THE HILLS FINALE RECAP: The Rest Is Still Unwritten

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And now it’s over. Last night, The Hills sadly went off the air, capping a television season that saw many heavy hitters (Lost, 24, and Law & Order) go the way of the dodo. It was a bittersweet moment for me. Bitter because the show I had loved (and occasionally loved to hate) was now gone. Sweet because, well, I don’t know. Scratch that. THIS WAS AN ALL BITTER EXPERIENCE, AND NOW I’M ANGRY. Why must the TV gods yank this series from the airwaves, especially when it had just found its voice again in the past few weeks?

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and truth is that prior to its late-run rejuvenation, The Hills was kind of running on fumes. Plus, media awareness of the cast and all their lives really undermined any element of surprise, which is maybe why last night’s finale lacked some of the drama that perhaps was intended. The whole premise was that the central clique of girls — Kristin, Audrina, Steph, and Lo — were suddenly, for no apparent reason on screen, at a crossroads in their life. They had reached a quarter-life crisis, one that no doubt was spurred on by MTV’s decision to cancel the show. Now they all wanted to figure out what to do with their lives (ie. pitch their next reality show projects), which meant it was time to “move on.”

Now, I realize that at the ripe old age of 31 I may be over the hill, but when I hit 25, my friends and I didn’t suddenly raise a glass to the good times and decide to hit the road. But this was the finale; so I suppose we can suspend disbelief and pretend like these women were all on the verge of disappearing into the ether that had swallowed up Lauren Conrad whole.

For Audrina, her introspection required yet another location change. She up and traded in her new Hollywood digs for an even newer space in Hermosa, a shift that was perhaps the result of being burgled by that bratty bitch from Pretty Wild. That’s really the only reason I can imagine for the move. There didn’t seem to be any other pressing factor as to why she needed to change locales. Personally, I’d think that after the pain of buying a house, you’d want to stay in it for a few years, but then again, Audrina has been something of a nomad. She started her Hills tenure upstairs from Lauren, then moved in with Lauren, then moved into Lauren’s guest house, and then finally set up her own digs. With the new Hermosa residence, that’s five living arrangements over six seasons (and four years). Perhaps commitment isn’t Audrina’s strongest suit; ironic, given her issues with Justin Bobby’s slippery nature.

Anyway, Audrina’s arc for the finale was very simple: she talked about moving… and then she moved. And that was it. Oh, and she looked at dolphins. Seemed like an apt way to wrap things up for her (although, I would have appreciated one last cameo from long-lost sidekick Chiara).

Lo, meanwhile, had a slightly more involved storyline, which also involved heading West to the beach. She and longterm boyfriend Scott decided to move in together, despite the fact that he really didn’t propose to her. Instead, he merely tossed a lot of rhetoric around, saying he’d marry Lo on the spot if he could. I guess that was good enough for Lo because she hugged and kissed her man, and almost, almost got emotional. Seeing Lo’s tenure come to an end, especially with the flashbacks of her and Lauren that played later on, was one of the toughest parts of this finale. We’ve loved her ever since season one of Laguna when she happily clucked passive-aggressive remarks to those around her (a certain nail salon run-in with Christina after having not been invited to a birthday party comes to mind).

Also finding love on this finale was Stephanie, who travelled all the way out to the desert to see her Motorcross boyfriend zip across some jumps. The two chatted about dating exclusively, with Stephanie calling her man strong but “sweet.” To that, he replied, “Sweet.” I wasn’t sure if he was questioning her choice of words or merely affirming their presence. It was all a bit confusing, and quite frankly, I was distracted by his oily locks. It was all very Justin Bobby Lite. The only difference was that this guy seemed like a nice dude, nice enough to maaaaaaybe forgive Steph for getting rid of my #1 pick for her: MAX.

Well, Steph and the dude (whose name I clearly don’t remember) decided to officially become boyfriend and girlfriend, which left only Kristin to figure out what the hell to do with herself. After a wine soaked evening in wicker chairs with Stacie, Kristin decided that in order to find herself, she’d have to go to Europe. This immediately excited me, as I imagined some wonderful new series that followed Kristin across the continent as she rolled her eyes at time-honored traditions and cherished customs. Just imagine her standing in Pamplona, watching bulls trample by as she scoffs and says, “Ugh, so lame.” Or perhaps Kristin wanders into Stonehenge, angrily sighing “Whatever, ROCKS.”

