The Simple Life

Fox’s The Simple Life: Fox’s “Shock and Awe” of 2003by nolan albarelliRecently the ratings-starved network Fox aired The Simple Life, yet another reality television show in what seems like an endless slew. After coming off a major ratings flop with its sequel The Next Joe Millionaire, Fox was desperate. Following Nielsen Media Research’s reported 20% decline in television viewing among men between the age of 18 and 24, it appears network executives across the nation have had to put down their golf clubs and actually work, scrambling to solve this major problem. Worried over the permanent loss of such an important group, it appears the executives at Fox took aim.The Simple Life starring Paris Hilton, daughter, princess, and now film star of the Hilton empire, along with close friend Nicole Richie, the troublesome and questionably adopted daughter of Lionel Richie is a bull’s-eye on the ratings chart. The show yanks the girls out of their “normal habitat” in Los Angeles and throws them into Altus, Arkansas (population 817). The blue collar town (and wine capital of Arkansas) is comprised of hard-working Americans, new to both women. Many Altus residents work three jobs to provide for their families. Workweeks that always cross the 50 hour mark. Model Americans too proud for welfare. The backbone of our nation.Hilton and Richie get their prada panties in a pinch as soon as they step off their plane. With a careless and snobby attitude towards anybody and anything around them, the duo manage to get fired from a dairy farm the first working day of their entire lives. Throughout the series’ broadcast it becomes clear that the stars do all they can to get viewers talking. The executives know the more us simple folk talk, the higher the ratings. There’s one thing execs had undoubtedly learned in 2003; shock and awe makes for the hottest thing on television.What is Fox trying to tell Americans, life is simple in Altus, Arkansas? Arkansas residents should take this show as an insult. The direction of television right now is in a downward spiral. We’re living in a day and age when public opinion among nations across the world is shaped so strongly through our film and entertainment. Shows like this are eventually aired in places never intended. It’s unfortunate and serves to only further degrade the image of our country and cause. As former President Jimmy Carter said. “It will be good for us to remember the original concept of our country, that we have to relate intimately with other nations.” Should Paris Hilton be our new boob tube spokeswoman?