Six Characters in Search of a Blogger


2.7 The Seventh Day: Over The Hill(s)
November 23, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills"

I’m much older than the average viewer of The Hills.  It’s something I know and accept.  But it sometimes gives me comfort to think that if I were suddenly stranded in an elevator with a bunch of teenage girls we’d have something to talk about–at least for an hour or so.  Because I haven’t seen Twilight yet.  That’s on my “to do” list.

What remains in my mind after a rather difficult week of blog posts (it’s really hard to be thoughtful about such a thoughtless group of characters), is how much The Hills has played with the definition of reality TV.  One only needs to look at gossip magazines to realize how far the show veers away from what’s actually true.  Take, for instance, the on-again, off-again nature of Heidi and Spencer’s romance on screen; yet somehow, in celebrity magazines and gossip profiles they have always been together, without interruption.  And seemingly happy.  Or take the fact that Lauren has conducted at least one relationship off-camera, but claims on the show she’s “not dating anyone.” 

Now some of this variation between what’s true and what’s not may have to do with the time lapse between tapings and when the episode is actually shown (it’s typically several months from taping to airing); but ultimately, The Hills appears disingenuous because its producers engage in some questionable practices.  They cherry-pick elements of their stars’ lives to share with the audience; they re-stage scenes after they have already happened; they deliberately create provocative situations by placing antagonistic people together in awkward moments; they ask leading questions before they record characters’ on-camera conversations.  And we, as viewers, become a bit annoyed because we feel manipulated, too.  Because we have a right to the truth–isn’t that what the show is supposed to be about?  “Reality?”  

Susan Sontag, in her brilliant On Photography (written more than 30 years ago, but still relevant today), wrote “To photograph people is to violate them…It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.”  I don’t know what it is about us as a society that craves the fame that is, in some sense, a possession.  We have such a voracious hunger for information about those in the public spotlight–think of Princess Diana, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan to name a few–a hunger that tends to destroy what it creates. (We have as examples of this destruction the sobering death of Diana, and on-camera implosion of Spears and Lohan with their various breakdowns and stints in rehab.)  

To me, it leads to larger questions about celebrity–like, is it truly possible for a celebrity to have a private life?  And is the sacrifice of privacy worth the reward it brings?  And how does constant public attention change someone?   

Keeping these questions in mind, I think we walk a dangerous line by putting average people on certain “manipulated” dramatic reality shows (like The Hills and its predecessor, Laguna Beach) by making their lives the subjects of plot lines and their personal choices subject to scrutiny.  This is especially true for the kids on The Hills–because by playing themselves, they are putting themselves on display for our consumption in an unprecedented way.  We, as their audience, then take their lives as possessions for our commentary, our curiosity, our hopes, our scorn.  

Will they survive the experience of fame without the foundation of talent it’s often built on?  And what will happen to them when the show ends and they are no longer in the spotlight?  I guess we will have to wait and see if, like so many who have come before them, they will become victims of the celebrity they craved.



2.6 Spencer is a Pratt
November 22, 2008, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , , , ,

 

PRAT, n.  2. Brit. slang. An idiot, a fool; an ineffectual or contemptible person.

Once upon a time, in a very small and very privileged part of California, where money grows on trees and no one ever has the same noses that they were born with, there lived a boy named Spencer. 

Now, Spencer was a Pratt from a long line of Pratts, and what he wanted more than anything in the world was to be the Prattiest Pratt that had ever lived.  He dreamed that someday there would be a great Pratt museum, and people who visited it would look up at his picture and say, “see that?  That was Spencer, the greatest Pratt of all.” 

So he asked his Daddy, who was a “dentist to the stars!” and always gave him everything he wanted, how he could get the title of biggest Pratt.  Could they buy it?  Could they blackmail someone for it?  Or could he just go over to England and steal it from some unsuspecting British person?  And his father, who was too busy designing dentures for Amy Winehouse to care about any of Spencer’s big ideas, said “son, I told you never to speak to me directly.  What do you think I have a secretary for?  Just take this and get out” and threw a pile of money at him.

