Posts filed under 'The Hills'

The Hills Are Alive, with the Sound of Dunzo

Kristin Cavallari in what I can only assume is Europe.

Hey, you guys, The Hills is over! Related question: do you remember The Hills? It was insanely popular sometime in, oh, let’s say, 2007 maybe? I’m not quite sure. I know that Tifaux’s very own Cristin used to write hilariously detailed Hills recaps, and that sometime after I moved in with Tifaux’s very own Marisa, I got acclimated to the white noise of The Hills and began to find it weirdly soothing. Which is a pansy of saying I have seen at least the last three seasons of The Hills. And, for that matter, almost every episode of its spin-off, The City.

But clearly I came into the fake-cinematic-reality genre on the downward slide. Far fewer people seemed to care about The Hills in its last few years, as professional passive-aggressive blank slate Lauren Conrad left and aggressive-aggressive-yet-still-kind-of-passive Kristin Cavallari stormed back in with no mention of the limp acting gigs she was unable to string into a career following the demise of Hills originator Laguna Beach. This can only be healthy for the country. It’s difficult, anyway, to care about what happens on The Hills because anyone who watches the show knows that nothing happens on The Hills, which is all the more hilariously apparent when the show tries to sum things up for a season or, gulp, series finale. Case in point: when something started happening with Heidi and Spencer, the show averted its eyes: possible story! It turns! Now we’ll never know if Spencer was able to re-form the Dark Crystal and save the gelfling race!

For a show that’s clearly shaped in the editing room, it’s odd how often The Hills decides on its story arcs retroactively — not just after the faux-events “happen,” but well after episodes have aired. Which is how, in the twilight of its existence, the show sort of decided that it was about Kristin putting her heart out there and taking a wild chance on a guy she already dated in high school and presumably continued to fuck a bunch of times since then. Yes, The Hills decided it was basically a Kristin/Brody rom-com-dram, oh and also about the whole gang growing up.

And in case you’re skeptical about the maturation capabilities of the type of twenty-three-year-olds who go on “spring break” without ever enrolling in college, check out those milestones: Audrina moved for the tenth time in two years, Lo manipulated her boyfriend into an early marriage pre-proposal, and Stephanie went on a second date. Slow down, there, Stephanie; if you’re not careful, you could wind up with a job, or a conversation with any content whatsoever.

Speaking of not speaking: the show also retroactively decided that Kristin, Audrina, Stephanie, and Lo all like each other at all. This used to be vaguely more plausible when Lauren was around, not because Lauren seemed remotely interesting, but because I could buy that one of those people was somehow friends with Lauren (introduced by their mutual friend, the casting agent). But: Kristin, Audrina, Stephanie, Lo. None of these people are friends with each other. None of them even like each other. And yet there they were on the last episode, catching up in someone’s living room. Conversations on The Hills always sound prompted, of course, but these particular girls sitting on couches discussing their lives straight up plays like a talk show: The View without opinions. The No Views.

Somewhere along the line, Kristin, who has been spurned by Brody for a suspiciously unseen harlot (most suspicious: the idea that Brody would date someone who doesn’t want to be on TV), decides she needs to find herself. Stacie the bartender gets right to the point: “Where would you go?” My thoughts exactly, Stacie, and I must point out that Kristin does not answer with the first thing that pop into her head, because she does not say “beach,” “Brody,” or some kind of made-up place based on her favorite word, “done,” like “Donesville,” “Donetown,” or “SOdonesburg.” She does, however, say “Europe” in a way that suggests she is repeating something she saw on another TV show, and leaves it at that for the rest of the episode. Yes, she’s rich enough to move to Europe for spite.

Meanwhile, Brody and perpetual birthday boy Frankie (seriously, doesn’t it seem like they all go to a birthday party for Frankie like three times a year? While simultaneously avoiding so much as eye contact with him?) and the other bros play golf; just in time for the final episode, they complete their quest to participate in every single douche-y looking bro activity ever created. It’s a good thing The Hills is ending; otherwise, someone would have to invent some kind of new douchetastic boring fake sport for Brody and the boys to half-play while wearing ugly hats and chatting about who Brody is putting the blocks to. I think this sport would maybe involve driving four-wheelers around artificial sand dunes while wearing lacrosse jerseys.

Kristin’s new life plan continues. Here’s the plan: 1. Decide you’re going to Europe. 2. Tell everyone you’re going to Europe. 3. Go to ex-boyfriend’s house 4. Tell him you’re going to Europe. 5. Plan a goodbye party. 6. Invite ex-boyfriend. 7. Wait for him to arrive. 8. Talk about leaving some more. 9. Find out what “Europe” is. Do they have another language or something? Every time Kristin mentioned “Europe” and “leaving” without seeming to make any actual plans beyond the goodbye party that looks like every other party everyone on this show attends, I thought: guys, I think someone should check Europe after Kristin leaves. Just to see. If you can’t find her, return to greater Los Angeles, go around to any restaurants that don’t care if you order any food, and that’s a bingo.

