Thursday, July 15, 2010
“The Hills” ended on Tuesday with a wink to all the fans and critics who have questioned its semi-scripted nature over the years.
After Kristin Cavallari said goodbye to her former boyfriend, Brody Jenner, on a quiet street, the Hollywood sign gleaming in the distance, the camera pulled back to reveal that Mr. Jenner was standing on a studio backlot, implying that the coming-of-age-in-tinseltown stories were never as real as they appeared.
It was arguably the most buzz-worthy moment on “The Hills” this season, its sixth and last on MTV. The once-innovative show has been waning for some time, having peaked in its third season with an average of 3.8 million viewers. By the fifth season last year, it was averaging just 2.6 million viewers an episode. This season, it was averaging 2.3 million, and Tuesday’s finale was watched by 2.95 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Company.
The final 60 seconds, with its flashbacks to prior seasons and its scene on the Paramount Pictures lot, were grist for Web sites like Gawker, which posted the final minutes of the show and said the series finale “will blow your mind with reality.”
Maybe the ending was a message from the producers that the show was scripted all along, or maybe it was just an inside joke, poking fun at all the questions about the blurry line between the real lives of the cast members and the rehearsed nature of reality television.
“I thought it was a smart and clever to break the fourth wall and acknowledge how fake ‘The Hills’ often was, without really tearing down the constructed reality that the show created over the past four years,” said Andy Dehnart, the editor of Reality Blurred and a lecturer at Stetson University. “Its alleged veracity was a significant part of the reason why viewers watched and cared, and enough of that remained intact for apologists to cling to. Only the final moments of that scene were artificial; the rest of it appeared to be filmed on a real street in front of the real Hollywood sign, so on some level, the producers have left open the possibility that those final few moments were just a joke at critics’ expense.”
The finale was reminiscent of another MTV series, “The Osbournes,”
a reality show about Ozzy Osbourne’s family In the final moments of a 2003 episode viewers heard a director shout, “Cut, that’s a wrap,” and saw a crew member holding cue cards, all designed to leave viewers wondering whether the whole show was staged.
On a live “after party” for “The Hills” after the finale on Tuesday, Mr.
Jenner said “As you saw in the end — what’s real and what’s fake? You don’t know. Our relationship the entire time could have been fake. You don’t know; you don’t know.”
Similarly, Ms. Cavallari, who replaced Lauren Conrad on the series last year, told People magazine recently: “Nothing you see on TV is real. Fans need to understand it’s all entertainment. It’s all in fun. I would never put my close friends or a real relationship on a show.”
One “Hills” blogger, Ben “B-Side” Mandelker, indicated to The Associated Press that he was glad he wouldn’t have to field the real-or-fake question anymore. “I just tell people it’s like professional wrestling,” he said. “Don’t take it so seriously, and enjoy the ride.”
Posted by Kelli at 2:44 PM