Spencer Pratt sporting a "God, Guns & Glory" Sarah Pain tshirt.  Also pictured with his most famous accessory, Heidi Montag.

Spencer Pratt sporting a "God, Guns & Glory" Palin for VP tshirt. He is also pictured with his most famous fashion accessory, Heidi Montag.

Spencer was indignant.  He would show his Dad, and his Mom, and his sister, and the tutor he paid to do his schoolwork for him, and his Dad’s mistress, and his Mom’s tennis instructor/lover, and everyone in the world what an exceptional Pratt he could be.  This was America.  All dreams were possible.  So he filled a garbage bag with cash, threw some of his designer clothes in the backseat of his Jaguar, stuck his friend Brody in the trunk, and set off for Hollywood.

When they got to Tinseltown, Spencer said to Brody, I am going to be your manager, as I’ve heard that some managers here are real Pratts.  But because you have no talent, you’re going to have to date your way to success.  So he told Brody who he should go out with: some really hot B-list babes who would look good in paparazzi pictures, but who were barely literate so they wouldn’t say much.  Spencer said,  You’re gonna start dating Nicole Richie. And you’re gonna get that skinny b*tch to eat, all right? You are about to become The Guy Who Got Nicole Richie to Eat. Process that sh*t, bro. You’ll be, like, a f***ing hero to America.”  (Actual quote from Details magazine, June 2008.)

Well, Brody couldn’t get Nicole to eat, so he didn’t become a great American hero.  So Spencer decided they would need more publicity.  And then he saw this show featuring lots of hot single women called The Hills, and he decided that they would find a way to become a part of the cast (because any Pratt can be on a reality television show, right?)  So Spencer started to date this girl named Heidi, and then he almost got her pregnant, and then he cheated on her, and then he got her back.  (He was sooo good at being a Pratt, he hoped his parents were watching.)  And he got Brody to date this girl named Lauren, but apparently Lauren spoke in complete sentences, so Brody lost interest pretty fast. 

But Spencer decided that doing all those things to Heidi just wasn’t enough.  In order to be the best Pratt he could be, he’d need to do something more drastic.  What if he took Heidi away from her best friend Lauren?  Or just isolated her from all of her friends?  And so he did.  And he laughed about it.  Life was good.

It was so much fun manipulating people, in fact, that he decided that he wanted Lauren and Heidi to be enemies.  So he spread a rumor that Lauren, who everyone thought was a good girl, had a sex tape with her trainwreck ex-boyfriend.  And Spencer said mean things about her anatomy that made everyone laugh.  And when his friend Brody broke up with him about it, he didn’t care.  He was invincible.  

Being a Pratt is awesome, he thought.  He decided to make being a Pratt his profession.  So he spent his days in his condo, sleeping late, hiring graffiti artists to paint the walls, eating take-out, installing giant video game machines in the dining room, and dreaming up a cunning master plan to achieve world domination.  So he bought Heidi some fake boobies and a new nose for her birthday, and decided, she’s hot enough to be a singer!  So they made a music video together, and he thought it was great, because only a talented Pratt could accomplish videography like this (footage courtesy of BestWeekEver.tv):

 

Yes, Heidi would be his ticket to the next level.  And he wanted her all to himself.  So he proposed to her with a fake diamond ring, and when she kicked him out because he didn’t want a big church wedding, he stalked her until she took him back.  Then he estranged her from her family by completely offending her mom and her stepdad.  And when Heidi’s sister came to live with them, he complained about her tampons and her stuff taking up too much space in the condo and had her thrown out.  And when his own sister, Stephanie, tried to befriend them, and wouldn’t pledge him absolute loyalty and devotion, he decided there was only room enough for one Pratt in his world, and he gave her the cold shoulder.  (His sister was just too minor league for the Pratt empire, anyway, with only some shoplifting charges and a possible drug possession offense under her belt.)  Finally, he even got Heidi fired from her pretend job by getting her drunk while she was working—so now she could be under his watch 24/7.  It was a triumph.

