As far as wives go, I definitely landed a good one. She's smart, pretty, loves the Red Sox, tolerates my Beavis-grade humor, and only gets mad at me when I really deserve it. But for the first time in our decade-plus relationship, I recently told her that something she was doing caused me to love her a little bit less. Unmoved, she shrugged her shoulders and continued watching The Hills.
For those unaware, The Hills is an unfathomably popular "reality" show that happens to be the highest rated program on MTV. It follows the mundane activities of a bunch of trust fund princesses from Southern California. Sometimes they shop, sometimes they talk on the phone, and sometimes they work at cushy, product placement-heavy internships until it's time to go shopping again.
My wife claims she watches the show strictly for professional reasons (full disclosure: she works at the Hills-happy Us Weekly), but that's nonsense. When the show comes on, she's like a toddler transfixed by a Disney movie she's seen 87 times. I could rev up three chainsaws, light them on fire and juggle them by her side, and she'd simply turn up the volume so as not to miss one monosyllabic bite of anti-wisdom from Lauren Conrad and the other future real housewives of Orange County.
And worst of all are the guys -- or should I say, "bros" -- of The Hills. In most girl-friendly TV shows and romantic comedies, the female character starts off with a scumbag, discovers the folly of her ways, and eventually ends up with the lovably intellectual anti-hero. My biggest problem with The Hills is that even though it's scripted, (or at the very least, prodded), it's still a reality show. And the reality is that these girls have no interest in the Lloyd Doblers and Seth Cohens of the world. They want the club-hopping himbo with a table at Les Deux and an Uncle in casting at New Line.
How on earth my normally smart wife and her normally smart friends are obsessed with this program is beyond me. These are girls that grew up in the John Hughes era, and champion subversively feminist chick-programming like My So-Called Life and Gilmore Girls. Now they're glued to the couch every Monday night to find out if tone-deaf chanteuse Heidi Montag and lunkhead loser Spencer Pratt's on/off relationship is like, um, on, or like, um, off. (Hint: until it's no longer commercially viable, there'll be no resolution).
See, The Hills is a world where The Karate Kid loses. Where Jake Ryan never notices Samantha Baker, and the only thing Seth Rogen hits is his bong. It's a superficial land of cute clothes, silver spoons, and girls who become celebrities for doing little more than fawning and fighting over the biggest sacks of douchebaggery since Fred Durst commanded his minions to "Break Stuff."
The Hills is a frighteningly addictive rock of girl-crack that's stranger than any fiction my wife and her pals usually go ga-ga over. And the scariest part is: it's reality.