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Rubbernecking: The Hills, Season Five Finale

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I've had to really examine my need to write about the finale of The Hills before actually putting pen to paper. You see, a few weeks ago I wrote about the show as part of my Rubbernecking column - which is a glance askance at reality television shows. The Hills is not exactly a reality show, but it's certainly not a scripted drama, or maybe it is, or perhaps it straddles the netherworld between the two. Because these people certainly can't act, and there is no character development.

To my great amusement (and a touch of horror) I found after watching it for the first time that I needed to check in and see what was happening on a regular basis. I'd been sucked in to this show. I think I found myself spellbound by the awesome gaping void that each of the people involved have where we normally find a personality. I'm fairly certain this is not just because they live in L.A., since I know plenty of people in L.A. with personalities.

Anyway, before we get to the dramatic conclusion of Season Five, I'd like to note that no less an expert than Paris Hilton called the show "lame and fake" as well as "cheesy" according to the New York Post's coverage of the MTV Movie Awards on May 31. And she, of all people, should know from lame, fake, and cheesy.

So to sum up: as you all know unless you've been living in a cave in Afghanistan, the season finale was also Lauren Conrad's last show of the series. Lo and Lauren are moving out of their house and going who knows where. They wax nostalgic in the opening scene about the first party they ever had there.

Lo: Remember our first crazy party for Audrina's birthday.
Lauren: There was nudie men in our pool and there were mohawks and lucite heels in my backyard and I didn't really know what was going on.
Lo: Well we should do it one last time. I'm excited.
(all dialogue delivered in flat-toned Valley speak, natch)

Lo asks Lauren what's next, to which Lauren replies, "To be honest for the first time in a really long time I don't know. It's kind of nice not knowing what I'm going to do next." This is actually quite hilarious since without The Hills producers concocting plotlines for her, it's probably true.

Random things I love about this show:
- the shots of people walking around Beverly Hills shot from the waist down walking in front of chichi boutiques and restaurants. No talent releases needed!
- the ubiquitous chryons so we can keep everyone straight. By now I think we know that Brody is Lauren's friend, Stephanie is Spencer's sister, and Spencer is Heidi's fiancée.

Heidi is seen rhapsodizing about the wedding to Stephanie - flowers galore, diamonds dripping, a princess dress, real swans, and a white chocolate mousse truffle vanilla you know with the berries in it princess cake. "The best cake anyone's ever had because that's the most important part I think." Meanwhile, H tells S she's choosing her sister Holly as Maid of Honor "just because she's been my sister my whole life" and S is none too pleased as it's quite clear she will be doing all the work. It's dialogue like this that makes the show completely addictive.

Meanwhile, Spencer indicates he's turned over a new life and become a new person to everyone who will listen. He apologized to Lauren last week, on this show he confronts Heidi's mother Darlene and tells her he's finally grown up. The best scene in this regard is when he meets up with Brody and tells him he is seeing a therapist and finding out what his issues are. In perhaps the only real moment ever on The Hills, Brody loses it completely and starts laughing uncontrollably into his hands. Spencer is not happy with this reaction. Methinks Brody is on to something.

So Heidi has her shower at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and everyone's there except Holly shows up a half hour late, some Maid of Honor she is. Stephanie ends up writing down the list of gifts since Holly's just quaffing champagne and giggling. It's pretty amazing when Stephanie looks like the responsible party in any situation. Another delicious turn of events on The Hills.

Lauren and Brody have dinner together and Brody tries to talk her in to going to the wedding. Lauren thinks Heidi is making a big mistake and if she attends, she is putting her seal of approval on it. "I feel like while everyone else is attending a wedding I'd be attending a funeral." Zinga!

The rehearsal dinner is rife with drama, as they so often are. Stephanie does a weepy toast about how happy she is that Heidi and Spencer found each other. Maid of Honor-Elect Holly gets up to do her toast and rambles on drunkenly about how Heidi used to pray and make concoctions from sticks and berries in the woods because she was so desperate to find the perfect man. "I'm so thankful that she's found her love match finally after all her digging in the woods." Say what?!?

Holly is obviously trashed, tries to high five one of the waiters, then throws food at her brother that boomerangs and ends up staining Heidi's expensive designer clutch. In the hallway, Spencer tells Holly and mom Darlene that throwing food is rude at a rehearsal dinner (Darlene disagrees) and Holly starts to cry and then stalks out. It's a fine how-do-you-do when Spencer calls someone out on being rude, I must say. And...scene.

Lauren and Lo have their final blowout at the house the night before the wedding and Stephanie gives it one last college try to convince Lauren she should go to the big event. "She needs me to go so she thinks what she's doing is okay, and I don't think what she's doing is okay," says Lauren sagely as she rolls up a bag of potato chips. The sound of the bag being rolled is unmixed and now I get it: this is MTV's way of convincing us that this is a reality show.

The final scene is of course the wedding, which is held at a church in Pasadena. Simply everyone is there, quel surprise, and they're all looking around to see who else is there and with whom and what are they wearing. Bartender/homewrecker Stacie comes in as Spencer's friend Charlie's guest. Kristin Cavallari (who introduced Heidi and Spencer four years ago) comes bouncing in braless up the aisle, seems like Heidi may have secretly invited her, and apparently she's the new bitch in town for when the show comes back in the fall.

Lauren of course does show up and visits Heidi in the back when she's getting ready in her swan dress bedecked with bling. Lauren is happy that Heidi is happy, or at least that's what she says to Heidi's face. The ceremony takes place; H & S are joined together by God and the State of California; H throws her bouquet which is caught by Kristin. H embraces S before they go to their getaway car and H catches a glimpse of Lauren leaving from the side exit.

To sum up; last night H & S were part of the cast on the premiere of NBC's I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! along with celeb-lites including Sanjaya, Stephen Baldwin, Janice Dickinson, and Patti Blagojevich (Rod's wife - since the courts told him he couldn't travel outside the U.S.). The defining moment of the show, which was just about as bad as shows like this can get (by which I mean you can't stop watching it), was Spencer calling the president of NBC Entertainment, Ben Silverman, on a cellphone from the Costa Rican jungle and screaming, "I'm too rich and I'm too famous to be sitting with these people and cleaning up their shit in the jungle....Don't throw me in the jungle and try to make me your little guinea pig torture act."

Ah yes, a changed man indeed.