THE SIMPLE LIFE 3: Interns follows celebutantes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as they pack-up their Louis Vuitton bags and board a Greyhound Bus to tour the country and take on an assortment of odd jobs.
The biggest joke of The Simple Life concept is that the audience is in on the joke. Granted, the joke isn't always that funny, but it's funnier when the girls -- Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, a pair of pampered royal New York brats -- aren't in on it. Like its predecessors, this compilation edition of the reality TV show continues the same basic conceit of plopping the girls in outrageous blonde-out-of-water situations and watching the sparks fly. This time they're tasked to be interns and actually work ("Work?!? Us?!?") at places like a plastic surgery clinic, an airline, a mortuary, a nursing home, an automotive shop, etc., etc. Of course it's all set up as an intentional joke on the sometimes angry, sometimes befuddled, sometimes good-humored "employers" and host families they're stuck with. More than that, it's just a series of staged scenes with some goofy video verite added when necessary. Any sense of comic timing comes from the ironic editing, silly sound effects, and equivalent of spit-takes reaction shots from the real people around them who can't believe their eyes. We shouldn't believe our eyes either, because it really is all a put-on. The train-wreck appeal of The Simple Life is that the girls go around making fun of lower class and white trash living, but they're pretty much complete idiots themselves. The result is obviously manipulative, but sometimes clever. There's great comfort in laughing at them, not with them.--Ted Fry