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Pitchy Rather Than Bitchy: Bravo's "Hey Paula" Fails to Entertain

I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for train wrecks.

So it was hardly surprising that I tuned in last night to see Bravo's new reality series Hey Paula, just to sneak a peak at the, er, flaming wreckage of star/glutton for punishment Paula Abdul's life.

Sadly, Bravo's docusoap seems more like a glorfied campaign to spread the word of just how much work Paula really seems to do (the tearful entrepreneur is a spiritual sibling of Blow Out's Jonathan Anton, it would seem) and how completely misunderstood she really is. Take the case of the designs she did for the Bratz movie; I'm not entirely sure if she was asked to do these designs, did them of her own accord, or what, but Miz Paula claims that she spent her own time and money creating these costumes whilst the other Bratz producers refused to return her calls. When they finally do (and want to see the costumes stat, on the day of the Grammys, no less!), Paula grimly faces herself in the mirror after they've "worn" her down: "I'm a warrior," she says as she turns her coiffed head to get a better look at her award show hair.

Um, would a warrior cry at the drop of a hat? Or let her dog nearly choke to death on a priceless diamond-encrusted ring on loan from a jewelry company? Hardly. Instead, Paula comes off less like the unpredictable basketcase we know her to be and more like an imbalanced airhead who has surrounded herself with incompetents and who works just so damn hard to be taken seriously.

Make no mistake. Incompetent is what her "friends"/employees are, to the highest degree. I'm not sure how long it takes for two (yes, two!) people to pack a bag for a diva's one-day trip to Philadelphia, but it takes assistant and her clothing stylist Kylie what seems like nine hours to do so and they still manage to pull the wrong outfit for Paula to wear on the red eye flight (tighter-than-tight jeans rather than comfortable sweats). With support staff like these, who needs enemies?

Where are the Robertson Boulevard tantrums, the sobbing jags backstage at awards shows, the complete and utter break from reality that seem to fuel Paula's life? Anything that would possibly serve to explain her highly erratic behavior on American Idol? Instead, we're meant to think that Paula is a candidate for sainthood because she got on that plane to hawk her QVC merchandise after attending the Grammys, that she slaved away for days on neglected movie wardrobe designs, that she's picked on by Joan Rivers, that her assistant didn't pack the right plane-appropriate clothing for her. The list goes on and on.

If all we're getting on Hey Paula is the surface-level personality Abdul seems to be displaying (along with an obnoxious portion of whine and cheese), then I've already gotten my fill. Instead of the train wreck I had hoped for, all we seem to be getting here is the PR machine working overtime.


Tigress35 said…
I completely agree with you about the show. I was very confused as to the point of the show... was it to make us feel sympathy for her, to show that she's not just a drunk (she's just really, really tired, that's all!!), to show that she really is a good person? Or is there something more Newlyweds here, where we are supposed to laugh when Paula thinks she's so down to earth, but we see that anyone that throws a fit about her assistants not packing white tennis shoes instead of black tennis shoes?

I can't figure out exactly what the show itself wants us to think, but I think the latter... and in this case, it's not anywhere near as funny or entertaining as Newlyweds.
Anonymous said…
Gee, I wonder. What are they up to? Haven't seen the show yet. But, I will go and look for it.
Anonymous said…
It definitely seems like the intent of the show is to allow Paula to redeem herself (she's not drunk...she just has insomnia!) but this three ring circus act only confirms the fact that Paula is out of control and that her "people" have no idea how to handle her.
Anonymous said…
Oy. This was horrific television. Boring, trite and without any redeeming qualities. If this was supposed to make us feel bad for Abdul, it had just the opposite result.
Anonymous said…
Am I the only one who sees another "Anna Nicole Smith" reality program. A total train wreck....Her erratic behavior is obviously uncomfortable for all around her and it's uncomfortable to watch. Someone needs to admit this woman to a hospital and allow her to detox and get some sleep before shlepping her off to another gig!
Anonymous said…
I agree with your comments (I finally had a chance to watch the show), and will go further.

My biggest problem was that I didn't ever feel like this was just a case of cameras following her as she goes through her daily life as she KEPT LOOKING AT THE CAMERAS! She kept making faces at the cameras, or rolling her eyes or giving a look like, "See what I have to deal with?" She is so self-conscious about the cameras, that I don't think we are really getting one honest moment here.

Now, I know that this genre of reality show (Osbournes, Breaking Bonaduce, etc) are never the whole truth, but this one seems particularly contrived.

And yes, she has surrounded herself with idiots. But I guess she had to try and find people who were dumber than she is, and that's gotta be a challenge.
Anonymous said…
Totally agree with all previous comments and more.
Somehow, this woman (Abdul) seems to be assuming that she enjoys a reservoir of affection from the public. Yet, she wrings dry all sentiment with her loopy myopic behavior and by the way she treats all her underlings, including the poor dogs. No wonder she's lonely and crying for respect.
Jeff, the beleagured publicist, has become a favorite character because he continues to try to make shinola out of all this Abdung.
I love Bravo and its reality series. But another dose of "Hey Paula" is way beyond my trash tolerance.

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