Nevertheless, Kristin’s decision to go to Europe did feel a bit arbitrary, and I couldn’t get past the sneaking suspicion that she wasn’t actually leaving LA, mostly because the paparazzi seem to still be catching her around town on a daily basis. Anyway, I just ignored all this and went along with it. Kristin then snuck up on Brody at his rooftop pool (which was NOT in the same building profiled on the exterior shot. Stalkers take note: it was in fact one of the condo complexes on Alta Loma Drive) and informed him she was leaving town. He of course sulked at the news and made it all about him, which was no surprise. This was, after all, the same man who had made an entire reality star career out of asking for hugs and demanding to know why people weren’t happy to see him. Clearly, he has some separation anxiety issues.

Anyway, Kristin invited Brody to her going away party, but he moped that he didn’t want to celebrate her leaving. This resulted in some classic Cavallari scoffing, followed by Rihanna, who has more or less served as the artist-in-residence for The Hills’ soundtrack over the years. The action eventually shifted to the Roosevelt Hotel (perhaps a callback to that very first Teen Vogue event held there on the premiere episode?) where all the girls except Audrina (who was “moving”) convened for one last hurrah. There wasn’t much hurrah-ing going on though. Everyone seemed a touch sad, but maybe that’s because Kristin was sad, thanks to Brody being a bitch and not coming.

But lo and behold, thar she blows! Brody, clean-shaven and dreamy, entered the bar after all to bid adieu to his lil’ fuck buddy. He apologized for not being sensitive to Kristin’s feelings and then quietly begged her to stay. Kristin teared up, which kind of confused me because it’s not as if she were ACTUALLY going anywhere, but then again, I didn’t think she was a good enough actress to cry on cue; so maybe she was going to Europe. I didn’t really know. Point is, the two shared a warm hug and all was well again.

Finally, as the episode and the series reached its final minutes, Kristin packed up her junk into a humble bag and headed out of her house on Beachwood Canyon. She thought her driver had arrived, but in fact, it was Brody. He told her that he never would have started dating someone had he realized it would drive Kristin out of town, to which she futilely attempted to correct him and say that she wasn’t leaving because of Brody, but unfortunately, the message didn’t quite get across. Kristin admitted that she liked hearing Brody say such nice words, but it was time for her to go. Then, with a re-imagined, rearranged version of the theme song, Natasha Beddingfield appeared on the soundtrack to sing “Unwritten” one last time, and we then saw flashbacks of the girls from various stages in their lives. It was almost, almost enough to get me vaguely emotional, and seeing the footage of Kristin with Stephen from Laguna Beach did pull on my heartstrings, but oddly enough, it just reminded me how much BETTER things would have been had Alex, a.k.a. Roz, made a random cameo in this final episode.

Ultimately, the flashback montage ended with a tight shot of Brody standing alone on the street… or was he? The street proved to be a backdrop that pulled away, revealing the Brodester to be actually in the heart of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, surrounded by a bustling TV crew and various lighting rigs. I suppose this was MTV’s response to all those people who questioned the “reality” of the series — What’s real? What’s fake? Where is the line? — but it felt a bit tacked on, and quite honestly, I objected immensely to the show closing on an image of a woeful Brody Jenner.

And now it’s over. While I go empty my bucket of tears, enjoy these photos — my last Hills recap and photocap EVER.

Oh wait. It looks like MTV isn’t posting pics or video from the finale episode. How anticlimactic. The last photocap doesn’t even have photos. (If that media does eventually surface, I’ll do a special photocap)

So I guess that’s it. On a sentimental note, I do owe a debt of gratitude to this show and the people behind it. Laguna Beach and The Hills proved to be my bread and butter over at TVgasm, and the goodwill and readership from those recaps truly helped get the ball rolling on this blog when it started up. I am also greatly appreciative for the support I received from the Conrads, the producers, and the various members of the crew who I’ve met over the years. It was awesome to learn that my random musings actually found an audience with people on and attached to the show.

Why do I feel like I’m accepting an Oscar? Perhaps I’ve said too much. And now I too will step into my metaphorical black luxury sedan and drive off into the murky future. And by that, I mean it’s time to write my City photocap.

What did you think about the finale? Did it live up to your every hope and desire? Are you sad to see The Hills go? Or was this overdue?

