In times of trouble and despair, we must stop and ask ourselves one all important question, the only one that counts when all hope is gone and we find ourselves unable to cope with adversity and frustration, the only one necessary to help bring light back into a world that occasionally is darkened by confusion or pain…WWJD? Yes, brothers and sisters, what would Jewel do? The answer is clear, at least to well-built blondes with a lack of talent and a helpful lack of clothing: you skate by on your hot looks. And what else, my friends, is “The Simple Life” about, if not that very tenet?
As tonight’s episode opens, Paris and Nicole don’t even know where they are or where they’re going anymore. We don’t know either. The question is, who still cares? According to Nielson, 9.1 million viewers do (are these all people Paris is paying to watch?). And, as we learn, the Cashes care. They care a lot. The Cash Family feels that the real destination to which Paris and Nicole are speedily heading is Hell.
When we meet the Cashes, they are singing (literally) in perfect harmony, playing music together like gospel Von Trapps. The Cash family is a deeply religious group of folk, which we know because FOX cues—no, make that beats us over the head with the “Alleluia Chorus,” shots of the gimungous family Bible, ceramic “praying hands,” and various other religious paraphernalia.
Turns out the entire family—a rather large clan headed by kindly patriarch Dr. J.L. Cash and his wife, Betty, and includes at least one son (J.L. Jr., there appears to another, unnamed one) and two daughters (Janice and Yolanda, with again, another mystery sibling in the mix)—caught the first season of “The Simple Life” and the girls’ antics left quite an impression. A very bad impression. “We believe we can help them,” J.L. Jr. says earnestly. “They are very sweet girls,” the daughters say, but “they need some discipline.” The good Dr. himself says, “I expect for them to meet Jesus tomorrow. I’ll just try to help point them in the right direction.”
This is a mission that just might require a miracle from God. The producers must have briefed the girls’ on their next pit stop, because Nicole is pondering in the pickup on the way over, “Then we’re supposed to close our eyes, get on our knees and see what happens.” Paris’s mouth says “Ew” but her eyes are saying Haven’t you all seen the that ‘One Night in Paris’ video yet? That’s right, if you’re one of the 3 people left in the universe who haven’t seen any clips of the notorious video, getting down on her knees is an activity for which Paris seems to have quite a large amount of enthusiasm!
The girls, toting Tink and Honey Child, finally arrive to the Casa de Cash, and ring the doorbell—which sounds like the Hunchback’s knoll from high atop the bell tower. The whole family greets them warmly in the living room, then they all repair to the dining room for a yummy looking, Southern meal (including a casserole of mac ‘n’ cheese I would give my right eye for). They all hold hands to say grace, during which Tink hops up on Betty’s leg, causing an outburst of strange, delirious laughter. The Dr. says a lovely prayer, adding thanks for the arrival of their “extended family” Paris and Nicole…leaving Betty as the proverbial bad cop. She informs the girls of their house rules: “We don’t speak profanity. We don’t wear halter hops, shorts shorts, or any showing off our stomachs. Just pitch in and help. Mess up, clean up.” Simple!
Barely has the cornbread been passed around before they get their first disapproving look from Ma & Pa Cash. After asking around the table for the children’s ages (most of whom seemed to be only a year apart), Nicole says thoughtfully, “You guys were getting busy, huh?” After a deathly silence after this comment, Nicole wins them back by saying, “I’m a black folk too.” There is much laughter and even high-fiving from Jr. “I fit right in,” Nicole adds, to which Betty gracefully replies, “Well both of you fit in, it doesn’t matter.” Besides, with her fake bake, Paris is technically a darker woman of color than Nicole at this point.
Jr. has to go and ask what the funniest thing they did on the road; Paris answers, without hesitation, visiting the nudist colony. You know this is not heading anywhere nice. Most of what Nicole says is bleeped out, all I know is Nicole is talking about some of the uncircumcised guests. A grim look passes over the Dr.’s face like dark storm clouds over Golgatha, Betty appears appalled, even Paris seems embarrassed by her friend, pointing out, “Okay, maybe that’s a little too much information.”
