intact. I’d even trust her with Ted Kennedy over Paris and Nicole.
Alas, the Mequet parents, dear trusting souls they are, depart, and the second they’re gone Nicole commands, “Let’s get slutty.” Out comes the makeup palette, hair products, accessories, and clothes (a halter top I’m not sure mom and dad would approve of, ruffled little skirt, and pair of sexy “sticks”). In the bathroom, as Paris slaps on showgirl-style makeup and Nicole teases Jenny’s hair up to Barbarella heights, Nicole dispenses some sage advice to her young protégé: “Do be cute, don’t be a slut.” Never mind that she just yelled, “Let’s get slutty moments ago.” Ours is not to question. When Paris and Nicole are done with their Extreme Skank-Over, Jenny gives a little twirl. “Our little girl’s growing up,” Paris says, giving Jenny (who now looks to be more like a 31-year-old than a 13-year-old) a hug.
Matt arrives. Jenny’s date, who is also the same age, is accosted by a protective Paris and Nicole, who grill him over an open flame for good intentions. “What do you think of our girl?” Nicole asks, and Matt nods dumbly while Paris and Nicole provide the answers: “She’s sweet, she’s great...funny…sexy…intelligent .” They then interrogate him on how many girls he’s kissed before. “You’re a little player,” Paris accuses. The poor kid appears nervous, and confused as to whether or not he should be aroused by or afraid of Paris and Nicole’s close proximity and aggressive verbal attack. “You better keep that tongue inside your face tonight,” Nicole warns, “If you hurt her I will hunt you down and I will kill you.” By that time, I think the pendulum has definitely swung from arousal to just straight fear.
Finally Jenny appears, and sits on the couch for some awkward 13-year-old interaction, which consists largely of shy glances and single word sentences. Paris and Nicole decide to provide a little divine intervention, well, if not divine then “diva” intervention. They suggest that they all go out “frogging”—whatever the hell that is.
I’m relieved this is not some new sexual slang, but means they will go out on the boat and literally look for frogs in the swamp. Much slow-mo of Jenny playing with her hair, and Matt giving her longing looks, while Paris and Nicole look out for frog with lighted mining hats. One finally jumps into the boat, causing the girls to scream at the top of their lungs, at first. Then Paris fearlessly picks up the little amphibian and shoves it in Nicole’s face. Nicole gives it a kiss, then announces with great chagrin, “Nothing happened.” Paris smooches it too before throwing the little guy (whom they’ve dubbed “Froggles”) back in the swamp (doubling over as if she’s going to puke).
Are there any princes in the boat that night? Jenny seems to think so. Paris and Nicole decide to give the young couple a little time to themselves, so they walk off to their trailer for the night, leaving the two kids alone in the boat. In one of the most touching moments I’ve ever seen throughout the entire series, Paris and Nicole talk about how adorable the 13-year-olds Jenny and Matt are together, and how sweet the whole date has been, with something approaching true tenderness. “She looked beautiful,” Nicole says. “She really did,” Paris says proudly, “They’re really cute.” Lest we forget this is The Simple Life and not an episode of Seventh Heaven or something like that, Nicole cracks, “She’ll be pregnant in six months.” “Yeah,” Paris agrees, “That’s hot.” Yup, that’s right, kiddies, here’s a new fad for you to follow: Paris says that teen pregnancy is hot! And on that note, we’re told there’s 1784 miles to go.
I feel somehow disturbed that I’ve made “Hooty and the Blowfish” jokes two weeks in a row. Send your questions, comments, and your own jokes about lame 90s bands to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com.