Kelli Bender
December 03, 2013 04:00 PM

Great TV duos come in all forms: Kirk and Spock, Bert and Ernie, Jerry and George. But one of the true twosome treasures of American television is Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Long before JWoww and Snooki, these famous-by-last-name socialites first hair-flipped into our world via The Simple Life, blurting ridiculous sounds bites and dishing out blank stares for a bemused TV audience.

With the power of hindsight and nostalgia, it’s easy to see how 2003 was an easier time than today. In remembrance of a bygone era, here are 10 ways The Simple Life proves that 2003 was a less complicated time.

1. Ke$ha Was Just A Kid

She may be brushing her teeth with bottles of Jack and indulging in other unhealthy habits today, but before the dollar sign, Ke$ha was just an eager teen trying to play matchmaker. The glitter-spewing popstar appeared on the third season of the show, working with Hilton and Richie to find her single mom a new man.

2. Pre-Sex Tape Paris

Cover of Paris Hilton's Sex Tape 1 Night in Paris
Courtesy Red Light District

At her 2003 The Simple Life debut, Hilton was only known for being a spoiled heiress, if even known at all. Meanwhile, the phrase “1 night in Paris” only meant spending an evening in France’s charming metropolis. By the following year, Hilton became synonymous with naughty night-vision, changing the nature of her fame forever.

3. Flirting Without Wires

Before everybody decided to meet their soulmate online, approaching people and asking them out wasn’t as awkward. This vintage Richie clip proves you don’t need the confusing jumble of pokes, messages and matches to try and form a love connection. A not-so-subtle come-on used to work just fine.

4. How To Wear Overalls

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie posing for 2003's The Simple Life

Overalls became the unofficial uniform for Hilton and Richie throughout their dirty jobs, showcasing the utility of the style. Today, the denim duds are an on-trend fashion statement that must be worn with caution for fear of landing on someone’s Worst Dressed list.

5. When “That’s Hot” Was Hot

We can thank The Simple Life for dropkicking the phrase “That’s hot,” into our lexicon. The show rapidly pushed the phrase to its saturation point. “That’s hot,” in 2003 was acceptable. In 2013, “That’s hot,” will just lead to eye rolls, shudders and perhaps a lawsuit from Hilton.

6. Not Too Smartphones

Paris Hilton on The Simple Life

The Simple Life kicked off by stripping its entitled stars of their credit cards and cellphones. At the time, losing the ability to call and text was a small setback, but it’s nothing compared to the trauma of losing a 2013 smartphone. Nowadays, losing your phone is comparable to losing a limb that can also browse the web and give you Candy Crush.

7. The Thriving Hilton and Richie Friendship

They were called ditzy, aloof, ignorant and annoying, but no matter what your opinion of them (or their definition of Wal-Mart), it was easy to tell that Hilton and Richie enjoyed causing trouble together. Sadly, the show eventually caused a rift in their relationship that has yet to fully heal.

8. Before We Cared About The Kardashians

Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian,and Kourtney Kardashian, 2009
Matt Sayles/AP

Before celeb-based reality programming ruled over TV, and we allowed the Kardashians to k-aptivate us, Paris and Nicole set the course for famous-for-nothing stars making a “real” name for themselves on television. The Simple Life opened minds to the oddly hypnotic world of bare bones celebrity television, but we can also look back on the series and fondly remember a time when this kind of show was a novelty not a norm.

9. Dog Maintenance Made Easy

Paris and her handheld pup Tinkerbell popularized the idea of canines being carried as accessories, an idea that has only ballooned since The Simple Life‘s retirement. This clip shows that before puppy manicure and doggie strollers, there was a time when all a dog needed was a good grooming, a little love and a few adorable butt squeezes.

10. A Truly Simpler Life For Nicole

Nicole Richie and her husband Joel Madden with their children Harlow, 5, and Sparrow, 3, in 2012
John Shearer/Invision/AP

The dirty jobs and grunt work that Hilton and Richie pranced through on the show probably seems like recess to today’s Richie. After a series of legal troubles, Richie is now a confident and successful mother, fashion designer and author.

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