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High society hits a new low as 14 contestants are taught in the ways of the wealthy by the mother of all socialites, Kathy Hilton

Recaps by Don Harpwood, GSNN

Kathy Hilton
Paul Buccieri, Danny Salles, Jason Hervey, Rick Hilton
Packager: Endemol USA, Buccieri Entertainment
Airs: Tuesdays at 9pm ET on NBC

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"The High Life, and What People'll Do To Get There" - June 21

Start with 14 regular people, who have one thing in common: They want to live the high life. Have them meet Kathy Hilton, who can provide the opportunity for them to do so, and can show them how. And make sure that in the end, only one will be able to live "like a Hilton", with an apartment, a new wardrobe, and a $200,000 trust fund. Sounds like an idea for a reality show, doesn't it? Well, someone came up with that idea, and so, here it is. [Insert the first of many flashy graphics here]

The first party

As we start, the 14 people are on their way to Grand Central Terminal, where they've been asked to wait. They are (in alphabetical order):

Alain - Perfume Salesman
Ann - Former Miss Tampa
Brenden - Golf Caddy
Jabe - Ranch Hand
Jackaay - Landscape Supply Clerk
Jaret - Telephone Salesman
Johnny - Plumber
Jules - Receptionist
J.W. - Construction Worker
Latricia - Motor Vehicles Clerk
Niki - Fashion Student
Rashad - Waiter
Vanessa - Bartender
Yvette - Las Vegas Dancer

As the group chats among themselves, in comes some guy with a tuxedo, looking a little out of place in a location such as this, walking down the steps nearby and to the group. He asks them to follow him, and they promptly do so, carrying their bags with them. He leads them to the Campbell Apartment, which is a bar where very few people get to spend time at, for a private cocktail party. They are then left on their own (with a few bartenders available) to enjoy the fine cuisine and drinks. The ever-present voice-over says that this is a test to see how much work may be needed to get them ready for high society. Oh, and someone is watching them from a balcony above: Kathy Hilton. Hmm, I wonder if someone will bother to look up and notice...

The 14 people start to pig out, eating the food and acting like, well, themselves. They tried some caviar, and Jaret thought it was horrible, while Jabe would apparently not want to eat it or a couple other things that he first tried there again (well, "not without Tabasco", as he put it). They eat and drink, and act wild, and yet not a single one of them bothered to look up. But it's too late for that now, as Kathy has decided to leave the balcony and meet them down on the floor.

Once there, Kathy introduces herself to the group, then has the butler give each of them a gift: A silver spoon. Gee, I wonder how they came up with that idea. Anyway, each spoon has a ribbon attached, and it is either blue or green. Kathy explains that those with a blue ribbon are on the Madison team, and those with a green ribbon are on the Park team. She then explains that each week, they'll learn a different element or two of the good life, and they'll have challenges to test them on those elements. These elements can involve etiquette, style, culture, and even dealing with the press. Of course, the losing team will then meet with Kathy to talk about "what went wrong". And she'll then write a list with those on the team that are moving on, and one will be left off the list, and therefore, eliminated, each time. Does this format seem familiar in some way?

The team rosters are not mentioned at this point, but for reference, and for those who care, here they are:
Madison - Alain, Ann, Jabe, Jackaay, Johnny, Latricia, Yvette
Park - Brenden, Jaret, Jules, J.W., Niki, Rashad, Vanessa

Kathy then mentions that she had been watching them, and that after doing so, they have a lot to do. Before they get going to the limos that are set to take them to where they'll live during this time, Yvette plays the role of suck-up, and says to Kathy that she hopes to learn everything that she'll need to know for all this, since she "wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth". Okay...

After some flashy graphics show off which penthouses at the Melrose Hotel each team will be staying at, the teams arrive in those limos, and they head up to their penthouses. Upon arriving at theirs, team Park is obviously in awe, as they spot the gift baskets waiting for them. Meanwhile, team Madison is just having fun, and one of them even goes so far as to moon the people through a window nearby (presumably the other team). But Latricia is having her doubts about how well Madison will do, considering they have, as she refers to them as, "a hillbilly, a singing diva, a pizza boy, and a British hoochie."

