“The Hills” — Season 3

By Jae-Ha Kim
July 29, 2008

The third season of The Hills is alive with the sound of arguing, crying, and making up (sort of) by the telegenic quartet known as Lauren, Heidi, Whitney and Audrina. Glitzy, fabulous and completely unrealistic, this top-rated MTV reality series thrives on the conceit that pretty girls are jealous of each other when one of them has a boyfriend. But if that boyfriend is Spencer (Heidi’s big-toothed Svengali-in-training), it’s not necessarily jealousy the girls are feeling so much as revulsion.

With her enhanced bosom on display, Heidi makes a weak attempt at independence this season, calling Spencer out for trying to control her. But watching the two–derisively known as Speidi–talk wanly, the vignettes come off as rehearsed as they’ve alluded to in interviews. Never mind that she flies off to Las Vegas to get some perspective. Are we really to believe that without receiving a call from her, Spencer figures out all by himself where she’s staying in time to arrive for a heartfelt confrontation where both appear to have on their share of stage makeup?

Reality isn’t the drawing card of The Hills. It’s watching a group of young, gorgeous twentysomethings living high on the hog in glamorous careers that appear to be incredibly lucrative. In reality, the core group work in fields where the paycheck could barely afford them to rent a small apartment together. Audrina is an intern at a record label, Lauren is an intern at a magazine, and Heidi is employed by a PR firm that apparently doesn’t mind that she really doesn’t seem to do all that much. And yet we’re led to believe that these gals can live a Paris Hilton lifestyle, without Hilton’s trust fund.

But part of the guilty pleasure in watching The Hills is that mixed in with all the make-believe lifestyle is a lot of true confessions and drama. As pretty as she is, Lauren seems to have issues when her friends get boyfriends.

Granted, she is usually right on the money about their lack of character. But she doesn’t know when to stop interfering in her friends’ lives and lectures and whines to the point where no one wants to hear about it anymore–not even her loyal viewers.

The liberal use of “I love you” that is thrown around to friends they’ve just made also is telling. When the girls figure out that the phrase should be used sparingly and to people who’ve actually earned their love and trust, they may stand a shot at finding men who will truly return their affection. And those guys probably won’t want their relationship filmed on subsequent seasons of the show.


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