Jr. appears to regret his earlier question, so he redirects the conversation to what activities they like to do in order to relax. Nicole answers pretty much what you’d expect, shopping, going to movies, going to lunch…then she ends her list with the three-syllable word that I’m pretty sure refers to the very natural, human act of [CENSORED, CUE MUSIC, THE DIVINYLS: “When I think about you, I touch myself.”]. That pretty much brings the dinner conversation to a screeching halt, and makes it apparent that it might not be as easy to “save” these girls as the Cashes initially thought.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
After dinner, Paris and Nicole bring Betty and the Cash girls for a tour of the old Airstream. The sight of the trailer’s interior is shocking enough to make Betty gasp like a rookie cop at his first murder scene. Oh the humanity, the place is heaps and piles of couture carnage, strewn about carelessly, almost brutally. Paris and Nicole try to explain that they “have so many clothes.” Betty screams, “Well you’re supposed to put them up!” Nicole responds with every teenager daughter’s ultimate phrase of complete dismissal, “Oh.”
“We’re gonna clean,” Betty commands. One of her own daughters interjects, “Tomorrow” but, no, Betty is all business, insisting that they are going to whip the Airstream into shape tonight. I guess this takes care of “Idle Hands” as well. Paris and Nicole, assisted by the three Cash daughters (why can’t they tidy up themselves?), get down to work, violently tossing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing and accessories around as if they were bags of trash.
In the midst of the cleaning frenzy, there proves to be time for some female bonding between our girls and the Cash girls. They talk clothes: Nicole holds up a barely-there halter and asks if any of the girls would ever wear such a thing. “Where’s the rest of the top?” is the Cash response. They talk family: Nicole asks how they “fix [their] loneliness” and one of the girls finally tells her straight-up that “You ask a lot of weird questions,” adding that if there is one thing they’d like for Paris and Nicole to learn from their family, it’s “how to really love your family to the fullest.” Nicole breaks out of her agro onscreen persona for a moment to say, with real seriousness, “Like you, we are really close to our families.”
They have tender moments: Paris pronounces that she and Nicole are “like family because we’ve known each other our entire lives.” Nicole adds that because they known each other since they were all of two, it’s impossible to describe their friendship, and exchanging seemingly genuine, loving looks, “It’s just like my whole life is just with her.” Awww, don’t you wish they would just get together and marry each other? (That is, if the recent rumors of bitter acrimony between them aren’t true.)
Finally, one of the daughters asks if they’ve ever looked into Bible study. HA! Well, clearly no, not unless one of Nic’s friends was hiding the smack stash in the Good Book. Nicole actually gives an intelligent answer, however, saying “I don’t even think it’s about certain religions, just as long as you have spirituality, then you’re all good.”
The Breakfast Flub
In the morning Betty comes by and inspects the Airstream, saying, “At least the bed looks good.” They don’t actually show the rest of the trailer, which, for all we know, might still look like designer version of Sanford & Son. The girls start the day in matching green velour outfits (they may change eighteen times before sunset).
Guess who’s making breakfast? Cue horror movie music…that’s Nicole wielding that spatula over pans of hash browns and scrambled eggs. Family members hover, trying to warn her just as she’s about to burn some of the food into oblivion. “She’s never cooked,” Paris informs them. A few of the family members’ faces register sudden panic, but J.L. Jr. says, “We’re making history here.”
The real history being made is it’s one of the first times Nicole or Paris has shown any respect for a family they’ve stayed with. They also seem to be having a lot of fun with the Cashes who, quite frankly, look like not only a spiritual but spirited family. They dance and make music in the kitchen, beating on counters and jars for percussion. They get Nicole and even Paris to join them in a sort of kitchen version of the electric slide.
After polishing off the food, which turns out to be non-toxic, Nicole thanks the family for breakfast. “Shouldn’t we tell her thank you breakfast?” Dr. J.L. instructs his family, who obediently thank a beaming Nicole in a chorus of gratitude (they even thank in harmony!). “Thanks, Bitch,” Paris says warmly, causing another deathly silence at the dining table.
