Our long regional nightmare is over. The City has ended. MTV's New York City-set Hills spin-off sputtered and died weeks ago, but they've finally hauled its carcass across the finish line. Let's dissect.
Jay was gone. The sun still rose, but Jay was gone. Leaves still blew around the sidewalks in little eddies of wind, but Jay was gone. The caged bird sang, the cars honked, the muggers mugged. But Jay was gone. So the lovelorn ghost of Whitney wandered the streets, glum and bovine, searching for her purple crayon, her red balloon, something. She ended up at work, at the Diane von Furstenberg Factory for Sad Girls. There she wanly sewed some clothes and packed some boxes and filed QED reports ("Right on top of that, Rose!") and wept in the toilet stalls. Skibble skibble skibble went bones and fabric, as Diane glided down the hall outside.
So yeah, Whittz was very sad and confused and felt lost and alone. Another person who is sad and confused and lost and alone, but doesn't know it, is Olivia Palermo. Olivia is the Decepticon-headed socialite of no-fame who is paid by the producers to be a bitch. The girls were at Fashion Week and there was yet another compliment about the Elle cover they'd supposedly pulled. Once again Livs took credit, even though the outfit was Whitney's idea. Oh, previous to this, Whitney had been quietly mooing about Jay and Olivia just fired laser beams out of her eyes right into Whitney's heart and said "You're being immature bringing this to work." Whitney said the same thing right back to her and pointed at Nevan, who was sucking his thumb in the corner. (Actually, that part didn't happen. Notice how he hasn't been in any of the episodes recently? Hah. Edited out for hooker-soliciting.)
So anyway, Olivia had already chastised Whitney for something as ridiculous as being "immature" and talking about the plotline of a reality show while filming the reality show, but whatever, her work is never done. So some bald dude minced over and was like "'Let's talk fashionz! Ready, Go! Elle! Who are you??" Oliva glistened under the cold, bitchy tent lights and hissed "It was meeeeeee," and an unkindness of ravens flew out of her mouth and her eyes went dark and somewhere in a tiny corner of some outer borough, the Black Plague returned.
Whitney screwed up her features and pooped just a little bit and finally said to Olivia "You know... I pulled that look." And Olivia said "Oh, you want some credit? OK, I'll give you a little credit next time I'm taking basically all the credit." Whitney didn't seem satisfied. Somewhere in the middle of this, I forget exactly where, Whitney sneaked off to call her old friend Lauren. Just in time to remind us that The Hills is coming back soon! Lauren was frowny-faced and concerned and told Whitney that she can't leave New York, even if she is sad about things. The funny/sad thing was that it seemed like they hadn't spoken once since she'd moved. True frienzsips forever!!
Back at fashion, Whitney was bluesy and sad and she strummed her guitar and drank whiskey from the bottle and Olivia was asked to go on a fancy fashion trip to London for "work" and Whitney just said "Ohhh fuck it, limey fucks. I never wanted to go anyway. I never wanted anything... Nothing at all for ol' Whitney Port. Just stand in the background, fill the scenery like some fucking potted plant. That's all I am. I'm stuck in dirt. I'm a fucking ficus."
Diane von Furstenberg skibbled up like a crab and offered her some astute words about flames and winds and desire and love or something and then she just started reciting copy from her American Express ads and the whole world of this show made sad, simpering sense.
Over in another greenhouse, hotdog-lipped Male Model was all mad about feelings so he went over to the factory that makes more models where Erin works and he barked at her bangs for being intrusive. "Don't yell at me," Erin said or something. And Male Model swore and said other things and Erin stood her ground so he slunk off into the modely shadows. Once firmly ensconced in said shadows, he found his beloved counterpart, Girl Model. She was in there rooting around for grubs and truffles. He loved her so, he realized.
So when she showed up at his restaurant and he just turned to his coworkers and said "Peace" and walked off to go have an important conversation, he told her that he loved her and wanted to sleep more with her and that baby baby baby please come home for Christmas. Girl Model smiled a strange smile and grabbed him. Suddenly they were traveling through space, hurtling at millions of miles per hour, and Male Model said "I knew! I fuckin' knew it! You're an alien." "Bleep bloop blorg, human boyfriend" Girlax Modelaxny said, finally in her native tongue. So they were whisked off to the faraway planet where everyone looks like Girl Model, and in some ways is Girl Model, so if Male Model cheats... well, it's not really cheating! A happy ending for them.
Back at fashion, Whitney was crying and shaking and smoking meth in the bathroom with Helmut Lang. Suddenly her phone started ringing. "How many times do I have to tell you / That I'm sorry for the things I've done..." the ringtone intoned. She answered it. It was Jay. He was outside. She went out. He was there. With his mouth. And his eyes. And his hair. "I love you," he said. "I see," she said. He smiled. She frowned. "I can't. I lost myself in us," she said. He frowned. She turned. She walked away. He stood there, like a fool. She tripped. She fell down. He laughed a little. She fell again while trying to get up. He laughed more. "It's these stupid heels," she said meekly. "They're why I keep fallink." She finally righted herself. She teetered off. "Goodbye!" they said, together. "Goodbye!"
Goodbye! The city said. She wandered off, so did he. And the camera hovered. Somewhere in the East Village a girl sat while her laundry rolled around and around and around in a washer. She thought about Oregon, about Danny, about her mom. She missed all of them. On the Lower East Side an old man stood waiting for the light to change. How the neighborhood had changed, he thought. How everything has changed. The walk signal came on, and he pressed on. In Gramercy a husband rolled over in bed and pulled his wife close to him and began falling in love with her all over again. In Hell's Kitchen a boy looked across the bar at another boy and they both felt that something dangerous was about to happen. In Times Square a tourist stood lost and bewildered and amazed. In Harlem a man waiting for the bus watched skeptically as a stream of new arrivals came spilling out of the subway. Kids. College kids. In the barrio there was a party for Danielle, who got the job. In the Boogie Down a dad saw his kid sleeping in the car seat next to him and things made sense again, for a moment. Over there in Astoria they opened a second bottle of wine. They yelled in Jackson Heights because he was gone and was never coming back. In Greenpoint they spoke Polish on the phone, they told jokes that couldn't be translated. In Red Hook they finished moving the last of the furniture out of a TV show loft. In Park Slope a writer said goodnight to an otherwise empty apartment. In Midwood, the wait was worth it. The pizza was delicious. In Brighton Beach they watched the waves. Spring was almost here. In Tottenville a mother walked the quiet house and thought about summer camps, beach vacations, the spit-spit-spit of the sprinkler she'd need to get out of the garage.
And there was Whitney still, wandering lost and utterly unaware through this place. This wonderful place. These blocks like bones, these buildings like skin, these trees like hair. This mystery. This love. This sad stony expanse. This bright gleaming embrace. This hope, this fear. This silly, marvelous home. This City.
(I hope forever.)