Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bristol Boring

I like train wrecks. They're fun, especially when I'm not involved. I'm speaking of reality shows here. The kind that spotlight a not-so-ready-for-an-off-network-series star with the word "star" in quotation marks. I tuned in to Bristol Palin's reality show to see such a train wreck, and was utterly disappointed. I didn't laugh with her, and I didn't laugh at her. So what's the point?

Some of the keys to a reality series train wreck is that the star must a) have a big ego, b) be able to laugh at themselves, and c) be totally non self-aware.

Bristol Palin does not have a big ego. I'd go so far as to say she lacks self-esteem, which is probably why she allowed herself to get pregnant by the likes of Levi Johnson to begin with. Her problem is that her identity is completely wrapped up in her mother's. She worships her mother. Her mother's opinions are her opinions. In the two episodes that I watched, she sings her mother praises throughout. She is no Sarah Palin though, and that bothers her. I'm sure it's natural for a girl to want to be like her mother, but at a certain age, it's time to take the parent off the pedestal. She takes after her father more in the personality department anyway.  The sooner she accepts that, the sooner she will find her own voice.

She has no sense of humor. When a Sarah Palin impersonator approaches her, she indicates that she finds that weird. When a man on the street converses with said impersonator, thinking she's the real thing, Bristol is perplexed as to why the impersonator plays along. The people she surrounds herself with are no less boring. It's mostly her younger sister Willow, who one might classify as the bitchy Palin, and her boyfriend Gino, who acts more like her puppy dog than a potential life partner. The series is trying hard to portray her new boyfriend as the anti-Levi. Most of us watching know better. We can see it in the way he plays with guns and other toys. He's a Levi clone, though with enough sense to know when he's got a good meal ticket in the works.

She does lack self-awareness though, having clearly bought into her mother's press about how right they are on everything, and how wrong everybody else is. She thinks the media picks on her and her mother. She claims thousands of people send them death threats. She judges protesters with the familiar jargon, "Why don't they get a job?"; which begs the question about whether Bristol herself could get a job if her last name wasn't Palin. Almost all of the press she has received lately revolves around her hypocritical opinions and her crybaby responses to criticism. If this were played up in the series, it would be entertaining. Instead it is downplayed, leading one to suspect that perhaps the Palins have a little too much control over the editing process.

Part of the premise that was advertised for the show was that Bristol is striking out on her own, trying to break away from her mother's shadow. From what I saw, she has no intention of doing so. Her life is comfortable in Alaska. She doesn't want to challenge what she thinks she knows about the world. This show isn't about personal growth, it's about validating a belief system that has been extremely profitable for her family. If they really want to make this thing exciting, they should force her to interact with a liberal on a regular basis. It would be staged of course, since she makes it clear that she doesn't associate with those kinds of people, but hey, she might actually grow from the experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment