I bet you thought we were done with The Hills. You were wrong, and even though we’re nearing the end of this series (maybe?), we still have so much to say. Brooke, kick us off. We watched the entire season before writing up a post, so it’s been a minute since we watched the beginning… what did you think of this season as a whole? What stands out?
B: For as many episodes as this season lasted (admittedly, not as many as season three), this was the season of The Hills where what amounted to NOTHING happened. Here are the highlights in less time than a single commercial break on a single episode.
The producers lost whatever measure of subtlety they had in doing anything, at all. Audrina was there, believed a rumor that Lauren and Justin Bobby hooked up and presently wasn’t really there much anymore. Lauren went on vacation, played wing-woman for Whit, gave Audrina serious shade and was a really good friend to Heidi even though she was trying to keep up her icy vibes. AM tells me Lauren was dating someone off-screen during this era, so Lauren basically phoned it in. Respect. Heidi was mad at Spencer, in love with Spencer, in a fight with her family because of Spencer, married Spencer with continuity errors, got fired because of Spencer, got rehired in spite of Spencer and ultimately was rescued from Spencer’s version of a wedding by She-Pratt, who is kind of my new favorite character. She-Pratt hung out with Lauren in spite of her brother’s protests, thought that Doug trying to date her was real and not a ploy to make Lauren jealous, stirred the pot miraculously and constantly, dated a guy who seemed nice but boring and tried to make it work (it didn’t), even with Spencer making her feel bad about said relationship, and finally talked truth at her brother and probably saved his relationship for him. Whit continued to be Kelly Cutrone’s beck-and-call girl, which proved to be a decision that led to some of her more interesting arcs. While in NY, Kelly hand-selected a model for Whit to hook up with and set them up on a date none too subtly (we’ll get there, believe me). Later, Kelly hand-selected Whit’s next job, also in New York and at a prestigious fashion label. So, really, I shouldn’t say Whit did anything so much as follow the path Kelly set her on — mostly, there was an Aussie, we’ll get there — and it paid off.
Okay, so now that I did all of that, I acknowledge that there are some things we’ll definitely want to unpack. But if we compare where the characters are now to where they were at the beginning of the season, it’s a “the more things change, the more they stay the same situation.”
Because I am SUCH a good friend, I’ll let you drive this car. What do you want to talk about first?
A: I don’t think you can look to season 4 for any character development. You’re absolutely right that all the plot lines are retreads and even the themes are the same: Lauren feels betrayed by girlfriend, has awkward breakup with boyfriend that clearly happened previously off-screen, etc. So perhaps it’s more accurate that LC’s arcs (and of course, Audrina’s) have mostly stagnated, while we spend time delving into Whit’s career and NY man friends as well as the introduction of She Pratt as a main character.
Let’s start with Whit, because we like Whit. She’s taking a huge step, and what we’re not told as we watch her board her flight to JFK is that MTV bequeathed her with a spin-off to start her NY life off with, titled The City. It didn’t last super long, we’re not going to watch it, but basically, Whit encounters mean girl drama with Olivia Palermo and wonders if she should really trust the Aussie we’re introduced to as Whit ignores the model that Cutrone picked for her. What do you think of her progression and her friendship with LC?
B: I have to say I’m glad that this was the season LC actually started inviting Whit to events. We’ve watched Whit have to play recap girl SO MANY TIMES at this point, but now in her final season on the show she got to go get into some shenanigans with Lauren and company. I approve. I especially approve when that means Whit gets to hear raspy-voiced (read: drunk) Lauren declare herself ready to bounce out of the pool party where Doug and Brody made the She-Pratt cry. LC had no fucks left to give, and let’s be real, Whit didn’t have any in the first place. But I still liked seeing her in the mix, and decidedly not willing to engage with the drama.
I also really love that Whit is earning a lot of recognition for her hustle. We all know I think Lauren showed up to work precisely during the hours and days she was told she would be shooting a work scene. But I believe that Whit was truly in the trenches doing the thing. And the fact that Kelly Cutrone thinks enough of her to select her a manfriend and set up a little quality late night time is quite a compliment. It’s like the polar opposite of the time that Lisa Love (or quite probably Anna Wintour in OG form) said: “Lauren didn’t go to Paris. She’s going to always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” That Cutrone later goes on to serve her up for an in-house gig at Diane Von Furstenberg is more or less some Devil Wears Prada wish-fulfillment-style karma. Assuming Whit doesn’t start doing the LC and not actually working in her own spinoff. Your thoughts AM, since we’re not watching it.
And while you’re at it. Talk to me about Audrina and the world’s least believable rumor.
A: Based upon how successful both LC and Whit are (you’re allowed to look up their various entrepreneurial endeavors), I argue that both of them put their genuine time and effort into Teen Vogue and People’s Revolution. I don’t argue that Whit got the interview at Teen Vogue not based upon her reality TV show fame, but clearly the producers saw her and wanted to make her a part of the story. So she benefited as much from the fame as LC did, but I think she also equally used that fame to her business advantage and is still making smart career choices.
