Hey This.Posted: July 11, 2007
What to make of the new Bravo reality show Hey Paula (the show that, by letting Paula Abdul redefine herself for the American people, only succeeds in redefining the word “trainwreck”)? I’ll tell you what I make of it.
I think some are watching it because they can’t take their eyes off a trainwreck. But I think others are watching it for a different reason. I think many people have had a “Paula” in their lives, and Paulas come in both sexes: a toxic boss who damages the careers of everyone who works for him; a delusionally narcissistic significant-other; a victimizing friend who continually imagines herself the victim. I think if you’ve had a Paula in your life, even if you don’t anymore, you never really move on completely—there’s always at least a little residue of trauma awaiting processing. Hey Paula lets us do that from a safe distance, which is healthier than either wallowing in it or denying it completely. Maybe, if watching the show allows enough Americans to work through the trauma of dealing with people like the person Paula Abdul appears to be–if the show can work, in other words, as some form of mass exposure therapy–Paula Abdul will have done something worthwhile with her life.