Hi friends. We’ve reached the end. Almost. First, we must discuss the final two seasons of The Hills. Remember back in seasons 2 and 3 when we’d write up a post for each 6 episodes? Those days are behind us. We’re somewhat eager to finish this watch project that started almost a year ago. We’ve experienced the ups and downs of our LA friends and foes, and since Brooke had to see The Hills 2.0 with her girl KCav, we just decided to power through and experience all of 5 and 6 at the same time. Brooke, kick us off for the last time. Let’s start with your thoughts on LC’s final few episodes of Season 5.
B: As much as I’ve spent the past year waiting for KCav to make her Hills debut, I have to say, I love how fully possessed of herself LC is during these final episodes. We know from Season 4 that she’s done playing by the producer’s rules and she’s equipped to have all the tough conversations.
It’s a strange feeling, but as Lauren made her final exit, I wasn’t just happy for her, I felt proud of her. Even though she’s older than me and was worth something like $25 million, as I sat watching her while snacking on Pringles and Swedish Fish. The point remains, however, that we’ve gone on quite a journey with Lauren, and now that I’ve seen ALL OF IT, I can’t help but smile when I think of how far she’s come from the high school senior who had a bad time on Spring Break because she was worried about the boy who wouldn’t love her back. We’ve all been that girl, but the benefit of watching this show for the first time as a twenty-something is the clarity of not being in high school and being able to reflect on all of those coming-of-age moments in my own life as we see them (for real or for show) in Lauren’s.
That said, I love how much this show went absolutely off the rails in these last two seasons. And I will say that if every episode was a meticulously scripted as the Speidi wedding, there’s no way it would have taken me this long to watch. But, we’ll get there. First, I want to hear your thoughts on Lauren’s exit, AM. You’ve seen it before and you’ve followed her in the intervening years, so I’m curious how it was to revisit her reality swan song.
A: I too am quite proud of our girl LC. You’re right in the characterization of her growing up from a rather typically insecure teenage girl to a self-assured woman. It’s something we can all relate to, and the fact that she does it with so much style is compelling television. She weathers quite a few storms and comes out stronger on the other side. While I’m a touch older than LC, I too feel a bit funny being proud of a celebrity, but I’m right there with you. And you’re right, it’s interesting to see her story on the other side of “growing up,” although how grown up are we, really?
I remember watching the scene where LC “departs” Kelly Cutrone’s company (I’m honestly not sure if she really did leave People’s Revolution, or if she was simply wrapping up that storyline for The Hills), and knowing that she had a fashion line at Kohl’s coming out. At the time, I was kind of skeptical that someone so young and seemingly inexperienced was going to run a fashion line, but I was proved very wrong. That’s one of the reasons in retrospect I adore LC so much. I think she clearly took advantage of the celebrity situation she was given, and she’s done fabulously as a result. She’s got a whole damn empire, and I absolutely love all of her brands and aesthetics across several companies she runs.
Now, that’s probably enough of LC for the moment. I want to know your thoughts on how they handled LC’s exit and KCav’s entrance during the completely scripted Speidi Wedding The Sequel. I also consider the Mexico wedding to be entirely scripted, but I’m assuming their Pasadena church wedding is the one to which you’re referring.
B: This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. But first, I will acknowledge and answer your rhetorical question. We are decidedly not very grown up at all. I mean, we run our shit and whatnot, but also, adulting is hard.
Anyway, you are correct that I was referencing the second scripted Speidi wedding. From the moment Heidi asked someone (She-Pratt?) if her “special friend” was invited, I knew the producers were going to fuck with Lauren one. last. time. And I have to say, for all the love I just threw at LC up there, I have never had more fun watching this show than during this episode. It was very awkward and kind of sweet to see Lauren show up to the wedding and give Heidi the closure that only one of them needed. I love that she strutted in like a queen and seemed okay upstaging her former BFF at her own wedding. But much more than that, I love that after all this time, she was still genuinely blindsided by the fact that other machinations were in the work the whole time.
I mean, LC struts out. Makes a bit of a scene. Settles into her seat. And then (cue the vampire music) KCav struts in. Also wearing a short blue dress, turning even more heads, and settles down just across the aisle from Lauren and Brody. Brody seems mildly surprised, but Lauren. Lauren is more or less as outraged as Sally Field in one of our all time favorite cinematic outbursts:
She knows this is all a game for Kristin. And I’m sure she couldn’t have been that surprised the producers wanted to bring in a new Queen Bee, but she is all astonishment in this moment. Her jaw drops in a literal gasp. My jaw dropped in pure joy for the entire duration of this whole ordeal. It was so over the top to have Lauren sneak out the back and drive off into the sunset in a very The Graduate farewell type shot while cutting back to Kristin in the middle of everything LC was leaving behind, but it was also pretty perfect for this show.
