”The Hills” recap: Forget Paris
Bonjour, mes amis, bienvenue de nouveau à une autre saison des Collines! (Translation: Hello, friends, welcome back to another season of The Hills!) Thought I’d throw in a little français in honor of our one-episode-long adventure in the City of Lights. Yeah, about that: Am I the only one who thought Paris was going to take up most of this season, or was that just something I hallucinated? I, for one, would’ve gladly embraced the idea of watching Lauren and Whitney explore a strange city over the next few weeks. Imagine the possibilities: They could’ve taken up cigarette smoking and given up teeth whitening, or they could’ve attempted to pull off an art heist in the Louvre. (”No, Whitney,” Lauren would say. ”Madonna of the Rocks is a painting, not an album title.”)
In case you’ve forgotten why we’re in Paris, last year Teen Vogue‘s West Coast boss, Lisa Love, told Whitney and Lauren to fly across the world to work at the annual Crillon Ball. (Thanks to my extensive Internet research — a.k.a. Wikipedia — I learned that the event is a debutante ball that’s been held every year at the Hôtel de Crillon since 1991. To sign up for this ”coming out” party, you must be between the ages of 16 and 19 and belong to an elite family with lots and lots of disposable income. Finally, you’d better have connections in the fashion world, because you must wear a gown from a French couture house or from a leading international designer.) But my question is, Did Lauren and Whitney actually do anything that could be called ”work”? The minute they landed in Paris, a car service took them around to pick up various articles of clothing for the debutantes, as well as their own gowns, courtesy of Italian dressmaker Alberta Ferretti, and they also helped out here and there at a photo shoot, but besides that, what was their purpose at the Crillon Ball? Just to hold up signs and look pretty?
Somehow in the middle of all of these so-called responsibilities, Lauren and Whitney found time to
secure Parisian love interests hang out with a band that Lauren and Audrina had met in L.A. called Rock & Roll. What an original name for a band, right? I wonder what type of music they play. Guitarist Matthias (full name: Matthias Cadéac D’Arbaud; try saying that three times fast) apparently had an immediate crush on Lauren from the way he staked his claim the minute she and Whitney walked into the Plaza Athénée hotel. ”Lauren is cute,” he declared to his bandmates, one of whom looked like he could be Andy Samberg’s long-lost French cousin. Later on in the night, the band took the girls to drink champagne underneath the Eiffel Tower, because somehow MTV had to fit that cliché moment into this episode.
I know most of you are probably dying for more information on this hairy, chain-smoking band (you know I was!), so I hunted down their MySpace page. Please take special note of the title of their EP, Losers, Boozers, Jacuzzi Users (yeah, that pretty much just sums them up in four words or less, doesn’t it?), and of Matthias’ own MySpace page, in which it says that he is — wait for it — married! [Insert dun, dun dun sound effect here.] Didn’t MTV check into him beforehand? (As you may recall, the New York Post reported last year that the Hills producers were ”frantically calling publicists” to find guys for the ladies to have a ”love affair” with abroad.) But what’s more shocking than that is that Matthias’ page says he’s only 24 years old! Seriously? He looks at least 30. I don’t know, maybe it’s the way he pronounces Lauren as ”Lurgh-enn” that ages him.
The night after the Eiffel Tower drinking fiesta, some of the members of Rock & Roll invited Lauren and Whitney to go to a ”pretty fancy” club called Neo. With nothing to wear for the occasion, Lauren brilliantly decided to sew a removable hem into her Crillon Ball gown and wear that out. (Um, didn’t we see her pack an entire suitcase of shoes for Paris? What exactly was she planning on wearing those shoes with, anyway?) This entire idea was just a recipe for disaster: Did she honestly expect nothing to get on the gown while she was drinking at a club filled with smokers and glasses of red wine? Or, if that didn’t happen, did she not expect bad karma to come back and bite her on the ass some other way? Unfortunately it did — and in the form of a curling iron. (I loved Whitney’s bewildered reaction to the stains on the dress: ”The curling iron does something like that?”) You might assume that the burns were just a ploy by the producers to stir up drama, but from the looks of Lauren’s welled-up tears, her almost meltdown was real. (Plus, if you rewatch the part when Lauren discovered the stain, the unsteady zoom-in on the dress shows that the cameraman was unprepared.) Fortunately, the fashion gods must’ve been in a good mood, because the manager of the Alberta Ferretti store offered to give Lauren another dress when Whitney called him about the ”setback.” (Nice word choice there, Whit; very professional.) A gown by Alberta Ferretti costs, on average, upwards of $2,000. So to get another one without any sort of punishment or slap on the wrist still seems a little suspicious.
