I read over the weekend that the upcoming season of the worst and possibly fakest reality show ever, The Hills, will be the last.
It’s okay, you can stop cheering now.
Not that I tune in to The Hills myself or anything. I can’t, unfortunately – I made a deal with MTV: “You continue to make this absurd, atrocious, vacuous rubbish, and market it under the guise of quality entertainment, and I won’t watch it.”
We’ve both stuck to our side of the bargain so far and it’s worked pretty well.
So, while “the kids” in America have remained oddly involved for five seasons with the flatlining intellectual world of Lauren Conrad and her fashion friends at Teen Vogue in Los Angeles, California, I’ve had to find other things to do. As a result, my life putters ahead quite adequately without understanding to any great degree who Lauren and Heidi and Lo and Audrina and Spencer are, or what their lives are about, or why anyone would think it a good idea to give such apparently hollow shells a TV series in the first place.
Then I got the good news – I’m going to be spared the effort of ever finding out. The fifth season will be the last. Ratings are not as good as they were – fans are becoming less fannier and tuning out; Lauren, the lynchpin of the whole thing, is leaving the show; and the producers are pulling the plug.
Of course, there’ll always be an audience for bland nonsense like this, and something else just as bad will leap up soon to take its place, I’m sure. Cuz here’s the truth. Due to:
a) an underfunded school system that emphasizes individuality and being the best you can be, but without specifying what at; and which lets pupils emerge at the end claiming to have an education, even though they can’t spell or talk coherently or add up numbers or point to Europe on a map; and
b) a society morally and intellectually on the ropes, where too many kids believe that, if the whole studying thing doesn’t work out, they can always become rappers or TV stars…
a large part of today’s youth audience remains hardcore dim. They’ll happily sit for hours in front of the television watching tanned morons stare blankly at each other as they struggle to form complete sentences, then they’ll go out and, like the robots they are, mechanically buy without question all the products and silly fads and services that greedy networks promote in the commercial breaks, knowing their audience is not smart enough to figure out that they’re being manipulated.
Actually, I had the privilege of eavesdropping on a group of teens in Starbucks yesterday. Drawing inspiration from The Hills, no doubt, their conversation was a series of blank thoughts and long gaps connected with ten million combinations of ‘totally’ and ‘like’ and “so I go, ‘you’re kidding me’ and he goes ‘no’ and I go ‘what the hell? I mean, dude, come on, like, chill, alright?’ Y’know what I’m saying?”
And the other kids nodded. They knew exactly what he was saying. Because he was saying nothing. Which was about all they could handle.
Indeed, the only reason I feel comfortable telling you all of this is because I happen to know that none of the people we’re talking about has the mental capacity to read this far down the page. I guarantee they checked out after the headline.
“Like, wow. Seven of those word-things at one time is, like, totally enough, thank you.”
The reason I’m so cheered by the end of The Hills, though, is because it gives me hope. The world is in flux right now. Everything’s changing. Our very expectations about life and how to earn a living and what a secure financial future might mean are going through a tumble-dryer of transformation. This, believe it or not, is good news.
Now that the economy’s down the toilet, I suspect we’re reaching the end of a cultural era too.
With any luck, it signals the demise of witless “reality” shows shot in Hollywood mansions, promoting the Beverly Hills lifestyle of celebrity and fame and glamour as aspirational, when in truth it’s just an invention of TV and the movies. If you don’t believe me, go there. In the real Beverly Hills right now, people are hurting. The recession is biting hard. Businesses are struggling. Restaurants are failing. Life savings have been lost. Glamour and fame and celebrity are taking second place in a lot of cases to strategies for everyday survival and not losing their house and how to pay for college fees.
Now, that’s the Hills they should be making reality shows about, because in the years ahead, it’s the only one that’s going to make any sense. A new era is coming, one in which the dim children of America are going to wish they’d spent less time watching frothy, mind-numbing confectionery about frothy, mind-already-numb people on TV, and actually studied and learned to speak and done something useful with their young lives when they had the chance. Karma has a reputation to maintain. She’s known to be a diva bitch. And the youth of this country is about to find out how much of a diva bitch that is.
Finally, in the spirit of Friday’s blog, which generated massive amounts of traffic and even made it on to the website of Time magazine, may I just say Rachel Bilson, Hugh Laurie, Jim Cramer, Homer Simpson, and Jon Stewart?
The Hills gets no magic carpets out of five.
TV Swami – he say NO. And good riddance.