Now let’s talk about how they took all the goodwill of this debut and the subsequent rooftop throwdown instilled in me, and ruined it by forcing KCav into a fake romance with none other than Justin Bobby. What. A. Waste. We all know my girl wasn’t there for that, and it’s not like anyone would have been sad to see him go. UGH.
A: Yeahhhhhh, the fake romance. I’ve no doubt this isn’t the first fake romance on The Hills (see exhibits LC + Brody, LC + Doug, LC + French Moped Guy, Whit + NY Male Model, and ShePratt + Cameron), but the Kristin and JB “fling” was pretty laughable. It exists purely to throw Audrina into some drama with Kristin, but at this point, is Audrina really even into Justin? This situation pits the two girls against each other for just long enough for us to start rolling our eyes, and then JB predictably fucks it up (“strike two, boo,” as KCav says) and he disappears for most of season 6.
Speaking of which, Brooke, what thoughts have you on Audrina’s role in the final two seasons? Did she finally get enough to do?
B: Oh Audrina. Somehow she got an expanded role and she got even less to do. Let’s recap. She has fake drama with Kristin about JB. Then she becomes friends with Kristin and starts dating Ryan Cabrera. He seems like a really decent dude who is really into her, so she immediately loses interest and fails spectacularly at breaking it off with him. There are a few instances of JB trying to work back in and then Audrina finally comes around to the realization that she’s over him. It’s a personal landmark, but it’s also difficult to believe the real version of that happened a long while back. Does she do … anything else?
While we’re at it, let’s unpack some other final character arcs before we dig into the long-awaited KCav impact. Talk to me about the really strange and very sudden departure of Speidi. We see their wedding, we have an insane reveal of all of Heidi’s surgeries, we see a lot of crystals and some blend of fake and real drama. And then … poof.
A: Sure, Ryan Cabrera seems totally decent, and that’s probably why Audrina quickly loses interest. I can’t take that guy seriously, what with his EXTREMELY spikey bangs and EXTREMELY deep V shirts, so I understand that Audrina can’t really seem to maintain a straight face when “dating” this guy. I don’t know that I’ve seen a more awkward and unsuccessful breakup ever in my life when Audrina tries to end things. Ryan doesn’t seem to get the hint and does the thing people sometimes do when they demand reasons for them not to date. News flash everyone: when someone breaks up with you but gives no reasons, they actually don’t have to give one. A person doesn’t have to keep dating anyone for the simple justification that they just don’t want to anymore.
Anyway, all this fake drama leads us to what’s probably the most real thing that happens in the last two seasons: the mental breakdown of Speidi.
Season 5 features the long-awaited wedding of this pair we love to hate, and they kind of don’t do much else aside from Spencer wearing a cowboy hat. But then season 6 starts with a doozy: Heidi has gotten quite a bit of plastic surgery, including fundamentally changing her facial structure as well as getting extreme boob implants (she got talked down from an H cup) and some body sculpting that sounds horribly painful as well as completely unnecessary. Things don’t improve for the pair, as Spencer increasingly falls into rage tantrums despite his “hundreds” of crystals adorning him at all times. Following one brutal confrontation at Kristin’s house where ShePratt legit looks terrified of her brother’s outburst, the girls decide they’re “done” dealing with the two. And we never see them again… on The Hills. We’ll get to everyone’s post-Hills career later.
Brooke, what say you about the fall of Speidi? How real does this situation strike you?
B: I think there is something very, very real in the two of them retreating from the group and going farther into their own world, but I kind of don’t think Heidi is as miserable as she appears to be at turns. We’ve always seen her fight with her family, so I tend to think the sudden rift stems more from their disappointed reactions to her surgeries than from Spencer finally getting his way. I believe you told me they weren’t really living in the house where we see their scenes? And the kid they had the party for was an actor? I have to assume that whatever the producers had intended for season 6 was a non-starter with Kristin and, for the first time, Speidi wasn’t willing to play along either.
