The Simple Life 2: Road Trip, Channel 4

by | Sep 5, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

Two adorable pouting princesses of the small screen selflessly cast aside their hereditary wealth and class and embark on a trip across the American backwaters in the guises of cute penniless vagabonds.

What to say of you didn’t like it

Satan snaps off his two horns and gives them the gift of life in the unprepossessing forms of Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton before crumbling in despair at the monstrous evil and vulgarity being unleashed upon Earth of which even he is ashamed.

What was good about it?

• The gas station owner who turned down Richie’s arrogant presumption that he would want her to work for him to pay for their fuel.

• The brief shots of beautiful American rural vistas.

• Paris Hilton falling off her horse when she impetuously wanted to go faster.

What was bad about it?

• The personas of both Hilton and Richie are founded entirely on their ill-deserved fame – in Hilton’s case it was initially her wealth and latterly her notoriety on the internet, while Richie has a famous father. Neither has any talent beyond this, but in reality TV what’s new?

• The notion of the “Simple Life” being that the pair subsist on a meagre income from honest graft has little substance largely because they will go back to lives of opulent indolence the moment they make it to Los Angeles. This was most keenly shown when Hilton fell from the horse. If she were truly living the “Simple Life”, then she would have had to take out health insurance and be treated by a backwoods doctor who probably doubled up as the town mechanic, instead she was whisked off to a private hospital in an air ambulance all for the sake of a minor bruise.

• The pair spending excessive amounts on designer clothes – a crass, indulgent badge of unnecessary wealth.

• Richie screeching, “America – here we come!” like a mite shouting at God.

• The clips of future episodes in which the pair are given massages, which are rapidly becoming reality TV’s flaccid substitute for sex with all the fake intimacy and questionable benefits of such a vacuous procedure.

• Hilton and Richie begging for money from starstruck motorists to pay the toll road fee, and when succeeding saying “Thank-you” in a trite cute little girl accent used by extras at auditions for pornographic movies to slobbering, obese members of the production crew.

• When passers-by quite reasonably ignored the pair’s request for cash, Richie insulted them in a manner becoming of someone whose manners have been fostered through living in absolute luxury for all their pitiful existences.

• The very suspicious way in which many of the scenes seem to have been stage-managed to contain all the crucial elements to advance the subjective narrative.

• When Hilton had her fall from the horse, the camera cut away with the same specious moral sanctimony as footage of the executions of those poor hostages in Iraq. Only in this case it was to preserve the precious vanity of one of the least likeable yobs on television.

• When Hilton was admitted to hospital for a slight bruise from the horse accident, we were assailed by the same sycophantic reportage designed to trumpet how famous and popular Hilton is in the same vein of awful journalism that blighted the last days of Liquid News following the untimely death of the excellent Christopher Price.

• J.O., the supposedly tough cowboy owner of the rodeo where Hilton and Richie were to work, who announced himself with boastful machismo about how his wide-brimmed hat denoted his seniority on the ranch. After Hilton’s accident his misplaced and deluded sense of guilt (“I nearly killed Paris), caused the disintegration of his authority and he was reduced to buying them expensive gifts and junk food (Richie: “Ice cream makes a girl feel better”) and parading in his chaps and little else for the pleasures of his two puerile guests.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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