I don’t have much to say about MTV’s new reality competition series, “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF,” because I always tell everyone at the newspaper that “I don’t watch MTV, ever.” But that’s a lie; if I never watched it, I’d never have a legitimate answer for when people asked why I hated it, other than the boilerplate “No music videos!”
So I watched it tonight. I watched the second half of the new Paris Hilton series. I want to tell you why it’s bad, and why its good.
First, the bad. Though she starred in “The Simple Life,” Hilton is a failure as a TV personality. She’s a distant, aloof heiress who doesn’t concern herself with the issues of those she considers below her — a tragic mistake for a show where all the contestants are her subordinates. She comes off as sad, as would anyone who needs a TV show to make a friend. The competitions are cheesy, and the contestants are predictable. And as easy as it is to take a shot at this, it’s impossible to ignore the sickening feeling you get when you watch dozens of attractive young people fawn over a woman who really doesn’t deserve the praise or attention.
But the show isn’t so horrible as to warrant violence, certainly not “Tila Tequila”-level unwatchable. Watching the contestants admit that they’re lying about everything they say is refreshing. None of these people want to be Hilton’s friend — they want to be famous themselves. And when they admit it, as some did in the premiere, it’s refreshing to hear. It’s also fun to know that one day, your grand-kids may ask you about it, since it’s probably the most horrible premise for a show in the history of television. Watch “My New BFF,” and you’re watching history.
There is some strange attraction that I have to Hilton. It’s not physical, because I find her a bit muleish and bland. There’s this itch, somewhere in the back of my mind, that she might not be as dumb as she seems. She’s never done anything to prove her intelligence — quite the opposite, in fact. But sometimes I think she’s a modern day Andy Kaufman, and that she’s consciously playing with an American public so crazed with celebrity that they’ll accept anyone, anyone, to fill the role, no matter how talented. And when I think about that, I just can’t help but love this girl and every hilarious, terrible new joke she plays.