I honestly didn’t see more than snippets of The City. I remember fabricated drama with Ms. Palermo and I remember that the model couple we briefly see the night Whit meets the Aussie musician in NYC play a part in Whit’s social circle when she moves there. I also remember Whit and her roomie doing the “Single Ladies” dance in front of a mirror. But that’s about all the personal knowledge I have about the show, other than to say it only lasted 36 episodes total (which is a fact that I looked up).
Ah yes. Let’s on with the Worst Rumor of All Time. Not because it was so vicious. No, that honor goes to the one Spencer made up (Or did he merely talk shit about a thing that existed? We’re still not sure.). This rumor is the worst because it literally didn’t happen. Here’s the evidence against it:
- Audrina learns of the supposed hooking up from Dino. We’ve never seen Dino and his name is never mentioned before or after this plotline.
- If you simply look at the way LC looks at JB and listen to the way she talks about JB, you know that she means it when she says he disgusts her. She’s not an actress, even though the surroundings of this show are scripted.
- We actually have a rare moment where JB stops with the bullshit and gets real. He’s genuinely upset that Audrina is accusing him of something he’s innocent of, as is LC. She’s most upset that Audrina doesn’t trust her when she’s given no reason for her to be suspicious.
Clearly, Audrina is being sold a bill of goods by this “Dino” (Side note: Are we thinking perhaps Dino is a producer or bodyguard?? Or is he really Spencer?) and lashes out more irrationally than we should expect amongst humans. This leads me to believe perhaps that not only was Dino employed by MTV, that this whole thing was staged by Audrina to get a genuine reaction out of LC? I think that makes much more sense than Audrina really believing some friend whom we’ve never seen.
Brooke, what thoughts have you on DinoJBSexGate 2008?
B: You already know (because I said it so many times while we were watching) that I am convinced that Spencer is Dino. I’d just as readily buy that he came up with the scheme on his own as I would the notion that he was prompted to do so by producers. Spencer relishes the role of reality villain, and while I don’t think real Spencer is quite as insufferable as his persona, I’m also inclined to believe that real Spencer has fun being the asshole. Like LC, he’s no actor. And it’s clear that he does have a bit of a Lauren fixation. So, shenanigans that would allow him to jeopardize one of her friendships seems firmly in the wheelhouse of possibility. That’s still the narrative I choose to believe because it amuses me.
BUT, I have to say. I’m here for your theory that Audrina might have been culpable. By the timeDinoJBSexGate 2008 occurs, Audrina has moved out of the house and is more tertiary than ever. With Lauren cooling her heels and dating someone on the down-low, the producers needed fodder and drama as much as Audrina needed a way to stay relevant — she did have a big house to pay for after all. I don’t think she has acting chops, but after so many betrayals from people close to her, LC reacts with gusto to any slight. Our girl clearly doesn’t have time for any of the nonsense anymore and she’s become quite adept at cutting people out of her circle if they don’t play by the rules. I’m going to venture a guess that Audrina will return to merely being there, and soon. But I think she’ll be around Heidi more than Lauren from now on.
Okay, let’s talk about the emergence of Stephanie the She-Pratt as a more important player. I really rather enjoy her (I’ll elaborate), but I get the sense that you’re not a fan.
A: Interesting expansion of how LC reacts to friends betraying her. I’m genuinely curious, do you think that LC is a good friend? Does she hold people to impossible standards, or is DinoJBSexGate just another instance of her bad taste in girlfriends as much as she seems to struggle in the boyfriend department. And that being said, I can say with conviction that your 20s is the time to date duds, so her struggle is all of our struggle, for sure.
I’m sold completely on this being an Audrina trick, because you’re right, she’d moved out and she’s the only one who “heard” the rumor and “knows” who this Dino character was. Such evidence. I’m convinced.
Ahh She-Pratt. She doesn’t like that nickname, but it’s one of the more perfect ones I’ve ever heard. It’s a fact of life that you don’t get to pick your own nickname, sorry Steph.
I have mixed feelings about She-Pratt overall. Brody has some serious beef with her from the very beginning, she’s Spencer’s sister (which makes her automatically not super great to hang with), and overall, she seems to exist largely as a foil for her brother. LC decides she wants to be friends (or the producers decide this needs to happen), and so she wraps her into the LC inner circle.
She seems harmless enough, but she does not seem to have the sense to keep herself out of trouble. She finds ways to get into situations with Brody, tries to date Doug (we can’t even talk about him because he’s too boring), and I would argue only really redeems herself at the 11th hour by talking some much-needed sense into her brother. It’s because of her that Heidi and Spencer didn’t get married in the courthouse, but again, that could be some serious producer meddling / suggestions.
I will only say that the best She-Pratt plot line has yet to commence, and we shall see it so very soon.
Are there any other relationships we want to analyze before we get to our predictions for the final two seasons (one of which is LC-less)?
B: First to your all-important question about LC as a friend. I think LC is actually a pretty amazing friend. She’s open and communicative and she cares a great deal about the few people who are truly close to her. However, at this point in her life, she’s been on television for years and has dealt with enough false friends and fame-seekers that she has no problem cutting toxic people out of her life. From a distance, that might read as if she has unreasonable standards, but I actually think it’s an incredible development for her.
