MTV // 2010 // 220 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 27th, 2010
It's on, bitch!
The Hills has become an unstoppable phenomenon like it or not, and this set of discs exist as the proof. The show lost its main star halfway through the fifth year, yet it bravely carries on! The producers had to deal with the departure of its narrator and central character Lauren Conrad, the aspiring fashionista who moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and decided in 2010 that she'd had enough of cameras and fame. This had happened on an MTV reality show before when Lauren graduated high school and left Laguna Beach where she was replaced by Kristin Cavallari. So what does The Hills do? They bring in Kristin to replace her on this show, and so the second life of the series begins with The Hills: Season Five, Part Two.
The cast includes the following characters:
* Kristin Cavallari -- Aspiring actress, troublemaker, and friend of Stacie and Heidi. The new star of the show!
* Audrina Patridge -- Kristin's high school nemesis who "works" for Epic Records, and is not happy to see Kristin return.
* Heidi Montag -- Blonde aspiring singer who is newly married to Spencer. She primps, preens, and whines.
* Spencer Pratt -- Heidi's husband who refuses to grow up. He so badly wants to avoid having a baby with his wife that he considers a voluntary vasectomy.
* Lo Bosworth -- Mutual friend of everybody from Laguna Beach. Lo just seems to exist inside random coffee shops to commiserate and give advice.
* Stephanie Pratt -- Spencer's sister and friends with the core group of girls.
* Brody Jenner -- Kristin's ex-boyfriend and Spencer's friend.
* Justin Brescia -- Audrina's ex-boyfriend, Kristin's love interest. He is often unshaven and torn between two lovers.
* Stacie Hall -- Kristin's friend, the former bartender.
* Holly Montag -- Heidi's sister who appears to have a drinking problem that makes her think she can break dance.
* Frankie Delgado -- Brody's close friend who simply appears to be a hanger on.
* Jayde Nicole -- Brody's girlfriend who likes wearing bikinis everywhere.
* Charlie Smith -- Spencer's Friend who just offers a nod here and there.
* Enzo -- The young next-door-neighbor who likes to hang out with Spencer and Heidi.
Some long time fans of The Hills claim that with Lauren Conrad leaving the show it just wasn't the same. The tone shifted, and we got a lot more of the relationship gossip and party attitude. There is far less of any career or school drama, and so much more of Heidi and Spencer trying to make their life work as newlyweds. A lot of scenes revolve around their rather unconventional domestic life with Heidi whining about babies constantly. Meanwhile Spencer does everything he passive aggressively can to thwart her plan to get knocked up. The parts with Kristin Cavallari center on dating and dealing with her friend dramas, which all stem from the guys she choses to see. Kristin likes to date everybody else's ex-boyfriends, and that never sits well with the rest of the group. She definitely stirs things up with Audrina, and they become the focus as a familiar feeling love triangle emerges.
The drama is rather quiet and subdued most of the time. The show always follows a formula of showing a quick incident at a party or public gathering, and then they go to a restaurant and feature a couple or three people discussing things ad nauseum. I am not sure how the stick thin cast remain so skinny considering the series shows them pushing food around with their forks so often or sipping on generous glasses of white wine. They must spend hours around food and alcohol in trendy bars and eateries scattered around Los Angeles. The cast could probably construct an eating guide to rival Zagat's, although I'm sure they avoid most of the menu. They come for the drama and not the appetizers.
As the episodes rolled on I found my mind drifting away from the machinations of who was dating who, or who was trying to make who jealous, and instead I wondered about the material world. How do these young twenty-somethings afford such great clothes, fabulous meals, and expensive houses in Los Angeles? None of them seem particularly consumed with their jobs, which never get more than a passing mention. Hell, when I was hacking out my early twenties I was living in an efficiency in a bad part of town and lucky to eat Ramen noodles on a good night. None of these people live in the real world, and they have money enough to make the show feel like pure fantasy. It's basically Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous done with young adults who barely struggle with anything other than how to appear interesting in front of the cameras.
The DVDs include all ten episodes that made up part two of Season Five. The transfers include the widescreen program with adequate color and minimal digital artifacts. The entire show is shot on the fly, and sometimes it looks a little dark or over exposed. Overall it can be a touch soft especially for a series that stars young people who don't need the filtering effect to counter their age. The stereo mix is fine to hear the pop songs that blast over montages, and you hear most of the dialogue well enough. Extras include "The Bitch is Back" MTV special which discusses the return of Kristin. It aired before the second part of the season, and was part of the buildup to the new focus of the show. Oddly it was filmed live before a studio audience in Toronto. There are deleted scenes, and then "After Show Remixes" which are simply catch phrases or clips cut in a montage.
Many controversies have swirled around The Hills asking if it's "real" or "scripted." Does this truly matter? None of these people live normal lives anyway because they have enough money to shelter them from what being young and dumb really costs you. Well that, and they have cameras in their faces and legions of fans. No, this is more a tepid soap opera that shows Los Angeles off to good effect while allowing this group of over-privileged kids their Warholian fifteen minutes of fame. It's like lip gloss -- tastes okay and shimmers pretty well, but not really necessary. I think The Hills is an escape for those who watch it, and it is purposefully mindless and lacking in depth or complexity. This set will appeal to fans and repel those who would not normally watch it. With Lauren Conrad out of the picture The Hills seems to slip into a place that is even more vapid than where it started off. Rumor has it the next season is the last, but we'll see. I can't imagine what this gang of gossip girls will do after their cash cow runs dry. They may even have to...gasp!...do some real work and live normal lives. OMG!
Guilty pleasure and pain all at once.
Review content copyright © 2010 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 220 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Deleted Scenes
* After the Show Remix
* Official Site