One night, as Spencer settled in to admire his collection of man-jewelry and peruse the hate mail on his MySpace page, he paused a moment to consider how lucky he was.  Heidi was under his thumb; his collection of white boy hip-hop bling was unparalleled; he had grown some fierce flesh-colored stubble (you could almost call it a beard!); and best of all, he was reviled across the nation.  Could his satisfaction be more complete?  As he flipped on the TV and started watching David Letterman, he found out.  Letterman was talking to Spencer’s sworn enemy, Lauren Conrad.  And Letterman was talking about him.  Letterman said, “Spencer, what a weasel.  He’s just the worst, that guy.”

Spencer leaned back on his leather shiatsu massage chair to consider these words, put his hands behind his head.  And he smiled.  God was in his heaven, and all was right with the world, Spencer thought.  He was a Pratt.  And the whole world knew it.

Maybe he would go out and get himself some custom gold teeth grillz to celebrate.  With diamonds.  Because he’d really look like a Pratt in those.

The End. 



2.5 Jason Wahler, we hardly knew you
November 21, 2008, 10:59 am
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , ,

I can hardly let a discussion of The Hills go by without mentioning the force of nature that is Jason Wahler.

Although he has left the show, his presence on it during season 1 (and even, fleetingly, during season 3) has cast a long shadow, out from which it has been very difficult for any of the new boys to distinguish themselves.

Jason Wahler's mug shot from 2007

Jason Wahler's 2007 mug shot

There have been so many quintessential moments:

• Like the time Jason gave Lauren grief about not spending his entire birthday with him (she had to work) and then abandoned her on the sidewalk after his birthday dinner to go out with his guy friends.

  Or the time they were out at a big New Year’s Eve party, and Jason told Lauren she’d better enjoy it because they wouldn’t be together in the New Year.  She, of course, left crying.  Jason sped after her in a taxi (a “follow that car” moment.)  He was obviously drunk, wearing his top hat slightly askew, pocketing his cigar and clutching a bunch of roses he bought from a street vendor.  He rushed to her apartment to try and kiss her before midnight.  Ain’t love grand? 

• Or the time when he arranged for a romantic dinner for Lauren’s birthday in a downtown LA hotel suite, complete with rose petals and candlelight.  After dinner, Jason asked her what she’d like to do.  She said she’d like to spend time with him.  So he asked her whom she’d like to go out with—any of his friends?  Any of her friends?  When she responded no, she just wanted to be with him, his eyes glazed over.  And she said, “can’t you just be with me?”  And then they both stared silently and dejectedly into space.

• And of course, who can forget the Jason-centered cliffhanger at the end of Season 1?  Lauren was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to intern in Paris for the summer with Teen Vogue.  But on the other hand, Jason had rented a beach house for them both in Malibu so they could live together for a few months and take their relationship to the next level.  When she told him about her dilemma, Jason claimed he’d support her no matter what her decision was, but then added in a rather gruff tone, “what are you going to do?”

Well, those of us who watch the show know what happened.  Lauren (to the surprise and disgust of us all) chose the guy over Paris.  (I think you could hear the collective scream “don’t do it!” echoing across the country during that episode.)  And by the end of the summer, she and Jason had broken up. 

We all saw the breakup coming.  Just like we saw public reports of his drunken and disorderly behavior coming, and his subsequent arrests, and his stint in rehab.  Jason, even if he wasn’t a presence on The Hills for season 2, was definitely making his presence known elsewhere.  His mug shots were all over the internet.

What we didn’t expect is that we’d see him back on the screen in Season 3.  He seemed mellow.  He looked clean.  (And even, dare I say, handsome?)  He took Lauren out to dinner, and he drank sparkling water.  When they “coincidentally” ran into Spencer and Heidi at the same restaurant, Jason confronted them about the sex tape rumors they had spread.  Lauren looked on with admiration (you can hear the swooning “my hero”); she obviously still had some feelings for him.  Then he invited Lauren to a party at his condo, where one of his friends had a big announcement:

Jason was engaged.  (Screech.  Stop the presses.)

