It seems fair to assume that when The Hills first started, the system for creating (and when necessary, recreating) dramatic conflict or narrative arcs was already well established, and while it got more refined over time it is not a new addition to the show’s production. So I’m sure that the girls didn’t get their internships completely on their own, as licensing deals needed to be made, and broadcasting waivers signed. Their housing had to have been selected with the understanding on the part of the landlord/management company that filming would regularly take place in and around the building. And cetra. But this season has really added a new layer to the Hawthorne effect in which the observer changes what’s being observed. Between the gratuitous shots of Spencer’s new car, to Brody’s surfing trip to Hawaii, it’s become clear that the show is no longer the reality of following around people through their mildly circumvented for dramatic purposes lives, but is actually a show about what happens to people when they’re on a successful show. Pardon me if I’m taking you to Duh 101 at We Know University, but their lives no longer reflect anything of the actual world (even the weird, nightmarish landscape of LA nightlife), and are now simply MC Escher nesting doll reflections feeding off of themselves.
But since the show only provides the barest of human reference points on which to hang our suspended disbelief, we will cling to those.
Most of the episode was devoted to Audrina’s on-again-off-again love affair with Justin Bobby, which we do not care about. Any of us. Why the show insists that we care about this when we do not is almost as much of a mystery as what synthetic material gives Heidi Montag’s reconstructed monster face such a gleam. When it comes to Audrina’s relationship with Justin Bobby, we’re all this guy:
But the hook this week is that Audrina is interested in Brody Jenner. Wasn’t that a major plot device last season? That Lauren and Audrina almost stopped being fake friends for-hire because of this triangle? I don’t have the energy or the will to research this, but if that is the case, and I think it is, then all of that has disappeared into the dustbin of herstory, and it’s all just a laugh between the gal palz, which would totally bring into question the integrity of last season that one of its major plotlines was so clearly a fabricated lie, but of course it was, so whatever.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Pratt got a “job” working for Kelly Wiseau’s People’s Revolution. And I have to admit, this actually seems like one of the realest moments this show has ever had:
Sure, LC pretending like she knows what she’s talking about and is serious about doing a good job is pretty rehearsed, but Stephanie Pratt being a borderline retarded halfway house resident employed to fill a state quota who has no idea how a phone works and doodles because she’s “really bad at confrontation” and can’t remember what she was doing as far back as five minutes ago because daddy said his princess didn’t need to remember anything she didn’t want to seems like life captured on film.
And then there is Heidi and Spencer’s trip to couples’ therapy.
That actress playing the “doctor” is right, it does seem very high school. In the sense that high school is horrible and you can’t wait for it to end. On the other hand, it’s also very different from high school, because after four years of high school you are thought to have learned enough to graduate, whereas after four seasons of this show we’re still in the exact same fucking place, leaning back in our chairs, hoping to crack our heads open on the linoleum tile.