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'The Hills' recap: Lauren looks back, Whitney looks forward, and Stephanie looks baffled

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Thehills_lIs it just me or do the episodes that are practically Audrina-free seem kind of refreshing these days? Granted, last night we did have to suffer through a whole  entirely unnecessary two minutes of her hanging out with Lauren (a scene we all know was inserted in to reinforce to viewers that yes, even after the Justin Bobby blowout, these two girls are still friends…riiighhhtt), but I was okay with it. Obviously, it would be refreshing for the show to whittle down the Speidi time, too, but in this day in age—ahem, with an abundance of tabloid covers like this one—we all know that ain’t happening any time soon.

Speaking of the evil fair-haired duo, they, along with She-Pratt (wow, is it a good or bad thing that I haven’t called her that in a long time?), got my vote for the Down Hill Moment of the Week (04:00; and 13:00): Listening to Spencer whine about Stephanie’s boyfriend, Cameron, is not a novel concept for the show. In fact, listening to Spencer whine in general is pretty much as regular on the Hills as picturesque shots of the beach are, so it wasn’t surprising that he told his sister to send the dude packing once and for all. What was surprising, however, was that Spencer almost seemed like a genuine human when Stephanie admitted to him that part of the problem with her relationship with Cameron was that he wasn’t willing to go the distance for her. “Then he’s not worth your time if he can’t drive 15 minutes to see you. That’s just like, straight punk,” Spencer said. Of course, he returned to his usual alien self immediately afterward: “Go be a nun,” he advised her before asking condescendingly, “Do you know how immature and stupid this relationship sounds from an outside perspective?” Funny, I wonder if he’s ever asked himself the same question, oh you know, after driving all the way to Colorado to stalk Heidi when she “needed space,” or heck, after following Heidi to Vegas to barge in on her “important” business meeting? Later on at the Falcon Restaurant + Lounge (aptly named, though vulture would’ve been slightly more suitable), Stephanie “shocked” Speidi by bringing along Cameron to dinner. Before the poor boy even had a chance to place his napkin in his lap, Spencer shared his disapproval with the entire table. “Last I heard he was making you cry,” he said to She-Pratt, “so obviously things have changed?” Part of me wanted to be able to applaud Spencer’s attempt at being the stereotypical protective big brother, but that part of me was quickly overcome by the snide look on both his and Heidi’s faces. Oh, Stephanie, all you ever wanted was for everyone to get along. How adorably naive — you should really consider becoming better friends with Audrina.

Up Hill Moment (26:00): Lauren and Lo (pictured) ventured back totheir old stomping grounds — Laguna Beach — to help pack up Lauren’sbedroom (er, not that we actually ever saw either of them lay a hand ontape, scissors, or any cardboard boxes) because mom and pop Conrad haddecided to downsize their killer mansion to a smaller house. The entirestory line may have seemed lame to some, but I found it to be, well, alittle sentimental. Perhaps it was the aerial view of the oceansidecity (and the soundtrack of Hillary Duff’s “Come Clean” playing in myhead) as L & L drove up, or even the diary entry Lauren read aloudin which she mentioned her first kiss with Stephen (as in Colletti) —but somehow the trip down memory lane made me nostalgic for the daysbefore The Hills existed. You know, when Lauren went by L.C. and squabbled with a junior named Kristin? Back then we could watch Laguna Beacheach week without knowing months ahead of time what was going tohappen. Oh, how I miss those carefree, innocent days. I know a vastmajority of you out there do, too, so stop rolling your eyes at myparagraph-long rant and start reminiscing. Sing it with me now, “Let’sgo back, back to the beginning…”

Bonus Up Hill Moment (16:00): Besides an appearance by our favorite boss Kelly Cutrone (who rumor has it may be getting her own series soon!), this bonus shout out goes to Whitney and the fact that her The City spin-off has finally come to fruition on The Hills.Last night Cutrone offered Whitney the chance to interview for aonce-in-a-lifetime (yes, if you’re a star on MTV, that is) positionwith Diane Von Furstenberg. Of course, the catch was that she wouldhave to — wait for it — relocate to The Big Apple. Wow, didn’t see thatone coming, did we? Of course, a job in NYC wouldn’t be so bad now thatWhitney conveniently has a love interest (a.k.a. Jay) there. “What Ireally need to keep in the back of my head is,” Whitney said to Lauren,”if I’m doing this, I’m doing this for the job and not for any otherreason, you know?” Oh, we know, Whit, we sooo know (wink,wink). One transcontinental plane ride later, Whitney arrived at theDVF offices (and climbed an alarming amount of stairs), aced herincredibly easy interview — seriously, the most difficult questionthrown at her was probably, “How quickly could you start? — and foundabout five minutes to fondle her “crush” Jay (I think he was labeledthat, right? That dang Hills After Show logo was covering it upon my screen). “I wanna get back here like as soon as possible,” sheexclaimed to him. Soon is more than possible: Her show premieres onDec. 29.

Until next time Hills fans and Pop Watchers, tell me: What were your highs and lows from last night’s episode? Did you find yourself missing Laguna Beachas much as I did? Do you care at all about that Cameron kid? Finally,are you, too, a little bit perplexed as to how Heidi and Spencer’s”spontaneous” wedding is already airing on next week’s show? Discussbelow.