Say all you want about reality TV, but I love it. It’s some people’s “guilty pleasure” and sure, a lot of it is trash, but I am in no way ashamed to admit that I enjoy watching it. It’s dramatic, funny and allows you to just veg out for the running time, which everyone could use a little of. I think it also helps you put things into perspective. Yes, sometimes you can be envious of the people you see on TV, but sometimes watching unemployed, rich housewives fight over high school drama makes you realize that you have a good head on your shoulders.
I still remember when The Hills first aired on MTV in 2006. I had watched a few episodes of Laguna Beach but The Hills coming out when I was 12 was more enticing to me than when LB aired when I was 10. (Though at this point in my life I have watched every episode of Laguna Beach twice, don’t judge me.)
As a 12 year old growing up in Pennsylvania, I daydreamed about living in southern California, (and still do) and so watching attractive, rich teenagers party and date in LA was addicting. Not to mention I was absolutely envious of Lauren. She was pretty, seemed level-headed, had an awesome 2000’s fashion sense – which has evolved into a wardrobe that people model their Pinterest closets after – and she was interning at Teen Vogue, and for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to work for a magazine.
Needless to say, I watched The Hills religiously for the four years it aired and was pretty devastated when it ended. You know that feeling after you binge-watch a serious or finish a book and you almost feel like your friends moved away? You’re like, “wait but I still need to know what they’re up to.” Being that I desperately wanted to live the SoCal life, that’s how I felt. Thankfully I got over it, but occasionally when re-runs are on TV, I still wonder what they’re up to.
With every reality show, there is always debate about how real it actually is. How is that random person in a bar already wearing a microphone? How do they just happen to run into the person they’re beefing with everywhere they go? Even though a lot of the drama seemed a little scripted, I always had faith that the show’s core was real. Then, in 2010 The Hills aired its final episode. By then, the leading lady was swapped out for Laguna Beach’s bad girl Kristin, and since I had caught up on LB, I still remained a dedicated viewer. As the final moment unfolded – Brody saying an emotional goodbye to Kristin as she got in her car – the perfectly located Hollywood sign in the background was pushed away, revealing the whole thing was a set. Six years later and my heart still hurts typing these words. I remember thinking, “Is this their way of telling us that the whole thing was fake? Or are they playing a joke on all the critics?” I held tightly to the latter. No way could that Heidi feud be fake. Then, after all these years, MTV seemed to be ready to answer those questions teasing footage for The Hills: That Was Then, This is Now anniversary special.
Finally, I thought, I will get all the answers 16-year-old me deserved.
Unfortunately, the special was more like a one-hour “look how successful Lauren is” promotion. Don’t get me wrong, LC is a great role model. The special showed clips of her casting tape for Laguna where she wasn’t shy about admitting her grades weren’t good and that if art school didn’t work out, she didn’t think she could go to a good college or be successful. She was going through normal things that people go through and even after experiencing fame at a young age, she turned out more than okay.
But, I was expecting to hear from the rest of the cast and to get serious answers to the “was it fake?” questions.
Some things that were cleared up:
- Lauren admitted that her and Brody never had any chemistry, even though the show made it seem like they were dating.”He was my friend, I enjoyed spending time with him, but it just felt forced,” she said. In one of the outtakes, the “couple” is kissing and Lauren looks to the crew and says, “Can we please be done? This is the most awkward thing ever!”
- Lauren got the Teen Vogue internship before she interviewed.“She literally thought she worked at Teen Vogue,” talent producer Sophia Rossi said.”I really did!” Lauren said. “I never assumed anything was mine, especially in that situation.”
Maybe her internship got handed to her, but it’s refreshing to see that she didn’t expect that and actually worked hard there.
- She felt set up a few times.(From an E! News article🙂 “Lauren admitted she felt ‘set up’ by the show during the big showdown with Heidi and Spencer after he spread a rumor that she had a sex tape. ‘MTV should care what Spencer did to me!’ Lauren yells in a never-before-seen scene from the infamous confrontation. ‘It’s not okay that they let him up here! It’s not f—king funny when you guys do that.'”
I’m happy I got to see what Lauren is up to today, and as I mentioned, it’s good to hear that a former reality star isn’t train-wrecking the way so many stars do. But all in all, this special was a flop.
What does the rest of the cast have to say? Come on, MTV, give us what we need!
(But also, where can I get Lauren’s blush off the shoulder shirt? Cause really, that is adorable.)