Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lifetime
Ten months back, you may have seen a Youtube clip of Bristol Palin arguing with an angry man in a bar. He came off as mean-spirited. She appeared calm but ill-equipped to shut him down. The whole experience was awkward to watch. Sadly, that pretty much describes Palin's reality show, Life's a Tripp, which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. The fight in L.A.'s Saddle Ranch bar took place during the filming of the show, which is a documentary-style chronicling of Palin's move from Alaska to L.A. with her toddler son Tripp and teenaged sister Willow in tow. Watch a 60-second sneak peek here:
As several reviewers have pointed out, she seems to have relocated to L.A. mainly in order to have something to film. Palin takes a volunteer job working with needy kids, and perhaps some edifying stories about her experience there will come out in later episodes. But the initial episodes appear to be about finding her footing as the "country's most famous single mom" in a city where paparazzi are ubiquitous.
In some ways, it's an intriguing concept: What's it like to be the 21-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin -- a political star who may be loved in the heartland, but is heartily loathed in liberal Southern California? But Bristol is too young and inexperienced to show up her mother's critics. In fact, the scenes with her sister are actually more, well, Kardashian-esque. They live in a mansion, snipe at each other about minor issues and complain about their problems.
To be fair, not many 21-year-olds are beacons of self-possession. The ability to wax articulately on issues beyond her own navel-gazing concerns will probably come with age and experience. But then, someone close to Bristol ought to have pointed this out before she set out with a camera crew in tow.
The incident in the bar is a prime example. After falling off a mechanical bull, a man heckles her. "Did you ride Levi like that?" he calls out. "Your mother is a whore!"
Palin confronts the insult-spouter, asking him to elaborate. She appears level-headed and strong while he sputters expletives. But she stays too long. Within minutes, he gets under her skin, and she runs out into the parking lot to call her friend Gino and cry.
"He was screaming in front of so many people," she gasped between sobs. "So I go talk to him cause he only hates her cause she doesn't believe in gay marriage. And he's just like, 'Bring it on, Bring it on.' And I have a ton of cameras on me, and a ton of paparazzi. And I just cannot believe this is happening right now. Oh my God, I wanna go home. Why are people like this? Seriously, Gino. I wanna go home right now."
Will the mean man in the bar watch this footage and feel bad for upsetting this young girl? Probably not. Fact is, no one won in this situation. Least of all the viewers who watched it go down.