Anyone looking for stupid-slurry-simple Paula Abdul may want to turn to YouTube repeats of her embarrassing drunken days on “Good Day L.A.” Or on a Fox affiliate. Or on TiVoed “American Idol” episodes. But, aside from an outlandish tripping episode, don’t expect to find many Abdul mishaps during the premiere of Bravo’s new reality series, “Hey Paula.”
Over-the-top cuckoo is out (for now), but prima donna behavior is definitely in. Where Abdul’s nutty shenanigans are absent (and, unfortunately, there’s no “Being Bobby Brown” to fill that void), there are catty diva tantrums – like demanding sweat pants from her assistants and getting PO’d at the QVC crew for screwing up her jewelry line – for the “American Idol” judge to fall into. Literally.
As a sloshed Abdul struts through the streets after the Grammy Awards, she’s admired by fans that declare: “You’re a legend! I’m forever your girl!” But perhaps her most devoted fan (a sentiment shared by both parties, apparently) is the booze, which causes her to stumble while acknowledging her fans. These little moments are what make “Hey Paula” a mildly interesting peek into a celeb trainwreck, and while the docu-show sheds some of Abdul’s crazy ways, there’s enough melodrama to fill even the most absurdly mammoth episodes of “AI.”
Because “Hey Paula” strives to show Abdul as a “normal” person – within two minutes of the premiere she pleads, “I’m just like everyone else” and then thereafter smooches her Chihuahuas and admires their human-sized poop on her lawn (but has her maid clean it up) – the show feels like a PR vehicle. She even proves she’s got the recipe for quick-witted remarks (“Last time I had a hit record, Bill and Hillary were having sex”), something she can’t quite formulate on “Idol” without sounding like a drunken, er, broken record.
Upcoming episodes, thankfully, seem destined to shed light on the blurry reasons for her slurry silliness: Is she popping painkillers? Downing too much booze? Or is she just straight up stupid?
And if no one else finds Abdul’s disaster-tastic ways – tripping over her words, and herself – a hoot, at least she does. While joking around in the limo trekking from the Grammy Awards to the airport, the screwball takes a stab at Joan Rivers, laughs uncontrollably (while no one else is) and snaps: “I crack myself up!” If “Hey Paula” falls flat on its face, much like Abdul almost did, at least one person finds it amusing. Even if it’s the show’s star.