NEXT: Another Spencer-Heidi fight
It also seems a little suspicious how fast the girls got ready for the big night. Whitney told the store manager that they only had an hour until they had to be at the ball, and in that time they somehow got Lauren a new dress, did their makeup, got their hair done, and ended up looking gorgeous. Apparently an hour in Paris is equivalent to five in L.A.
Kimball Hastings, Teen Vogue‘s resident fashion guru and boss to Lauren and Whitney while in Paris, was none the wiser about Lauren’s dress switcheroo, but he did catch on to Whitney’s lack of enthusiasm for the tasks she’d been given during the trip. ”I didn’t feel like at the shoot when you were taking down all the notes, it just didn’t seem quite natural to me,” he told her before asking where she sees herself career-wise. ”I sort of see myself in styling,” she replied, and he said pointedly, ”Then maybe you should do that.” I will give Kimball credit for being a tad more animated and approachable than our dear Lisa Love, but wow, way to be blunt to an employee. He might as well have said, ”Yeah, we’re just over this whole MTV thing, and we’re basically just over you. So go pursue something else when you get back. Thanks.”
The big Crillon Ball culminated in Lauren leaving to take a ride on Matthias’ Vespa so he could ”show her the city” before she went home. Mind you, she was still wearing her (second) gown when she decided to go on this excursion. Who wants to take bets that Alberta Ferretti will never again supply Teen Vogue with loaners after this? I was half expecting Lauren’s midnight tour of Paris to end in a hot and heavy make-out session with her French lover (”Oh, Lurgh-enn, my darling, you are exquisite,” he would cry out. ”Run away with me — all we need to keep us alive is our love”), but alas it did not, and it’s back to the States we go.
We’ll have to wait until next week to see what goes down with Lauren’s on-again, off-again beau Brody now that, according to Audrina, he has a girlfriend. So let me get this straight: Lauren was only away for a week, and in that time, Brody went and got himself a significant other. What is up with that? Relationships don’t just happen overnight. (Okay, well, in high school they might.) Looking back, Lauren’s other ex, Jason, got a fiancée within months of knowing the girl, and now Brody gets a girlfriend within days. It’s like Lauren’s the Good Luck Chuck of the reality-TV world or something.
As much as I am tired of the Brody nonsense (especially because we all read about his hookups on gossip blogs practically every day), I do appreciate the conversations it stirs up between Whitney and Lauren. When Whitney told her, ”I’m sure that Paris is full of guys that are cooler than Brody,” I laughed only because I’m sure that pretty much everywhere in the world is full of guys that are cooler than Brody. I also found the short French lesson Lauren gave Whitney in their hotel room to be hilarious. ”I need to go find a rebonder,” Lauren said while perusing a translation book. ”A real man?” asked Whitney. ”No!” said Lauren. ”A rebound.”
Speaking of people who need to find a real man, Heidi continued to
pretend to be in a fight with Spencer agonize over Spencer. (Oh, and in case you didn’t catch the 50 times MTV put up titles on the bottom of the screen to say where we were, she was in Crested Butte, Colo., with her family.) Heidi’s mom, Darlene, offered her some good advice, ”I would love to see you starting fresh and just working on yourself for a little while.” Thank you, Darlene. We would all love that, too, but that’s not the way the Abominable Snowman, er, Spencer, is going to let this thing play out. So in typical Spencer fashion, he showed up in Crested Butte to try to reconcile with Heidi, and (yada yada yada) the pair continued to go aimlessly back and forth about their relationship. Honestly, I can’t even remember what they were fighting about when they supposedly broke up. What I do know is that according to the gossip columns, they are still together today, so it’s hard to get involved in this ”struggling couple” story line. Can they take up hobbies or something? Heidi can learn to tap dance, and Spencer can learn how to make model airplanes — anything so we don’t have to witness any more awkwardly fake tiffs between them.
All right, mes amis, it’s time for me to say au revoir, but before I go, I wanted to pick your brain: What’d you think of the Paris trip overall? Will we ever see Matthias again? Were you surprised to see how up-front Whitney was about wanting to quit Teen Vogue? Are you completely over Spencer and Heidi? Was it just me, or did Heidi’s lips get more plump as the episode went on? Finally, what was with the dramatic music dubbed over the ”this season on The Hills” scenes at the end of the episode ? (Last time I checked, this wasn’t CSI!)