“Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” set to air on June 19, follows Bristol’s move to Los Angeles with her then-2-year-old son, Tripp. In the first episode, Bristol explains that she’s leaving Alaska to work for a charity, to “get out of my comfort zone and show Tripp another part of the world.” (It’s not Bristol’s first time living outside Alaska, however: She lived in Arizona for a few months last year, before returning home to Wasilla.) While discussing the plan with her youngest sister, Piper, their mother — casually dressed, hair piled atop her head — pops into the living room and encourages Bristol to go have “an adventure.” Later, Sarah teases Bristol and her other daughter, Willow — who’s also going to California — by singing the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
The show is reminiscent of another Palin clan reality show, TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which offered a carefully curated peek inside the former governor’s family life. Bristol’s show offers some of the same — shots of the Palins hanging outdoors in Alaska or spending time together at home — but there’s a bit more drama.
The second episode, for instance, gives a play-by-play of Bristol’s headline-making fight in an L.A. bar — a spat provoked by a heckler who called her mother an offensive name. The cameras follow Bristol, who has just ridden a mechanical bull, as she confronts the man, asks him if he’s a homosexual and eventually leaves in tears. “Mom, this is not fair and this is not fun,” Bristol later tells her mother on the phone. “And I’m so pissed off, Mom. The hate that we go through. How many times has this happened already?”
In another scene that recalls MTV’s “The Hills,” Bristol and Willow, both wearing big, dark sunglasses, sit outside, arguing at a café in Los Angeles. There’s also plenty of talk about Bristol’s boyfriends (her ex, Levi, who fathered Tripp, and Gino, with whom she’s “on and off”). Another scene shows the Palin girls shopping in Hollywood.
“This is a normal store …” Willow says incredulously, browsing tight, sequined dresses.
“For strippers,” Bristol quips.
As you’d expect, viewers also get a glimpse of Bristol as a single mom to her blond-haired toddler. Crying about how hard it is to raise a child alone, she says at one point, “It’s not fair to him that he has no one here except for me.”
While Bristol is ostensibly the star of the show, Willow may be more interesting to watch. Largely kept out of the spotlight during her mother’s rise to fame, the 17-year-old comes off as fun-loving, fiercely independent and unconcerned about what others think. Before moving to California, Willow laughs about quitting her job in Alaska via text message.
“You quit by texting your boss? Willow!” her mom says.
Willow shrugs it off.
In another scene, Willow and Bristol sit and chat with Sarah as she prepares for an appearance.
“I have to go study,” Sarah says, asking the girls, “Do you have any advice on Syria?”
“I don’t know what Syria is,” Willow says, smiling.
To which her mom playfully replies, “Don’t admit that publicly, please, oh my God!”