Friday, December 14, 2007

Lauren Conrad's "Big Secret?" - The Hills: Season 3 Isn't Over

Let's start this out by disclosing that I had to read online about this "big secret" revealed earlier this week on what was scheduled to be the season finale's after show of MTV's most watched show The Hills, starring Lauren Conrad, of Laguna Beach fame.

Why did I have to read about it? Because my wretched DVR did this to me:

LC: "Wait, can I say it?"
*Me sitting up and leaning closer to TV*
TV: "Delete recording? Don't Delete Recording"
Me: *Mouth agape*

So my DVR cut off the finale by the last minute that was really the only reason to watch the silly webcam-filled after show. I was a little upset.

Happy Holidays by the way, everyone.

In a move that says "Ha!" to the writer's strike, MTV is prolonging The Hills to "document" Lauren and Whitney's trip to Paris and beyond. With the writer's strike still going on and networks turning to shows like American Idol, American Gladiators, Deal or No Deal, Clash of the Choirs, Celebrity Apprentice, and other reality-based competition/game shows to carry them through what some believe to be the "dark days" of television, this is a pretty genius move by MTV, as I'm pretty sure that The Hills audience wouldn't mind if the show took up its Monday nights year round.

So Lauren finally gets her chance to finally go to Paris after she turned down the opportunity to spend a summer in Malibu with Baller Jason Wahler after her first year in Los Angeles. Clearly, she made it back, so at least we know that nothing catastrophic happens, but it will interesting to see how Lauren and Whitney survive without sushi and Pinkberry while they're in Europe. Apparently, the two will be hanging out with some French rock stars courtesy of the show's publicists who were trying to strike up a romance for two 20-something icons. I was in Paris last summer and was enamored by everything but the high-priced food (I ate delicious French fast food, cold cut sandwiches, and fruit to save money so I could do things I wanted to do), so I'm guessing that we'll be counting the number of times that Lauren says words like "amazing," "incredible," and "beautiful," because that would have been a game in itself for me while I was over there.
From the personal collection

It's funny, but after five years on reality television, the connection that viewers seem to have with Lauren Conrad seems to go beyond that of what viewers have with characters on a scripted television show. While I feel like so much of this can be attributed to the demographic of people who watched Laguna and currently watch The Hills, the reality is that Lauren Conrad has become as important of a character to fans of the show as Michael Scott is to fans of the The Office.

We want to see her do well and we're disappointed in her when she does something that goes against what we'd expect of her, though all we're doing is watching her go about her semi-scripted day to day. So who cares if the New York Post is reporting on the perceived holes in the "reality" of the show? Who cares if Heidi may or may not work at Bolthouse? And who cares if she awkwardly likes to sing catchy songs on the sidewalk in Hollywood?


The reality is that Adam Divello and crew have put together a show that makes its viewers not only care about the characters, but talk about the show on a level that makes it relevant well outside the confines of its 30 minutes weekly block (and 500 replays on MTV). So hate if you want, but The Hills is what so many TV shows dream of being - a brand that matters that people love to talk about. And beyond this extended season? It's coming back for Season 4. Take that, haters.

Keeps it poppin' in the hood.

At a larger level, as a reality TV lover, how do I feel about the programming that's just over the horizon as a result of the writer's strike?

Honestly, I think it'll get old fast (other than Idol, which I cannot wait for). What the strike does do however, is give me the chance to get caught up on countless episodes of Ghost Whisperer and Friday Night Lights that have been taking up space in HD on my DVR for this entire season. What the strike does teach people (and hopefully writers) is that television and everyone else's lives continue to go on, even if it's without the benefit of having the exceptional writers that put together the shows we know and love.

While the strike is costing studios millions, the reality is that we're not watching salt and pepper fights on our HDTVs, nor are we seeing multi-colored lines on our screens just because there's not any new content coming from the Writer's Guild. Sure, the content gets more limited, but there will always be someone, somewhere out there looking for the best ways to get our attention under any circumstance. I think that many writers have a tendency to occasionally overestimate the value of their work in a larger context (myself included!) and I hope that this isn't something that hinders the negotiations that are leading to such an awkward season of television.

For now, bring on Paris!