Welcome to the first installment of live blogging “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp.” We’ll recap each episode here every week.
This show is premiering after “Dance Moms,” so Lifetime must have high hopes. The first episode is a two-part series and the second is titled, “From Bad to Worse,” which sounds about right.
The show starts with a fairly long rehash of who the Palins are. Lifetime, we appreciate the effort but we know what we’re getting ourselves into with this. Bristol introduces herself as a 21-year-old single mom whose son is her life. Then she introduces the whole family again, calling her sister Willow a “firecracker” and her mom “my greatest inspiration.” Cut to a clip of Sarah Palin at the Conservative Political Action Conference screaming “God bless you patriots!” It’s clear this show’s going to be more about the whole Palin family than just Bristol.
Just into the credits, and I’m already tired of her voice. It’s an odd accent, often sounds like an impersonation of someone with her jaw wired shut.
Bristol takes Tripp to a reindeer farm. In the confessional, Bristol talks about how girls think a kid is an accessory, but motherhood is hard work. She clearly has the same dialect as her mother (Is it regional? A family trait?), creating whole new contractions with words like “hadn’ta.” A graphic comes up that says “Bristol’s apartment,” but it looks like a luxury three-story waterfront lodge. She announces she’s moving to L.A. to “show Tripp the world, and what’s out there.”
Less than 10 minutes into her daughter’s show, Sarah Palin wanders into the room in full makeup. She gives a brief pep talk to Bristol before wandering off, wearing what looks like waders and chasing after a tiny little dog.
Bristol and Willow Palin talk in a set-up up scene in a coffee shop. Bristol tries to sucker her sister into moving to Los Angeles. Then, she tells Willow that she needs to get out of Alaska, or she’s doing to be stuck there. “So, what’dya say?”
Willow pretends to agree to the move on a whim. Bristol tells us without any change in the tone of her voice how thrilled she is that Willow is coming to L.A.
Back from commercial, having just convinced her sister that she had to get out of this God-forsaken state, Bristol says, “I’m really going to miss Alaska. There’s no other place like it.”
The whole family sits around a bonfire while Sarah fires questions about their move to L.A. Sarah is wearing some odd hombre sunglasses. Willow stares at the ground and rolls her eyes and admits that she quit her job via text. It’s refreshingly normal 17-year-old behavior.
Back at Bristol’s apartment, her “friend” Gino arrives, dressed in a hunting poncho. He has some interesting facial hair going on. Kind of like a mustache shape but on his chin. Bristol says Gino is her best friend and they’ve been dating on and off. Apparently the jacket gives him supreme confidence because without lifting his head off the couch he tells Bristol he won’t miss her, knows she won’t find anyone else in L.A., and isn’t a jealous person. He gives her a lot of side-eye that he probably thinks is really sexy and flirtatious.
Hold up! All of a sudden Gino whispers, ‘Hey, I love you!’ and says he will be there when she gets back. The hunter with a heart of gold! Gino has surged ahead as the most likable person on this show so far.
We bid adieu to Alaska and now we’re off to L.A. Cue every single stock photo of L.A. you’ve ever seen over surfer beach guitar music. The production values are not helping this show.
Bristol announces that until she can find an apartment, they’re “staying with a friend of her parents.” It’s a super boring stucco villa that looks like a less-impressive version of a house from “The Bachelor.” The camera pans over the fancy rugs and breakable stuff that looks just exactly like a place a 3-year-old should be living. Tripp, you’re seeing the world here!
The girls and Tripp run around checking out the “ginormous” house and then let Tripp play around in the bidet and laugh when he calls it a water fountain. We all laugh, but as Bristol astutely points out, “there’s a ton bidets in this house, and I don’t think there’s one bidet in all of Alaska.”
We finally get a good close-up of Tripp, and this kid is like baby food jar cute: blond, blue-eyed and rosy-cheeked. I really hope he doesn’t fall into a bidet.
The girls are going shopping! Since Willow is the babysitter it’s not really clear where Tripp is, and I’m starting to really worry about this kid.
Bristol seems really keen on pointing out how different L.A. is from Alaska. She and Willow go into a “glitzy and glamory,” and deem it fit for strippers.
Bristol’s friends Jacob and Marissa prove the universal truth that as soon as you move to a cooler city than where you are from, you’ll get visitors instantly. They go to a dive bar with a mechanical bull, and it’s kind of cute how they’re all wearing hoodies. I think Bristol’s has a cross on it. It’s Bristol’s turn to ride the bull, and it is all fun and games until someone up and calls her mom a “whore.” It may not surprise you to hear that she confronts the man who threw the insult. It gets ugly, and not in that thrilling reality TV way. It’s just ugly.
We get a recap of the bull riding showdown in part two of the premiere. First the guy who threw the insult and then his friends just pile it on. Bristol thinks it’s because her mom doesn’t believe in gay marriage. Maybe that part of the argument got edited out for time?
Bristol leaves the bar and makes consecutive sobbing phone calls to Gino and her mother. Bristol tells her mother, “I can’t believe this is what’s become of my life.”
The Palin girls do a postmortem of the awful night in the self-serve bulk nuts section of the grocery store, which may be a first for reality TV.
Bristol meets up with her “friend” and “Dancing With the Stars” partner Mark Ballas. He seems really happy to see her, Ballas seems like a nice guy, so we’ll look past the bizarre denim western shirt. Oh, and the fact that he calls Gino a “guido.” We’ve had enough slurs this episode, Mark!
Bristol shows up for her first day at Help the Children, the auspice under which she has come to L.A. Bristol accepts the maroon polo shirt with as much enthusiasm as anyone who accepts a maroon polo shirt should have. No time for niceties. They get in a van and head straight to Skid Row. Bristol points out that she’s “never been to this part of town, and she’s staying in Beverly Hills, where people drive Bentleys.” The woman from Help the Children shows amazing restraint with her reply, saying only “really?”
For as much attention as Bristol gets for being a bit of the rebel of the family, I have a feeling Willow is about to break out. Willow calls a friend to complain about how hot L.A. is, how the mansion is in the middle of nowhere, and what a pain Tripp is. And she’s wearing a hat with a pink bedazzled rifle on it.
Better name for this show might be “Life’s a Guilt Trip,” because Bristol masterfully works her sister and even tag teams with Sarah who says that Willow is “making the biggest mistake of your life.”
Bristol’s pity party is in full swing on some really ugly brocade couch back in the mansion. After trying the guilt trip and admonishing Willow for being a dumb 17-year-old, Bristol just starts crying to get Willow to stay. It doesn’t work and Willow hops a cab out of town.
This show is basically a hybrid of “Teen Mom” and “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” It’s kind of hard to tell but it seems like Bristol may ditch her job helping the homeless and head back to Alaska. We’ll find out next week!