Boot camp and shopping

In the morning, the teams each wake up to find a letter on a table on their respective balconies. It instructs them to meet Kathy at the 21 Club at 11AM. Members of team Madison try to guess what exactly that is. But later, as they arrive, we find out that it is an elegant restaurant. Once the teams are lined up in there, Kathy greets them and lets them know that the first challenge deals with first impressions. Kathy will be hosting a dinner there with some of her closest friends, and the teams are invited. They'll be judged on manners and style, and to get them ready, Kathy has arranged for an "etiquette boot camp" for the teams, where they'll learn such manners and style from various etiquette pros.

But that's not all, as one member from each team will have to shop for a gift for the host of the party (which is Kathy, of course). But each team will be selecting which member of the OTHER team will be doing the shopping. So, after deciding who they think would do the worst on the other team, Park chooses Jabe to represent Madison, and Madison chooses J.W. to represent Park. Each of those two will only get $100 to spend on the gift, so they'll have to be creative.

Jabe, after looking around the city for a while, decides to buy 4.5 lbs. of chocolates, gift-wrapped. The woman at the shop asks if he wants something written on it, he says to write "Kathy Hilton". She asks if it's with a K or a C... and he doesn't know. That's not good. Meanwhile, J.W. goes to a fancy shop and gets some flowers and some wine, also gift-wrapped. Back at the 21 Club, the others are learning the basics of proper etiquette. This includes how to handle the utensils, wine tasting (Alain, despite being told to hold the glass by the stem, keeps holding his glass by the bowl), eating various fancy foods like snails/escargot and lobster, and recognizing types of cheeses (yes, including goat cheese).

Upon returning to the hotel, team Park gets a good look at what J.W. bought, and they seem impressed when they saw the wine and flowers. But when Madison saw what Jabe bought, though they had no complaints about the gift itself, the focus was on how the message that he had the woman at the shop write was written on the package itself with a permanent marker. Ann noted that it was tacky.

A doozy of a challenge

The teams get groomed and dressed up in their best clothes, and despite Madison being held up by a few members taking a bath for a bit, they make their way to the 21 Club for the dinner. Each team will be there at separate times, with Madison going first, and Park going second. Team Madison are outside the dining room, lined up in front of Kathy, and she then delivers a twist to this challenge: Only one person from the team will be having dinner with Kathy and her friends. And it happens to be the one that was out shopping, and therefore didn't get to go through "etiquette boot camp" (Jabe for Madison, J.W. for Park). Can you say, "disaster waiting to happen"? Well, at least the others will get to help from outside, as the one having dinner will be wearing an earpiece, from which they can hear advice from the others, who will have a microphone, and will get to watch the dinner on TV. Though I don't know if that'll be enough...

Park also hears about this twist when it's their turn, of course. They will be judged by a panel of judges at the head table, whom the guest will be sitting with: Ted Allen (culinary expert for "Queer Eye"), Billy Bush ("Access Hollywood" host), His Royal Highness, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, and of course, Kathy. There will be a set of 5 challenges during the dinner, on which the guests will be judged.

1. The Gift
Park - After entering the dining room being introduced to the table, J.W. handed Kathy the flowers and wine, and she loved it. Ted asked where he got the idea, and J.W. said wine would be a good compliment for the dinner, and of course, "flowers for an elegant woman". Classy.
Madison - Jabe hands Kathy the gift of chocolates (with the tacky handwriting), and she liked it. But as soon as Jabe sits down in his seat, someone on the 21 Club staff walks over and tells him that he has to wear a jacket, which he didn't have. Oops.

2. The Wine
Park - Kathy asks J.W. to select the wine, and he's naturally stumped (remember, he didn't go through those etiquette lessons). So after Kathy asks what would go good with lobster, his team tells him through the earpiece to ask the waiter for a suggestion for a good chardonnay. He does so, and gets a good compliment from Kathy.
Madison - Ted asks Jabe what would go good with seafood, and like Park, team Madison tells him to go with chardonnay. After doing so, and the waiter pours a glass for him, he just picks it up by the bowl and drinks some of it. So his team has to shout to him exactly what he was supposed to do with it (pick it up by the stem, swirl it, sniff it), and he does what he's told.

Meanwhile, in the back, Yvette has noticed that Alain wasn't saying anything. He said he didn't want to confuse Jabe. So basically, he's just acting like a bystander there.

3. The Late Arrival
(At this point, Kyle Hilton, Kathy's sister, will arrive at the dinner. She is another judge for the challenges.)
Park - Upon the arrival, J.W. is told by his team to stand up and help Kyle into her seat, and he does so, before complimenting her looks.
Madison - Same thing for Jabe, except without the compliment, and instead, he gets yells into his ear about how to eat the lobster as he tries to eat it.