Spencer yelling at Stephanie was genuinely alarming, so I hope they elected to do some off-camera work on their real issues. But as for the girls cutting them out, it was probably the right move. And speaking of Stephanie, it was pretty sweet to see her with the dirt biker who seemed to genuinely dig her. Was that an actual relationship? We’ve talked about it before, but I can’t help but root for She-Pratt, she’s a sweet summer child, and at this point she’s working really hard to conquer her demons. Something which can’t be easy when your job is to go to clubs, get raspy and manufacture fake drama with your friends. Tell me what you know. And while we’re tying up story lines, let’s talk about Lo.
A: For the record, is it “ShePratt” or “She-Pratt”? We know she hates the nickname but we seem to use both and should we make it official? I think the bond she had with the dirt biker guy was pretty genuine, as that dude didn’t seem savvy enough to play the producer game.
You’re correct that the house and kid in the Speidi scenes are completely fictional, and I am pretty sure that the increased isolation and crazy tendencies were not what the producers intended to show. Clearly, season 6 was supposed to be about Kristin’s boy drama as well as Speidi debating whether to procreate and grow up a bit. But only one of those storylines actually happened, and perhaps the Speidi disappearing act is what led to Ryan Cabrera of all people to become a key character on the show.
Let us talk Lo. All of a sudden, the very private Lo has a show boyfriend, and it’s serious enough that they get engaged at the end of the series. I did a bit of Wikipedia digging and her page is surprisingly thin and says nothing of her current relationship status. So I have no idea if the boyfriend-roomie-fiance storyline was at all real, or if she’s even with the dude anymore. I find that very curious, and am not sure what to make of her role in the later years of the show, except that she absolutely had coffee off-screen with LC once a week as seasons 5 and 6 were filming and she absolutely had hot goss aplenty to share with her real-life friend. It’s also worth noting that of all the girls, Lo is the only one who was a bridesmaid at LC’s wedding 3 years ago, and it’s unclear if any of the other Hills castmates were even invited. (Dieter and Trey were also LC wedding guests, so that’s pretty awesome.)
What did you make of Lo’s increased presence on the show in the last season-ish?
B: I vote She-Pratt, but I could be convinced otherwise. Increasingly, I feel bad for using the nickname, as she really doesn’t deserve to be so closely linked to Spencer. But, yes, in our last words on the matter, let’s come to an agreement on stylizing.
Wait, they got engaged? I thought they were just moving in?! Evidently, I missed Lo’s big moment. Whatever the case, I completely agree with you about Lo. I think her main play in being there was to collect some primo MTV money while she could and also to act as a spy for LC. BUT, I think there’s a part of Lo that always wished she were friends with Kristin. Why? Because Lo loves throwing shade and she knows Kristin is the kind of gal to encourage that in a friendship.
It’s also worth noting that Audrina and Brody’s aggro fling were the only ones foolish enough to really cross Kristin. Lo barely engaged during the pool throwdown, but did get rather judgey during the Super Bowl trip the gang took. “Are you on crack?” Girl, calm down. She’s hungover AF. Not tweaking. But I digress, of everyone on the show, I think Lo has to be the most disappointed in her ending. Unless she’s still with that guy, it must be a bummer to watch everyone else in these moments of moving on while she was only given movement via her relationship in the end.
Alright. It seems we’ve come to it. Kristin is the last cog left in the wheel, unless we want to acknowledge the unnecessary new characters, and we don’t. Also, I’ve already forgotten their names. I’ve already lamented that they more or less wasted Kristin in season 5, but they figured out how to use KCav a bit more in season 6. By this point, LC’s friends have happily rallied around her on shooting days to keep those sweet paychecks coming and she has what seems to be a genuine on-again-off-again with Brody. We know they dated before (off-screen) and the chemistry still seems to be there. But, this storyline shows us a Kristin who has met her match.
My theory is that Kristin and Brody work (and don’t work) because they are the same person. This leads to some incredible moments of conflict “Shut up, Brody!”, some even better jealousy plays (looking at you Costa Rica bartender) and some moments of surprising emotion. I don’t remember the situation or the scene, but I remember saying out loud, and with no small measure of surprise, “Oh, wow. She actually loves him.” It was all in how she looked at him. For the first time I was able to say, “Been there, girl” instead of “YAS, girl.”
I think that this may have been the only real thing we see from Kristin during her run on the show. Can you confirm or deny?
A: I cannot confirm the season 6 “will they won’t they” between Kristin and Brody was legit, but I tend to think it is given both their history as an IRL couple (who introduced Speidi, we should add), plus the obvious evidence that Kristin looks pretty legitimately smitten.
