We've all been wondering what it was really like for Paris in jail. How did she find God? Did she join a gang? Are reports of profound navel-gazing true, or was she actually just staring at her navel? Tonight, in her first televised post-prison interview, we have a shot at getting the answers.
In one corner: The vapid heiress and her angelic assertions that the clink caused her to drop the dumb act and devote her life to philanthropy. In the other: CNN's Larry King, who is so adept at pitching softballs that he's practically the honorary captain of the U.S. national team. Truly, it's a clash of titanic intellects. And because we love you, we'll volunteer to go down with the ship, live-blogging what threatens to be a fatuous hour of toothless interrogation so that you don't have to deign to watch. Aren't we nice?
8:54 p.m. As Paula Zahn Now probes the sex-change capital of the world, a graphic pops up counting down the minutes until "Paris tells all." We're pretty sure the media are counting down until they no longer need to care what comes out of Paris Hilton's mouth.
9:01 p.m. Paris looks good, despite having what looks like a napkin tucked down the front of her demure beige dress. Predictable choice: Not so white that it's virginal, but still innocent and girlish. We aren't fooled, lady. We're also relieved to report that her wonky eye is as wonky as ever.
9:02 p.m. We've already had about four awkward pauses. This is going to be a really long night.
9:03 p.m. Larry asks Paris what it was like when she finally got sprung from the clink. She says it was one of the happiest days of her life and then yammers some crap about the stars and the sky and her mom. We don't actually catch it all, since we're taking bets on how long it will be before she starts to cry. Also, our first major question has been answered: Will Paris still have that irritatingly whispery voice even when there's a microphone attached to her chest? Yes.
9:04 p.m. Paris claims that the paparazzi have been fascinated with her since she started modeling in New York at age 16. Larry has the good grace not to snort at her use of the word "modeling."
9:05 p.m. Apparently, her cell was small and she only had an hour a day out of it. Snore. Come on, Larry, couldn't you have read up on this before the interview? We've heard all this before. And it goes on — he appears fascinated by the concept of the commissary and the idea that there's some sort of magical "list" on which you can put the names of approved visitors. It's like he thinks Paris invented the concept of prison. Which, clearly, she did not, or else prisons would be pink and furry and full of wet bars.
9:06 p.m. When Paris tells him that people were pretending to know her to try to get in and visit, Larry's insightful follow-up question is "What'd ya eat?" And then she tells us in excruciating detail, as though none of us have ever heard of these "sandwiches."
9:07 p.m. We wonder if Larry has ever even seen a prison MOVIE. We decide, if he had, his questions would be way better. Paris's description of jail actually sounds a lot like high school, what with all the socializing she apparently did in the hallways. Rest assured, all the other inmates were really nice to her. But we're pretty sure that, just like in high school, they made faces at her back and plotted to shiv her. What, was your high school not like that?
9:09 p.m. In his signature growl, Larry spits out, "The purpose of jail … prison, jail, confinement … is to teach a lesson. Or at least that's a big part of it." We have to hit pause because we're choking on our laughter. This is hilarious. Hi-Larry-ous. Paris claims she took the time to "get to know [her]self" and that the beginning of her stint was a blur — presumably, she's not talking about the part where she got to go home for twelve hours and spruce up her fake tan. Next, she spits out what she memorized from The Big Book of Clichés, noting that she made the best of it and not the worst it, and "don't serve the time — let the time serve you." We hope she next reminds us that there's no "i" in "team" and states her intent to go out there and just play 60 minutes of football.
9:10 p.m. Paris used to sit in bed in her cell crying and reading her fan mail. "So many different age groups, so many people around the world…" she says, adding that none of her mail was critical. She should pay her publicist double-time for picking all that out of the bag. Larry seems so shocked that soldiers from Iraq sent her mail that he bounces it to break, then shakes his head admiringly and proffers her his hand to shake.
9:12 p.m. We'd like to note that Paris looks better without her fake blue contacts, and that her fresh hair extensions are holding up better than we are. Larry wants to know what she was most scared of; she tells him that she hates being alone. What a shocking insight. Paris tries really, really hard to summon up tears as she tells Larry that this was the first Father's Day that she wasn't able to hug her father but has no luck. Maybe the contacts would have helped there.
