How you react to Bristol Palin’s new reality show will probably be determined by what you think about her mother.
But let’s try to forget that she’s the daughter of the former GOP vice presidential candidate and consider Life’s a Tripp purely as a TV show. On that basis, the Lifetime series, premiering Tuesday, just isn’t very interesting, and you probably wouldn’t watch if she wasn’t who she is.
So who, exactly, is she? Bristol is a fairly pleasant young woman who gets to live in a Los Angeles mansion while working for a children’s charity and is particularly concerned that her younger sister Willow stick around because someone has to look after Tripp, her 3-year-old son with Levi Johnston.
To be fair, she’s staying in the mansion, belonging to “friends of my parents,” while she looks for her own apartment, but Bristol’s experiences trying to make it on her own in Los Angeles clearly don’t reflect what most 21-year-old single moms would face relocating from Wasilla, Alaska.
The day she shows up to work at the charity, Help the Children, she’s given a tour of skid row. “What’s skid row?” she asks, viewing the homeless encampments from the safety of a car. “I’ve heard of it before.”
Going out with friends, presumably while Tripp stays home with Willow, she encounters an obnoxious guy at a bar who shouts out that her mother “is a whore.” To her credit, Bristol confronts the guy, asking him why he hates Sarah so much. After some more generalized vitriol from the jerk, she says, “Is it because you’re a homosexual?”
It turns out, the guy, who filed suit against the show alleging he didn’t know what the cameras were for, is gay, but we’re left wondering why she made that assumption in the first place. Maybe hers stint on Dancing With the Stars fine-tuned her gaydar.
On the one hand, it’s commendable that Bristol wants to be on her own, sister Willow notwithstanding, and to work for a charity. On the other, how many young women stop to have a catch-up lunch with their DWTS partner?
Ever since Bristol was put in the spotlight as unmarried and pregnant during the 2008 campaign, she’s tried to build on her notoriety, for lack of a better word, by writing a book, competing on DWTS and now doing a reality show.
The challenge is that she’s just not that interesting. She’s not especially glamorous, and, at the other end of the spectrum, is no Alaskan Snooki either. She’s relatively level-headed, although she pitches a weeping hissy fit when Willow wants to leave Los Angeles, saying “she has no idea the pressure I’m under.”
If she’s under so much pressure, why would she subject herself to having cameras follow her around 24-7? And if life’s such a Tripp, where’s the kid? We see mom explaining to him what a bidet is when they get to the mansion (“I don’t think there’s a single bidet in all of Alaska,” she says), but having Willow on-hand as a nanny frees Bristol to be out and about.