4. Escargot
Park - After he admits that he never had escargot before, the team does their best in coaching J.W. on eating the snails, but J.W. decides NOT to eat it. He won't even try it. I guess he didn't consider pretending that this was a fancy version of Fear Factor for a brief moment.
Madison - Jabe also admits to not having had escargot before. And of course, his team tells him how to go about eating it. As his team yells for him to eat it, he looks at it for a moment or two, but unlike J.W., Jabe does go through with it.

5. The Toast
Park - When asked to make a toast, J.W. stands up and proposes a toast to Kathy, the one who brought the group of 14 to New York to give them the opportunity that they have.
Madison - Pretty much the same thing with Jabe. But when he's told to say "thank you" at the end, he says, and I quote, "Say thank you". Heh.

Once both teams are done, the judges deliberate. Afterwards, both teams are in the dining room, where Kathy is ready to announce the decision. She mentions that the judges did check out how the teams in the back did while Jabe and J.W. were at the dinner, then mentions that Jabe should have had a jacket and a gift card, while J.W. was hesitant with ordering the wine, and was impolite by not trying a dish in front of the host, despite it being escargot. And the winning team is... Park. Like on the Apprentice, the winning team gets a reward, which in this case is a trip by private jet to a vineyard for wine tasting, and the losing team meets with the host for a chat and to determine who is going home.

Team Park boards the jet, and while in the air, they have a toast of their own. At the vineyard, they walk through the yard to check out the grapes, and they have some lunch (which includes wine, of course). While they're enjoying themselves, back in the Melrose Hotel, team Madison is gathered in a room, and the mood is rather gloomy. They discuss who could be eliminated, and after a bit, it is apparent that none of them are safe.

The first dream gets crushed

A limo picks up team Madison and takes them to the "residence" [cue flashy graphics], which is apparently this show's version of the boardroom. Once everyone is seated in front of the fireplace inside the residence, Kathy enters and greets the team. She starts with the reminder that someone is going home, then asks Jabe if he feels that he should go home, since he was the one in the dining room, and he made a few mistakes. He says no, and compares what he heard in his right ear to standing in the middle of a bunch of cheerleaders. Kathy notes that Johnny was quiet, but he says that he did speak when it came to the escargot.

When Kathy asks the room about who wasn't contributing, Jabe says that what scares and worries him is Alain dealing with the pressure. Alain admits to being nervous, but says he's ready to work with the team. Johnny then speaks up about Latricia (whom he accidentally refers to as "Lakeesha" at first), saying she may be too powerful of a person. And Yvette, while having a bit of a tough time getting her message across due to her accent, mentions that a few teammates may have conflicts with Latricia. But Latricia denies it and says the conflicts were actually with Yvette. Sounds like there may be a conflict between those two soon...

After a brief argument about Yvette wearing short skirts, Kathy asks who may be holding the team back. Ann says that it would be Alain, but he said that he thought their bit with the wine was done well as Ann explained the bit to Jabe, but Jabe just didn't listen. Kathy then asks for final thoughts, and Latricia says she doesn't consider the competition to be a game, but a "lifeline" for herself and her son. Sounds like a desperate move to me. Then Ann has something to say, er, sing. She simply sings a bit from "A Moment Like This". Note to Ann: This isn't American Idol.

With that, Kathy momentarily dismisses the team so she can make the list of the 6 who will be moving on in the competition. Afterwards, once the list is done, the team is back in the room, and in another room nearby, team Park is having a dinner. But there's room for a few more; those seats are for those on the list. When someone is announced as on the list, they can go and join the other team for dinner.

Now, for the moment of truth. On the list are:


At this point, Kathy mentions that those of the remaining 3 who remain in the game will have to work things out eventually. She continues...


After mentioning Latricia's bossiness and Alain's quietness, Kathy announces the last name on the list...


That means that Alain is not on the list, and is the first one gone. After thanking Kathy for letting him be there for at least that long, he walks out and gets into a limo, which drives away, presumably taking him home or something. Kathy then joins the other 13 at dinner, and makes a toast to end this episode.

So, what do I think of the show? Meh. Just another variation of the Apprentice, set in the same city (New York), but with a bunch of flashy graphics, and the winner can just enjoy the "good life" instead of working. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, next week, in case anyone is wondering, Kathy's daughters, Paris and Nikki, will get involved, and there's going to be a charity auction.

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