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Janeane Garofalo does her best Lauren Conrad in a staged reading of 'The Hills'

August 25, 2008 |  6:18 pm

Hillsemailflyer_2 The event just made everything so much clearer: Lauren's a blank slate until crossed. Heidi was her victim.

In fact, Saturday's Upright Citizens Brigade staged reading of the momentous "The Hills" episode "You Know What You Did," starring Janeane Garofalo as Lauren and Rachael Harris as Heidi, was nothing short of revelatory.

Sure, it was a kick see Rob Huebel flash Spencer's trademark toothy grin and Dannah Feinglass get dazzlingly ditzy as Audrina. Harris' Heidi, complete with over-annunciated drawl, was almost uncomfortably close to the real thing.

But seeing the episode deconstructed -- literally, a reading of the show's dialogue -- exposed something more. Something new.

Without a pop music soundtrack and mood lighting, Lauren simply comes off as a leech, her neediness sucking her victims dry until they've got nothing left to give. (Garofalo needy? Strange, but she pulled it off.)

It was almost tragic to see the evenings players, clad all in black, welcomed on stage by narrator Nathan Corddry, who first recited the words to "The Hills" theme song, Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten." Live your life with arms wide open / Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten. (Sadly, the night's revisited events happened over a year ago, long before Lauren began feasting on friends like Audrina. But I digress...)

The show began with an already miffed Lauren, all dagger eyes and playing with her hair. She confided in work friend Whitney that she thought Heidi was behind the sex-tape rumors. Whitney, played pitch-perfectly by Robin Shorr, was stupefied, asking Lauren all about her woes and responding the safest way she knew how: "Wow."

She knows better than to cross L.C.

Thankfully, we know Whitney escapes Lauren's hit list -- she's got a new show coming next year.

We relived watching Audrina, then firmly in Lauren's good graces, pass on Spencer and Heidi's super fun-sounding housewarming and saw her stick by Lauren through her sex-tape paranoia. Things change later on once Lauren decides Audrina hasn't paid her enough attention and brings in childhood pal Lo for reinforcement.

But the night's moment of truth arrived when Lauren and Heidi collide at a nightclub. Harris evoked a truly mystified Heidi as Lauren whipped out her can of whoop-ass, tearing into her without any proof that Heidi and Spencer had ignited the sex-tape rumors. Only moments before the fight, Lauren received a letter from Heidi, trying to revive their friendship.

Garofalo, of course, easily channeled Lauren's undue ferocity: "You're a sad, pathetic person!"

But who is more tragic here? Heidi, who has at least been upfront about her attention-getting efforts, or Lauren, who cries her way through friends and then bites their heads off? Maybe Stephanie can bite first?

Shorr told Show Tracker that the group may perform the episode again in October. For more information, visit the Upright Citizens Brigade website.

-- Denise Martin

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