Everyone else spends the episode reflecting on how far they’ve come and what might “happen” to them in the future (no one on The Hills does anything; stuff just happens!). People on this show reflect almost as often as they leave restaurants without ordering anything. They’re also rich, which I’m pretty sure makes The Hills sort of like if Sofia Coppola directed a commercial for being the worst person in the world. (“Lost in Translation” was actually the title of the season and/or series finale of The City — you know, that other fake reality show, the one where almost everyone as a job).

But let’s try to stay positive: Lo has looked so content this season! This may have less to do with her stable and loving relationship and more to do with, in the absence of Lauren or Heidi, other characters asking Lo for advice. This represents a stark change from earlier seasons, during which I made a game of finding moments where anyone actually spoke directly to Lo, and wondered if perhaps she had died shortly after Laguna Beach and continued on as a ghost.

Anyway, Kristin moves to Europe, by which I mean: has a goodbye party. Brody shows up and asks her not to leave. Then he shows up again the next morning, before she “leaves.” But then the camera pulls back to reveal a backlot! And Kristin’s fake car ride stopping! And Kristin getting out to hug Brody! Could it be?! Is Kristin Cavallari not actually moving to Europe?!

I’m sure the show intended this to be a cheeky, ambiguous nod to the slippery nature of reality television, but I pretty much just pictured Kristin getting into the towncar, asking to go to Europe, and getting pissed off when the driver asked one of any number of follow-up questions. So she told him to stop the car, she’d just go bone Brody instead. Regardless: the show left as ephemerally as it aired, with a weightless retroactive question to consider: was this show exactly as fake as everyone thought? Or was it two percent more fake than that? If this episode didn’t provide a sufficient answer, well, then maybe they can revive the franchise with a new show called The Europe.

1 comment July 16th, 2010

The City: Behind Olivia Palermo’s dead eyes

You guys! There’s this new thing I’m really going to enjoy hating!

Their hair is just so shiny.

2 comments December 30th, 2008

Sharpen Up! The Hills

I know this is usually Cristin‘s bag, but with the way things are going this season, I just can’t stop myself from complaining about The Hills. Frankly, it’s getting to be too boring to watch—and I say that as someone who’s accustomed to show’s usual the level of nothingness. All is not lost, though. I’ve laid out a four-point plan to help sharpen the show back up.

1. They have to start acknowledging the fact that they’re on television.

MTV has this weirdly paternalistic need to shelter The Hills‘ audience from the fact that the show’s stars are rich and famous, as if knowing that Lauren Conrad was a millionaire would make her so unrelatable that people would stop watching it. MTV, you’re not fooling anybody. You make your stars dance around their own fame on the show, then people just turn off the TV and go read Us Weekly (or Forbes, apparently) about how they’re making bank and being stalked by paparazzi in real life. They don’t even have to read it in a magazine—I think that people can tell that something’s up because Lauren shows up at her “job” for like, what, an hour a week?

This has got to stop. The Hills can still be primarily about relationships between young twentysomethings, but give the audience some credit. Just once, I’d like to hear Lauren break the code and say something like, “I think Holly is being nice to me because she wants to be on the show,” or “Audrina is only my friend because a casting director made her!” We’re all thinking it anyway.

2. Heidi and Spencer need something else to do besides each other.

Spencer’s Nixonesque enemies list has so isolated them so that they’re forever doomed to bland-subplot status. Remember how, on Mr. Rogers, when everything was going great in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, that trolley would roll through and take us back to the boring real-life world where we had to go learn something in Mr. Rogers’ kitchen or something? That’s how I feel whenever I see Heidi and Spencer on screen. I want to stay in the place with the fun puppets.

I think Spencer thinks he knows what makes for good reality television (lots of conflict), but he’s too lazy to ever leave his apartment, so he has to find ways to lure people into his place so he can pick fights with them. More often than not, the person who falls for it is Heidi.

3. Lauren deserves a better antagonist.

I think Lauren is at her best when someone’s after her, or something she wants, or Stephen Colletti, and she has to choose between taking the high ground and letting it go or becoming a little bit bitchy and fighting back. No one on The Hills is giving her that challenge. Quite probably that’s because if you get on L.C.’s bad side, you’re demoted to Heidi/Spencer subplot status—if you’re lucky.

Audrina would be the perfect frenemy. She’s pretty much the anti-Lauren. She’s the only girl on the show who isn’t blonde. She’s into culture more than fashion. She dates a completely different type of douchebag. But, after their big teary reunion last week and the show’s recent focus on forgiveness, she’ll probably never become the awesome villain I want her to be. *Sigh.* It’s all up to Stephanie now, and Stephanie will probably just get lumped back in with her brother and be cast aside with the rest of the toothless rivals.