Lauren’s observation, as she raised her plastic cup for a toast to the happy couple?  “That was quick.”

There are now rumors that Wahler (and his fiancée) will join the cast of The Hills for season 5.  Of course, he will be fresh from the settlement of a second civil suit from a conviction he had back in 2006, in which he assaulted and verbally abused an LA tow-truck driver and Department of Transportation worker (he had to spend time in jail for the offense in 2007.)  He had also been arrested in North Carolina in 2007 for underage drinking and verbal abuse of police officers.  He’s developed quite a rap sheet in his time off-air.

So, if Jason does come back, I think we can expect some fireworks. 

But I am starting to wonder:  is it me, or are they putting something in the water in LA? 



2.4 Doug Reinhardt: A “Baseball Player” and a “Gentleman”
November 20, 2008, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , , ,

 

Doug Reinhardt wants us to know he’s legit, not just some pretty boy who’s on TV.  He even has a website to prove it. 

Doug Reinhardt, self-professed "gentleman"

Doug Reinhardt, self-professed "gentleman"

Yes, go to the website and you will see lots of pictures of Doug.  Doug, shirtless.  Doug, staring penetratingly out at you.  Doug, playing baseball.  Because oh, did I mention that?  Doug plays baseball.  For the minors.  He was with the Anaheim Angels until 2007, and then signed on with a Baltimore Orioles farm team.  Then he got a knee injury…so who knows what will happen next.  But, according to the bio on his website, he has a few things to fall back on.

Let’s take a look at the bio, shall we?  It was just too priceless for me to leave alone, especially given the little I’ve gotten to know about Doug since he first appeared on The Hills a few months ago:

Doug Reinhardt is a gentleman with a strong drive for success in all aspects of his life.  His sense of humor is contagious and his charm is breathtaking.  Doug has always had strong morals and set his goals early in life.

OK.  Who did he pay to write this text?  His mother?  And when was the last time you heard a guy referred to in print as a “gentleman”—maybe in an Edith Wharton novel?  His sense of humor I can’t testify to…only perhaps that I’ve grimaced more than giggled while watching him on the show.  And as for the breathtaking charm…I suppose he had to use something to lure that group of scantily clad girls onto his private jet to surprise Brody Jenner in Cabo for his birthday.  Now that’s what I call strong morals.

Doug started playing organized baseball at 4 years old. Throughout his high school years, he gained an enormous respect for the sport. Doug’s passion for baseball ultimately leads him to turn down a baseball scholarship with USC to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as their 8th pick. His experience with the Angels has been extremely positive and has further inspired him to pursue his life-long goal to continue his career as a Professional Baseball Player. In 2007, Doug signed with the Baltimore Orioles, where he played for the season.

Yep, Doug sure does heart baseball.  Too bad he neglects to mention he had a batting average in the minors of .201.  Looks like he won’t be achieving that dream of going professional too soon, unless something drastically changes.  But a gentleman can dream, can’t he?  Or maybe just use his breathtaking charm to wheedle his way back into a lineup somewhere?  We’ll see.

Currently, Doug is recovering from a knee injury while attending Pepperdine University. Pursuing his academic goals is just as important as professional baseball. Doug will also be featured as a new cast member in the fourth season on the popular TV series, “The Hills” which will air on MTV in August 2008.

That’s right, Doug:  it’s always logical to fall back on education after a sports injury.  It’s just lucky that your parents are loaded and you didn’t have to rely on that scholarship to USC you turned down after high school, otherwise you’d be screwed.  Being rich is awesome!

