Bad Timing

Wow, I really should have thought a bit more when I decided to create a blog. Turns out I have 4 assessments due in over the next week, so I won’t be able to post any more entries for a while. This may upset all three people who have read my blog (I’m not joking), but hopefully I’ll be back with my theories on popular culture sooner rather than later.

Just one thought- has anyone seen The Hills? This show is inexplicably massive over in America, and since it’s showing on Go! at night I thought I’d tune in and see what all the fuss was about. The show consists of three main components:

  1. Pans of Los Angeles’ city life. This takes up anywhere between 30 seconds to five minutes of each 20 minute episode, presumably depending on how much “drama” the producers have captured.
  2. The cast (is that the right word? I don’t feel that they deserve such a title) sitting around and whingeing about their relationship troubles. Of course, when the guys do this, instead of talking it out, they instead shoot brooding glances at the cameras, leading to plenty of awkward silences and, more importantly, unintentional comedy.
  3. Scenes showcasing the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. The girls often go out to hip restaurants and then move onto posh nightclubs, where they unsuccessfully attempt to converse over a 130 decibel speaker set blaring in the background.

So two thirds of the show is effectively an advertisment for The City of Angels. Yet this is not the thing that bugs me most about The Hills. That honour goes to the description of the show; “reality television”. For me, reality television is something like Big Brother. Whilst Big Brother may not perfectly capture a microcosm of humanity, its fly-on-the-wall style at least enables this to be a possibility. The Hills, however, lacks this subtlety, and resultantly the drama seems forced, as if the cast had been coerced into such a situation by the producers. This causes the cast to look like really bad actors. Which may be true. In which case, an amusing paradox arises. But more than likely, it is purely because the constraints placed on the cast create a sense of artificiality, and not the cool, superstylised version either.

I, for one, would be an avid fan of The Hills (or any reality show for that matter) if they showed what really went on in these people’s lives. For example- California is notorious for its lax attitude towards the use of marijuana. Wouldn’t you watch a show in which Spencer Pratt took a hit from a bong, then proceeded to sing the American national anthem whilst wearing a pair of underwear on his head? Drunk/high people are often a great source of comedy (remember that scene in Borat with the college frat boys?), and it’s pretty damn realistic too. Put it this way: the majority of the audience have gone out and gotten so drunk that the next morning, they don’t have the faintest idea what they did last night. But how many can say that they go to the hippest clubs in the world each week?

Yes, I know that for many viewers, television is a medium for escaping the drudgery of their life, but when the fantastical elements (the clubs, city shots) of the show coalesce with the mundane (everything else on the show), it creates a monotonous, uninteresting piece of drivel. If I were in charge of The Hills, here’s what I would propose:

  • Reduce the amount of aerial shots of Los A ngeles. It’s an awesome city, we get it.
  • Introduce the boyfriends to fantastically bejugged women with a penchant for alcohol. Catfights are a staple of great drama/comedy.
  • Mess with the cast. Let a goat loose in Lauren’s house at night. Observe her reaction the next morning when she wakes up to find her lounge torn to shreds. Priceless. Or- hire actors to create potentially awkward social situations. Wouldn’t it make enthralling television if Jason was accused of being racist by a 6″6 former NBA player?
  • Pit them against each other in a series of sporting contests- A can’t miss idea.

But then again, that’s just me.

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3 responses to “Bad Timing

  1. In what world does the Hills seem real? I think that it falls into the “this is so crap that I refuse to believe someone has written it” category.

  2. It’s not an actual reality show. They are all actors. The concept originated from the show the real O.C Laguna Beach and followed Lauren and Heidi and such around their school lives then when they finished “school” the moved to the city. Following seasons of O.C. show bombed with the new people so they hit up the girls when they “moved” to L.A.

    The whole concept is original, but it’s obvious that it’s planned out. Some of the shots they get are way too organised and well-made.

    Plus what happens is the writers sit down with the “actors” and outline what they want the general plot to be of the weeks episode, and where they’re setting it. Then they just act out the general gist of the plot.

    That’s why dialogue is so broken and inconsistent, which makes it seem real. Plus the idea that anyone would put up with Spencer Pratt let alone MARRY him proves it’s scripted.

    But I do agree with you, they find it necessary to establish context by having panning shots before every change in scene. Ridic.

  3. Brooster the Rooster

    Bahaha I loled at this so hard. Steph loved this show and thus I was forced to endure this “monotonous, uninteresting piece of drivel”. The whole while thinking exactly what you just wrote. You should definitely contact the producers with your amendments asap!

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