4. For the love of God, get rid of Kelly Cutrone.

Everybody acts on reality shows. Yet some people know how to get away with it, acting mostly like themselves with a little something extra for the camera, while others—mostly others of a certain age—are flat-out trying to fulfill their fantasy lives on screen. Guess which side Kelly Cutrone is on?

The most awful, defining moment for me was when Cutrone promoted Whitney. She sat Whitney down and said, “I fired Jessica” with relish. What kind of professional would announce a firing like that so publicly (I’m pretty sure it’s not legal—Jessica, put your bright-red lipstick back on and get yourself to court!), and what kind of person takes such pride in it? Someone with delusions of Devil Wears Prada, perhaps? I don’t know how you can get away with overacting on a reality show, but there she is. I’d say she should become Lauren’s antagonist, because I’d love to see how she reacts when MTV chooses Lauren over her, but, to be honest, I can’t stand looking at her. The worst part is that she’s the only representative of New York on the show. As a life-long East Coast girl I’d like to say that we’re not all fake, raving lunatics.

So, there you go. Sharpen up, The Hills, or there’s gonna be trouble!

3 comments September 16th, 2008

Late Night Shots: The Hills comes to DC and ruins what good is left

DC’s reputation as a place with interesting and challenging creative people has always been wanting. You think DC, you think unimaginative suits, worn leather briefcases and haircuts with severe parts (lacquered with gel).

To tell you the truth, the reputation is going to get nothing but worse thanks to Lifetime. When Project Runway moves to Lifetime next season, it will be followed by a reality show based on the weird, culty Web site Late Night Shots. I had never heard of it before, but the site appears to be part photo collage of drunken revelry, part social networking site and part message board. The site, which is closed to the unwashed masses, is only open to a super-preppy breed of white, rich Lacoste-y kids. Wonkette describes it thus: “that special mix of date rape, shitty beer, and racial homogeneity that is the Georgetown nightlife.”

So now, a show billed as DC’s version of The Hills will be inflicted upon my fair town. Let me say, while we are in no way an innocent city — we are a bitter and jaded city in our own right — this is one frontier I hoped we could avoid: exposing our vapid yuppie masses to the country at large. So, if you tune into the show post-Runway, you’ll be able to see the guys wearing khaki shorts cinched with a braided leather belt, with a pink polo with the collar up (yes… still!). And girls with their shimmery, vomit-caked tops, making out with their best girlfriends for attention.

And the music will be 3 Doors Down.

Oy. Is my snobbery growing by the minute?  Well, at least I’m owning it.

In any case, I’ll let the girls who will star in the show speak for themselves. The show will follow a quartet of young ladies including a gal named Krista (of course) who says this of the show: “It’s all going to be about our real lives. It’s going to be in the same vein of MTV’s ‘The Hills’ but ours is going to be more realistic.”

2 comments August 14th, 2008

The More You Know: Sick and whining edition

February 25th, 2008

Every time I try to get out they pull me back in…

Lo is moving in with LC and Audrina on The Hills.


“New year, new house, new jobs, new boys, new everything,” said Audrina, somehow forgot to mention “new boobs, new veneral diseases, new abusive boyfriends!”

Who am I kidding, I can’t effing wait.

January 25th, 2008

I’m dying for Gabe and Jenny to be my friends so we can feed ducks in the park together

In case you’ve missed Cristin’s recaps of The Hills, the good folks at Best Week Ever have sponsored a one-minute video recap of the entire season. Admittedly, it’s not laden with pirate references or meta-pop culture touchstones, but it is pretty damn funny. Have a look-see.

The pair you see are comedy duo Gabe and Jenny and I am in love with them. They’ve got the gay boy/straight girl dynamic down, but instead of making it all Will and Grace-y, they’ve opted for a more absurd take on comedy. And I really think that absurdity is where it’s at these days — sarcasm and cynicism need to take a break.

Anywho, while you’re thinking about them take a look at this sketch that they made about online dating.

Don’t watch this at work if, you know, you don’t want to get caught/fired/sold into prostitution.[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Side note: I just want to say that Best Week Ever is a really great blog and you should be reading it constantly. That and Go Fug Yourself. Two really smart, really funny blogs that redeem the blogosphere for the shit it continually churns out.

December 19th, 2007

The More You Know: Stateside edition

Portugal was lovely. The Portuguese told me to say ‘hi.’ Like, all of them.

December 3rd, 2007

The More You Know: Lampshade edition

Lampshades are better than hats.

4 comments November 19th, 2007

The More You Know: Damage control edition

At least we’ve got Project Runway to look forward to.

November 9th, 2007

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