Additionally, Doug diligently works to promote the success of the business he developed called Fun Facter. Doug serves as Chief Executive Officer of FUGEN Mobile, LLC and Fun Facter, LLC. Doug focuses on the core strategy of FUGEN Mobile and its ability to offer a complete mobile solution. In his role as CEO of Fun Facter he manages the deployment of new products and services and direct to consumer advertising strategies. Fun Facter creates, publishes and distributes across the US a broad range of premium mobile content, including SMS alerts, music, graphics, games and mobile community services. Founded in November 2005 Fun Facter, LLC is emerging as a leading mobile phone entertainment provider.

Mmmkay.  Here’s Doug’s definition of “complete mobile solutions.”  One of the options FUGEN Mobile offers is porn that’s delivered straight to your mobile device.  Sweet! (Remember those strong morals he was talking about earlier?)  And with Fun Facter (I’m assuming that he spelled it that way deliberately), you can get stuff like a fact of the day, a word of the day, a joke of the day, celebrity gossip, your horoscope, and (how’s this for irony):  a daily Bible verse.  Oh, Doug.  It’s like that little Bible verse washes away all the adult entertainment you’ve just uploaded.  As for the celebrity gossip, how many of you out there are wondering if he would simply text subscribers with things like:  “It’s reported that breathtaking charmer, Doug Reinhardt, will be at L.A. club “Area” tonight.  Only show up if you’re hot!”

Furthermore, Doug works with Entrepreneurial Properties Corporation where he is involved in multi-family real estate investments. Doug conducts extensive research and analysis of various metropolitan areas in the Midwest and Southwest to determine their investment potential.

Hmm.  “Multi-family real estate investments.”  “Extensive research and analysis.”  My translation?  Doug returns from a trip to Vegas and says “Dad, yo!  We were at this amazing place this weekend, and the chicks were soooo hot.  You should totally buy it.”  Or, “hey Dad, I’m stalking this new woman on TV, and it’s getting too hard because my house is so far away.  Like, miles.  But I found this place right up the hill from her that’s for sale, and I can totally see in the windows of her house with my binoculars.  I think it would be a good investment.  Besides, it would save the environment, as I wouldn’t have to use as much gas.”

 *

Since Doug is a relative newcomer to The Hills, we don’t know quite what to expect from him yet.  We do know that he started dating Lauren as the season began, and that Lauren dumped him inside of about two weeks.  And that very shortly afterwards, he caused a bit of a ruckus because he went on a date with her good friend Stephanie Pratt (a big no-no echo of Bunneygate–see the Brody Jenner post.)  And that he got arrested with Brody in Vegas.  And that he’s been seen out publicly with Holly Montag, the sister of Heidi Montag (Lauren’s former BFF and now arch-enemy.)  So he shows promise as being just as much of a loser as the rest of the guys on The Hills.  Way to go, Doug!

It’s nice to know there are still some gentlemen left in the world.



2.3 Frankie who???
November 19, 2008, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , ,

So by now, this week, I’m realizing that I’ve lost a great part of my thirty-and forty-something readership because of the “what the hell is The Hills?” factor.  Or, more accurately, “who the hell cares about The Hills?”

To all of you, I apologize.  And I don’t blame you for not wanting to read on.  

Because I realize that we are in the midst of a very grave economic crisis, riding the stock market like a rollercoaster and holding our collective breaths until George W. Bush is out of office.  We are also eagerly watching the Obama transition team, trying to determine who will be appointed to guide us through the schizophrenic obstacle course that is the international economy.  So there are many more important things going on than what’s on MTV.

I can see your point.

But I persevere because I think that The Hills—and other shows like it—are tapping into something very particular about the zeitgeist in our country at the moment.  Or at least the country we have known up to now.  What it shows is a group of young people engaged in a culture of absolute excess—where they live in houses and lofts no young twentysomething deserves to live, where they drive cars worth more than many of our salaries, where every night is about going to a hot new club, and where everything—simply everything—is about appearances.  Major world events seem to have no impact on their day-to-day existence, which is a bit difficult to swallow from a “reality” show.

