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Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Simple Life (2003)

"30 days. No money. No luxury. And no clue."
- opening narration

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 01, 2004

Stars: Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, the Leding family
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild mature humor/comments)
Run Time: 02h:50m:00s
Release Date: January 20, 2004
UPC: 024543105213
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D- D-BB- C-

DVD Review

The Fox television network hardly every shies away from an idea for a reality show, no matter how bad it might be. Sure, some of the ideas SOUND better than they eventually look upon execution (take a peek at Man Vs. Beast or The Littlest Groom), and this pathetically awful show that sought to plop a couple of spoiled rich kids onto an Arkansas farm for 30 days is yet another example. This is really the epitome of trash television, and not even watchable trash television, pandering to some perceived bizarre lowest common denominator that can't decide if it wants to bitch-slap Middle America or poke a stick at two trust-fund waifs without a clue.

We all know the premise of this one by now, don't we?

Paris Hilton (rail-thin party chick/video star worth $300 million) and Nicole Ritchie (party chick daughter of Lionel Ritchie) are whisked away to reside on a farm in Altus, Arkansas for 30 days, living and working with a real-life "regular" family. We, as viewers, are supposed to sit on our couches and chuckle at the wacky fish-out-of-water antics of two women who have never, and will never, work a minute, let alone a day in their pampered, well-to-do lives. I'll give you that the setup is moderately interesting, but the vacuousness that seems to exist between the ears of Paris Hilton is enough to make me want to take a hammer to my own skull in attempt to alleviate the constant throbbing pain.

This two-sided single disc release from Fox collects all seven episodes of what I can only hope is the only season of this show. Each episode runs just over 21 minutes, and let me tell you, this is a loooong 21 minutes. I'm only glad it ran just seven episodes. From the contrived situations and general self-centered antics of Hilton and Ritchie, the entertainment value is extremely limited, and when the two suddenly get all down-home friendly when it's time to say goodbye (complete with sappy piano music) it's reprehensible, if nothing else.

Is it supposed to be great comedy to see Nicole Ritchie struggle to pump gas or pour bleach on a pool table during a drunken hissy fit at a local tavern? Or is Paris Hilton's incessant smirking supposed to be cute?

If so, I guess just don't get it at all.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All seven episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame. No surprise there, really. As for the transfer, it's not a bad one, for a cheaply made reality show, with surprisingly strong detail and plenty of rich colors throughout. So I guess the only good thing I can about The Simple Life is that it looks good.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: A very basic 2.0 Dolby Surround is provided, and all of the wildly brain-numbing utterances of Nicole and Paris are clear as a bell. Rears (speakers, that is) are not used, and the action remains up front. The limitations of the on-location recording is evident.

Nothing flashy.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras consist of The Simple Life Test Presentation (08m:05s), in which Paris and Nicole make a half-assed stab at working in a dog-grooming salon, and are sternly reminded that they have to clean the dog's anal glands. O.K., that's funny, but the air of superiority exuded by the two transplanted divas is just too unappealing to be entertaining.

There are also five fairly lengthy deleted scenes (including one that runs almost as long as a single episode), here referred to as 'Outtakes'. Fans of Nicky Hilton, take note, as she appears in the opening excised footage helping her sister pack.

Each episode is cut into four chapters, and includes optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Things like this make me glad I don't watch that much television. It makes my head hurt.

Awful. Just awful.


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