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The Simple Life

Farm Livin' Is the Life For Me


Altus Main Street

Altus Main Street

What do you get when you take two spoiled socialites and stick them in a small town in Arkansas? You get the new Fox reality show, The Simple Life. It's a real-life version of Green Acres. Paris Hilton, hotel heiress and model, and Nicole Richie, daughter of singer Lionel Richie, are playing dual Ava Gabors.

The modern version of Hooterville is Altus, Arkansas and premieres December 2nd on Fox. It's the wine capital of Arkansas but it is indeed a small town. The population is just a little over 800. The girls lived with a local family and did everything from delivering calves, to working at the local sonic, to eating a minnow at the local bait shop.

How does this show reflect on Arkansas? Is Arkansas ever portrayed positively in things like this? It portrays Altus residents as backwards hicks. However, it also portrays Hilton and Richie as spoiled brats.

Honestly, I saw the show and I thought it was funny. It is a bit mocking towards Arkansas but it's a bit mocking towards the girls too. It's more about the girls and their reactions to things than it is about Arkansas. The show focuses on putting two people in an element outside of their comfort zone and seeing what happens (although, if you ask me those girls would be out of place in a city house too). What happens in Paris questioning, "Do they, like, they sell wall stuff?” when someone mentions Wal-Mart. It's funny (in a sad way). Paris and Nicole are also very good sports on the show. They aren't overly snotty or snobbish. They're just not exposed.

I talked to some locals after the show was filmed and according to some, the girls spent most of their time mocking local residents and the town. According to one anonymous local I spoke with, all they did was walk around in expensive, skimpy clothing and "look down their noses" at residents. They didn't attempt to socialize or fit in at all. However, they claim they hung out at the local gas station and met some cute country boys.

On a personal note, I've visited Altus many times and I find it to be a wonderful city. It is small and it is a lot more laid back than Los Angeles or even Little Rock, but the people are generally friendly and the majority of the city is beautiful. I'm honored to have such a great place in Arkansas. Goodbye city life, give me Altus over Hollywood any day.

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