Forgetting that the new reality series "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp" on Lifetime is about the daughter of the controversial Alaskan governor who almost became our nation's vice president, the show seems contrived. It is also boring, given the fact that Bristol is a somewhat contentious figure. She is just a normal person, which does not make for an interesting reality show.
Viewers are introduced to Palin as the 21 year old who was the "17 and pregnant" daughter of Sarah Palin. Bristol explains that she is moving to Los Angeles for a job at a Help the Children charity and will be bringing her son, Tripp, and her younger sister, Willow, with her.
The introduction is probably the most unnatural part of the show. The entire premise seems to revolve around creating a reality show. The fact that she is put up in a huge mansion when she arrives in L.A. simply reinforces the fact that the entire show is forced. It seems to exist merely to drive up ratings.
The show may have been charming if there was more Tripp and had focused more on what it's really like to be a young unwed mother in a realistic setting. Instead, she gets to live in a mansion and traipse around Hollywood, while Tripp is nowhere to be found.
At the beginning of the show, Sarah Palin jokes about Bristol and Willow being like the "Beverly Hillbillies," but the girls have their heads screwed on too straight to make the show entertaining from that standpoint. When they check out a clothing store on Melrose, Bristol complains that the skimpy clothing would only be normal "for strippers," with which most regular folks at home would probably agree.
A controversial interaction
The show finally gets interesting when Bristol and two of her friends go to a restaurant called the Saddle Ranch. After Bristol rides a mechanical bull, a man suddenly begins spewing vile obscenities from the sidelines, including "Your mother's a whore!"
Bristol bravely confronts the man. She asks him to name one example of why her mother is a whore, to which he replies with more vulgarities. Bristol asks him "Is it because you're a homosexual?" which is in itself a completely unnecessary remark.
The problem is that it was very uncomfortable to watch. Although Bristol was able to compose herself when confronting her heckler, she broke down in tears soon after leaving the bar, which is completely understandable. No sane person with any level of empathy would want to see more of such interactions.
The interesting part
Willow decides to leave because she's "not having fun" and is tired of being "Tripp's nanny." The relationship between the two sisters is the most engaging part of the show. Bristol is craving some amount of freedom to capture her teen years she spent raising Tripp. She has passed all of those responsibilities to Willow while in L.A., not realizing that Willow is completely unprepared. Willow is not the one who had the baby, after all. Willow's exceedingly non-committal attitude, and ability to drop everything and leave Bristol alone despite her pleading adds some much needed interest.