Archive for April, 2008

Deconstructing The Hills: What’s Gone Wrong?

April 9, 2008

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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The Bachelor: (Mini) Where Are They Now?

April 8, 2008

*Love has lifted former Bachelor Lt. Andy Baldwin up where he belongs—and it’s apparently in the audience of Dancing with the Stars with new girlfriend and Donald Trump ex-Marla Maples.

*In an article on MomLogic.com, Trista hubby Ryan Sutter cops to checking out “cute 25-year-olds” when they walk by, but also says he digs Trista’s milk-engorged boobs and stuff. Baby Max, who is adored, turns 1 in July and, yes, People magazine will be covering the party. Gah.

 

The Bachelor: Ashlee Sings of Heartache

April 8, 2008

Told you to stop singing. (photo by ABC)

The Bachelor Episode 4 Recap: Hey ladies, I warned you that your continued attempts to make “music” would bring nothing but pain! But before we get to the departed, let’s review. We began with a group tennis date, during which Shayne and Chelsea literally walked on their hands and did backflips to get Matt’s attention. Wow. But it was young Ashlee who landed a make-out session. Of course, she had to sing a little ditty first. Goes something like this: “I feeeeeel it could be reaaaal.” To which Matt sighed, “That always gets me.” (But what can you expect from a guy whose musical hero is George Michael?) Anyway! Pinchy Face Robin continued to affect her best Madonna-like faux British accent, discussing High Tea with authority. But I felt bad for Robin when she broke down as Shayne lectured her for being a brat. (Shayne—yes, I still like her!—has become a sort of Den Mother, which is funny because she’s one of the younger women there.)

Then it was “back in time” for a 50s-themed date with Amanda “Meepers.” (She’s adorable but the date was interminable.) And then! The dread two-on-one date. To make matters worse, the ladies–Marshana and Holly–had to cook their own meal. (It’s not enough that you may be going home, you have to prepare your own Last Supper, too.) Over dinner, Matt grilled the girls about whether they’d be willing to move to the jolly old UK, to which Holly said, “Even before I met you, I knew I wanted to move to London.” (Um, lie much?) Then Matt spoke to each girl separately to “gain clarity” (AKA make out). But after her failure to come up with any “challenging questions” for Matt, Holly’s goose was cooked (hee hee). Note to “children’s book author” Holly: Chin up, love. This is all material. Title your next book, “The Saddest English Rose in the Garden” or some such.

Okay! So during an uncomfortable party during which Ashlee giggled madly and Kelly bared her breasts, both women were sent home. Kelly beat a hasty retreat but Ashlee’s giggles swiftly turned to tears. Still, she managed to warble her “Feel/Real” swan song like a pro.

As I said, I’m still liking Shayne despite myself and photographer Noelle, who seems to be hanging in. I also like Matt. In addition to making smart choices, he gives good speeches. Unlike many past Bachelors, who made perfunctory, bland remarks before offering roses, Matt says seemingly heartfelt things. Brilliant!

Oh and another thing: I don’t appreciate the way Chris Harrison is constantly saying that some women’s “dreams of marrying an English gentleman will be crushed forever.” Look, the cast-offs can still marry an English gentleman if they really want to. So can I! So can you, if you are single and so inclined! Chris Harrison and his heartless patter cannot limit our options!

The Hills: Lauren Still Annoyed, Deluded

April 8, 2008

To true friends! (photo by MTV)

You know things have gotten bad when Brody Jenner is the voice of reason! Sheesh. Last night on The Hills, Brody cautioned Lauren about her inexplicable and ill-advised “friendship” with Stephanie Pratt. This was after Lauren boasted of clinking Sugar-Free Red Bulls with the She-Pratt at her birthday party. (An aside: Isn’t it weird that just a year ago, Spencer was giving Lauren’s birthday toast? That birthday party kicked ass compared to this one, which seemed kinda lame. Still, this one was better than LC’s 20th, which she spent being sad in a hotel room with Jason. But I digress.)

Last night was all about (more) shifting alliances, as Audrina semi-made-up with a tearful Heidi, much to Lauren’s annoyance. (But everything annoys her, doesn’t it?) It was comical watching Lauren warn Audrina (who looked pissed!) about Heidi, as Lauren seems blind to the fact that her own decision to befriend the She-Pratt might not be, uh, smart.

