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Primal Screen

Bristol Palin shines as a small-town bigot on 'Life's a Tripp'

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp (9pm Tue, Lifetime)

This is a reality series about Sarah Palin’s daughter — the one who got pregnant at 17 and is raising young son Tripp as a single mom. I’m tempted to comment on the title’s idiotic pun, but Bristol puts me on notice. “Even though it seems like the media was trying to tear me down,” she says of being a controversial politician’s daughter, “my faith, my friends, and my family held me up.”

I have to admit, that stings. Despite being a member of the “lamestream media,” as the Palins call it, I don’t like the idea of treating Bristol unfairly. So I have a wad of Kleenex that I promise to stuff into my mouth whenever I feel like saying something cruel about this self-described “simple small-town girl” who has no use for “the image thing.”

Now, I do believe that some criticism of Life’s a Tripp is fair game, as when Bristol’s actions don’t match her oft-stated principles. For example, she spends so much time bragging about her motherly dedication to Tripp that I can’t help but notice she’s, um, raising him on a TV show that basically serves as a commercial for her brand. And for someone who’s so unconcerned with image, she sure spends a lot of time positioning herself as a down-to-earth family-values exemplar — in truth, not an easy sell for someone who’s had plastic surgery and done the bump-and-grind on Dancing with the Stars.

The scene that really had me reaching for my wad of Kleenex, though, is the one where Bristol addresses a heckler in a bar. I expected a mature approach to the situation, since Life’s a Tripp is a showcase for Bristol’s supposed maturity. Instead she asks him, out of the blue, “Is it because you’re a homosexual?”

Mpmfpfph!

Dallas (8pm Wed, TNT)

The new version of Dallas successfully duplicates the mediocre melodrama of the original 1970s-'90s series. Now with a fabulous mane of gray hair, Patrick Duffy is as bland as ever in the role of ranch owner Bobby Ewing. Greedy brother J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) is still Bobby’s nemesis, but now there are two J.R.s. J.R. Jr. (Josh Henderson) is a chip off the old block, scheming to open up the ranch to oil drilling. As before, various beautiful women (including original cast member Linda Gray) are strewn about as set decoration.

Henderson makes for a pipsqueak of a villain, and his blood feud with Bobby’s son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) barely seems like it will carry the series into July. Luckily, Hagman has lost none of his evil allure. He’s the only one here who holds the screen, despite looking ill from real-life cancer. Let’s hope he hangs in there, because without him Dallas is nothing.

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