the hills season 3, episode 11, “no more mr. nice guy”

October 23, 2007

[splashcast PWHF6496UE IBSI4100VH]

  • it was like eating a cake made entirely of frosting.

  • frankie delgado figured into a couple of scenes this episode. i also saw him earlier this week in that “keeping up with the kardashians” show on E, which is decent if you were wondering. but anyway, it was weird because when you see actors in different fictional shows, it’s natural, whatever. but when you see people who you associate with one reality show and then they appear in another reality show (and it’s not part of the gimmick, like “amazing race: allstars”), it feels strange. because in reality programming, unlike in drama, the actor is not distinct from the character. so it feels like what it would feel like if carrie bradshaw (and not sarah jessica parker.) was suddenly a patient on “grey’s anatomy.” brody jenner was in the preview for the next episode, so i’m sure that will like totally blow my mind or something.

  • heidi pronunciation: “has it been a worldwind?” up there with “pitcher frames”

  • new girl at bolthouse was fairly blah. there was a great shot of heidi sizing her up and also raising her eyebrows while questioning her, like “so you’re the new girl, huh?” i guess maybe they’re trying to plant the seeds of some girl-girl drama. on one level, i think that’s stupid and unnecessary. the web of speidi has become complex enough (especially with the work tension ratcheting up) that extraneous things (even the heidi-lauren tension) don’t really seem that necessary. but why introduce a new character for no reason, so i’m sure there’ll be something.

  • the use of moving cameras was pretty striking in the photo-shoot scene. because the cameras so rarely are allowed to move, when they do, it’s powerful. in the scene of heidi painting the wall from earlier this season, the movement was used to impart a sense of gravity; here in the photo-shoot scene, it’s all levity. the camera is gliding along smoothly, playfully; a sort of echo of lauren’s mood. that first quick pan seemed like an echo of something – i haven’t seen any fosse movies but maybe like “all that jazz”? dunno. or maybe “blow-up” (which would make sense with the whole fashion shoot thing) but i haven’t seen that in forever.

  • lauren touches her nose more than anyone else on television. like, the first intimation that this guy has caught her eye is when we cut from him to her looking at him and then quickly looking down and rubbing her nose with her fingers. in a regular TV show, there would be some over the top moony smile (kind of like the sister character does on that show “chuck”). no one touches their nose, and thus, it seems totally natural and not at all cliché when lauren does it.

  • the moment when i knew the episode was going to be great was this one shot after dreamy guy has his shoot. he leaves the room and lauren signals to whitney like, mouths (i think) “i like him.” then there’s a cut to whitney, who’s bathed in this really wonderful warm light from the make-up mirror to the left of the frame. she mouths silently “oh my god” and the idea of a new lauren relationship is so much that she’s going to burst out laughing, so she bends over off the bottom of the frame, and the camera tracks her as she bends, trying to hold in her laughter. all you see is head and shoulders at the bottom of the frame. there’s this tai chi quality to it that i can’t explain. this is not how TV shows work, this is not standard coverage! it was like something out of rohmer.

  • and then the shot when he leaves, which is even better, also makes use of the moving camera. the shot starts in a close-up of him, his face in the foreground, as he says goodbye to lauren. he turns and walks out of the room, the camera panning to the left as he exits. when he goes off frame, the camera and the focus racks onto whitney, who’s standing their with her mouth open, her finger playing with her lip, as much an observer as we are. the camera doesn’t even have time to settle on her – she crosses the frame to the right and the camera pans with her. and then she puts her hair into her mouth in this completely weird and fantastic way as she finally walks off frame and we cut to lauren and they have this great girlish chemistry moment (“don’t,” lauren says, looking down – whitney, singsong “i’m not saying a word” but then stares at lauren with her fist over her mouth and a smile breaking out behind it, like the fist is all that is keeping her from saying something — “don’t,” lauren says, same tone of voice but this time she looks up and smiles — “okay, fine” whitney trills and skips off – lauren sits there, smiles after her, bats eyelashes). this is not how TV shows work.

  • you hear all the time about how scenes on “the hills” are reshot, are done in multiple takes to get coverage or get a better performance. but imagining also a modicum of reality, which i do, think about the scene where dreamy guy asks her out. what is like to ask someone out on a first date four or five times in a row, the same way with maybe some slight variation? what is like to get asked out like that? does it suck the magic out of things, does it snuff the sparks, or is it a gift, some magic teen movie scenario, like that movie “click” that made whitney cry, where you get to live life over and over again and get it exactly right?