Meanwhile, Spencer launched “Operation Win Heidi Back At All Costs,” which apparently involves being unemployed, growing a beard, and laying on the couch watching TV all day. (I think many of my exes are working on similar “operations.” Heh.) Seems that next week, Speidi will (again) deal with the whole are-we-dating-other-people issue, as signified by preview clips that showed much yelling and car door-slamming.

Stay tuned for more Hills coverage. In the meantime, what did you think of last night’s episodes?

Oh and another thing: Heidi’s paint color may be a mystery, but the pottery she was eyeing last night is part of Jonathan Adler’s Utopia collection. It’s available here–lovely, but not cheap!

Voting 101: First, Register

April 5, 2008

Earlier this week, Heidi Montag finally (finally!) endorsed a candidate for president. She’s voting for Republican nominee John McCain because he has “a lot of experience.” But whoops! Heidi seems to have forgotten that she’s not even registered to vote, as Radar points out.

It’s not as though Heidi hasn’t had opportunities to register—even on camera! Last season on The Hills, Heidi attended a Declare Yourself party “to celebrate the power of the vote.” Brent Bolthouse, Heidi’s boss, is a member of Declare Yourself’s advisory board. (Maybe Brent should start by advising his own employees to register?) But at the event, Heidi was much too busy confronting her nemesis Lauren to contemplate her civic duty. Check out the episode here.

The Hills: Art of Communication

April 3, 2008

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Welcome to a new feature in which I simply reprint conversations from The Hills (I’m a lazy one, aren’t I?). All conversations are real (well, as real as the show itself). This first one comes to us from the Season 2 finale “Goodbye for Now.” Here, Heidi discusses with her coworker Elodie (pictured above during actual conversation) her plans to make dinner for Spencer.

Elodie: Have you ever cooked dinner?!
Heidi: No!
Elodie: Ohmygosh! What are you cooking?!
Heidi: I know! I think pasta or something easy.
Elodie: I mean, do you even have all the equipment to cook? What’s it called??
Heidi: Ohmygod! No, I have to go get it! 
Elodie: What’s it called?
Heidi: Dinner!
Elodie: No!
Heidi: What? Pasta!?
Elodie shakes head.
Heidi: What??
Elodie: Like, the equipment to cook! What’s it called?!
Pause. Heidi smiles brightly.
Elodie: Oh! (snaps fingers) Pots and pans!!
Heidi: Oh yea, yea, yea!! I have to go get all that!

And The Final Rose Goes To … Marla Maples

April 3, 2008
baldwin-maples-cavort.jpg

Us Weekly is reporting that Lt. Andy Baldwin, late of The Bachelor, has hooked up with ex-Mrs. Donald Trump, Marla Maples. (We’re just glad he emerged from his top-secret undersea discovery mission long enough to “cavort” with anyone!) Says Marla, 44, of her 31-year-old beau: “He’s an absolute, complete gentleman.” Excuse me, Marla—he’s an officer and a gentleman. Clearly.

Misty Water-colored Muscle Breakfast Memories

April 1, 2008

musclebreakfastfight.jpg

On Monday’s episode of The Hills, Heidi, lunching with Stephanie Pratt, dreamily reminisced about a long-ago lunch with Spencer at the very same cafe. As Heidi recalls it, he declared his intention to order the “muscle breakfast” and she cracked, “Why? Because you don’t have any muscles?” Oh hahahahahahaha, Heidi! But bizarrely, what Heidi didn’t seem to recall is the INSANE fight that Spencer picked during that same lunch. The target of his rage? Heidi’s hapless coworker, and wearer-of-orange-framed-sunglasses, Max. (This was back in Season 2. Stay with me, people.) Earlier that day, Max had informed Heidi that maybe wearing a nightgown to work wasn’t such a good idea, a remark that the newly muscle-breakfasted-up Spencer could not abide. Click here to watch the awesome/sad/sooo LA fight. Ponder how the muscle breakfast descended into chaos. Then wonder why/how Heidi remembers it so fondly. [There’s an ad to watch before the clip but totally worth it.]

