Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Lauren Conrad

I'm not generally one for the watching of back to back US TV show episodes online. While I see the appeal of skipping the wait for a US show to get screened here (which sometimes takes forever, heres looking at you MTV and Channel 4) I am old fashioned and feel that the ritual of sittting down each week to give your half hour / hour up to a certain show is truly something to cherish.

But sometimes you can't help yourself.

I just watched episodes 8 and 9 of season 5 online, (i swore i'd watch week by week, i swore) and the final episode, a big double bill with Lauren Conrad making her exit from the show that made her a proper TV star. I'm really excited to see it. The Hills excels at big moments and you don't get much bigger than your main star leaving. Its a tricky one too. This is supposedly real life, Lauren is still going to be Lauren when she leaves the cameras behind, presumably she might still have contact with those on the show. Its a moment that could only happen on this show, part manufactured tension, part logisitical nightmare and part big moment, it set ups an interesting episode for Lauren to wave goodbye to the show that made her famous. (Or at least become a fashion designer /writer. The usual.)

So where did my obsession come from?

I've been a long time fan of The Hills, despite my initial, and quite accidental, developing of a habit for the show. ( I'm not even going to bother summing up The Hills because why bother but for those who really want a refresher or just a stroll down memory lane : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hills )

For whatever reason, despite having a fully fledged (I want to say crack habit at this point, because thats what it was like!) addiction to other reality trash on MTV like The Osbournes, Newlyweds (which I maintain was genuinely hilarious) and The Ashlee Simpson Show (*sigh*) I always comforted myself with the mantra of "At least you're not watching those really vapid fake teen reality drama shows, they are REALLY awful!" (I imagine this is what a crack addict says to themselves before they start becoming a full on meth head).

But for whatever reason, the idea of a reality show giving us a peek inside the world of Teen Vogue caught my attention. I'm assuming this has to do with my strange obsession with magazines in general and how they work as opposed to any brand loyalty I have with Teen Vogue but still. This show had a different premise (it seemed) and I was willing to give it a go. (I was also in second year of an Arts degree. So really, I wasn't EVER choosy about TV as long as it wasn't boring or worse again, sport).

But I found as soon as I started watching, the magazine stuff was interesting (oh Lisa Love and your stern editorial meetings, what a hoot) but it was the "drama" (admit it, you said "dram-ah" in a SoCal accent when you saw that word) that got me hooked. And the way it was shot. Seriously, this show, which was supposed to be "real", off the cuff, shooting stuff as it happened, looked and felt like some kind of extra glossy teen show. And when you've seen every episode of The O.C. you know what a glossy teen show looks like when you see it.

So The Hills became my addiction because it offered up so much in one bite sized TV chunk. The plot points of who did what to whom were always engrossing. The music offered up some great angsty pop gems and throwaway club jams with each episode (admit it, you've sashayed down the street to your ipod and pretended it was the opening sequence of a Hills scene. you have!) and it looked amazingly. So many times watching The Hills I have been struck by the sheer beauty of some of the shots. Seriously. The editing, the pace, this gave reality TV a cinematic, widescreen look that it was sorely missing. Obviously The Hills is a spin off and technically it was aping other shows but I feel like in terms of style, it really is the peak.

Also a show about the post college life of work/career/friends/relationships/independence hasn't really been down yet and to me that is a huge part of why this show has clicked with myself and so many others. Its fluff and pure fantasy but the basic idea, that next step that most teen dramas never explore gives The Hills an edge in a sense that other shows don't have.

That moment in the Season 5 trailer where Lauren says she doesn't know whats next feels pivotal. Thats the feeling, the first year out of college working in entry level jobs, digging for a career. You don't know whats next. The milestones of the next year of education, of graduation etc are gone. The Hills might not be real life but it tunes in to things in real life we don't usually talk about in most youth programming and for that it remains strangely unique.

And come lets face it, it is a perfect show to sit in front of and completely veg out. And that too is utterly appealing.

I suppose because Lauren is leaving the show, it feels like the end of it, despite MTV seeking to milk it when she's gone (I'd imagine The Hills is a cash cow not ready to be put up to slaughter). And given that I am soon to watch her last episode, it feels right to remember why this wierd reality/drama/soap/farce is one of my favourite shows because with Lauren gone the tone of the show will change dramatically.

I will keep watching, at least for awhile as I don't like to just stop following a show for no good reason but it only seems right that this rather normal, well to do Hollywood girl who has made a mint off of living her life on camera make me stop a second to think about why the show she lets her follow her around so much has me in its claws.

I just hope her final episode is good. There is nothing worse than a crappy TV send off. But I think I might wait to see this one on TV. We'll see.

In the mean time, amuse yourself with this badly edited and strangely creepy video of Lauren in her various opening credit moments of The Hills.

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