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43 thoughts on “THE HILLS FINALE RECAP: The Rest Is Still Unwritten

  1. I’m kinda sad the show is over, but mostly because I will miss your recaps. I’m a little annoyed that they dropped Speidi without any explanation, I thought they would come back at some point and annoy me one more time.

    At least we will still have The City, right?

    • I sense that Speidi might have been included in the finale or at least the after show had Heidi not made allegations of sexual harassment against the exec producer of the show.

      • That’s what I thought, as well. I figured that was why immediately after Enzo’s birthday extravaganza, we never saw them again. It seems like their little publicity plan backfired.

  2. B-side, I started reading you because of your Laguna Beach recaps at TVGasm. I found this blog because I was reading a Hills recap at TVgasm and one of the commenters excitedly posted a link to this website and your return to Hills recaps.

    The Hills drove me away in the past 2 seasons when it became the show about nothing but I’ve always read your recaps. Great work as always. I’ll continue reading your blog even now that The Hills are over.

  3. I wasn’t buying her moving to Europe because (a.) she was just so blase about it, and just moving right when she decided she wanted to, and (2) you can’t just MOVE to Europe. If that were the case, I’d be living in England. ugh

  4. OMG!!! B-side- I think I teared up more at your acceptance speech than the actual finale. I’ve been reading your blog for forever since TVGasm… you were my favorite then and I still come and read your blog every day. Thanks for the Roz flash back – almost forgot! You’re right to the thank The Hills family, it was a great jump off, but you’ve done a awesome job of keeping up the rest! You’re cooking adventures are my fave…ok I’m sure this has gotten suck-up-y enough so I’ll just finish this :)

  5. “THIS WAS AN ALL BITTER EXPERIENCE, AND NOW I’M ANGRY.” My sentiments exactly.

    I miss Roz. And Jessica. And Laguna Beach. In the words of Lo, “The bubble’s breaking, the bubble’s breaking.” (At least I think that’s what she said as they walked away from the beach the summer after their senior year.)

    I don’t miss dark haired Alex, though. Or Talan. And especially not that one girl who was the preacher’s daughter. Although I would like to see what dark haired Morgan’s up to. Conversely, I don’t care what blonde Morgan’s doing.

    I, too, have been reading your recaps since the LB days at TVGasm. I feel like this is a really bad breakup. I don’t think ice cream, booze and a random hookup will fix it.

  6. Underwhelmed by the finale but whatevs — I have been underwhelmed by the show for some time now. I was skeptical of Kristin’s trip to Europe and then completely doubtful when I saw her outfit when the limo came to pick her up. I am sorry… no one flies on a long-haul flight dressed in itty-bitty shorts like that. So uncomfortable. It was fun seeing the old footage, though.

    I will definitely miss your recaps!! Like the other posters, I started reading the LB recaps on TV Gasm and then lost track of you for a bit until I one day googled ‘Is Jason Wahler on blow?’ It was after his bday party when LC left early from the Vogue shoot because Jason was pouty that she had to work and couldn’t hang out with him on his birthday and then spent the whole party leaving the table to come back more and more wasted. Good times! ANYWAY, bside blog came up in the search and we were reunited!

    Thanks for all the giggles!

    • That’s so funny you searched for “Is Jason Wahler on blow?” Hahaha! Yeah, when anyone goes to the bathroom that much, it’s guaranteed they’re doing coke in the bathroom. And I thought the exact same thing. Wish I could say I’d searched it that way, though!

      • It was painfully obvious that he was high as a kite but I could not believe that a show like The Hills would just ignore something like that. (So naive!) Anyway, the resounding consensus of the google search was that YES! He was on blow. Go figure.

  7. B-side!

    So glad I decided to take that “awww, remember B-side’s Laguna Beach recaps?” stroll down memory lane, which lead me here (confession: I also kind of maybe re-watched the entirety of LB season 3 on my computer over the last week. Season freaking 3, dude–apparently I am just THAT bored). I’m glad to see you’re still just as prolific in this neck of the woods and that I was able to find my way here in time for the Hills finale recap. You’re a great writer. Keep on keepin on, snarking, cooking, whatever; I’ll glady keep reading.

  8. B-side…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of the Laguna/Hills recaps and photocaps….you have made many painful days in college and now in the working world a little less painful. I cannot thank you enough!

