The producers edit Heidi's 21st-birthday publicity extravaganza so that it looks like a sad dinner alone with Spencer; plus, Lauren and Whitney pull off a Hollywood party

By Youyoung Lee
November 06, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Jeff Lipsky
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”The Hills” recap: Heidi’s not-so-lonely birthday

If you’ve ever seen a show that was more heavily edited than last night’s episode of The Hills, please pipe up now. (I’ll also pipe up now and say that I’m taking over this TV Watch for Lindsay Soll, who’s recovering from a shoulder injury.)

It absolutely blew my mind that MTV producers tried to play up Heidi’s ”surprise birthday dinner” with Spencer as a lonely, intimate affair. The added subtitles, the ”Don’t tell me I’m not” (having a good time, that is), and ”This year, it’s about me and Spencer” all contributed to the image of a very sad Heidi Montag grappling with the harsh reality of life devoid of friends. But did we actually see them eating? Anything? A lone cup of dessert — and a few glasses of wine — while seated at some black-leathered bar hardly constitutes a meal.

Thanks to the publicity about Heidi’s ”real” 21st-birthday and single-release party at the LAX nightclub in Vegas about a month ago, we know it was all faked. Speidi appeared dressed in exactly the same black suit and shiny black-silver number that they were photographed in at the Vegas event, even though the show made them out to be all alone. (True, Heidi’s less-than-impressive singing skills could have driven off any company, but I doubt that that was the case). So shed not a tear, TV Watchers. A girl who pranced around in a tiara and tutu for her 20th-birthday bash would rather die than bring in her 21st year without a bang. Not only has Momma got herself a brand-new bag (the latest Chanel, which she declared to be the ”best present I’ve ever received,” seemingly forgetting about the rock blinging on her finger), she also presented the world with the gift of her new song, ”Higher.”

Call it the reality behind reality television. MTV has always tried to make it seem that the Hills gals have at least a semblance of a normal life, but the constant media coverage of them renders that impossible. We no longer believe that Lauren and Heidi and Audrina are like us. We all know about Lauren’s much-publicized clothing line and Heidi’s singing career, even if neither project received a second of airtime, probably much to their dismay.

On to Young Hollywood. What a relief it was to see Lauren and Whitney actually break a sweat for Teen Vogue‘s annual party, which, if the featured Marc by Marc Jacobs fashion show is any indication, foreshadows spring 2008’s yellow-berets and long-haired-boys trend. That plastic, shiny-faced doll of a male model, I hope, is the exception to the rule.

The task? Seat 390 people in 15 minutes, a prospect that seemed to genuinely terrify both girls. Maybe it was her icy reception from Teen Vogue‘s New York staff the week before, but Whitney told Lauren, ”I’m nervous I’m about to get my ass whupped.” In fact, both gals seemed genuinely confused during the setup. As they were holding up lists and papers, I was reminded of that glorious scene in Zoolander when Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller turn into prehistoric hominids while trying to unlock a computer. That said, I’ve got to hand it to these girls — they hustled backstage and out front, staying out of the limelight (which I am sure is really hard for them to do at this type of event) and actually pulled together what looked to be a smooth-running affair. Whitney was admirably composed, considering that she usually only monkeys around with a clipboard, and both gals received kudos from editors Amy Astley and Lisa Love. (Question: Are alliterative names considered a plus by the Teen Vogue human-resources department?)

I do wish, though, that Whitney had taken some time to expand her vocabulary beyond ”okay” and ”yeah” — after the 50th time she repeated those words, I wanted to put her on mute. (I actually may have.) And backstage at the fashion show, Lauren sounded as if she were reciting a weird high-school-esque cheer by chanting ”7 to the 11 to the 1 and back again.” Still, a party can be considered a success when the only real scare is that Hillary Duff hasn’t been seated yet. (Other celebrities I spotted at the event were Emmy Rossum and Hayden Panettiere.)

NEXT: Audrina makes Justin Bobby jealous

This show was obviously shot at various times, as the three main story lines didn’t intersect once. As for Audrina’s story, our Crest Whitening Strip mascot seems to have been inspired by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and is now dressing like her sometime boyfriend. Before Justin Bobby, she used to wear cheerful, bright colors, occasionally even splashy prints. Now she’s gallivanting around rock concerts clad in grim black leather, her hair carefully ruffled. (I’m at a loss to explain Justin’s ridiculous baggy cropped pants.) And what’s up with Audrina bragging that she works at Epic? My friend works the beauty counter at Barneys — does that mean he can score me a private sesh with Bobbi Brown?

But the single most entertaining moment of the episode was one that I fear you TV Watchers may have missed. If you recorded it, do yourself a favor and fast-forward to minute 12: the moment when Audrina and Justin Bobby approached the Ruse outside the Viper Room. Audrina was nervously biting her lip, the band members were smiling, but somewhere behind them, unnoticeable at first, Justin Bobby did this knee-jerk wobble, lost his balance, and then appeared to fall off the curb.

All right, TV Watchers, what do you think about MTV being caught in the act of sneaky editing again? Do you think that Lauren and Whitney did a good job at the Young Hollywood party? And what was up with Justin Bobby’s esoteric three-word responses concerning Audrina’s availability? ”She’s pretty good.” These are basic ”yes” and ”no” questions here. Finally, next week’s juicy preview showed what looked like a healthy conversation between Heidi and Lauren. Is a tearful reconciliation in their future?

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