Has jail taken the fun out of Paris?

As Hilton appearances go, last night's on "Larry King Live" was a dud.

Posted: June 28, 2007

In the matter of Paris Hilton, what is the worst thing that could happen to us all?

She turns out to be just a garden-variety dumbo, neither completely stupid nor wild and extravagant. What if she fulfills the desire she professed last night to Larry King and wanders off to help kids or cure breast cancer and multiple sclerosis in the bumbling, look-at-me-but-please-don't, Hollywood way that has Ed Begley Jr. driving an electric car.

Don't go getting all puffed up about the "us." If you never paid one second of attention to the supposed escapades of the No. 1 celebutante (and then why would you be reading this?), you're still as trapped in this culture, for better or for worse, as everybody else.

And speaking of for better or for worse, wasn't Paris demure and presentable last night on Larry King Live in her off-white frock with lace accents that looked almost like a wedding dress, except it was accented with a big, sweet Mary Jane bow in the front? If her chemical-colored hair extensions hadn't displayed their consistent garishness, we might not have recognized her at all.

Is one of our premiere court jesters fading like a ghost? Please don't do that, Paris. At least have the decency to leave us memories of some tragic downfall.

What a thundering waste of time was Larry King's disjointed interview with our Scripture-reading gossip icon, who at least had the decency not to remember anything she had read in the Bible.

"A lot of girls have problems." "I don't have any friends in rehab." "I work very hard."

Forgive us, oh princess of the ether, if we have seen you naked with your man, but cannot in a million years imagine you in the boardroom.

No fun at all on CNN. Except when Larry started to heat up over the pre-prison strip search of the million-dollar baby.

"Is it as gross as we might think it is?" he salivated.

Easy, Larry. You can turn to the Internet 24/7 to see your young guest doing unspeakable things. Why didn't you ask about that instead of wondering, "What is lunch?" down at the county jail.

Answer: "A baloney sandwich. . . . It was pretty scary."

There's something even more scary for the millions who hang on Paris' every move, either simply because it's infinitely silly, or because the personal screw-ups of a wealthy socialite (or sports star or political leader) magnify the minor successes in their mundane lives.

If that boring thing we saw last night really is the new Paris, then, with Lindsay sidelined in rehab, we're all stuck with Britney Spears.

To comment on this article, go to: http://go.philly.com/askstorm. Contact television critic Jonathan Storm privately at 215-854-5618 or jstorm@phillynews.com.

Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/


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