Thursday, May 01, 2008

Coming to terms with my Hills obsession

I was just about to start writing about how I was so proud of myself for not having written about The Hills this week, and then I remembered I posted about my gag reflex in response to Speidi Takes On Washington D.C. just two days ago. Oh well. Last night at dinner I was talking to a friend who doesn't watch The Hills (appalling, but I applaud his resistance) and although he isn't a regular viewer, he is certainly aware of the cultural phenomenon the show has become. I'd be surprised to find someone who wasn't informed of the latest adventures of Lauren Conrad and company, whether they want to or not. Paris Hilton invented the act of finding fame and celebrity for doing nothing, but the cast of The Hills has perfected the art.

What I love about the show, beyond the trivial lives of it's main characters, is the role Los Angeles plays. I don't think LA has ever been more glamorized, and I equate the city's portrayal akin to that of New York's in Sex and the City. In both of these shows, the city itself plays a central part in the drama, comedy, and turmoils or happy resolutions of the key characters. In both there are four women looking for love and happiness in a classic American city where glamor, gossip, and guys are the subplots of life. LA is the fifth woman, providing the backdrop and perpetuating the drama. For who would Lauren et al be without Goa on Thursday nights? Or the Equinox in West Hollywood? Or their beautiful home with a pool in the Hollywood Hills?

Hold the phone... I've been to Goa, I was just taking a pilates class at Equinox this morning, and I don't live in the hills but my apartment complex has a pool and I am just two and a half blocks from the beach in Santa Monica. I live The Hills! I am Lauren Conrad! (Actually, no I am definitely not Lauren. I guess if I could relate to any starlet on the show it would be Lo, who seems to be the only one living a less artificial life, and maybe has her head on straight, even though she is a more recent cast addition despite being an original from Lauren's days as "LC" on Laguna Beach). I work in Hollywood, in the entertainment industry, as do many of my friends, and we are social girls with drama, boy troubles, job troubles, and even a few feuds here and there (seriously, two of my friends just "broke up"). Perhaps on some level, I am hopelessly addicted to The Hills because I see elements of myself and my life reflected in the lives of those played out on screen.

Wait a minute, who am I kidding? If I really grasp at strings I can make a few parallels, but please, my life is NOTHING like The Hills! That's what makes the show so great--my LA couldn't be more distant from their LA, and thank goodness for that. The one time I went to Goa, I might have brushed by Brody Jenner, but I couldn't have been more out of my element (and we got kicked out because one of my friends was too drunk to stand, so I obviously lack social etiquette). When I go to Equinox I have usually just rolled out of bed and thanks to my sweating problem I do NOT look all that perky and put together with make-up intact. My apartment might be in a great location but the building is straight out of 1975 with an elevator that seems to be some sort of 1930s hydraulic contraption. A few of my friends can be over the top but overall they are fun-loving, low key and drama free. My life, our lives, are realistic. At the end of the day, The Hills is not.

Clearly, I have a serious love/hate relationship with the show, and am obviously struggling to come to terms with what is ultimately a love for it. It has undeniable pop culture appeal, and I am a pop culture junkie and self-proclaimed pop culture know-it-all. This is just my shtick. So rather than bemoan the prevalence of Hills-related posts, from here on out I am going to embrace it. (Translate: These quasi-intellectual Hills posts are going to keep on coming, so get used to it. Sure to follow are a lot of posts about the 90210 spin-off. Oh wait, that's already happening.) I can relate, but my LA existence is different enough that I can observe from a distance, and enjoy the "reality" show for the fantasy that it really is.

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