the hills season 3, episode 6, “second chances”
September 11, 2007
[splashcast FTON3005RU IEWO3982YY]
- there was some superb face acting in this episode. whitney opened things up with her usual bravura performance. note the way she tilts her head back to the left at an extreme diagonal and, then, in the next shot, she has her face over on the right side of the frame prone, and then transitions back with a hair flip and blink to the left side of the frame; it’s like some modern dance shit. lauren had some great eye rolling and hair tugging in the dinner date scene, and heidi was excellent in her scene with elodie after she got the job. she did two great expressions that were these combinations of like shrugs and gasps and coughs and blinks and muttered apologies and just great, like a braque painting animated by the team that did “waking life”.
- an interesting character insight involved lauren’s paranoiac musings on what i will call “guy radar.” in the first scene, she imagines jason constantly monitoring her with a beeper, which goes off the moment that everything is going okay in her life so he can come disrupt it. then two scenes later, with audrina, she shapes the idea into loser guys calling her at the exact second she’s stopped thinking about them “because they KNOW you’ve stopped thinking about them, it’s like a RADAR.” this is interesting 1) because everyone knows people repeat the same shit with slight permutations over and over again and 2) it keys in to lauren’s general distrust of anything with a penis in an interesting pynchonesque kind of way.
- i still don’t like the fact that elodie is actually a character now, but i’ve decided it does serve a purpose. after heidi quit school and got the job at bolthouse, there was the initial “heidi-is-a-ditz-and-crappy-at-her-job” drama and then absolutely nothing interesting happened there ever again. all the bolthouse/work scenes consisted of heidi ranting to elodie about what was happening in the rest of the show. now at least there’ll be some drama to those work scenes.
- in terms of dialogue, this episode was probably the best of the season. i think my favorite exchange was when lauren was on the phone and lo whispered, “oh is that your daddy?” and lauren said, “it’s jason”. i imagine teen freud eating skittles and reading “teen people” and sniffing a perfume sample from said teen people all while watching this episode of “the hills” and when those lines come up he just loses it and has to be revived with smelling salts.
- speaking of dicks, this season “the hills” is really big on larger-than-life symbolic representations of the male ego. first, of course, was the giant graffito-tagged hollywood sign that spencer had put up on the wall of the apartment. in this episode, one scene opened with a massive motorcycle filling the frame and then there was a focus pull to reveal audrina and justinbobby coming up off the shore, dwarfed by it.
- i’ve talked before about the use of music cues in “the hills.” something which i’ve seen before but only really noticed in this episode is the way that the scene proper (the dialogue, action – the meat) will end and then, as the music cue builds up in the background, there are one or two shots where the characters hold their poses, as if in the scene they are hearing the music; like instead of living in real life, they are living in the edited version of the show. you can see this demonstrated all over the place, but i feel its presence most at the end of heidi’s meeting with brent bolthouse and after lo and audrina and lauren’s dinner and after lauren and jason meet for coffee and ok really it’s like almost every scene and i can’t believe i haven’t verbalized it before. it would be interesting to have something like this in real life, music cues rising in the air around you to capture the convesational zeitgeist and let you just sit there and soak in the moment with a perfectly chosen song by God’s music supervisor and then you could go on with your day. ((p.s. i was watching this interview with mike figgis about godard on the dvd of “weekend” this weekend and he was talking about godard’s use of music in that and how the detached, ironic way he used music actually allowed the music to permeate the scene in an even more emotionally powerful way than standard hollywood mantovani schmaltziness. and i don’t know what the connection between that and the thing i just talked about is except i do think the use of music on the hills is hyperselfconscious and there is more discussion to come on that topic.))
- the use of unexplained allusions to stuff outside the show really points to the importance of web gossip culture to “the hills” audience. the big thing at the start of the season was the sex tape rumor, which was something that was introduced before the actual season even started via gossip blogs. and in this episode there was jason saying “i was out of control. i had some bad habits” and “i went to my morning group” which would’ve been weird and out of nowhere and unbelievable except anyone that cares about “the hills” (and no, i don’t think this is just the province of obsessives) read in the the last couple of days that jason had come out of rehab to deny all the sex tape shit. you couldn’t have pulled that off 2 years ago, the flow of information via teen magazines was too slow. (actually this makes me interested in what the “teen vogue” coverage of the hills is like)
in the player is a song i wrote called “t.s.a.” i wanted to do something heartwarming and life affirming for september 11th, so this is a public service announcement about the importance of regular breast examinations for fine ass women. i am really hoping for the best with regards to this kanye west/50 cent faceoff, the best being that they will both get even richer and that this opulence will reflect itself prismlike in their music. i like them both; i’ve probably listened to kanye more but 50’s “hate it or love it” is one of the most beautiful and perfect songs of this century.