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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 08/16/2007

To Care or Not To Care: 'The Hills'

By Liz Kelly

Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag. (Getty Images)

For the past week or so, the usual list of sites I troll has been awash in stories about the stars of MTV's semi-reality show, "The Hills." As usual, I've been ignoring them. But this morning, when scanning a blurb about "Hills"-ster Lauren Conrad saying a post-breast-augmentation co-star Heidi Montag is "not the same person anymore ... I feel like I don't even know [her]," I felt a twinge and started to doubt my "Hills" shut out.

This, I thought, is good stuff ("good stuff" meaning, loosely, just the kind of vapid trash to which I tend to gravitate).

Conrad's quote about sums it up for me, though. I don't feel like I know her or Heidi or any of the "Hills" kids (nor did I care to know anyone on the show's predecessor "Laguna Beach"). Until now, when I found myself confronted with news from the show, something primal in me recoiled. And I now realize it is us, gentle readers, who are suffering from my previous intolerance. I'm chagrined to note that even the NYT is paying attention and drawing cultural lessons from the Lauren/Heidi schism, describing the show's twists and turns as "Machiavellian" and "spectacular." And, according to, this year's season premiere debuted to 3.6 million viewers (which is .3 million more than watched Paris Hilton on "Larry King Live."). Ut oh.

When I think of the thousands of words I've typed about "Lost," I am heartsick. Why was I wasting everyone's time dissecting that enigma when we could have been trading comments on TV's biggest hiss fest?

So, I leave it up to you. Should we henceforth give "The Hills" -- and Heidi, Lauren, Spencer and the show's other stars (are there other stars?) our attention?

Vote in the poll below and, if voting "yes," please use the comments section to catch me up on what I've been missing.

By Liz Kelly  | August 16, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  TV  
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We should arrange for them to be introduced to Ethan Hawke, no?

Posted by: byoolin | August 16, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

They all sound like sick bi#$%es. Even the Spencer dude. This seems like the drama that I was happy to leave to the 18 year olds.
You're right byoolin, I am quite postive that Ethan Hawke could teach Spencer quite a bit about properly dealing with ladies.

Posted by: Allison | August 16, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I need updates! I don't actually watch The Hills, but all my co-workers and many of the people at the dog park do. I need witty insights to share.

Posted by: Hills cliff notes? | August 16, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Just yesterday i was asking a friend who watches the show what this is all about. i still don't understand why they have so much hype, overzealous publicists?

Posted by: Don't know who they are | August 16, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Liz, I am begging you not to start watching that show. I have never watched it. I've only seen glimpes on The Soup or something or a few seconds when I was flipping channels and I have to insist that your first instinct about it was right. Just because millions are watching doesn't mean you should stoop to their level.
I don't know why it is so popular and I don't want to know. I was shocked to find out, while watching an episode of the new Real World (gag, I know! They suck you in!), that MTV is actually picking up another show just like Laguna Beach. I am only mid-twenties, but maybe I am just too old to watch stuff like The Hills, because it bores me to death.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

i have a request, in general, that we not comment on these contrivial "reality shows" and let them die-off. anyone remember that simpsons halloween episode where the advertising mascots came to life? if we sing w/paul anka, will this all go away as well? all the feuding and and drama seem staged and for p.r.

Posted by: cee_jay | August 16, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Definitely...Not to care.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Do they know Scott Baio?

Posted by: 23112 | August 16, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I still don't even know what the heck Laguna Beach is about. So I really can't help with The Hills, which I think is an extension of LB.

The last time I was in cable equipped house I found out that the Real World is still on. WTF! why is that still in production, are the episodes any good? And when did MTV stop airing videos to turn to crappy programming?

Posted by: petal | August 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Heidi and Lauren are the most annoying pseudo-celebrities in the world. They dated Brody Jenner and Spencer who are losers (check w/TMZ on that one). Paris doesn't party with them. Posh would never go to Barney's with Heidi or Lauren. Heidi will not be invited to Nicole's baby shower. I would rather comment on Tara Reid or Lost than
The Hills.

