Deconstructing The Hills: What’s Gone Wrong?

Hm. Something is not right... (photo by MTV)

I’ve been feeling very melancholy lately. (As a friend brilliantly put it, I have a case of “The Rottens.”) So bear in mind that it may be my bad mood talking when I say: This bonus season of The Hills just isn’t doing it for me. It all sounds so good: LC befriending Spencer’s sister! Speidi on the rocks! Audrina and Heidi mending fences! This is the stuff of drama! And yet it’s somehow unsatisfying. So what’s gone wrong? My theories:

It’s increasingly, obviously unreal: No one ever mistook The Hills for a documentary. But this season, the story-lines seem incredibly forced. Are we to believe LC and the She-Pratt just happened to end up in the same class or that everyone just happens to end up at the same bar all the time? (How small is LA, anyway?) Not to mention that the editors have gotten sloppier. On Monday’s episodes, Lauren’s hair kept changing lengths and Spencer’s beard kept appearing and disappearing.

It hurts to look at Heidi: Whatever Heidi has done to her lips, I hope to God they deflate soon because they’re actually distracting.

Spencer is depressed—and it’s depressing: I always wanted to see the man formerly known as “Playboy Spence” taken down a few pegs. But this new, Sad Spencer is a sorry creature indeed—-reduced to being verbally slapped around by his little sister. The sight of him, pale and crumpled on the couch, waiting only for 24 to start, is killing my Hills buzz big time. I actually miss his cockiness and relentless scheming.

There’s zero romance: Oh give me the days of Lauren and Jason! Or the early promise of Lauren and Brody! Give me Whitney and her lunkhead trainer! Gimme Justin Bobby, for God’s sake! Give me crap pop songs by Garrison Starr and roses and puppies (speaking of which, whatever happened to poor Bella, the puppy Heidi’s ex Jordan gave her in Season 1?) The point is, The Hills desperately needs a jolt in the form of romantic intrigue, especially since Lauren’s much-promoted French fling was nonexistent.

The hype machine killed it: Maybe the reason why none of these gripping-on-paper story-lines are actually gripping me is because I, like any reader of Us or People, knew about all these plot developments months ago. Because The Hills has become such a phenomenon, we all know immediately when Speidi stay in separate hotel rooms in Vegas or Lauren ignores Brody at a club. In addition to the spoilers, the simple fact that The Hills is everywhere lately has caused inevitable backlash.

What’s your take? Did I drink too much Hatorade or is The Hills lacking? And if you’re a new viewer, how are you liking it so far?

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