On ''The Hills,'' although Lauren buys Jason some nice golf clubs for his birthday, it seems he still wants to be a player

By Jennifer Armstrong
June 29, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • TV Show

”The Hills”: Lauren gets Jasoned again

I hate to keep harping on how everything that happens on The Hills feels like it’s on the wrong side of reality, but seriously, did they cut some kind of deal to get Jason onto the show that awards him a minimum percentage of plot time in exchange for showing up and being uncharacteristically sweet to Lauren? Because he’s still given no discernible reason for his move to L.A., and now all of a sudden we get an entire episode dedicated to his birthday? It’s as sketchy as…well, as sketchy as he is. Or was, at least, back in his chick-swapping Laguna Beach days.

We opened with some golf-club shopping — because Lauren had to buy the boy a gift, of course — during which the name Callaway was dropped repeatedly (and then more later when he received said gift; product placement, anyone?). Then, when Lauren got to the Teen Vogue office, the core source of our ”suspense” for the episode was put into play: She would have to help out at a photo shoot the same day as Jason’s birthday. Would Jason ever forgive her? How would she give him the Callaway golf clubs? Could she at least get out in time for dinner, which they would have after he used the Callaway golf clubs? Or would Jason just leave her and take the Callaway golf clubs with him?

Meanwhile, Audrina and Heidi were in the pool, mentally preparing us for the fact that we’d have to watch Audrina go on another date — though, thankfully, not with Jordan’s deadly boring friend Brian (he of the ”I really like your hair” line from two eps back). This guy, she said, seemed like ”a good one” — which, she explained, meant he had a really good body. Which I took to mean he didn’t have the wit or charisma of Brian. Which I took to mean I was not psyched about this impending date.

Back at the apartment, Jason was now walking in unannounced, all comfy like he’d been living there for years. He took the bad news that Lauren was working on his birthday rather well. I thought. Or maybe not. It’s literally impossible to tell with his inflection (or lack thereof). What he said was ”So you have to work on my birthday. Whatever.” That may have been sarcastic. Or hurt. Or pissed. Or indifferent. You make the call.

And then, oh crap, it was time for the Audrina date. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by this one, despite its total lack of relevance to any overarching plots. (The terms ”relevance” and ”overarching plots” are used very loosely in the context of this show, natch.) At least this dude was cute, in an aspiring-model-actor-surfer, I-wanna-be-the-next-Chris Carmack kinda way. And cheers to him for obviously asking Audrina out just to get on camera. First he checked his messages before they even ordered dinner; then he went out of his way to tell her it was, you know, just his agent on his voice-mail, no big deal. Then, when the waiter brought their food, he had his audition line ready: ”That looks wonderful!!!” (Yes, three exclamation points.) Audrina, bless her heart, looked shocked when he told her, ”I haven’t had a long-term relationship probably ever.” (What? Really?) Surfer boy encouraged her to pick up her cell when it rang, saying, way too earnestly, ”It’s the right thing to do.” It was Heidi on the line, saying to Aud, all covert-style, ”If he’s really cute and sweet, tell me the food is good.” Audrina’s answer: ”It’s a little greasy.” And…scene.

After that performance, I was a little sorry to be back in Jason’s Birthday Land. Lauren was busy lining up shoes — categorized, naturally, into sneakers, ballet flats, and pumps — and then being sudden BFFs with editor guy Blaine, who peppered her with questions about Jason’s birthday gift like he was at a White House press briefing: ”Did you go get golf clubs?…Are you going to give them to him tonight?…Are you going to see him tonight?…Just the two of you?” (That relentless journalistic spirit must be what recently landed our boy a new gig at Glamour magazine back here in real life. Congrats, Blaine!)

But time was ticking, and, OMG, would she make it to Jason’s birthday dinner? It still wasn’t clear, but one thing was: Jason looooved his new Callaway golf clubs, which she’d left in his trunk to surprise him. He called to tell her so, showing some seemingly real, genuine emotion for the first time ever. But I couldn’t help noticing that she was now signing off of their calls with ”I love you.” Wow, these reality-show types don’t waste any time, do they?

As it turned out, she made it to the evening celebration — she skipped the optional beach portion of the shoot, but whatev — and there our happy couple was, all improbably gushy again. ”Hi, honey, I missed you!” he cooed upon seeing her. They held hands. They kissed. But when they got to the restaurant — where they greeted an astonishingly large group of friends for the birthday of a guy who just moved to town — we got a little lesson in male-female relations. He had told her he might want to go out after dinner, so she should take his car home, the implication being that he would be going without her. She had told him she’d go with him if he wanted her to, even though she didn’t really feel like partying. He then went and chatted with some folks down at the other end of the table — which, if I may interject, seems a polite and social thing to do at your own birthday celebration. She then got all pouty and like, ”It’s kinda lame he’s not sitting by me.” And guess what happened at the end of the night. That’s right, kids: She drove home in his car, alone.

Lauren, sweets, a little advice for next time: Let him go out alone if he wants; act like you don’t care; and look like you’re having a perfectly good time without him at the other end of the table. He’ll be so scared of losing precious plot time that he’ll be back at your side in a matter of seconds.

What do you think? How many more episodes will Jason and Lauren’s romance last? Should Lauren have gone to the beach shoot? And will Audrina ever find true love?

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