Breaking: Shayne Lamas’s Tan Is Not Genetic!

April 1, 2008

41shayne.jpg

The Bachelor Episode 3 recap: Okay, confession: I kind of like Shayne! I don’t know how it happened! I think, perhaps, with her love of spray tanning and cheesy shoes, she reminds me of the girls of my youth (it’s a short distance from Jersey to Malibu…who knew?). Anyway, this week Shayne got a coveted “alone date” with Bachelor Matt and the two did some wine tasting. As Shayne began to look confused and slur her words, I could imagine the future Boozy Housewife Shayne, couldn’t you? I found it sort of disarming when she copped to being high-maintenance, but why doesn’t she just come out with it already about her dad, Lorenzo Lamas? The more she shrouds his identity in mystery, the more Matt begins to think she’s the spawn of DeNiro. (And what about when she referred to her “family of actors”—as though they were the Barrymores!) Why not just say, “Yea, my dad played the loser in Grease” and get it over with? Besides, Matt is going to meet Daddy Lamas if Shayne makes it to family visits (OMG, wouldn’t that be the funniest family visit eva? Maybe they’ll all spray tan together as a bonding ritual to welcome Matt into the fold.)

Love her or hate her, you have to admit Shayne is the only one giving Matt a run for his money at this point. He seems actually nervous around her and confessed to feeling “like a 16-year-old boy.” And aside from the sweet girls who have just faded meekly into the background (the hiccuping chick and others like her), everyone else is just throwing themselves at the guy. Especially Pinchy Face Robin, who is sort of awful. To Robin, Love is a Battlefield! Even if the battlefield is a rugby field! She vows to do “whatever it takes” (including stealing Matt away from the other girls and trying to psych people into leaving). By next week, Chris Harrison will likely be anointing her “the most hated woman in Bachelor history.”

As for Matt, he nearly lost me when he said he was really into George “Father Figure” Michael. Yes, that one! But he redeemed himself in the next scene by foregoing the bubbly for some Guinness. At the end, he said goodbye to Erin S. (hot dog vendor), Amy, and Kristine, who touchingly admitted that she has a hard time opening up. (Don’t worry, honey. If tradition holds, you’ll be married and have a reporting gig on your local TV station very shortly.)

So how are we feeling about the remaining contenders and, also, our Bachelor?

Oh and another thing: No one sang! Thanks for that.

Deconstructing The Hills: Passive-Aggressive Behavior, Mixed Messages, and Hidden Yearnings

April 1, 2008

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Those Hills kids, when they’re not busy feeling the rain on their skin, etc., have a whole bag of issues. There was some serious psychological warfare going on amidst the flocked wallpaper and flattering amber lighting of Les Deux last night. First off, isn’t it maddening how Brody pretends he has no idea why Lauren is so angry? Gee, what could he have done? Could it maybe be the fact that he took up with someone else two days after Lauren left for Paris? And then proudly introduced that person to Lauren’s best friend as his girlfriend? Did he think maybe that might make Lauren a little less than happy? But of course Brody knows why Lauren is upset! His only defense is to feign ignorance (in the process, turning himself into the wronged party—clever!). Why do men do this? “What did I do?” they ask, palms up, after, say, forgetting your birthday or writing an unflattering essay about you in a national magazine. “What did I do?”

But Lauren is no better. She pouts on the couch like a two-year-old, making a big, stupid show of refusing to hug Brody, rather than simply addressing the issue. (I myself always find that misunderstandings with the opposite sex can be resolved quickly and maturely using clear communication. And pepper spray. Heh.)

Also—what is up with Heidi painting her “fresh start” apartment the same exact color her walls were when she lived with Lauren? With all the colors Home Depot offers these days (I know, I’ve tried most of them) why did Heidi return to that same, somber grey-green (which is yuuuuck, in my opinion)? Does this reflect a secret longing for simpler and happier domestic times with Lauren?

Yet, when discussing the repetition of the paint color, Heidi refers to Lauren simply as “Her.” That’s cold. Spencer, on the other hand, calls Lauren by her affectionate nickname “LC.” Isn’t that an awfully friendly way to refer to your loathed enemy?

And, most importantly: Is it possible that I am over-thinking all this?