Jessica Simpson's new show "Price of Beauty" has introduced the world to a new version of the infamous ugly American. Beyond loud and ignorant, the new breed is carrying a camera for a television show.
The premise of the VH-1 series, which premiered last night is noble enough -- find out what women in diverse cultures will do to attain and maintain beauty. Jessica Simpson, who has lived and died repeatedly on the beauty sword, knows a thing or two about about this topic. So even if she's not the world's deepest thinker, she's certainly suitable for a VH-1 host on the topic. This is not the BBC.
If for no other reason, "The Price of Beauty" is worth watching to cringe at Simpson's producer-enhanced mistakes and show would-be travelers how not to act as ambassadors.
The advertised premise quickly falls apart and the true plot is revealed -- to bring Simpson around the world with her posse and let her do her clueless shtick on an international stage. The lovable-airhead behavior which shot her to reality fame in "Newlyweds" with then-husband Nick Lachey falls flat on this stage. High-school ditzy gets old as you get closer to 30 (she's a few months away).
Last night's victim was Thailand. So Simpson proudly coughed up edible bugs in a crowded Thai market and giggled like a school girl in front of a meditating Buddhist monk. Who would have thought BFF Ken Paves would have been the essence of respect in that embarrassing monk scene, which for some reason the producers thought would be interesting viewing?
Simpson also didn't quite know how to handle the complex issues around the Karen people of northern Thailand who famously wear heavy gold rings around their enhanced necks for beauty's sake. Her only real reaction was to try one of the rings on.
For those willing to go along for the ride, next stop is France.