9:14p.m. Larry promises that soon, we're going to hear from some of the notes Paris kept during her stay in the clink. He claims that some of them are "EXTRAORDINARY." Oh, the sweet sting of a backhanded compliment. We're sure they ARE extraordinary, kind of the way teaching a monkey to use a typewriter is extraordinary. Not that we know anything about that, mind you.
9:16 p.m. Paris promises that she'll never drink and drive again — but not before slipping in, "Even though it WAS only one drink" — and hopes others will learn from her mistake. Larry props his chin on his hand and coyly asks why she was driving on a suspended license, and Paris, naturally, blames her lawyer for feeding her false information. She assures him that she's really learned her lesson blah blah blah BLAH blah. Her story gets more boring the more she talks about it.
9:17 p.m. When somebody taught Paris the word "claustrophobia," they forgot to tell her it has an "L" in it. She bumbles the disease name while claiming it's the reason for the panic attacks that got her freed briefly on house arrest. As we watch footage of the paparazzi going insane around her house that day, an inset shot of Paris shows her seesawing between smiling brightly and looking very concerned at the danger this posed to her neighbors. Then the hamster fell off the wheel and her face went blank.
9:19 p.m. Paris claims she pretended she was in "a special place" to get her through nights in prison. The statement calls to mind so many mean jokes that it's impossible for our overloaded brains to make sense of them, but suffice to say one of them involved the words "Hazmat suit."
9:22 p.m. An ad runs for tomorrow's Larry King Live. Apparently he's cleansing his palate with Colin Powell. We're sure Colin Powell is delighted, because this means he could get up there and speak gibberish and it would still sound ten times more intelligent and interesting than any of this interview has been so far. Seriously, Paris is REALLY BORING.
9:23 p.m. Clever Paris! She faked everyone out! She told the world she would be attending the MTV Movie Awards after-parties, KNOWING she would instead be reporting to jail to start her sentence! She punk'd us but good.
9:25 p.m. "What do you think of your problems, Paris?" Larry asks. What the heck kind of question is that?! "Did you bring on in your life yourself?" he asks. What … does that even mean? We don't even know where to put the "[sic]" in that sentence. Larry King is possibly the worst interviewer in the world. He then demands that Paris "self-examine," and Paris trots out about seven more clichés about learning and growing. This all would be way more fun if she were drunk. Paris then tells Larry that the toxic friends she's cut out of her life "know who they are." Surely this can't be a clever allusion to her fight with Nicole Richie, in which she famously told David Letterman, "Nicole knows what did." Nah, she's not that smart.
9:27 p.m. "I love L.A.," Paris says. "Most of my work is here." Then, in the same breath: "I travel all the time for work." Just goes to prove that if you ever get the impression Paris Hilton has no idea where she is, you are probably correct.
9:28 p.m. FINALLY, the good stuff! We're almost half an hour in, and Paris is whipping out the yellow legal paper she used to take these famously extraordinary prison notes. "They say when you reach a crossroad or turning point in life, it really doesn't matter how we got there, but what we do next after we get there … It's a process, a gift, and a journey … It's neither a downfall or a failure, but a new beginning." Wow, that was completely anti-climactic. It's like Chicken Soup for the Soulless. And for the umpteenth time, Paris attempts a serious look at Larry while claiming that this approach has made her who she is today. And for the umpteenth time, Larry King COMPLETELY fails to follow up by asking who, exactly, that person is.
9:29 p.m. "DO. YOU. THINK. YOU'VE. FOUND. YOURSELF?" Larry booms. Paris is all, "Um, yeah." Then, when he asks her what personality trait she would change about herself, Paris's first answer is — we are not kidding here — that her voice sometimes gets too high when she's nervous. It's not that she doesn't pay a driver to take her around when she's been drinking, it's not that she's nasty, and it's not that she is perceived as useless. It's the tone of her voice. Although we admit she has a point. It's threatening to put us to sleep. Maybe that's why Larry keeps resting his chin on his fist: to avoid nodding off.
