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'The Hills': Whitney gets ready for her close-up

September 2, 2008 | 10:00 am

WhitneyWhitney's potential spin-off series would be good. Really good.

Last night's episode of "The Hills" was almost like watching an informal changing of the guard: the minutiae of Lauren's bored life mashed up with glimpses of Whitney's sky-rocketing bicoastal one. (We even know that she'll eventually ditch Kelly Cutrone for Diane von Furstenberg. Onward and upward!)

Viewers hadn't seen Whitney as anything but a sympathetic pal to Lauren -- until now. Now we know that, unlike Lauren, Whitney doesn't mope when life happens. She conquers.

Take the completely unprofessional behavior of her boss, Cutrone, who in last night's episode took the liberty of setting Whitney up on a date -- with a potential model/client, no less -- under the pretense of meeting up for business drinks. Whitney, of course, got a call later informing her that no one was coming.

But our girl didn't panic. She handled her unexpected date, Alex, like a pro. No getting drunk, no lame flirting (i.e. no suggesting to her date that ordering a beer makes him more of "a guy's guy"). She talked, she walked, and she hugged him good night. Good girl.

She was even appropriately miffed at Cutrone when later related what happened to Lauren.

A Whitney show would be a lot less needlessly talky too. When Lauren started in about her waning interest in Doug, Whitney's advice was clear and immediate: cut him off. Done. Simple. "It's better not to string him along," she said. (To Lauren's credit, she did dump him soon after.)

With Lauren talking about maybe wrapping "The Hills" after this current season, last night's episode also made it easy to see why that might not be a bad idea. The timing feels right. Just look at the state of the show's other cast members: Spencer's been reduced to only talking about his hatred of Lauren and Stephanie; Heidi's just tagging along. And Audrina's clearly outgrown Lauren and Lo's high school games.

Then again, there's Stephanie, who's single-handedly kept it interesting in trying to maintain her holds on both Team Lauren and Team Speidi.

She might deserve a featured spot in Whitney's new show, if not a spin-off of her own.

-- Denise Martin

Photo: Jeff Lipsky / MTV