Posted by: Lisa1 | August 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

please, no. These are rich, spoiled, Paris Hilton wannabes. Why should we give them the attention they feel they are entitled to? The fact that these vapid, noncontributing-to-society rich kids get a show is deeply disturbing. Is there really nothing else out there to put on TV? If not, then let's turn it off.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

'the hills''s the name of the show...oh...and all this time i thought they were referring to heidi's breast augmentation surgery.

Posted by: methinks | August 16, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"The Hills" is a highly entertaining show, however, encouraging the "stars" of the show to become a larger part of celebrity culture is the wrong thing to do. There are more than enough 20 something starlets who do nothing but get loads of media attention. Having their own show is more than enough...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Basically these shows are about what we called the neuvo-riche when I was growing up. These are children with absent parents, or parents who want crass tv fame, and its ridiculous. Lauren and Whitney are a bit better than the rest but that is not saying much. For instance, Lauren at least went home last night to regain some perspective and talk to her mom. Heidi Montag and Spencer are truly horrendous and terribly plastic. And, yes, I am guilty, I do watch but only while doing something else, like e-mailing or on line shopping, because I get bored otherwise. Its embarrassing to admit. :)

Posted by: Pally | August 16, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

not only is the show a piece of brilliant trash - the people are legit and it's delicious to watch other individuals endure moments we all have, such as horrible rumors, friendship breakups, and making new bffs while clubbing and spending daddy's millions...
...oh, wait - we all don't live like that, do we? but that's what makes it that much better... i absolutely support more comments on the Hills in the future - and can't wait for next weeks episode... long live MTV "Machiavellian" drama.

Posted by: hillsobsessed | August 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I watch it just for a huge laugh at their insipid perspectives on life. I can't wait for Heidi and Spencer to marry and divorce!!!! Why can't MTV go back to what they were good at when I was younger???MUSIC VIDEOS! NO MORE CRAPPY PROGRAMS!!!

Posted by: Andi | August 16, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to season three of The Hills. I'm secure enough to admit that I watched the first season of Laguna Beach, but the first two seasons of The Hills went by without a glance from me. It wasn't until I was home sick from work and caught a hills marathon, that it got me. That's how you have to do it--watch 8-in-a-row. Yes, it will be painful, but it's quick. Start with season 2 and learn to hate Spencer and everything he does. Realize that Heidi really is brainwashed, and that Lauren really loves to control her roommates. It's fake, it's real, it's brilliant. Enjoy, Liz!

Posted by: downtown, dc | August 16, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Spencer's last name is Pratt. Enough said.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Please do not watch and comment on this show. Its like the Simple Life. If you watch it, you will regret losing precious time (and brain cells) for the rest of your life. Please spend that time with your husband. You will thank me later!

Posted by: bored... | August 16, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hate the Hills, love the use of that new polling software, Liz!

Posted by: Alyeksa | August 16, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm 37 and I love the Hills!! Its my guilty post-LB pleasure. When I heard about the show I couldn't believe for one second that it would be worth watching but here I am addicted.

They couldn't have written this stuff into a soap opera. For example, Heidi plots to hook friend Jen up with this guy Brody who just happens to be her roommate/best friend Lauren's crush. And then Heidi denies having anything to do with it. Are you kidding me?

Heidi and her boyfriend Spencer are so ruthless its almost criminal. And that's why the Hills is hot -- all that drama. By this time next year the show will very boring. But for now, its a fun indulgence.

Posted by: bosslady | August 16, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

There should be no coverage of The Hills unless Heidi promises to have no coverage for her enhanced "girls". Show us your ta-tas, Heidi!

Posted by: Mister Methane | August 16, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Methane was breast-fed.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse


If you care at all about Paris/Nicole/LiLo and other worthless celebs, you will totally get sucked into the Hills. It's a constant cat fight. You can skip Season 1. It only gets good with the villainous Spencer. As for your coverage of Lost, I have been tuning that out for awhile. Not sure I agree with your devotion to that trainwreck of a show. I think you should broaden your television surroundings and share your witty Hills insights with all of us!

Posted by: Marie A | August 16, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The Hills is yummy yummy trashy tv. You MUST give it a chance. A marathon is the only way, preferably with some junk food and in your pjs. Ahh... good times.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I have never watched the simple life, flavor of love, laguna beach, or any other of those shows. But I love the Hills with all my heart. Some of the most brilliant TV out there. You need to watch Season 1 to understand Jason, though, Liz.

