the hills season 3, episode 10, “what goes around”
October 16, 2007
[splashcast FMMM2882VU RJBN7116CF]
- what was that thing whitney was wearing during her first scene with lauren? underneath it was like this white knit tanktop and over that was this weird three quarter sleeve thin purple bathrobe terry cloth i-don’t-even-know. dear teen vogue, is grandma couture the new “in” look?
- during the second season of the hills, lauren’s abilities at face and eye performance were completely overshadowed by heidi. she has matched and probably surpassed heidi now, but her saving grace as a performer then was the use of her voice. it’s still wonderfully expressive. that scene with audrina is superficially a conversation, but, like a lot of her scenes with whitney, it’s really just a chance for lauren to do a self-defining monologue. note how in the beginning she really doesn’t do anything with the tone of her voice and then slowly increases the amount of inflection (“i’m still really Broken”) culminating in this intense stress on her words when she was “i mean I made my roommate move OUT. like she couldn’t even LIVE with ME” all of this visually mirrored with the wild gesticulations of her hands. the look she gives audrina at the end, with the questioning eyes, is like the look a hopeful actress gives a casting director when she knows she’s done a good read. imagine someday young actresses preparing lauren conrad scenes as monologues to use for auditions.
- i was totally kreskin about lo’s character, as last episode i said “i see lo really coming into her type as that sort of ‘mom’ girl in the group,” and this week at the end of their scene lauren calls her “momma lo.”
- what’s weird in the lo scene is that lo is really acting as a sort of surrogate lauren. she’s giving the same kind of advice that lauren has given to audrina and heidi – stay away from this person, why are you meeting up with this person – and she’s doing it with the same level of emotional attachment and guilt that lauren uses, so much so that lauren seems to get slightly annoyed and goes on the defensive (see the way she cocks her head to the side and rolls her eyes as she says “i’m not throwing myself back in, i’m just going to lunch with her”).
- look at the calendar in brent bolthouse’s office. there’s like nothing on there, how is this business successful? i take this as proof to support my notion that is just a potemkin office, a set. heidi’s expressions are priceless in that scene. the way she furrows her brow and narrows her eyes, it’s like by talking about work he’s speaking a foreign language.
- loved the small moment at the beginning of the jen bunny scene with the cream spreading in the coffee. it’s something every sensual human being enjoys watching in real life and it’s really underutilized in representations, i think, except probably in a lot of shitty amateur photography. tangentially, the first shot of the episode, of the teen vogue office, was like paul strand shooting a company catalog.
- the jen/lauren scene was great. i loved the line about the friendship bracelet and the subsequent cutting/framing around the awkward pause.
- rare meta-reference when lauren says “truth and time tells all.” i want to talk about this in detail but i’ve been working on a long thing i’ll be putting up later this week about narrative self consciousness and “the hills.” it is kind of my unified field theory of “the hills” and it features lots of pictures of the girls in lingerie.
- purely for the plot, i hope that it was brody who started the rumors. i mean it’s way more logical that it was spencer, but we need soap style reversals here.
- the ends of the two spencer heidi scenes were both great. in the first one, spencer sums up the conversation they’ve been having by saying “lesson learned – you can’t depend on anybody.” the camera cuts from a close-up of him saying this to a medium shot. her mouth is wide open, because of the make-up partially but also because even she realizes that’s kind of an insane thing to say, like losing faith in elodie is losing faith in the entire human race (except spencer of course). then it cuts back to spencer who nods along in approval of his own point.
- the end of their second scene is even better. heidi says, as the closing music builds in the background, “i just think it’s so sad that they’re blaming you.” cut to spencer, who is looking down and rubbing his eyes and generally avoiding heidi’s gaze, which causes her to qualify what’s she saying with a questioning “right?” the camera stays on him as he continues to look away until heidi says “spencer” and he glances at her. cut on his look back to heidi, who’s staring at him imploringly. a split second before the next cut, her eyes squint a little, as if to say “hold on.” back to spencer, who has locked eyes with heidi. he does this devilish smile and this really slight little nod, as if to say “uh huh.” back to heidi, whose pupils spin around in her eye sockets as she deals with this information, then she shifts her body and drops her head, as if willfully, for her sanity, trying to block out this moment.
- justinbobby totally has the presence to anchor his own spinoff, but to have to deal with that would be like “staticky” and like not “happy and blissful and mellow” enough, so i doubt it’ll materialize. it’s interesting that i find myself judging the boyfriends’ morality by how much they want be on a TV show. like spencer really wants to be on TV = he is a bad person. brody jenner kind of wants to be on TV = he is kind of a bad person. justinbobby really doesn’t care about being on TV = he is a “real” person. yet it’s the goal of every decent american person to be on television and they can’t all be bad people – it’s entirely possible that the hypothetical perfect guy for lauren is a kind, decent person and also a total exhibitionist narcissist. and we’ll all say that he’s wrong for her, that he’s “just doing it to be on TV,” when really that’s only half of it.
- possible halloween costumes for hills’ cast: brent bolthouse – lurch. whitney – a ghost (traditional, a sheet). heidi and spencer – m & m’s (cliché but appropriately so). audrina – sluttier elvira. i don’t know about lauren, it seems like she’s beyond costumes. maybe a transformer. last year on halloween i went to a broken social scene concert and i wore black vinyl pants and a black vinyl jacket and a lou reed tee-shirt and a batman cape and mask. the rough concept was hipster batman but the execution was me sweating to death in sticky vinyl and feeling like i was going to die and having an awful headache from music that was way louder than necessary.
- this is getting harder.
in the player is a song called “all the ugly people in the world should be shot.” the original title was “disposable love” and that’s really what the song is about, but obviously “all the ugly people in the world should be shot” is a more attention grabbing title, so there. umberto eco has a new book about ugly people and why ugly people are more interesting than beautiful people. wait, i’ve heard this one, it’s cause they’ve got better personalities, right? no, eco says that ugliness is more interesting because there’s an infinite variation to ugliness while there’s an end limit to beauty (that golden section kind of bone structure, i guess?) ((and obviously the book is a load of complicated semiotics and shit but i am just going by the yahoo news interview here)). i disagree with eco, although i like his one-liner about how it’s less distracting to write about ugly people (“I was not disturbed by sexual desires.”). i do think that the sign of a truly progressive, radical cinema would involve all of the stars being really ugly, like not just quirky or strange or freaky but flat out mundane uggos like you see on line at the supermarket. i certainly wouldn’t want to watch that sort of thing (it makes my skin crawl just to think about it), but i would respect the statement.
(and really i’m just kidding, i love ugly people! at zoos, i wave and feed them pellets through the bars of their cages.)