The Hills Are Alive. But Just Barely.
I can't believe I haven't yet had time to talk to you about the return of The Hills.
I'm sure you've been concerned about what's happening on the show now that Lauren Conrad has gone off to pick trash up off the beach, write YA novels, and design clothes for Kohl's.
I have been too. Friends, I've been worried.
When I first got in touch with my love for The Hills, I went back and got caught up on the show that spawned it: Laguna Beach. That's when I first met Kristen Cavallari. In that show, Lauren quickly became one of the moral and narrative centers of the show. When she left, Kristen took over and pretty much killed it.
I fear the same fate for The Hills now.
The producers have tried to swap out Lauren for Kristen, but it's a bad swap. Lauren played the show like an everywoman who experienced great privilege but never seemed to rely on it or need it. She was like us, only rich, and she still (seemed to?) worked her ass off in kinda crappy jobs (hello, intern at Teen Vogue much?). She was surrounded by craziness in the forms of trainwreck Heidi, vaguely-autistic Audrina, cracked-out Stephanie, megaloSpencer, feisty manbitch Brody, and coldtongued Lo. Lauren was always the nice person, trying to do the right thing, without putting up with needless lies or bullshit. Which mean that she was pretty busy.
Kristen is a whirlpool of the crudest form of selfishness. She's like a Lauren Conrad knock-off: she looks a lot like her, but carrying her around on your arm would just make you look cheap and stupid. She's mean, spiteful, quick to anger, vile, "a maneater" (thank god we resurrected that term), and an all-around horrible person.
When you put a truly horrible person into a sea of pretty unfortunate people, what do you get? Suddenly, a lot of tepid co-stars. Even the crazy people are sort of getting together over coffee to say, "Wow. That girl is actually crazy." When crazy points a finger, you walk in the other direction, okay? That's a life lesson.
So now we will spend 24 episodes watching Kristen Cavallari slowly tear down The Hills stone by stone, street by street, testicle by testicle. It's really unfortunate. Just after two episodes, I was already wishing that, instead of bringing Kristen in, they'd given a starring slot to Lo Bosworth.
Lo, also of Laguna provenance, seems to have taken up the mantle of Lauren's normalcy. She's nice to everyone--even Kristen sometimes--and she's gained a comparable level of grace under fire that Lauren always had (tear-soaked raccoon mascara incident notwithstanding). I like Lo now. I like that she's gotten her shit together. I like that she doesn't have stupid boy drama.
I'm also liking Stephanie. Yes! I'm serious. She can be crazy, but she's a crazy who means well. She just often fails at it.
And that's one to grow on.