Dr. J.L. decides he best sit the girls down for a lecture. “Respect is like money, you earn it, and with us you’ve learned a lot…I want for people to meet you as very beautiful women both inside and out.” The kindly Dr. tells them that, yes, they got a certain “sumthin’ sumthin’” but “don’t cover it up with the language and other little stuff.” “Yeah, Nicole,” Paris says, like a real sister in any family would. “If you clean that part up, I think they’ll see the jewel that’s in there,” he says warmly, asking, “Is this a deal?” Paris and Nicole say yes. “I’m gonna be watching,” he says with a stern look.
On this note, the girls depart from the Cash household, but not without one last prayer circle, holding hands in the front yard, during which they bless the trip and the vehicle. There are hugs, there’s love, there’s Dr. J.L. strumming a guitar and the whole family singing them off with a song about God’s love. As the girls drive past the house one last time, Nicole yells out the window, “Thank you!” and “You guys [bleeping] rock!”
Fancy a Shag?
If you thought the Cashes were musical, Paris and Nicole have their own, erm, interesting little song whose lyrics basically go, “Sa sa…sa da sa. SA SA SA SA.” Is this duet going to be released on either of the girls’ debut albums? The narrator finally informs us that the girls are still traveling across Texas, with their next stop being Round Rock to report for their new job.
They head to the Dell Diamond where Reed, the president of the Round Rock Express AA Club, a minor league baseball team, greets them and attempts to get a feel for how much they know about baseball. It seems to be the same level of experience I have, as Nicole answers that she’s seen A League of Their Own and knows “there’s no crying in baseball.”
Nicole then asks Reed some questions, such as what the male-female ratio is at the ballpark. When Reed answers “60/40,” Nicole asks if they can “keep all the girls over there, away.” “Well, if you want males, these are probably the best, in shape, 20-28 year-old guys,” Reed says gesturing down to the players who are practicing on the fiend. He then introduces the girls to Jack, the manager of Express, mentioning they “wanted to know where all the hot guys were.” Jack, who is, to be frank, not so young nor hot, says, “Well, they’re talking to ‘em.”
Reed says to Jack that they ought to let Paris and Nicole “shag a little bit,” which makes the girls titter naughtily. He then introduces them to the trainer, repeating, “I figure since we’re out here we ought to let them shag a little bit.” The girls laugh again, and Reed appears bemused and says, “I don’t know why they laugh every time I say that.” Has he not ever seen Austin Powers or been hit on by an Englishman? Either is hard to believe. I don’t even know what he’s talking about, although I assume—actually, I pray to my Higher Power—that it has something to do with baseball practice.
The girls are let loose on the field where the young, nubile athletes are busy stretching. “Can I stretch with you?” Nicole asks, sure to become the new hot pick-up line. The guys assent happily, and throw their limbs into a few crazy positions to the amusement of both Paris and Nicole, who even takes a photo of several guys guy with legs provocatively splayed apart in the air and derriere on full display. “That’s hot,” Nicole proclaims, sounding for once like she means it, and directs the guys to “touch each other” as they stretch, sounding like a budding Chi Chi Larue. “This job is fun. My favorite,” Nicole tells Paris, who can’t stop laughing but seems to agree.
The girls learn to catch and throw. Paris seems to have a hard time catching, and every time she misses a ball has to bend over in her short skirt to pick it up from the ground (probably giving some of the players a few “hard times” of their own). Nicole makes a decent show of pitching, but Paris remains beyond help. She does catch one finally, but as it lands in her mitt with a loud smack, she screams, “Ow!”
Ay, There’s the Rub
They go to the clubhouse, which is normally off-limits to women, to learn “how to be trainers.” Nicole observes, “It smells like it’s off-limits to women.” The olfactory deterrent doesn’t appear to affect their appetites however, as they ignore the trainers’ lessons in favor of munching on sandwiches and potato chips or checking their makeup in a compact.
One very important point, the trainer emphasizes, is that they have three different kinds of cream that they use for massage: X, XX, and triple X, which the trainer says corresponds with the heat of the cream. The XXX is so strong, it requires the use of gloves. What is this used for, then, does it count as chemical warfare? The jars have large, conspicuous, obviously handwritten labels—everything but the skull ‘n’ crossbones. This is like a set-up for a Warner Brothers cartoon, but let’s suspend our disbelief for the moment, even though we all know what’s coming.