9:32 p.m. At last, Larry dares Paris to talk about her charitable aims while maintaining a straight face. When he asks if she's interested in working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, her response is, "Um … [gulp] … yeah, I'd love to work with them." We'll give her a C-plus for that one.
9:34 p.m. Larry keeps getting ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder — mixed up with ADT, the home security company.
9:36 p.m. Larry attempts to hardball Paris about allegations of drug and alcohol abuse. She denies having a problem with either, but he finally presses her on it. Like, at LAST. Paris responds with a series of non-answers about how her friends and family know who she is. Larry then looks thoughtful and says, "Have you ever had psychiatric care?" Paris is stumped. "Um … like a therapist?"
9:38 p.m. Larry asks how "ADT" affected Paris in prison. After a moment, Paris says, "Well, it's Attention Deficit Disorder, so … it's hard to pay attention to things." We literally clap with glee at this, and in fact thought we'd hit pause to laugh longer, but it turns out we didn't and she really was sitting in an awkward silence that whole time with no other color to offer. Larry sputters something about concentration, and Paris just sort of agrees and bobs her head. Seriously, she has NO other insight about the experience of having ADD. Or ADT. Or even DVDs. This was the highlight of the interview. It was a long time coming.
9:41 p.m. Paris answers a viewer question about the biggest misconception about her by citing the rumor that she doesn't work for a living or make her own money. She's got a point — people pay her a boatload just to show up at their clubs. Whether she's WORTH the money is another issue entirely, but she definitely makes it. She also points out that she loves to go out "because [she's] an Aquarius."
9:43 p.m. Time to talk about Paris's bitches. Nicole is "great." Britney is "a sweet girl." She wishes Lindsay "the best." You can see her tense up when she's asked to give any real specifics; she's been well coached. This leads into a totally muddled discussion about the dangers of giving a young person too much money and attention that might be actually interesting if either of the participants had an IQ out of the single digits.
9:49 p.m. After the ads, Larry asks how Paris prepared for jail. He had promised to ask her about dropping the dumb persona, and he lied. We don't appreciate this. Instead, she blathers some more blah blah blah about spending time with her family before reporting to the pokey. This is so tedious that we've taken to giggling every time the word "Iraq" floats by on the crawler under her chin. Those are two things we never thought we'd see juxtaposed.
9:51 p.m. Okay, so unsurprisingly, Larry is totally fixated on the strip search, which Paris deems "gross" and "embarrassing."
9:52 p.m. For the first time, Paris shows some emotion, getting peevish with Larry when he asks her why she was driving with a suspended license. She points out that she's constantly followed by photographers, why would she have the "audacity" to actually do something so stupid. We have to admit, we're impressed by this correct usage of a four-syllable word.
9:53 p.m. Dramatic reading time! Ooh, and this one is about her fellow prisoners. Please let it be a haiku.
9:54 p.m. Sadly, it's actually a schmoopy paragraph on having compassion for the inmates "[she] left behind"; she claims she wants to set up charity to help decrease recidivism rates. She does not, however, use that word "recidivism," because that would explode her circuits. To her credit, Paris — though visibly trying to squeeze out a tear and failing — does look legitimately affected by the plight of many of the women she was exposed to in the Big House. We're not fans, but if she turns it around to help others, good for her.
9:58 p.m. Paris looks tired or bored, or both. Being vague takes a lot out of a girl. A fan sends in a total softball video question about how she plans to help others. She claims that she wants to help raise money for "kids and breast cancer and multiple sclerosis." Larry's awesome follow-up to this statement is, "What's your favorite Bible passage?"
9:59 p.m. At last, Larry gets to the heart of the matter and asks Paris how she's different now. She avoids getting into the nitty-gritty of her plans for any kind of charity and just says she's going to try to be more "a more responsible role model." That's fine and all, but will it stick? Now is irrelevant; six months from now is when things get interesting. At least, that's what we hope — it could not be less interesting than this hour-long national nightmare of clichéd generalities.