06/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Hills Gets Real For Once

Cocaine abuse, alcohol addiction, the dangers of plastic surgery -- the premiere episode of MTV's final season of The Hills felt more like an episode of the network's docusoap True Life than the popular scripted reality show viewers have come to expect. Sure there were plenty of gratuitous shots of Los Angeles hot spots and scenery matched with the "hottest" new jams from the "hottest" new bands; however, the episode highlighted some very real issues.

Aside from exploring Kristin Cavallari's alleged drug problem and Stephanie Pratt's post-DUI lifestyle (which apparently now includes a nice helping of self-righteousness), the premiere episode served as a shocking showcase of Heidi Montag's drastic plastic surgeries (which Lo Bosworth hilariously listed for Stephanie and the viewers -- Lo has great comic delivery, as always). It was deeply disturbing watching Heidi's reunion with her family, especially as she revealed her surgically modified look to her shocked mother. I felt sincere sympathy for the Montag clan; it was sad to watch this loving group witness irreversible changes, both physical and mental, to one of their own.

Speaking of disturbing, well, I can't decide what was more terrifying -- the indelible image of Heidi's face practically molting as she cried to her disappointed mother or those incessant Nightmare on Elm Street previews. I was haunted by both long after I turned off the TV, that's for sure.

How far they've fallen, these sun kissed starlets on The Hills. Lauren Conrad was wise to depart the series when she did, as the show's newest incarnation seems to serve as a warning to young people who think "happily ever after" can be achieved through artificial means.