Bristol Palin gets a Lifetime series

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 09:55 AM Written by 

brist8916There's a lot that's terrible about "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp" (10 tonight, Lifetime) and most of it is the same kind of terrible seen in so many other shows that purport to depict reality but are obviously more-or-less scripted confections.

But this show adds additional layers of hypocrisy and silliness.

First, Bristol, daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, tells the camera she's a "simple girl." Sorry, but no daughter of a political superstar living in a lakeside mansion can make that claim with a straight face.

Second, at one point she claims, "The image thing to me doesn't mean much," while shopping at a Hollywood boutique. Baloney. The only reason to do a reality show is to project an image and build a personal brand.

Read more after the jump. ...

Then there's more specific hypocrisy.

"I want to raise Tripp Alaskan," Bristol says of her 3-year-old son,"because I want him to be tough and outdoorsy."

But the whole premise of "Life's a Tripp" is that Bristol moves to Los Angeles to "work" for a charity (turns out she's a volunteer) so there's not much Alaskan about that. Her reasoning for the move? "It's an opportunity to show Tripp there's more out there." Really? A 3-year-old is really going to benefit from learning about other parts of the world? Maybe at 9, not 3. The real reason is this: Bristol, coming off "Dancing with the Stars," got a reality show and needed a dramatic hook. The fish out of water scenario is a classic TV trope.

For political junkies, this show provides plenty of opportunities to laugh and insert words in the characters' mouths. When Bristol asks Sarah what she thinks of California, Sarah responds, "What do I think of California?" and you can almost imagine she's weighing the question: Do I answer in a political context or not? Do I mention it's not the real America? She skips the political response. Later in the episode Sarah massacres the theme song from "The Beverly Hillbillies."

"I just need to be on my own for a little bit," Bristol says of her move while at the same time convincing older sister Willow to tag along to babysit while Bristol goes out to dinner with friends. (Previews suggest Willow smartens up and this arrangement won't last long.)

Liberal-minded folk Bristol encounters make themselves look like rude fools. After she rides an electric bull at a Hollywood steakhouse, one heckler yells, "Did you ride Levi like that? Your mother's a whore!" It's an obnoxious comment that just drags the heckler, who turns out to be gay, down to the gutter so well trod by politicians of every stripe. While the man's anger at her mother's homophobic policy positions is understandable, he didn't channel it into anything constructive.

The ultimate hyporcrisy of the show is this: Politicians often say their children are off-limits, an understandable request. But once the child of a politician puts herself out there -- whether on a reality show or as a reporter for NBC News (Chelsea Clinton) -- they are courting attention. At that point, children of politicians are absolutely fair game.

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