Frankie Delgado

Frankie Delgado

So tonight we turn to the character of Frankie Delgado, the person everyone on the show seems to know and love, but about whom the audience doesn’t know much.  Even on the internet he’s a bit hard to track—from what I can tell, he was raised in Tijuana, Mexico to parents who were television stars in Mexico.  He moved to LA several years ago, and immediately became a big name on the party scene; he was subsequently hired by SBE Productions (owned by Sam Nazarian and Brent Bolthouse) as an event planner, charged most specifically with increasing high profile female clientele at SBE properties.  He was, briefly, a star of the MTV reality show Twentyfourseven, which portrayed his life as a party person.

We also know Frankie by association.  Anyone who watches The Hills or reads the gossip blogs (alas, as I do) knows that Frankie is Brody Jenner’s BFF, his ultimate wingman.  (A good example of Frankie’s skills as wingman was featured in the New York Post’s Page 6 column this past August.  Apparently, a cute blonde walked up to the dynamic duo in Washington Square Park, and started chatting with them.  When Brody looked confused, Frankie was overheard saying, “You slept with her in Cabo.”  Now that’s a class act.)  Frankie is also known for being a bit of a ladies’ man himself, having been featured in this year’s “Hottest Bachelors” list in People magazine.  His past flames include the likes of teen star Hilary Duff.

But perhaps this inability to know Frankie (except by his association to other famous people) is emblematic of The Hills itself.  With the advent and acceptance of reality television, are we discovering that fame isn’t something that’s earned, but simply given?  And, if so, doesn’t that make the entire structure of fame very delicate?  Because if it’s given, can’t it be just as readily taken away?  I wonder.  I wonder if the coming generations will be smarter than mine has been, and instead of following the lives of these shallow, pretty people, they will choose to emulate those with slightly more substance.  People who have talents and abilities beyond merely being rich.  People who don’t feel the need to pay to be beautiful.

Which begs the question again:  why am I watching this show?  (I now must abandon this blog to do some serious soul-searching.)



2.2 Brody Jenner’s Bromance
November 19, 2008, 1:26 am
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , ,

There is likely a tattoo hidden somewhere on Brody Jenner’s body that features a heart with his own name inscribed in it.  That’s how much he loves himself.

Look at it from his perspective: why wouldn’t he?  He’s got an excellent pedigree—he’s the son of Olympic Gold Medal decathlete Bruce Jenner and actress Linda Thompson.  So he’s handsome and athletic.  And he’s rich, although the source of his income is rather unclear, given that the closest thing to a career he seems to have is clubbing.  And throwing parties at his beach house in Malibu.  And flying off to Vegas on a whim.  And dating semi-famous women.

Brody Jenner hearts himself.

Brody Jenner hearts himself.

In fact, he has approached some of those relationships with semi-famous women as a way to build his social resumé.  (Having the right “arm charm” guarantees a paparazzi following.)  He dated former Laguna Beach star and Lauren Conrad rival Kristin Cavallari when she first moved to Hollywood, and certainly at the peak of her popularity.  From there, he moved on to a rather controversial relationship with Nicole Richie which, according to Richie, was a publicity stunt they staged together (Jenner was famously advised by his guy pal Spencer Pratt that if he could get the stick figure Richie to eat he’d become a “f***ing hero to America.”)  From there, Jenner moved on briefly to The Hills’ Lauren Conrad (and—how coincidental!—a recurring spot on the show), and has since been linked with such figures as model Cora Skinner and Playboy playmate Jayde Nicole.