Many’s the time I have lamented how Lauren let the likes of #TeamNeverStephen ruin her fun. So to see her arrive at a place where she allows her (very valid) feelings to exist and lead her actions, I’m curiously proud of her. I know she’s older than me, but I’ve been watching her come into her own in our strange little vacuum and I’m happy for her. So, long story short, yes, I would absolutely advocate for us to hang with LC if she ever expressed a desire for that to happen. We’re great friends too, so she wouldn’t have to worry about cutting us out.
But on to Stephanie. I completely agree that she makes some uninspired choices throughout this season. But there is an earnestness to her that makes me believe that it was mostly the result of being young and not knowing how to handle existing on this show. I adore her for unintentionally stirring the pot and sending people on both sides of The Hills factions spinning out from time-to-time. I wish I could give her a hug for flipping her brother the bird behind her grandmother’s back, but also making the effort to connect with said grandma one-on-one. But here’s the thing I like most about Steph, even more than her absurd outfits — which are totally what I would end up wearing if I tried to do fashion. I really dig that she’s comfortable in her own skin, whether that is talking her brother off the ledge or befriending Lauren against EVERYONE’S advice.
I can’t WAIT to see what unfolds in this plot-line you speak of.
As to other relationships, I’m pretty tapped out. But, point of clarification, don’t we have three seasons left? Somehow, I was convinced this thing ran seven seasons. Is it possible the end is actually in sight?
A: You are incorrect. This thing we call The Hills will end after 6 seasons. However, season 5 is split into two parts, so you’re also correct in thinking of this as 7 seasons. I’m also pretty tapped out on the people, but let’s talk more about the fabulous locations in which our Hollywood pals live. If you had to live in one of the character’s apartments or houses, which one would you pick? And also, which of the bars and restaurants are you dying to eat/drink at next time you’re in L.A.?
B: That’s a no-brainer. I would absolutely lay claim to Lauren’s crib. It’s adorable. It has a pool, a guest house and a Nancy Meyers kitchen, so I can only assume I would be swept up in the Santa Ana winds and fall wildly in love there. However, if I wanted to “rob” as our friends from The Bling Ring did … I would still go to LC’s. HA, sorry Audrina, I know you really got jacked, but Lauren has Sweater Cat, so it’s no contest.
For bars, I would definitely go to Les Deux, it’s pretty iconic and I would like to go to the VIP section and do some raspy-voiced airing of my grievances. It would go like this: “And you! Annemarie! You made me care about these people. How. Dare. You.” And here’s how you would respond: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but as a friend, I have to tell you, YOU LOVED EVERY MINUTE.” Then, I would do a LITERAL GASP. And having none of that, you would respond, “Admit it. Or you’re dead to me.”
We would cut to commercial. We would reconcile off-camera. And when the audience came back in, it would be to see a hug and clinking glasses because we’re rational humans. And I actually don’t know what I would do without AM misadventures and shenanigans in my life.
Now, as restaurants go, I feel like we haven’t seen that many of them lately. So I’m going to say Don Antonio’s, but steer me in the right direction, where should I actually go. And let’s hear your pick for a house too.
A: This is boring, but yes, I have to go with LC’s house. I’m not normally a huge fan of Spanish home design, but you’re spot-on with the cute factor. Plus, she’s got a cute puppy in addition to the mysterious Sweater Cat. Does he belong to Lo? We didn’t see him this season and I’m quite sad about it.
I adore your fan fiction of the Hills camera following our drama. You’re absolutely accurate that your life has been enriched by The Hills, and I’m proud I could be the conduit. And I don’t know what I would do without watch parties and Brooke demands.
Les Deux is a classic, but I am a particular fan of Doug’s pool party location. Not really a bar, but once you get past the frat bros, that view is killer. Fun LA Fact: I never went to Les Deux but that was the location of my sister’s holiday party in 2008 when we first moved there. I worked right near that stretch of clubs, and as I recall, it changed hands/design at least twice in the 18 months I worked in that neighborhood. I know we’ve mentioned it before, but you simply can’t go to Les Deux anymore, I’m sorry. You can indeed go to Don Antonio’s, but I also wouldn’t say no to any of the fabulous brunch spots they go to.
Having lived in Pasadena mostly and a few years gone by, I can give a few tried and true recommendations for LA:
- Zankou Chicken — You will die it’s so good.
- In N Out — Not relegated to LA, but it’s legitimately the best burger/fries fast food out there. And I don’t care if anyone disagrees. They’re wrong.
- Porto’s Bakery — Cuban bakery with sandwiches, pastries and elaborate cakes. Their carrot cake is the carrot cake by which all future carrot cakes are judged.
There are thousands more, of course, and more popping up all the time, but I can say for sure that no one should miss my top 3.
I believe that’s all I have for Season 4. Any final thoughts before the home stretch?
B: I think we’ve pretty well exhausted Season 4, so I’ll just say this, I expect a lot more to happen in the final seasons. It probably won’t.
Next time on Required Viewing we hand the reigns over to Justin for a pick on the sport-sy side of the cinema spectrum. Suffice it to say that we had a lot of questions.