Working Girls

Surrendering Their Credit Cards for TV Fame, Debutantes Dabble at the Dairy Farm

It's a peculiarly uncomfortable kind of comedy, though, as we watch Paris and Nicole more or less run roughshod over their hosts and their working-class community. Like The Cat in the Hat's Thing One and Thing Two, they are greedy gremlins devoted to pleasure at any cost. Sitting on the porch gossiping about the family's teenage son Justin, the girls concede that he's very sweet. "Yeah," Nicole continues with a gale of vixenish laughter, "we should have a threesome with him!" The next night they break Mr. Leding's curfew and sneak off to a local bar looking for some hot hick action. Considering Paris's current sex tape scandal and Nicole's arrest for heroin possession (she was busted and let out on bail just before the series was filmed), these Miss Things might do well to learn some lessons in simplicity.

Milking It: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie
photo: Anna Barry-Jester
Milking It: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie


The Simple Life
Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox, starting December 2

Rich Girls
Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. on MTV

To Live Is Better Than To Die
Monday, December 1 at 7 p.m. on Cinemax

For an altogether more real strand of reality, look for To Live Is Better Than to Die airing on Cinemax after a much lauded appearance at this year's Sundance Film Festival. This may be the most harrowing hour I've spent before the television all year—a remarkably unsentimental and unsanitized documentary about China's AIDS epidemic, made intimate by its focus on one rural family gripped by the disease. Chinese independent filmmaker Weijun Chen snuck into the village of Wenlou to film a year in the life of Ma Shengyi, his wife, and their young children. Like many poor Chinese, Ma Shengyi contracted the virus after selling his blood for cash. Now he no longer has the strength to work on his farm. As his once pretty wife lies in a wheelbarrow, weakening before our eyes, he takes care of his three children (the youngest two of whom are also HIV-positive). And he does so with infinite gentleness and devotion, looking on as his baby son lurches around their tiny home learning to walk, and presenting his eldest daughter with a new book bag when she does well at school. He retains both practicality and hope: Even after his wife dies, Ma Shengyi is thinking about who will raise his kids when he's gone and considering marrying a local widow.

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