Monday, July 26, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The producers of The Hills wrapped up their experiment in "reality" television last night with a nice twisted bow, as the final episode exposed for once and for all just how produced the show really was. Well done I say!
Captivating a core audience and capturing the zeitgeist of our fine nation for the better part of six seasons, the show catapulted a cast into the stratosphere of fame-mongering and redefined our vernacular if only for a short time (Speidi anyone?). And yes, it even attracted the likes of Mad TV.
The Times ran a nice piece on this today and judging from their previous glowing explanations of all the strum and drang of the various seasons, one can see why this particular show was able to leap to the fore of reality television in a way none had done before. Beautifully shot, the series (and off-shoot of the original Laguna Beach) introduced America to a "real-life" cast of Sex & The City netherworld ensconced in the hills of Los Angeles and gave us a glimpse behind the velvet rope of what it meant to immerse a bunch of twenty-something girls and their often narcissistic admirers into the glare of the real-time paparazzi.
This was not real, but we loved it anyway.
As viewers, we were engaged by it all, and to that I say well done. Yes, there were lulls in the action to the point of questioning how long this could play out, but MTV and the producers pulled the plug in a way that was good-timing with a strong enough statement about what it was that we were all viewing to begin with.
It brings to the fore the idea of paid-placements on television (I'm in marketing) and branding as well. Were all those cars just really placed on the show, those chyron's of all the locations meant they were shooting for...free? Did they pay...for anything? Certainly many brands received a lot of exposure and several cast members and supporting cast were smart enough to spin the opportunity nicely. Certainly the "star' Lauren Conrad jumped ship earlier this year as any true star who saw the future should. Whitney Port is struggling to work out what it is her "brand" is, from fashion to Proactiv endorsements. The brilliantly banal Kelly Cutrone rode this horse to the best of her wicked capacity, certainly here is a woman for whom the camera isn't always kind but judging from my own personal experience, is a woman who controls her own destiny and is fair if not terribly politically correct. Good for her!
Thank you MTV and show creator Adam Divelo for giving us a fun ride and a smart ending. What's up with Brody Jenner's eyes anyway? Surely there's been some work there...but alas perhaps some things are left unwritten....
See the video on Gawker TV's excellent POST