Reality television reduces everything it touches to reality TV. The "star" (and the mother of the "star") of "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp" (10 p.m., Lifetime) may have wanted a showcase about the burdens and rewards of single motherhood, but ultimately, this genre drags
everyone down to the level of a Kardashian.
"Life's a Tripp" is mostly about shopping and talking and talking about shopping. You can at least cut the Kardash-
ians some slack for not pretending to be role models.
Sarah Palin -- former Alaska governor, former vice presidential candidate and former "star" of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" on TLC -- makes several appearances on daughter Bristol's show. Any thinking person would have concluded long ago that allowing Sarah Palin to rattle on unscripted in front of cameras does not reflect her in the strongest light. But it's never been clear that Palin's appeal extends to thinking people.
Like "Alaska," this series is filled with the Palins making pronouncements and then behaving in ways completely at odds with their stated philosophies. To be fair, this is true of most reality television shows, and it's why people find them so perversely amusing.
On "Alaska," the former governor complained about people invading her privacy, while opening up her family's life to the scrutiny of a camera crew. On "Life's a Tripp," Bristol Palin extols the beauties and virtues of Alaska in one scene and then decides to move to Beverly Hills in the next. Mother Palin talks about the vital sacrifice of mother-
hood one moment and then encourages her daughter to have an adventure in a posh Hollywood mansion. She also encourages Bristol to take younger sister Willow along. Isn't Willow still in high school?
Education, or rather its
avoidance, seems to be an area where Palin family values and reality television are entirely in sync. Nobody goes to college on reality TV. Graduating (or not graduating) from high school to "stardom" appears to be the only goal. During the credits, Bristol tells us she's the author of a best-selling book. That's the only evidence we have that she's ever encountered one.
Bristol continually tells us that her son, Tripp, is the very center of her life, yet she spends most of the time shopping, cavorting and clubbing, all the while condemning the shallowness of the LA lifestyle.
Bristol has found one appropriate outlet for her "Do as I say, not as I do" behavior. She's going on the lecture circuit to promote sexual abstinence. And "Life's a Tripp" will be there to follow her.
---"Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" (10 p.m., HBO) includes an interview with former NBA coach Phil Jackson.
---TV-themed DVDs available today include "The Sarah Silverman Show: The Com plete Series."
---The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat tangle in the 2012 NBA Finals (9 p.m., ABC).
---Too close to the polar ice on "Deadliest Catch" (9 p.m., Discovery).
---"Mysteries at the Museum" (9 p.m., Travel) profiles the "real" James Bond.
---A cop infiltrates a Boston gang in the 2006 drama "The Departed" (9 p.m., Fox Movie Channel), an Oscar winner for director Martin Scorsese.
---Scheduled on "48 Hours Mystery" (10 p.m., CBS): The owner of a posh manor comes under suspicion in his wife's murder.
Flashbacks reveal a young man's rise from squalor to TV triumph in the 2008 drama and best picture Oscar recipient "Slumdog Millionaire" (6:30 p.m., Fox Movie Channel).
---Yet another petty officer slain on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).
---A baker's dozen compete on "Hell's Kitchen" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---South Beach antics on "The Catalina" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A researcher's murder gets attention on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---Fifteen compete on "Master Chef" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Raquel loses her agent on "The L.A. Complex" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
---Marco Rubio is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stew art" (11 p.m., Comedy Central),
---Sharon Osbourne, Ashley Fiolek and Chad Daniels appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Cat Cora, Brody Stevens, Natasha Leggero and Ross Mathews are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Jeff Daniels, Benjamin Walker and Walk the Moon appear on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Matthew McConaughey, Natasha Leggero and Grouplove on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Sally Field, Kevin Love and Waka Flocka Flame appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Michelle Pfeiffer, Cedric the Entertainer and Dirty Projectors visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Steve Carell and Snoop Dogg on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.