Paris Hilton’s eyeballing a leprechaun at the supermarket. Please say she’s in on the joke

TV: Netflix’s irritating Cooking with Paris doubles down on all the cliches about the reality star

Cooking with Paris: is this a conscious attempt to smuggle unspeakable cosmic horror into viewers’ homes? Photograph: Kit Karzen/Netflix

Cooking with Paris: is this a conscious attempt to smuggle unspeakable cosmic horror into viewers’ homes? Photograph: Kit Karzen/Netflix

 

Global warming, a pandemic and now Paris Hilton presenting a Netflix cookery documentary. When is humanity going to catch a break?

Cooking with Paris (on Netflix from today) is several shows in one, none of which has much to do with fine dining. Nor is it an attempt to relaunch Hilton as a lifestyle guru for grown-ups. If anything it’s the opposite. Hilton, who is now 40, appears to be trying to rewind the clock to the early 2000s, and her glory days as a reality-TV bauble.

The big glittering conceit of the series, which began life on YouTube, is that Hilton loves to muck about in the kitchen and wants to challenge herself with new recipes. But Cooking with Paris seems to be poking fun at Hilton’s culinary ambitions rather than helping her realise them. Is she in on the joke? Is Netflix? Is this a conscious attempt to smuggle unspeakable cosmic horror into the living rooms of subscribers?

Lucky Charms are her favourite, she says. But not because she enjoys crock-of-gold archetypes brimming with additives and accompanied by a splash of milk

The action opens with Hilton in a Los Angeles supermarket, eyeballing a leprechaun. She is holding a box of Lucky Charms, the popular cereal and hate crime against Irish people.

It’s her favourite, she says. But not because she enjoys crock-of-gold archetypes brimming with additives and accompanied by a splash of milk. It’s to do with Lucky Charms’ signature ingredient of marshmallows, traditional Irish symbol of fellowship and good health. (Before the Battle of Clontarf, Brian Boru famously snaffled his body weight in the spongy treats.)

The elaborate set-up doesn’t lead anywhere. Returning home, Hilton finds her personal assistants have transformed her house into a brunch-themed paradise, festooned in white balloons and … more white balloons. Then she gets stuck into making her own Lucky Charms-style mallows.

The second reason Cooking with Paris exists is apparently to remind us of the breadth of Hilton’s contacts list. She is first joined by her friend and fellow reality-TV pioneer Kim Kardashian. (Later episodes will feature the rapper Saweetie and the pop star Demi Lovato.)

In the early 2000s Hilton was targeted as mercilessly as anyone on the A-list, painted as vapid and dim. She spoke out about these caricatures last year. But Netflix doubles down on all the old cliches about her

The dialogue isn’t exactly from Frost/Nixon. Kardashian remembers the time she and Hilton stayed with Jade Jagger and slept in tepees. Hilton says things like “All my cooking utensils are very Paris” and “What are tongs?”

That is obviously a wasted opportunity. In the wake of the Free Britney campaign, the treatment of women in the spotlight in the early 2000s has quite rightly come under renewed scrutiny. And Hilton was targeted as mercilessly as anyone on the A-list, the celebrity-tabloid complex painting her as vapid and dim.

She spoke out about these caricatures last year, in the documentary This Is Paris. So it seems not unreasonable to expect Cooking with Paris to continue her rehabilitation and reveal her to be a misunderstood public figure with hidden depths. Instead, Netflix doubles down on all the old cliches about Paris Hilton. It’s insipid and irritating – a textbook example of how not to do celebrity makeover.

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