Once an object of morbid fascination, the latest version of Paris Hilton 3.0 evokes more sympathy than curiosity. Insisting she’s not “famous for being famous” and that paparazzi hound her, she nevertheless returns in yet another reality show, albeit in the less-demanding atmosphere of Oxygen. To underscore her hypocrisy in this heavily staged exercise — which features voiceover narration that makes any “unscripted” label a misnomer — Hilton simultaneously complains about a lack of privacy and allows a camera crew to watch her bathe. Beautiful though she might be, “The World According to Paris” is a dreary, unattractive place.
The title notwithstanding Hilton might not even be the most notorious personality in her own show — sharing the limelight as she does with Brooke Mueller, Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife, whose rehab regimen makes hanging out with party-hopping Paris a bit of a challenge.
Mostly, though, despite Hilton’s narration suggesting she wants to become a “grown-up” and “change my image” as she nears 30, the heiress is up to her old tricks — showing up for court-ordered community service in Louboutin high heels, griping about manual labor (“It really sucks balls”) and cooing in a baby-talk voice to her lunk of a boyfriend, Cy Waits, who sulks over Paris swapping text messages with a guy she used to date.
Mostly, “Paris” lurches from one fabricated minicrisis to the next, such as Hilton’s concern about her assistant moonlighting by writing scenarios for porn films. “My assistant writes porn? What’s next, my gardener works as a stripper?” she asks in voiceover. Here’s one certainty: Your ghostwriter is a hack.
If Hilton once seemed charmingly unself-conscious back in “The Simple Life,” those days are long gone. And while no longer quite as hot, media-wise, she still radiates enough warmth that her presence will like elevate Oxygen’s viewership by some staggeringly gaudy percentage, made possible by the cast of dozens who normally tune in.
“I just don’t like to be alone,” Hilton — the modern embodiment of the anti-Greta Garbo — purrs at one point, in a childish, sing-songy manner that ought to make any grown woman cringe.
But there’s no need to fear that happening, at least until Hilton loses the strange power she possesses to attract curious passers-by. As long as she remains willing to strip naked (literally or figuratively) for the ever-present cameras, we’ll always have Paris.