If Justin Bobby is the dark, mysterious male figure on The Hills, then Jenner is definitely the narcissistic trickster.  From the time he first appeared in Season 2, courting Lauren and complimenting her smile, there is something about him that couldn’t entirely be trusted.  He struck me as the kind of guy who would pretend to talk to you, but was always busy checking himself out in the mirror or any shiny surface he could find—not unlike the vain Narcissus in Greek and Roman mythology, smitten with his own reflection.  Or he would be checking someone else out, as he is always looking for the next best thing (The AT&T LG Shine commercial he stars in with Lauren Conrad is a great example of this.)  Check it out here:

A great example of the Brody trickster effect was in one of the central events of Season 2:  Bunneygate.  The story goes like this.  Jen Bunney, one of Lauren’s longtime friends, was celebrating a birthday.  Lauren, who had recently been dating Brody (although it was nothing committed or serious), attended.  So did Brody.  Guess who Brody went home with that night?  I’ll give you one guess.  (Hint: it wasn’t Lauren.)  And guess who got blamed for Lauren’s broken heart the next day?  (Hint: it wasn’t Brody.)  Yes, somehow Mr. Self-Love, Mr. Fickle, got off scot-free.  And Jen Bunney got kicked off the show.

But if there is one group to whom Brody Jenner remains loyal, it’s to his boy posse.  With the notable exception of Spencer Pratt (with whom Jenner “broke up” in protest over the Lauren Conrad sex tape rumor Pratt had leaked) Jenner has remained steadfastly loyal to his male friends throughout the series, including Frankie Delgado, Justin Bobby and, most recently, Doug Reinhardt.  Or, should I say, they have remained steadfastly loyal to him.  These guys do everything together, including get arrested; dress alike, and finish each other’s sentences.  So it’s like Jenner is cruising around Hollywood with his own little gaggle of mini me’s.    

It’s no surprise, then, that Jenner is in development for his own reality TV show, entitled “Bromance,” which will be MTV’s male take on Paris Hilton’s BFF project.  In it, contestants will complete in various challenges in order to get the opportunity to become a part of Jenner’s entourage, and as such, to enjoy all the trappings that go along with his lifestyle.  Like dressing just like Brody.  And acting just like Brody.  And dating semi-famous women.  And clubbing.  And throwing beach parties in Malibu.  And flying off to Vegas at a moment’s notice.

But if Brody is really truthful to himself, if he’s honestly looking for bromance, he doesn’t have to look far.  He just has to look in the mirror.

(And we all know how that ended for Narcissus.  We live in hope.)



2.1 The Hills are alive with Justin Bobby
November 17, 2008, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Guys from "The Hills" | Tags: , , ,

 

The truth and time tells all.   -Justin Bobby, spouter of cryptic cosmic wisdom

Homeboy wore combat boots to the beach.   -Lauren Conrad, keen social observer

Ah, Justin Bobby Brescia.  Walking enigma, speaker of riddles, rider of motorcycles, advocate of open relationships, champion belcher, sometime dirtbag, wearer of combat boots to the beach.

Justin Bobby first came into our lives on Season 3 of The Hills, when he resurfaced in character Audrina Partridge’s life—and proceeded to take her on a rollercoaster of romance and betrayal.  Of course, anyone who watches the show knows he wasn’t introduced as Justin Bobby.  To Audrina, he was just Justin, an on-again, off-again flame who would pop up in her life intermittently.  Someone she just couldn’t get out of her system.

But we got a good indication of his potential as a character on the show when he was introduced to Audrina’s roommate (and star of The Hills), Lauren Conrad. He said, in that super laid back, gravelly way of his, “I’m Justin, but my friends call me Bobby.”  “Why?”  asked Lauren, somewhat confused.  He said nothing (likely because he had nothing to say.)  Friend Lo Bosworth then asked pertly, “Does anyone call you ‘Justin Bobby’?”  His answer (glaringly) “no.”  And then, irritated, he left.  Lauren and Lo stared at each other and giggled.  And hey presto! Justin Bobby was born.

The force of nature that is Justin Bobby.

Awww, yeah. Pull out the Courvoisier. It's Justin Bobby time.