  9. My level of sadness at the end of this show is a little disturbing, and the fact that the Speidi relationship montage got me a little teary. Maybe it was the Soul Asylum soundtrack that did it, relic of my 90s youth…

    • I thought it was hilarious. I kept laughing that they considered them a runaway train. Isn’t that what they say when someone’s life is an out of control mess? (I know the song’s about runaway children, but it also means that too, right?)

      But, yes, I love that song, too!

  10. Lizz- watching season 3 LB again is hard core, I had a hard time watching it the first time! The only reason I did was to then read b-sides recaps.

    B-side keep up the good work.

  11. When I saw the show end with Brody I growled, “Ohhhhh, B-Side’s gonna HATE this shit!” It has been a real internal struggle, as my desire to have sex with Brody has always conflicted with my loyalty to you – which made me feel as though I should share your distaste for him. Sadly, Brody’s good looks win out. Sorry, Ben.

    I too came across bsideblog from a commenter’s link on the “new” TV Gasm site. I thought the Hills was a dumb ass show that only idiots watched. But your recaps were so freaking hilarious that I had to start watching the show. So thanks for wasting all my time, dude!

    Just kidding. I’m really sad that you, me and all of the bsideblog readers can’t virtually enjoy the Hills together EVER AGAIN.

    :cries: BROOOOOOO-DEEEEE!!

    • I have to say, your quote from the MSN article is awesome:

      “I’m oddly devastated that it’s come to an end,” said Ben “B-Side” Mandelker, who blogs about “The Hills” and its New York-set offspring “The City” on bsideblog.com. “My five-year goal was to appear as a sidekick on the show, ideally with a subtitle that defines me solely as the friend of someone else. Sadly, that dream never came to fruition.”

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38236164

      I wonder how many readers will “get” the sarcasm?

  12. I haven’t watched The Hills for a few seasons, but I have to leave a comment on this post to commemorate all the awesome recaps over the years. The Hills wouldn’t have been my #1 guilty pleasure for so many years without you!

  13. Lauren truly was one of this decade’s most beloved heroines on television.

    But I also loved Kristin and her badass persona, if only because she also had a very sensitive side to her.

    In the end, it was a great run. It was fun to see their mind-numbing exploits, but I also grew to be protective of these girls, which is why I’m glad the show never really got trashy.

    For all the stupid arguments about whether it was fake or not…who cares! I think we all watched it for the pretty colors, the pretty outfits, the pretty restaurants, etc. etc. And I think the ending hit exactly that…just watch and take it for what it is.

    As for spin-offs, what about a show with all the moms? Kathy Conrad, Darlene, and all the MILFS/Cougars from the Laguna Beach pantheon. Karen Mayo (Kyndra’s awful mom from LB3), Charlene Torriero (Talan’s mom), and the Reinhardt mother (who as I recall was the ultimate Cougar).

  14. I remember when there was all the Speidi/LC drama and the “drapes de boeuf” slur & sex tape shit going down. Oh, how I will miss the Hills and all it’s eye rolling moments.

    So what was Justin Bobby sporting? A grill?

    hb

  15. Well I have to say I will miss the show – except I kinda tuned out when over the last 2 seasons it was all this drama with heidi and spencer – they ruined the show. But the show got better after they were gone! If the show was fake – it didn’t seem to matter – I so got sucked in. I agree – I was kinda excited when Kristen was talking about moving to Europe – I thought now that would be a cool show- but sounded like at the end it was all fake. I hate to see it gone – I loved Laguana too -

  16. One great memory while reading B-side’s recaps was the one recap that had over 1000 comments on tvgasm, i commented plenty on that haha i want to go check if its still on there now… :) Thanks B-side for your amazing writing on this ridiculous show!

  17. I too was annoyed with the show ending with Brody. The show has always been about the girls and Brody is the one who gets the final shot? It made no sense.

    And I too was thinking, “Oh wait, is Kristin actually going to go to Europe to do a new show over there called ‘The Continent’ or something?” But I guess not. So sad. Sounds like a great idea.

    On the plus side, the one thing I won’t miss is those annoying after-show people.

  18. I definitely got emotional. I’ve been watching these girls since they were in high school on Laguna… and, dare I say it, I’m going to miss them! To celebrate (mourn) the ending of The Hills, I’m throwing a little party next week. A Laguna Beach drinking game party! Many years ago I won a contest on your site because I came up with a drinking game for Laguna, and now, many years later, I’m breaking out the game again. P.S. Roz would have been an amazing cameo.

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