The Hills: Sheryl Nields
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January 24, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

”The Hills”: The pregnancy test

Heidi, you b—

Sorry. When I agreed to do this week’s Hills TV Watch for Jennifer Armstrong (who’s on assignment), I promised myself that no matter how crazy the kids drove me, I wouldn’t resort to name-calling. What’s more, I fully expected that the temptation to call names would come from Heidi’s wannabe-player boyfriend Spencer and not his victim. (I was planning to avoid calling Spencer names like Loser, Sociopath, Fame Whore, Creep.) But I never expected that I would actually feel some sympathy for him.

After last week’s pregnancy scare turned out to be a false alarm, Heidi’s first response was to summon Spencer, sit down with a ”serious aura” in the front seat of his car, and basically jab the still-dripping stick between his ribs and twist it, letting him believe for what seemed to be an hour that she was actually expecting. ”I took a pregnancy test,” she finally said, ”and…I’m not pregnant.” The ellipsis was positively Seacrestian.

Though it was gratifying to see that smug smile momentarily wiped off Spencer’s face, even he didn’t deserve to have the rug yanked out from under his feet like that. (Neither, for that matter, do we, the viewers.) Spencer quickly regained his footing, though, lying about Audrina and telling Heidi that from then on, he would be testing her. True to his word, next time we saw him he was asking Audrina out on a date.

The following morning, Heidi explained her motivation to Lauren, who, God bless her, rolled her eyes through the entire conversation: ”If he was gonna react wrongly,” Heidi said, ”then I wouldn’t want to be with him.” Lauren replied wisely, ”I don’t think there’s a right way to react to that, though.” Now do you see why she’s the main focus of the show?

Indeed, despite Heidi’s star turn, the rest of the episode was about Lauren. First, Lisa Love sent her off to work at a fashion show by swimsuit designer Ashley Paige, adding, ”She’s a friend of Amy Astley’s [Teen Vogue’s top editor], so it’s a special request.” As soon as Lauren arrived at Ashley Paige’s shop, she was set upon by the flustered designer and a series of underworked assistants and interns who began ordering her to do stuff they could just as easily have done themselves. Answer the phone! (”Interns never know how to answer phones,” said Ashley. ”It’s ridiculous.” Sew some appliqués on this parasol! Dig the wick out of this magic witchcraft candle! (”It really works, too,” drawled Ashley. ”It’s a green money candle.”) It was all a bit too much. The Hills is supposed to remind you of The O.C., not Punk’d.

In the episode’s third story line (they cram a lot into a show that, without commercials, is about eight minutes long), Heidi set up Lauren to go on a date with Brody Jenner, who’s the son of the Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, the stepson of the songwriter David Foster, and one of the stars of the failed reality show The Princes of Malibu, as well as being, according to Heidi, ”Spencer’s best friend.” (Or, as they pronounce it out there, ”Spuncer’s bust frund?”) At first, Lauren wasn’t having it: ”Heidi,” she sighed. ”He’s been touched by Kristin. He’s like tainted.”

Sadly, as it turned out, Brody seems to have somehow been tainted by another former Laguna Beach star, Jason. Watching Lauren and Brody struggle through their dinner and fail miserably at first-date banter and then sit there mutely and smile at each other (sheepishly on her part; exasperatedly but handsomely on his) was a painful flashback to L.C. and J. Wahl’s subverbal mating rituals. Can I aim just a little name-calling at Brody? Please? It’s an insult: Jason Jr.

What do you think? Did you feel manipulated by the pregnancy plotline? Do you ever find yourself getting sad because Lauren never seems to be happy? And do you prefer it when her boss is being Lisa Love or Lisa Hate?

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