The fifth and probably final season ofThe Hills comes up Monday night and it's a generational thing. "I've never heard of any of these people!" a dear middle-aged friend told me. But for the teenagers down the street this is something akin to The Second Coming.
How to explain The Hills? It takes the concept of reality TV and boldly goes where no reality show should ever go. Because of its vast teen viewership a comparable series like the scripted Gossip Girl seems even more trite and silly than it really is.
Starring as herself is fashion wannabe Lauren Conrad who previously perked up another reality offering called Laguna Beach.
Make no mistake, she's the front and center star. MYV has tried other clones without her and all flopped --like Newport Harbor and Twentyfourseven.
On The Hills she's moved to L.A. and found herself smack dab in the fashion industry which is where most young girls would like to be. The show is supposed to be completely unscripted but those cameramen on TMZ have shown us the partipants doing scenes over and over again.
And we also see scenes shot from several different camera angles meaning Cionrad and pals must match dialogue completely or everything would be ruined.
Lauren is very pretty in a vacuous way. She's had loads of crummy boyfiends and we just shake out heads at her poor choices.
I maintain younger gals watch because of the friendships Lauren finds among women her own age. First and foremost there was the delightfully screwy Heidi Montag who later hooked up with irrepresible bad boy Spencer Pratt.
Then there was Lauren's galpal from high school and later her room mate and look alike named simply Lo. And scheming Audrena who had her own toy boy problems with Justin Bobby who very sensibly avoided all commitments.
Last season Lauren briefly considered hooking up with Doug who is now dating Paris Hilton --but who hasn't dated poor l'il Paris? And there was slack eyed Brody Jenner who even got his own short lived show called Bromance.
The Hills is so popular it even spawned a sequel of sorts titled The City with Whitney Port off to New Uork city and romance with an Aussie singer with lots of teeth. Port lands in the Big Apple and gets a big job after a five-minute interview plus a dreamy apartment in days, how realistic is that?
Playing herself has made Conrad a very rich girl but her own line of clothing tanked and a second line of her duds has been cancelled due to the recession. Without the show she may well drift back into well deserved anonymity.
I had a pleasant conversation on the phone with her when the show originally debuted and she seemed spunky and funny quite unlike her demure TV self.
On TV we never see her reading a book or watching TV. We do see her and the gals eating a lot at various cafes, hanging out at bars and gyms, even plotting against each other --I guess that reflects the lifestyles of Hollywood's rich and famous.
Would MTV dare to continue the Hills without our Lauren? There are rumors Spencer and Heidi could take over the show but it may be retitled.
I've been sworn to secrecy about the final batch of plots but what the heck. Brody and Audrina who once hated each other may get together and Lauren and Heidi have a teary reconciliation.
And then what? Reality stardom is fleeting as the faces who've drifted through American Idol and The Amazing Race can tell anybody willing to listen.
A year from now everybody will be fascinated by the new faces on The City. The Hills favorites risk becoming trivia questions.
PICTURED: LAUREN CONRAD.
THE FIFTH SEASON DEBUTS MONDAY APRIL 6 ON MTV AT 10 P.M.