Nothing more appetizing than watching a large bald guy rub on another guys’ hairy upper thigh, but this is the show the trainer puts on as Paris and Nicole chow down in the training room. Nicole starts to moan ecstatically at the site of the rubdown, causing Paris (whose lap is pixellated out either because they don’t want to show the name of the sandwich brand or her crotch is in full view again, or some combination thereof) and everyone else in the room to laugh. “That’s hot,” Paris pronounces with her mouth full.
Nicole puts down her sandwich and volunteers to massage, saying, “Don’t mind the mustard” as she gets her hands on the player’s leg. “I used to be a masseuse 20 years ago in Korea,” Nicole claims, “Sometimes it’s good to throw them off.” She then proceeds to spank the guy. Paris meanwhile learns to tape an ankle, which is not quite so provocative as what’s going on with Nicole. “Do you ever a get a [bleeper] when girls do this?” Nicole asks, stroking her helpless charge. He claims no, which might be true. She didn’t ask whether he got an “awakening” when Mr. Baldy was doing it.
Reed asks the trainer to leave the room to talk for a sec—yeah, this wasn’t planned at all—and with the authority figures gone, Nicole offers to give an unwitting player a neck rub. She of course grabs the XXX cream immediately, no gloves (wouldn’t it burn her skin as well as his?), then proceeds to slap a blob on the guys neck. Outside, a scream can be heard.
Finally, it’s game time. The girls’ tasks are, first, to pick up bats and balls, and second, to distract the other club (the Zephyrs). Paris runs out onto the field to pick up a players’ bat, trotting like a pretty pony in not much more than an Express jersey and a skirt so short she appears to be prancing bottomless. That should prove a good distraction. Nicole heckles the other team, calling them mama’s boys and insulting the shapes of their heads. Nicole also tries to be helpful by answering the bullpen phone with, “Hi, you silly bitch!” A player overhears her and looks alarmed saying she can’t answer like that. “Do you want to make out later?” Nicole goes on to ask.
Nicole finally approaches one guy (with the name “Self” on his jersey) in the dugout and tells him that she’s decided he’s her favorite player. “I like the way you work it,” she says fiercely. Nicole then asks if Self is happy to see her or if he’s just wearing a cup, and shuffling his feet, the flummoxed guy answers, “A little of both, I guess.” “So nothing hurts there,” she asks before proceeding to kick him in the crotch to test it out.
Unfortunately, the Express are losing by one run, so the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. They run out across the field to go the other teams’ dugout, and try to distract the Zephyrs by hitting on them and asking if they want to “get out of here” and go see a movie. They try pitting the players against each other by saying, “your friend over there was saying all this bad stuff about you.” They spill the Zephyr’s drinking water out on the ground. They bump into and spill things on the other team.
Then, they proceed to root for Express in the other team’s dugout, earning them looks of utter contempt from the Zephyrs. The girls even attempt to get the Zephyr coach to scream “Go Express”, “just a little one” Nicole pleads. He refuses staunchly, but then Nicole slyly takes of her Express jersey and drapes it over his shoulders. “Hey guys,” Nicole yells out, “Your coach is wearing Express colors, what’s going on?”
Finally, Nicole and Paris head onto the field with Honey Child and Tink. Nicole is asked to give signs to hitter—Nicole appears to not so much sign as vogue from third base. Reed yells to get the girls off the field, and sends the umpire out to get them. As the umpire approaches them and asks them to get themselves and their dogs out of there, Tinkerbell commits the ultimate act of defiance. The Dell Diamond proves to be a great baseball field…for Tink to poop on! Why they would censor the word “masturbate” but not blob out this little scene is beyond me. As the announcer informs the crowd that “a dog is defecating on the field,” people in the stands start to boo. Paris and Nicole run away from the angry mob singing “Sa sa” all the way. 1299 miles to go.
Save me—from the ranks of the freaks who suspect they could never love anyone. Send your questions, comments and prayers for me to get through the rest of this season to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com.