From San Francisco Chronicle TV critic David Wiegand --
How you react to Bristol Palin’s new reality show on Lifetime, “Life’s a Tripp,” 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, well, the series, premiering Tuesday, is not 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 local children’s charity and is particularly concerned that her younger sister, Willow, stick around LA because someone has to look after Tripp, the 3-year-old son of Bristol and Levi Johnston.
To be fair, she’s just 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, to the City of Angels.
The day she shows up to work at the charity, Help the Children, she’s given a tour of skid row by car. “What’s skid row?” she asks, viewing the homeless encampments from the safety of the 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 last week 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. He never said a word about Palin’s positions on gay rights or any issue, for that matter. Maybe Bristol’s 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 the new 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,” and breaks down in tears after confronting the Palin-hating moron at the bar.
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 go out with friends and have lunch with “DWTS” pals.
What’s ahead in future weeks? Bristol ordering off the kiddie menu at the Ivy for Tripp?