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'The Hills': Is this the beginning of the end for Lauren Conrad?

November 10, 2008 |  9:59 pm

Laurenandwhitney_2 I don’t mind that MTV is heavily promoting Whitney’s spin-off “The City.” Most of Monday’s episode of “The Hills” was used to set up Whitney’s love triangle: Will she choose aggressive Australian singer Jay or shy male model Alex? Judging from the show’s official trailer, where you can see that Alex will accuse Jay of being a regular Casanova, it looks like Whitney prefers the playboy. (Poor Alex. If he watched “The Hills,” he’d already know how very slim his chances are. He’d know the bad boys are what MTV reality show girls want. Audrina nixed Corey for Justin Bobby. Lauren picked Jason instead of a summer in Paris. Heidi chose Spencer over everyone else in her life.)

The bigger problem with the episode is in its implications for "The Hills": Is it just me or does it look like Lauren really will make good on cutting loose after this cycle wraps? This isn’t the first episode this season where the star has been sidelined for the series’ B storylines -- and it just doesn‘t work. What star just gets up and takes a vacation from her show like Lauren did in September? Since when has Audrina’s Justin Bobby drama become the biggest deal on the show?

As discussed previously, Lauren is necessary to “The Hills,” but it looks more and more like she‘s ready to say goodbye. Let's face it, nothing's going on for her: Strikingly handsome Doug was a distratction, not a chapter in her life. Things are hunky-dory with Lo. And watching her work for Kelly Cutrone is more tiresome than watching her loaf around the Teen Vogue offices of previous seasons.

Maybe Lauren is over feuding with friends and dating boys in her own circle. Maybe she’s outgrown the drama. Maybe her clothing line -- the business viewers are never allowed to see -- is hogging all her time. Maybe she's moved on.

Or maybe next week she’ll have a screaming match with Heidi or Audrina and we can just chalk this week up as another exception. Who knows? But it is feeling like MTV is beginning to move its eggs into Whitney’s basket.

The only worthwhile moment from Monday’s episode involved Spencer -- again Speidi needs its own show -- who turned my world topsy-turvy with his well-intentioned if misguided attempt to win back Heidi‘s job for her. Bad boy gone good? Probably not. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t floored as I watched Spencer take a verbal beating from Heidi’s boss, Brent, who bluntly told him he was wrecking Heidi’s professional life. Spencer, dare I say it, stood there and took it like a man, continuing to apologize for his part in Heidi’s having been fired.

As much as I enjoy the pair, however, I don't think they can continue on "The Hills" without Lauren as a counterpoint. What they need is their own show with a different format. I’d be down to watch a lead-up to their nuptials or something along the lines of a “Newlyweds.”

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: MTV