The Hills are on fire! Everyone is talking about last night's sixth season premiere, but it looks like Lauren Conrad leaving has doomed the show. Know what, who cares? The City is a million times better, anyway.
The big news for the sixth season is that Kristin Cavallari of Laguna Beach fame was returning to bitch it up after LC, the show's grand dame of drama, left for greener pastures. And those pastures are green with big money. Today it was announced that the Twilight team will adapt her novel into a movie. Earlier this year Audrina Partridge decided to call it quits for her own reality show and today Stephanie Pratt, the prattling sister of reality über-goober Specer Pratt, said she was quitting the show because she's sick of it.
I can understand why. Last night, I decided it was finally time to cave in to the peer pressure of the pop culture machine and finally watch an episode of this show. Yes, last night Kristin Cavallari popped my Hills cherry and it was excruciating. During the episode, she returns and attends a welcome back party for Spencer and Heidi Pratt (nee Montag), the amalgamation of everything insipid that is known and self-promoted as Speidi. It was less of an excuse to have a party and more of an excuse to have Kristin show up and start some shit, which she does. Because the show exists in its own beautiful snow globe of wealthy white people who only interact with each other, because Kristin wasn't on the show it's like she fell into a wormhole and was transported clear into the Alpha Centauri galaxy never to be heard from again.
Brody Jenner (who I find horribly dreamy in spite of myself) isn't tense about his ex-girlfriend Kristin being teleported back into their tiny sphere by a black hole the producers created out of money and Kristin's failed acting career, but his girlfriend Jayde (who spells her name like a drag queen) is afraid she's going to steal her man. And so is Audrina, who recently broke up with Justin Bobby—who looks like the punchline of a Joaquin Phoenix performance art piece, except he is totally missing all the irony. So they all sit around and talk about this with the sort of tepid trepidation of a year book committee that doesn't want the cover of their magnum opus to be maroon, but navy blue, because they have always dreamed about having a navy yearbook on their coffee table for the rest of their lives, but the school colors are maroon and white, so they have to deal with the color scheme even though it's ruining their lives.
Anyway, Kristin shows up at the party and starts some retarded fight that I don't understand, probably because I haven't had enough Patron shots and don't speak the spoiled patois of the Malibu faux-lite but it had something to do with Kristin talking to Justin Bobby's beard and that made Audrina upset. She yelled a lot and cowed the Year Book Committee to scurry back to the cafeteria to regroup and talk about whether or not they were going to go to some birthday party. Where the same drama is repeated, except without as much yelling.
I watch a lot of really trashy television, but I just don't get The Hills. I understand that it's fun to watch these little wind up toys sputter and twist when faced with the petty squabbles and slights of an insular social circle. I understand that the characters have been made into heroes and villains and that they're all so stupid that there is a certain pitiful superiority one feels while watching them try to navigated massaged reality before the cameras. Yes, I understand it, I just don't get it.
The City, though, I not only get, but totally love. While The Hills feels like regression, The City feels like a progression. It's a similar sort of snow globe, but one where characters actually have goals, things are actually happening, and the fights have real-world consequence.
Whitney Port, a refugee from The Hills, tries to play like she's the poor girl taking on the big, bad city, but she's got a fat pad in the West Villiage and a boss—PR maven Kelly Cutrone—who is encouraging her to work less so she can start her fashion line. Last night, Whitney's old friend Roxy shows up in New York and needs a job and a place to crash. Whitney hooks her up with both, but how does the affably daffy Roxy repay her? By throwing a giant party in her apartment that is so noisy the neighbors call the cops. This sounds just like the Jane Hotel, but it's happening on our TV screen. It's a fun arc that easily plays out easily over 30 minutes and really illustrates the trouble of starting a professional life in the big city in your early 20s—well, if you have a camera crew following you around and a big fat check from producers for just allowing your burgeoning life to be the entertainment for the masses.
The real star of the show, however, is socialite Olivia Palermo, who has been given a job as an accessories editor at Elle and faces off with the magazine's PR chief Erin Kaplan. This is real reality. Everyone knows only privileged and connected white girls get the plum jobs at fashion magazines. And when she gets there, Olivia has the sort of attitude you could expect to find in a girl with a prep school education who probably doesn't have to work for a living. And when she gets in a fight with Kaplan, it's not about who might have flirted with who in front someone's exgirlfriend at a party at the Pink Taco or who didn't say hi to such-and-such because they thought they had bad body odor. It's about a segment on the real live Today show. It's like an actual something. And if Olivia fucks it up then Kathie Lee Gifford is going to track her down and beat her like she's a Chinese sweatshop worker who won't sew fast enough. What's the worst thing that's going to happen to Kristin? Audrina isn't going to like her? Aww...
Yes, I love trashy reality television, but I want there to be real stakes along with the drama and I want it to have some sort of reflection on the world we all live in—that The City it has a reflection on the very specific Manhattan media world I live in probably makes me love it a little bit more. Earlier this week, when Lauren Conrad was asked if she would still watch The Hills she said, ""Probably not, I'll watch The City." Finally, someone from The Hills had something intelligent to say.