Clearly, the two have more chemistry than Brody ever shared with LC, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe they were legit hooking up while filming. I don’t know if Brody really was dating the New Brunette who worked with Lo (I also can’t remember her name and don’t care to look it up), but you’re right, Kristin was certainly having some sort of squishy feelings for Brody toward the end of season 6.
Did she really jet off “to Europe” as we’re led to believe? Not a chance. Nor do I believe that she and Brody would have ended up happily ever after in any world. Brody was way too into his life of bachelorhood at this point. And 100% there’s no truth to the implication that LC was really with Brody the whole time in the alternate ending we saw in the 10 year anniversary retrospective.
Which leads us to the final bit of words needed: what did you think of the LC-focused anniversary special?
B: Oh the special, it had so much hot goss! That special actually made all of the hours we put into this feel worth it. So many of the theories we floated were validated and watching Lauren read the script of an evening that she never knew existed was extremely amusing.
It confirmed what we’ve said all along. The scenarios were hella manipulated, but her reactions were quite genuine. I like that the producers, or at least the ones on camera with LC, were willing to acknowledge their shenanigans and give Lauren a chance to chime in on the way her life story was architected. I honestly wish it had been a little more in-depth, or at least threw a couple minutes to some of the other players, but it felt like the appropriate conclusion to this long strange journey.
Alright. You did it. I now follow KCav and LC on the sosh meeds and I enjoyed this whole thing rather a lot more than I would have anticipated. Yes, I dragged this show nearly constantly while we were watching, but I can’t deny I was invested. I’m not ready to process all of these people we’ve been following are parents now and the like, but I suppose I’ll take the updates when you give them to me.
What do I need to know about the post-Hills careers? (She asks hoping for any answer but, “you’ll see when we watch…”
A: Pause. Rewind.
We must digress. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to make you discuss the Best. Scene. In. The. Hills. Of. All. Time. Ever. Do you know the one I’m talking about? Is that enough emphasis and drama and build-up?
It’s where ShePratt (I honestly prefer the no-dash look to this nickname that won’t die) and Kelly Cutrone fatefully meet and somehow, some way, the producers talked Kelly into hiring her. Poor, dear sweet Steph was appropriately terrified and yet she still wasn’t prepared to interview with the Queen PR Fashion Bee herself.
It’s amazing and also, man do I feel for Steph. I’ve had some brutal job interviews but I feel thankful that thus far I’ve never made the face that Steph makes during the mercifully brief chat. It does make for a good story, though. Brooke, what are your thoughts on this scene, and do you concur that it’s the best ever?
B: This scene was pretty amazing, but I honestly, don’t think it would even land in my top five. I love how it was spectacularly fake, but Steph still somehow managed to throw Kelly with her, eh, approach? to the interview. But, do you know what I love more? The idea you’ve given me. Before we say farewell to this show, let’s each list our Top Five moments of the series.
5. “Homeboy wore combat boots to the beach!”
We’ve spent a lot of digital ink discussing how wonderful raspy (read: drunk) Lauren is, and this burn on Justin Bobby is a prime example of why we hope to see her every. single. episode. Sick burn, Lauren. See also: “You know what you did!” And “I’m drunk, is that guy cute?”
4. Whit takes a tumble in iconic Oscar couture
Oh beautiful Whit. She was never more human than when she wiped out on camera in Hillary Swank’s Oscar dress, no less. But hey, she got a really sweet note from Teen Vogue Editor in Chief Amy Astley on how to handle embarrassment. If she doesn’t have it framed and in a place of honor, she’s doing it wrong. ALSO, as I was confirming the details of this event, I found an amusing piece on Into the Gloss, aka Super Intern’s blog, which helped her launch a little brand called Glossier. If you don’t feel like clicking, here’s the gist. The article recalls this moment and Emily Weiss’ presence and ends with the sign-off: “P.S. We have insider confirmation that, contrary to popular conspiratorial theory, Emily Weiss did not trip Ms. Port.”
3. KCav makes an entrance and causes drama, drama, drama
I already went on about this above, but I love, love, loved the absurdly staged “reveal” of Kristin joining the cast. And of course, I loved every time she was mean to someone from then on. Whether that was pulling rank on LC’s squad at the pool party, shutting Justin Bobby down with “Sorry Boo, strike two,” or my personal favorite “Shut. Up. Brody,” it was unapologetic and I was there for it.
2. “She’ll always be the girl who didn’t go to Paris.”
