The Hills: Lauren Conrad’s Penultimate Attempt At Relevance

Heidi is getting married. To Spencer. Our great national nightmare is almost at its end, just as the long, personal nightmare of the Pratts enters a new phase. Spencer has won the approval of Heidi’s “cowboy” father, who has agreed not to “shoot” Spencer in the “face”. There is still the matter of Heidi’s long suffering mother, but as Spencer has made clear, that is not a matter of importance. One imagines the long dark nights of the soul for both of Heidi’s parents as they wonder where they went wrong to be the progenitors of such a monster (or at least the future wife of a monster). Their heavy, emotional struggle can’t be much different from the tear-stained mother’s, as back pressed to the locked front door, turned cold while outside their child, their baby, lets loose with heroin-deprived mania, a tirade of insults, a shrieking three AM pleading for sympathy (read: cash). Enough. No more. The mother puts her hands to her face, knowing that she can’t keep doing this, but not seeing any alternative. It’s like that, basically, except instead of the exhausting darkness of brutal drug addiction, it’s seeing one’s loved one slide into the clutches of a psychological nightmare. A goat faced beast. Congratulations. Rice.

Will Lauren come to the wedding? Who cares. Heidi pretends to care, because Heidi has given herself over to the narrative demands of basic cable television. She knows that the dramatic arc of her existence necessitates the resolution of this endless conflict, but in reality she doesn’t care. Because she has replaced her heart with a silicone sack of self-interest and publicity. Everyone else pretends to care whether or not Lauren will go to the wedding as well, because after this there is only one more episode in which Lauren will appear, and so we have to pretend that this is important, that this means something, to give weight to the past four years. An illusion. The reality is that this show is empty and formless, a shadow play of automatons with highly skilled editors. It is completely emotionally bankrupt, and nothing puts this into relief more than this wedding.

But for now we pretend.

So Stephanie asks Lauren if she will go to the wedding. She explains that it would mean a lot to Heidi. But before that all-important question, the girls talk about SEATBELT TANS, and the pressing decision one faces each morning of WHETHER OR NOT TO PUT THE CONVERTIBLE TOP DOWN. Just to frame the coming discussion. Just to make it really clear that this shit is ridiculous and a joke and that these are not human beings but just engines of upper-middle-class consumption and regret. Lauren says that she doesn’t feel right. She’s just not into it. Um, who is?

Stephanie relays this information to Heidi while Heidi tries on wedding dresses. They have a “powerful” conversation in the wedding dress store that is conveniently without business or distracting background audio (I know, we know, I know, but still). Heidi looks upset. Not actually, but a close approximation. As upset as it is possible for a human-shaped bag of status anxiety and existential despair to imitate.

Heidi asks Spencer if he returned DVDs before asking him to apologize to Lauren and end his years-long feud with her. Again, these conversations must be bracketed with mundane quotidian details, because that is how we know they are real. Except that it turns out there is a sort of uncanny valley of conversation, wherein the more “boring” and “lifelike” you make it, the less it is relatable and the more it becomes abhorrent to the viewer. Yuck.

There is a dinner. Again, Lauren is pressured to go to this wedding. Everyone is going. Lo is going. Wait, Lo is going? Of course Lo is going. Because everyone is going. Lauren has known she was going for the past three years. But her art* is the charade, and she continues to hone her craft. Who knows whether or not Lauren will go to the wedding. Who even knows. (P.S. we know because in the previews for next week they show her at the church. Although we already knew, because even months before that there were paparazzi photos of her there. This show is about as successful at retaining dramatic tension as a baby is at retaining an empty diaper.)

So Heidi visits Lauren at her “work” to hand deliver a wedding invitation. She tells her that it would mean the world for Lauren to be at her wedding. In a rare moment of simple conversation and borderline honesty, Lauren explains that Spencer is a bad person, and that it hurts her to see the lengths Heidi has gone in all of her other relationships to distance or reject people who dare to tell her the truth about him. And that she doesn’t feel comfortable participating in a legally binding ceremony to legitimize and honor that. But it is too late. Heidi is gone. Her eyes are like dark, lifeless dots on a gray horizon. Wasteland. Without saying anything in response to Lauren’s heartfelt explanation, she just says “Well, I should let you get back to work.” Right.

Within five minutes, Spencer calls Lauren. OK. He asks her to just hear him out, and proceeds to give what he claims is the first apology he has ever given in 24 years. Is that supposed to mean something to anyone other than the shithead who thinks that never apologizing is a virtue? And his apology is hardly an apology. He begins by explaining that he wants to apologize because he knows how much it would mean to Heidi, which is not an apology, it is a favor. To Heidi.

But whatever. The important thing, supposedly, is that Spencer tried. Because it’s three quarters of the way into the episode, and the finale is next week, and we have got to get Lauren to agree to go to the wedding so that Kristen Cavalieri can show up and everyone can go OMG. Ignore the fact that it doesn’t even make sense why Heidi and Spencer would invite her or even know her in the first place. That is beside the point. The point being that she is the new Lauren.

All hail/hate the new Lauren.

*She thinks her art is fashion, but her art is not fashion. Her fashion is garbage.