At first, we viewers didn’t know quite what to think of him—he was mysterious, dark, and seemed to dislike things such as the cameras filming him, common standards of cleanliness, and basic rules of etiquette.  But over the course of two seasons now, he has become endeared to us as we have watched the train wreck of the Justin Bobby/Audrina relationship unfold.  It was always interesting to see how far he could push Audrina and still get her back—sort of like watching a kid punching a boxing dummy that takes the hit and pops right up for more.  Like the time she obviously wanted him to be her boyfriend (they had been seeing each other for a while), and they went out to dinner to talk.  I don’t remember the exact dialogue, but here is my interpretation:

Audrina  (looking both nervously and longingly at JB):  So people have been asking me if you are my boyfriend, and I didn’t know what to tell them.

Justin Bobby (swishing his hair back):  I hate being defined by other people.  I think what we have is cool.  Why do we have to ruin it by putting labels on it.

Audrina (staring blankly off into space while swirling her drink):  Yeah.

Or there was the time that Audrina and Justin Bobby arrived at Brody Jenner’s Malibu beach house for a party.  Justin wore combat boots (so practical and so stylish with swimming trunks), he and Audrina frolicked in the surf, they drank, they chilled.  And then he left.  With someone else.  (But he did have the courtesy to leave her motorcycle helmet behind.)

We thought that must be the end, that he’d hit the high water mark of jerkdom even for Audrina, but then she took him back because she “missed him.”  Cut to Audrina out clubbing one night with her friends.  She had come with Justin Bobby, but made her way over to Lauren, Brody and Frankie (another friend) to chat.  Suddenly there is a disturbance.  The camera shoots over to the darkened bar area, where it’s hard to see anything, and quickly moves back to Audrina’s face; we hear, “did he just kiss her?”  And suddenly Audrina is saying “I’m leaving” and the camera crew is racing after her, along with Lauren, Brody and Frankie.  Justin Bobby catches up with her at the door, tries to grab her arm but she throws it off.  She’s crying.  She yells something at the floozy who was supposedly making out with Justin Bobby, then runs across the street to a dark parking lot, Justin Bobby in hot pursuit.  He’s trying to talk to her, they go behind a dumpster.  Later, we find out, it’s over.  Kaput.  Finally, done.

After that débacle, a normal person would deem Audrina certifiably insane for taking Justin Bobby back again (insanity=doing something over and over again and expecting different results), so we logically presumed that we had seen the last of him—hair, combat boots and all.  But, with the resiliency of herpes, he turned back up in her life this season, with a new haircut, a new philosophy about washing himself, and a newer, more subtly manipulative desire to torment her.  Recent weeks have seen the cat-and-mouse game they played expand as Audrina whipped her top off in a friend’s pool on a dare from Justin (saying he would “have to come and get her” if she did it), only to have him tell her in a moment of playful intimacy that he has a “hall pass” with other girls because she’d gone on a date with someone else.  (Not that they were dating exclusively, by the way.)  Frustrated, Audrina turned to a cute and decent Aussie named Cory for comfort and companionship, but soon found herself roped back in by Justin Bobby (for the gazillionth time) as he pulled up dramatically on his motorcycle outside the record studio where she is working and admitted they have something special. He wants to be with her, he said.    

Now if she turned to me for advice, instead of one of those people they pay to be her friends on the show, I would tell her:  of course you should believe him, Audrina.  He can change.  He cut his hair, for God’s sake—if he can commit to that he can commit to anything, right?  (And if you believe that, then there is also a nice bridge project I would like to sell you in the up-and-coming state of Alaska.  Think about it: you both could live there, open a Pinkberry franchise, and live happily ever after.  Open it in Wasilla, they’re really friendly to industrial development pretty much anywhere–they don’t have any prickly issues with the environment– plus they have a steady stream of journalists coming through nowadays.)

As I write this, I realize with some shame that I have a Masters degree.  I could be reading Nietzsche or doing the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen.  But I guess I am just like Audrina on this one.  I can’t get Justin Bobby out of my system.  So until they make a version of Valtrex for frequently recurring outbreaks of sleazy TV characters, I’ll just have to keep tuning in on Monday nights.