Posted by: Hills fan | August 16, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Is it the pretty, vapid jewel that Laguna seasons 1 and 2 was? It is not. But Spencer's heinous douchebaggery is well worth your primo cheese curls in jammies time. Do it! Marathon it!

Posted by: erm | August 16, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

seriously, i can't believe you don't watch this and call yourself some sort of gossip/all-things-catty know it all!! come on, this is right up your alley. if you have ever bought US Weekly, you should be watching The Hills.

Spencer is pure evil, that's what makes it great.

Posted by: omg, yes! | August 16, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

My roommates and I love the Hills. It's kinda lame, but we get so excited before every show and love every moment of it. The petty drama just sucks us in! We even just finished netflixing Laguna Beach because we so missed the boat on watching that show. We love it!

Posted by: Chris | August 16, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with OMG yes! Get with the program. The Hills is where its at on reality TV.

Posted by: bosslady | August 16, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to combine the "No" and "WHat is this Hills of which you speak?" votes. The Yes guys are totally outnumbered.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Liz, cover the hills. I am a rabid Lost fan also, but this show is like crack. I need more. You should try the whole "what is really going on" angle though. That way the reality TV haters can enjoy the fact that it is all fake, and those of us who love the show can get perspective.

Posted by: Michelle | August 16, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I soooo miss the the days of the original MTV, when they played music videos, and were anti-establishment. They gave a generation of frustrated, music-loving youth a voice! It just seems like it did a major reverse sometime in the mid-nineties and became a bunch of reality-show based crap, like this latest establishment featuring ditzy spoiled blondes. They hardly ever play videos except on TRL when they only play maybe 30 seconds. It's all advertising and encouraging cultural trash. GRRR! I would give anything to have the MTV that gave us such great shows as MTV Jams, Headbangers Ball, and The State. *sigh*

Posted by: kat | August 16, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Having the same week as you Liz - never watched the Hills, but feel ever so slightly tugged in that direction.

Posted by: md | August 16, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know what the Hills was until this week. But you should have seen her on Regis and Kelly (don't ask...) It's a bad sign when Ripa comes off as the brainiac and she has to pull comments from the girl. I don't think I've ever seen someone quite so empty.

"yes.... no... yes...."

Posted by: Erica | August 16, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy university professors conducting an in depth dissection of Lost as much as the next guy, but sometimes it gets a little heavy. This website is a distraction from a job that occasionally forces me to think pretty hard, so a weekly thought free look at the Hills would be a well received foil to our winter philosophy 101 refresher course.

Posted by: Lost v. L.C. | August 16, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

You've got to watch! LC, Audrina, and Whitney are the good girls that haters love to hate. Heidi and Spencer, well they are just "bottom-feeders" (to quote US Weekly). I can't wait to see LC put Heidi in her place and find out what the heck Jason is doing back in LC's life. This is good stuff (ok it's mindless stuff that's fun to watch). Note to readers though -- don't bother with Laguna Beach 2.0, er, Newport Harbor. The kids need to grow up before there cattiness even seems real.

Posted by: dc girl | August 16, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

LC is a b!tch! How many best friends has she gone through since she was on Laguna Beach. Her high standards and expectations from her friends is just crazy. I would start rumors about her too!

Posted by: Amanda | August 16, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Sure, the show is trash - but it's brilliant. The Hills is a far less idealized view of women's relationships than Sex and the City - the enmeshment and affection is there, but there's more honesty about the nastiness and sexual competition that also exists in real women's friendships. It's also been shocking to watch Heidi - certainly no Einstein, but a beautiful, rich and privileged young woman who you think would end up better - get slowly sucked into an abusive relationship as Spencer has methodically belittled her, threatened her and isolated her from her friends. Dismiss them as stupid and spoiled if you wish, but they're really just very ordinary young girls - not very bright, knowing they should be ambitious but clueless as to why, confused by the stronger people around them. They're future soccer moms - and it's great reality TV.

Posted by: Carla | August 17, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: MG | August 31, 2007 4:37 AM | Report abuse

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