Faithful readers may recall that I almost rage quit this show when Lauren skipped Paris for Jason (UGH). AM will definitely remember because she ordered me to sit and watch episode 201 — that. instant. And man, did she know what it would take to bring me back around: a potent combination of being validated in their inevitable breakup and deeply amused by the serious shade Teen Vogue was throwing around. Damn, that was cold. I tend to think of that moment as the big pivot in LC’s arc of growing into the empowered woman she is today. And as much as I liked it in the moment for how savage it was, I like it now more because you can almost see the resolve settle into her face as she takes that cut in stride.
1. Heidi doesn’t understand Outlook
Whenever I’m having a stressful moment at work, I reach for a thought that I know will cure me no matter what’s on fire. And that thought is of a young Heidi Montag creating “Start Work” and “Leave Work” appointments (one-by-one mind you), every M-F, into infinity. Not only does she not seem to believe herself capable of knowing when she’s off the clock (even though it’s the same time every day) she hasn’t even caught on to the recurring meeting functionality. And as this happens, you can practically hear her thinking, “What have I done?” What’s better is that someone behind the scenes had to recognize the quiet desperation in this moment and think it worthwhile enough to merit a zoom in. Brilliantly played. To be fair, this is the first of many basic work fails we witness from Heidi and the mistakes get increasingly significant over time, but this one is just so … pure.
Honorable mention goes to Elodie’s blaze of glory departure from Bolthouse. #respect
Okay, AM. Your turn. Also, you still owe me post-Hills career notes.
A: Wow. This is a doozy. As you know, I’m not fond of committing to a definitive ranking, so I’m going to throw in a randomly ordered list for your perusal:
- Of course, Steph interviewing with Kelly Cutrone is a fave moment, from revealing that she’d like to have a handbag line “someday,” to outright admitting she’s terrified and getting beaten at every single turn by our favorite Lady Boss. It’s real (even though the situation is staged), and so cringe-worthy.
- “Homeboy wore combat boots. To the beach.” This moment is up there with the insane JB-LC hookup rumor and every single time Audrina says “I’m done.” Oh Justin Bobby. The man so great he needed two names.
- Sweater Cat’s singular appearance, paired with LC declaring that she really needs to stop telling her friends that she doesn’t like their horrible taste in boys.
- The one time on the beach where LC breaks Brody’s hand. Glorious. Especially because the cast he wore made him look like a mid-transformation Transformer.
- When the producers mess with LC by having a mid-level Teen Vogue editor call her up post-job interview, offering her up some “constructive criticism” on her performance and then letting her dangle juuuuuuust long enough before offering her the job we all knew was hers anyway. I love that in the retrospective, she reveals that she truly didn’t know that the job was a lock.
- Every moment with Super Intern, including schooling Lauren on what “chinoiserie” meant.
- I’m obviously a particular fan of LC’s style, which we get to see evolve over the years, but dang if that girl didn’t have a killer wardrobe.
I think we’ve covered, finally, all of the big favorite moments, and I’m sure there are many more that didn’t quite make the top of the list.
And now, for our post-Hills recap!
It’s not a surprise that all of the girls have made empires for themselves. LC’s got her fashion lines (both runway and off-the-rack), books, various companies (check out her initiative The Little Market, it’s a fantastic cause in addition to selling some really cute stuff. Lo, Audrina, and Whit have both made themselves into style blog / Instagram mavens, and Kristin is also an author, fashion line owner, and model/style icon. It’s interesting how all 5 of them have taken such similar career paths, aided no doubt by their fame and the fact that practically anyone can become an Instagram-aided star these days.
We discussed the ladies’ personal lives a bit in detail once the retrospective had been watched, but it’s also important to circle back on the fact that Whit, Heidi and LC all had babies just recently, and we’re all on board for a reboot in about 15 years starring their offspring.
Brooke, any other present-day details to discuss? Are you surprised by how any of our gang “turned out?”
B: You know, I think I’m fresh out of thoughts on their present-day lives. Other than to say that I really, really want a reboot to happen. Particularly the one I envisioned wherein Lauren and Kristin become unlikely besties. And I can’t say I was surprised by the outcomes here, since I have at least had tabloid awareness of what they’ve been doing for the past decade. It does seem worth noting that I have purchased a Lauren Conrad book.
But you know that. It was for you.
Because I am such a good friend. Unlike Heidi. If we take anything away from this, it should be that.
If you can’t help but wonder, where do we go from here? Keep wondering! We have a MASSIVE list of Required Viewing selections ahead of us. But we haven’t picked one we’ll share with you next. Brooke is off galavanting in New Zealand and failed to plan her life after she returns. Just know that we’ll be back and you don’t want to miss it.