  • on that note, the intimacy of a two shot. the first shot of lauren and dreamy guy together at the barbeque is a two shot of them sitting on a chair. are they that close together to be that close together or are they that close together to fit into the frame?

  • at the beginning of the barbeque, when whitney is talking about the photo-shoot separately from lauren and then lauren butts in and says “what, do you sit around and talk about me” and whitney comes back, deadpan under her sunglasses, “we’re living vicariously through you.” there is something to be said about this.

  • i’ve talked a lot about how the aesthetic of the show usually serves to put us inside lauren’s head. that was literalized in moonlight in the barbecue scene. lauren is sitting with dreamy guy off in the distance from the rest of the party. and he’s talking to her but she’s looking off frame at the party. and the camera cuts to what feels like a first person POV shot from her perspective, of the party people sitting around a table, and then, as she agrees to go on a date with dreamy guy, the POV shot cuts closer, to focus on brody. the camer cuts back to a close-up of lauren and dreamy guy: he’s looking at her, but she’s staring at brody. a cut back to the POV shot confirms; then a cut back to the close-up of the two of them, where lauren continues to stare and then finally turns her head back to the guy she is supposed to be interested in.

  • spencer is really improving because he’s not talking as much. oh snap. no, what i mean is that in his devious way, he’s come to understand how the aesthetic of the show works, which is on strong glances and looks, and he’s starting to take advantage of it. in his early appearances, he was the snake-oil salesman, the greasy huckster who talked so much shit (“life changing mexican food”) but in his scene with heidi at the condo, like in the recent blow-up at the mexican restaurant, instead of verbal retorts he just looks at her with different shades of pleading/annoyance/etc. he was also good at the scene at bolthouse. it’s great because in no other show besides maybe “curb your enthusiasm” do you see people just standing around waiting for shit.

  • the strength of lauren’s voice – in the nail painting scene with lo and audrina, the inflection she puts on the words “gavin’s coming,” the softness with overtones of crush. the nail painting thing makes me think of the scene in “junebug.” i think if they ever decide to do a hills movie and hisham abed, though a virtuoso, isn’t a name enough to get the job and godard doesn’t want to do it, they should totally get the guy who did “junebug.” just have some a swarm of producers to keep him from getting too many serious issues in there and i’m sure it would be good.

  • what a dipshit. why would he order the salmon? i think maybe that’s in an appendix of “the game,” like, “order food your date finds repulsive/is allergic to and it will make her, like, so hot for you.” the gross faces she does are hilarious.

  • on the date, when lauren is talking about that sean kingston “beautiful girl” song, she provides a possible new model of reality product placement. instead of the garish overt shit like that usually passes on “survivor,” it’s subtle, it’s targeted perfectly at the audience of the show, it feels like a friend making a recommendation and not someone who’s got an endorsement. which is what it is, i don’t think this is lauren shilling for sean kingston, but i’m saying that real product placement, if done properly, could carry the air of subtlety and specificity and friendliness evident here. it could be like that scene from “garden state” except not annoying.

  • in that last scene, the way she communicates her feelings towards brody, the visual signifiers, the things she does with her voice, i’m sorry, it’s just satisfying. maybe she’s incredibly aware of the parameters of performance and the reverberations of tiny adjustments or maybe she’s totally transparent and radiates aura better than other people. maybe probably both.

  • the parade of acoustic singer-songwriter covers closing shows (“girls just wanna have fun,” “umbrella”) continues in this episode with the nouvelle vague cover of “i’ll melt with you.” choice. maybe they’ll use their lovely cover of “heart of glass” if/when the relationship with brody goes sour.

in the player is an old bossa-y cover of “debaser” by the pixies that i found while straightening itunes. in the channel guide is a recent attempt at a rap song called “boo boo (we getting spooky up in here).” i am really bad at rapping. originally it was intended to be a novelty halloween song ala the tracy jordan “werewolf bar mitzvah” from 30 rock but then all that controversy happened and also i heard the incredible new jay. z song and the song sort of morphed from being about bite-sized kit kats (“bite-sized kit kat / you know i wanna hit that”) into this weird identity politics CIA halloween conspiracy narrative. i never liked eminem, partly because in high school I was mr. pc and anything with a whiff of racism or misogyny wasn’t kosher, but really i think it’s because his voice is so trebly and harsh that it hurts my ears to listen to. i prefer crooners.


One Response to “the hills season 3, episode 11, “no more mr. nice guy””

  1. Donna Says:

    What is the name of the song at the beginning of this episode?

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