Sofia Coppola’s the Bing Ring opened in theatres this weekend. Much has been said about the film, its plot, connotations, director, stars, characters... but few remember the 2010 reality show Pretty Wild, which served as some of the source material for The Bling Ring. In the failed (on all counts, this show was deemed the worst in history and barely lasted a season) reality programme, we are acquainted with Alexis Neiers, her adopted sister Tess Taylor and their entire erratic family. Their mother, Andrea Arlington, a former model and current full-time LA-dweller/momager was originally supposed to be the star of the show, but after Alexis’s involvement in a 2010 series of robberies by the so-called LA Burgler Bunch (or The Bling Ring) the focus shifted from mother to daughters and their incredible lives. Said lives, while obviously scripted for the show, definitely yield some priceless moments, which we’ll revisit below for your enjoyment. Let’s start with something light.
5. Alexis, Tess and Gabby’s homeschooling “lesson” In the first episode from the series, Andrea mentions that the girls are homeschooled. We later get a glimpse at exactly what this means and oh, what a glimpse it is. The lesson starts with the girls being tasked with creating “vision boards” as per Andrea’s instruction manual for life, The Secret. The conversation about aspirations soon turns to Angelina Jolie, whom both Tess and Alexis see as a role model. And they have their valid reasons – “her husband” and “her hot bod” do not count as admirable qualities, unfortunately.
4. The interview with Vanity Fair’s Nancy Jo Sales. You know it’s going to go spectacularly wrong, when Tess asks “And there’s no way this could go wrong?” and Alexis answers with an assured “No.” This interview yields some even more hilarious results later on in the episode, but the answers Alexis gives to the journalist, whether genuine or edited to sound that way, are so entertaining, that they automatically earn a spot on the chart. To give you an idea, after being asked about her life, Alexis explains, biting back tears “My main destiny in life is to be a leader. I’m ready to start setting a great example.”
3. The impromptu photoshoot. In case you’re not familiar with the show, the girls (Tess and Alexis) moonlight as models and are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities for photoshoots. But when none present themselves, there’s always the opportunity for an improvised nude shoot in the bathroom, all with the complete approval and assistance of mom, of course.
2. The lost dog. During one episode from the series, Tess decides to get a dog. Elated by the joys of pet ownership, she apparently fails to remember that dogs also need to be walked and cleaned up after, but the family puts up with Lola. That is, until the dog goes mysteriously missing and the whole family, barefoot, clad in sweats and, in Gabby’s case first day of school gear, go out into the rain to search for the puppy. It turns into a teary-eyed, rain-soaked mess, obviously a huge ordeal for the family. And we’ll probably lose a few moral points for saying this, but it’s weirdly entertaining to watch.
1. The voicemail. Nancy Jo... dramatic pause, stage lights go down... This is Alexis Neiers calling. By now even newcomers to the series should be familiar with the most infamous voicemail in TV history. After her Vanity Fair spread turns out completely wrong, Alexis naturally has to call and set things right. It takes, by our count, four attempts for everyone in the room to calm down for the recording to even be possible, at which point... no, we don’t want to spoil it for you. But oh man, is it good.
An honorary mention goes to Gabby Neiers and the quote: "Change the Gabbi-tini to the Alexis and Tess stripper pole party. This is my 16th birthday, not some kind of w***e party!"
For all those familiar with Pretty Wild, it's obvious that Coppola hit the nail on the head.
Emma Watson's over-the-top acting works perfectly for anyone familiar with the source material.