“The Hills” — Season 1

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
February 13, 2007

Fans of Laguna Beach will love the first season of The Hills, which follows Laguna‘s Lauren Conrad as she attends fashion school in Los Angeles and works as an intern at Teen Vogue magazine.

OK, so that’s the premise for this quasi-reality MTV series. But in reality, the show is an excuse to watch pretty young people make out, break up, get back together, and break up some more. The show has more in common with a daytime drama than a documentary; none of the subjects worries too much about paying rent for their glamorous apartments or designer clothes.

But when it comes to dating, the Geneva Convention could learn a thing or two about negotiating from these gals.

Lauren fans may be dismayed to learn that Jason, the monosyllabic Lothario who cheated on her in the second season of Laguna Beach is back. And instead of going on dates with the thousands of young men who would love to have a pretty blonde on their arms (and get the opportunity to appear on TV to boot!), Lauren allows Jason to get back into her good graces–even though he hasn’t matured since high school. Or figured out how to treat a woman. Or learned how to talk better.

It’s actually heartbreaking watching her struggle with a relationship that we can all see is doomed. Or is it?

The season finale ends with the kind of dilemma we all wish we could’ve faced when we were 19 or 20: spend the summer working in Paris or move into a beach house with your boyfriend and frolic on the beach for three months. Paris? Jason? Hmmmm. You’d think that’d be a no-brainer.

Also on hand to offer support are Lauren’s friends Heidi and Audrina. The cast always looks chic and freshly made up (even after getting out of bed) and the cameras somehow always manage to be in the right place to capture romantic moments (and drama).

It’s easy to make fun of this show because of the preposterous setup that this sun-kissed life is reality for a group of kids who don’t seem to have to work that hard for their privileged lives.

But therein lies the guilty pleasure. We know it’s a fantasy created by MTV. And while we would kill for the rocking apartments, cars, and clothes, there is no way most of us would endure being publicly humiliated to get 15 minutes of fame.

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