the hills season 3, episode 5, “rolling with the enemy”
September 4, 2007
[splashcast HFVA3520GX ZFNP9984AM]
- i love the rarity of lo’s appearances and how this has no impact on anything at all. it’s very convenient for the producers, to have a character that can just be dropped in and yanked out without any plot triage necessary. but it’s also entirely realistic, everyone has those kind of friends that you aren’t really close with but see on saturday night. it is to her credit that with a very limited amount of screen/plot time that she has established a shtick, gestures, patent pending looks etc.
- at first i was unsure about justinbobby but i have really warmed to him. the reason is that he introduces a whole new male verbal style to the hills. previously, the men on “the hills”/”laguna beach” were either functionally retarded and seemingly unable to speak (jason) or spoke in a very predictable cliché driven orwellian “dudespeak” (spencer (though he does have flashes of brilliance), talon, every other male character). justinbobby is the first really verbal male character and his chosen patois is this sort of “jim morrison doing a staged reading of ‘he’s not that into you'” greasy mystic shit that some girls (like audrina) lap up like chicken noodle soup (for the soul, obv.).
- whitney was back this week in top form, doing the things she does best which are purposefully goofy facial expressions. whole books could be written about her faux-awkwardness. the director i think she would work best with, besides the aforementioned youtube “passion of joan of arc”, is probably like soderbergh or something. the obvious choice would be all those mumblecore dudes, but while i liked “funny ha ha” and that young american bodies thing on nerve (it’s like a hipster version of the hills with nipples and bare asses), i think whitney is far too talented for them. maybe rob zombie
- i don’t know what to say about spencer’s facial hair. maybe that it feels like five o’ clock foreshadowing. he is probably going to go all howard hughes and sit there on youtube with a beard and long fingernails while heidi washes towels, folds them, unfolds them, washes them again, folds them etc. in an endless loop.
- the pool scene was exquisite. the tableuax of bodies in the long shot and, in the close-ups, all those giant sunglasses so you couldn’t see anyone’s eyes. dazzling.
- the scenes from next week were both troubling and intriguing. as much as jason is a horrible actor and will be awful on the show i think it is probably a good thing for the plot because it puts lauren in a more complicated moral situation (whether or not brody actually spread the sex tape rumors will also add to that). but the idea that heidi’s ugly, old coworker at bolthouse (i can’t remember her name) is suddenly a character who is supposed to have things happen to her instead of being a plastic sounding board for heidi’s issues is ludicrous. if there is anything the show needs, it is not more major characters.
(p.s. i enjoyed the ad-break music things with mark ronson, even if they were a little over the top. i want his suit and his guitar and his decks. wasn’t there an amy winehouse song somewhere around the middle of the episode? i haven’t been paying attention but i wonder if the people in the ad breaks always have a song in the episode.)
in the player is a song called “having a coke with you”, which is a musical setting with embellishments of the frank o’hara poem of same name. recently, MTV chose john ashberry as it’s first “MTVU poet laureate.” while i am aware that this is a title that means absolutely nothing at all, less than who wins “celebrity rap superstar” (and actually a lot less because that is an important thing), I still i have to say that frank o’hara would have been a much better choice for the position. i don’t care that he’s dead, in this post-anna nicole age, dead is as alive as alive is, if not moreso. o’hara’s the poet of facebook and myspace (god, how many friends would he have); his poems trace dense webs of connections and friendships and he name-drops like nobody else. he’s the poet of product placement, of the mention and/or rhapsodic celebration of the commercial object. most importantly, he speaks to our horribly transcendent celebrity culture better than anybody. listen:
Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
all the wonderful mess of paris/nicole/britney/lindsay/lauren/(insert the next girl’s name here) — all of it is summed up right there. this poem is over fifty years old.
so basically for the MTV crowd i tried to turn the poem into this sort of pop punk love romp, which is most obvious in the chorus where the eloquent superlatives and reflections of the verse give way to a set of crude similes in which i tried to do my best mall punk imitation even though i was never punk in high school maybe for about ten minutes. still i mean all of it, it’s not just empty parody, except with the exception that really i have no interest watching monkeys have sex at all much less all day but it was something i could imagine a fifteen year old boy in a hoodie say to a fifteen year old girl in a food court somewhere. in closing, i would say the song is about 37% ironic, which is a pretty good percentage these days, what with the interest rate debacle and everything.