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STUDIO: MTV Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 392 minutes
• Deleted scenes
• Virtual tour
• “Lessons in Love” featurette
“It’s unlike anything you’ve never seen before.”
Lauren, Whitney, Audrina, and Heidi.
Four young, rich women suffer at the cruel hands of fate, which hand them fabulous wealth and opportunity, perhaps in collusion with the Green-Eyed Monster, who goes door-to-door shredding the lives of the audience members.
Not the first indication that Heidi has poor taste for a rich girl.
I was going to get all righteously indignant about how The Hills isn’t reality TV, even considering how loosely the genre conforms to actual reality, until I realized that nowhere do the producers actually bill the show that way. Consider me deflated. Now, what am I going to do with this spare rant about plausibility? I could save it for the upcoming 3-pack of 70s-era French erotica, I guess.
Nah. I’ll bust out the hygiene commentary for those.
Which means I may as well go on blithely ahead, criticizing The Hills for straying so far from reality. You know what? Fuck it. This show is terrible, and not even in an “aristo swine!” kind of way. It deserves all the harping I can muster.
She just published a book.
For example: You know you’re watching a poor parody of reality when supposedly off-the-cuff conversations are framed in a two-shot. If you’re not sure what that is, basically a scene is set with two people having a conversation, and they film that conversation twice: once over the shoulder of one actor, framing the second, and the other facing opposite. Then the two takes are edited together. The result is a very natural back-and-forth, but it requires a lot of careful planning and lighting.
Just exactly the sort of thing you’d expect to see on an unrehearsed, unscripted piece of television, right?
Hey, you know what’s a relatively amazing show?
OK, fine. The Hills exists in a hazy middle area between reality and scripted TV, but if there’s so much preparation going into even the smallest scenes, couldn’t the writers at least come up with some interesting drama? Maybe it’s encouraging for the target demographic to see the young and the beautiful suffering through all-too-familiar communication issues, selfishness, sibling rivalries, and so on. That’s a level of abstraction I wouldn’t put above the audience’s heads, but it’s nothing deeper than anyone could overhear in a high school lunch room. It just happens more predictably on your TV set.
Some people find crappy shows easy to write about it. Not me. I tend to lose track of the word count only when I’m in love. I’m sitting at five hundred words, here, and there’s only one other thing I can think of to say: I really hope nobody’s actually like the people portrayed in The Hills. I don’t mean to pad this review with pointless philosophizing, but I find it hard to believe in such a thing as unshakable shallowness.
This is just an outpouring of my boundless optimism, but I think people are basically deep thinkers. Our expressions can be shallow or trite (such as this current one) but the origins of those expressions reach a fair ways down into our psyches. So, why celebrate the juvenile and shallow? It’s frustrating and embarrassing. Coincidentally, frustration and embarrassment are the two emotions I felt most often watching through this fourth season of The Hills. And not only because my wife kept poking her head in and catching me following along with Audrina’s boyfriend woes, or Heidi and Spencer’s quarrels.
“We’re better than this” is an awfully smug thing to say about a TV show, especially considering the source, but really: Aren’t we better than this?
If you need a mental image of me asking that question, this here will probably work:
Deleted scenes and interviews are a dime a dozen. These are worth about a nickel. Behind-the-scenes featurettes on a couple of photoshoots aren’t worth spit. The “Lessons of Love” featurette should not be taken to heart. Google Maps will give you a better idea of the geography than the virtual tour will.