Look out Kardashians, the Palins are coming.

Bristol Palin and her son, Tripp, star in a new Lifetime reality series that premieres Tuesday.
Bristol Palin and her son, Tripp, star in a new Lifetime reality series that premieres Tuesday.
Posted: June 20, 2012

BRISTOL PALIN: LIFE'S A TRIPP. 10 p.m. Tuesday, Lifetime.

WHEN JOHN McCAIN chose the governor of Alaska to be his presidential running mate four years ago, he couldn't have known he was helping to launch another TV docu-soap dynasty.

But as Lifetime unveils "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp" on Tuesday, it's clear Sarah Palin's family has the Kardashian clan in its sights.

"Life's a Tripp," which will follow the former governor's eldest daughter and her now 3-year-old son, Tripp, from Alaska to Los Angeles — and reportedly back again to Alaska — is the second TV series Bristol's made since becoming, as Lifetime likes to put it, "one of America's most famous young mothers."

Or maybe the fourth, if you count not just her third-place finish on "Dancing with the Stars" but her appearances in her famous mother's TLC show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," and the series Bio announced last year but never aired in which Bristol and Tripp were moving to Los Angeles to work for a charity and to be housemates with her fellow "Dancing" contestant Kyle Massey and his actor brother, Christopher.

Little wonder her best-selling memoir was titled Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far. To people addicted to the very idea of fame, this 21-year-old single mother's life must look like a thrill ride. One that's lasting longer than her turn on the mechanical bull she was astride when she famously decided to confront a heckler, who's now suing over the inclusion of the incident in the first two episodes.

"For a simple girl from a small town in Alaska, my life sure has been a roller coaster," says Bristol in Tuesday's premiere, edited for maximum chance of whiplash.

"I want to raise Tripp Alaskan, because I want him to be tough and I want him to be outdoorsy," she says as the pair are shown feeding reindeer. Her son gives her "life purpose and direction."

The direction? South. The reindeer have barely finished chewing before Bristol announces she's "moving to L.A. to work for a charity and I'm using this opportunity to go show Tripp what's out there."

One thing out there: a Beverly Hills, Calif., dwelling on the scale used to house contestants on "The Bachelor," on loan from a family friend.

Even Bristol's not pretending that's how single moms roll in the lower 48. "I never thought it was going to be this huge and this extravagant," says our star, who's shown on her first day at Help The Children being taken on a ride to see people living on the streets. But although there's a swimming pool at her new digs, there's no live-in nanny, so in a series of scenes so eye-rollingly staged that Bristol's little sister Piper can't stop grinning, 17-year-old Willow Palin is coaxed into going along to watch Tripp.

"Seriously, if you don't get out of Alaska for a few months, you'll be stuck here," Bristol tells her.

The state's former governor also thinks the girls should skedaddle. "Life needs to be an adventure. The world is big, it's exciting. And if you don't like it, home is always waiting for you," Sarah Palin tells Bristol, who by Episode 2 will be seen, weeping (and for some reason wearing a Phillies T-shirt), doing her best to guilt Willow into not going home.

No one, by the way, can say Sarah Palin's not doing her part. In a scene apparently filmed before a public appearance, she tells her daughters that she has to prepare and asks, "Do you have any advice on, uh, Syria?"

"I don't know what Syria is," replies Willow.

"Don't admit that publicly. Please. Oh, my God," says Palin.

It's hard to imagine people who've kept up with the Kardashians being able to resist the Palins, who truly do not seem to hear themselves, making this overbaked slice of "reality" more real than they probably intended.

But if you must watch, you, too, might not want to admit it publicly. n

Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or graye@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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