If your perception of Paris Hilton is that she is not a very nice person and you enjoy being on the receiving end of preaching to the choir, then The World According to Paris is the show for you! What should be damage control for a career that was maligned up until the point that people stopped caring about it is instead just reinforcement for the pampered princess, mean girl image that so many have of Paris. In that respect, this reality show, which premiered Wednesday on Oxygen, has the candor of a pig with lipstick on it — Paris Hilton cannot hide her several negative traits. Either her show is honest to its detriment or at the very least, its star is too lazy to lie.
Its most cringe-inducing moment comes as a result of Paris being confronted with the presence of Kristen, the assistant of her friend Brooke Mueller (Charlie Sheen's ex-wife). From the start of their association, it is clear that Paris does not like Kristen (she refers to Kristen as a "creep" and is apparently angry with Brooke when Kristen is brought along on a joint shopping outing). However, when pressed for a reason, all Paris can muster up is, "Some people just give me this weird vibe and she did that." Nice! When Kristen pulls Paris aside at a club and into a stairwell fit for murder in an attempt to smooth things out, a voiceover mocks Kristen's peacemaking attempts: "What is this, an episode of Gossip Girl?"
Paris is no less tough on her assistant, Lexie, after she reveals to Paris that she writes pornography scripts on the side. Referring to Lexie as "Miss Hornball" is but one way Paris mocks her moonlighting employee. When she finally sits Lexie down to give her an ultimatum (it's Paris or porn), Paris says gravely, "What you do is something that really hurt me in my life, you know, something that someone did to me." She's referring to her 2003 sex tape, 1 Night in Paris, with no sense of irony that without it, she probably wouldn't have The World According to Paris. Indeed, it was pornography that actually pushed Paris' star into the stratosphere — the only celebrity who owes her career to a sex tape to a bigger extent is Paris' former friend Kim Kardashian.
Sometimes the hypocrisy is even more explicit, like when Paris narrates, "I'm known as a party girl, and I'm really trying to change my image," as we watch a scene of her dancing in a club, complete with fast-edited images of drinks being poured to suggest the wild extent of the partying. On her way to serving community service, she moans, "Am I gonna be working with, like, convicts and, like, prisoner people?" She doesn't seem to realize that she is, in fact, a convict and prisoner person. Oh, and don't expect anything less than petulance regarding her sentence for last year's drug bust in Vegas: "Because of a little incident in Las Vegas last year, I have to do 200 hours of community service and it really sucks balls," she tells us. The only thing that dies harder than bad habits is entitlement.
She verges on bigoted when confronted with a gender-ambiguous admirer ("Is that a man or a woman? It was a Pat?"). But then, bigotry is nothing new for Paris. She is openly manipulative ("The baby voice has always gotten me what I wanted"). She gossips about her friend in a voiceover ("Rumor has it, they used to hook up back in the day!" she says of Brooke and the loathed Kristen).
The just-described scene is one of The World According to Paris' most confusing because aside from the narration, it doesn't involve Paris at all. In a weird turn that feels like this show is aspiring to be The Hills, we get some footage of Brooke bickering with Kristen — the two of them alone. But who cares about them or their issues? This isn't The World According to Mueller. It's just one of several odd choices the show makes. Others include tone-smashing musical cues, melodramatic acting (Paris' mother, Kathy Hilton, could be played by a puppet for all the humanity she conveys) and disorienting in-scene switches from being shot on tape to video.
This is to say nothing of her dull squabbles with boyfriend Cy Waits, which only serve her own ego ("It's not my fault if people are still obsessed with me!" says Paris of a persistent gentleman caller). Speaking of, the foremost example of the contemporary vanity project that is The World According to Paris is all in apparent service of her ego and it doesn't even get that right. In stark contrast to her adorably cartoonish turn on the Paris Hilton's My New BFF series, here she is a villain on her own show and heroes are otherwise hard to come by. Paris Hilton's reality is just too unpleasant to bear.