The Beverly Hills ladies go cross-country, ridiculing everything for Simple Life 2

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 16, 2004 09:00 AM

They’re baaaack, and they’re making TV critics laugh – both with them and at them.

Wednesday night brings the return of Beverly Hills celebutantes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on FOX’s The Simple Life 2.

For this second season, the two 22-year-olds leave the farm, where they hung out in Arkansas last year, to hit the road with an Airstream trailer hitched to a GMC truck (but no cash or cellphones), driving from Florida to their California homes.

They stay with locals and seek jobs en route, ridiculing most everything in their path. Not that everyone knows they’re joking. After she sees a mirror on an older guy’s bedroom ceiling, Richie asks, “Did you ever do any modeling?” (Eventually, he does, sporting leather chaps, “Bottomless, with just the chaps,” as Richie requests.)

TV critics, previewing the two episodes running on FOX Wednesday, chuckle at and disapprove of the series as a whole, with many saying the highlight is Hilton’s fall off a horse.

Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Phil Rosenthal, however, laments that it didn’t knock any horse sense into her.

Also debuting Wednesday night, on MTV: The Ashlee Simpson Show, starring Jessica Simpson’s younger and brunette sister. “I feel like I have my own identity and I stand on my own,” actress-singer Ashlee, 19, tells USA Today. “I’m a tomboy with a girly twist. Jess is more shy, and I’m more like, ‘Woo hoo! Let’s get this party started!'”