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‘The Hills’: Heidi and Spencer lobby hard to star in post-Lauren ‘Hills’

April 7, 2009 |  9:12 am

16-lauren-conrad-heidi-montag-tears It gets so hard to write about “The Hills.” Last Friday, a mere four days ago, Heidi happily told MTV News that the series didn’t need Lauren Conrad. “We don’t need her,” she said. “She’s gotta leave the dramas to the pros.”

So it’s with an admittedly wary -- and weary -- eye that I watched the show’s fifth season premiere, in which Heidi made yet another attempt to get back in the good graces of Lauren, crashing her birthday and causing a scene that elicited sympathy -- albeit, alcohol-fueled sympathy, more on that in a sec -- from her former best friend.

From the opening song -- Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You,” natch -- to Heidi’s awkward entrance on the boat, we’re supposed to be rooting for her. Her dignity is long gone, and no one can say she isn’t working hard for that money. But how do we root for her with this amount of transparency? She doesn't really care about Lauren. She cares about making "The Hills" successful with or without her.

Heidi and Spencer's attempts to make headlines used to be amusing, and now they just make me squirm. 

When Heidi is hit mid-episode with “news” that Spencer is chatting up a bartender behind her back -- he’s working hard, too! -- the overly empathetic Lauren can’t help but give her nipped and tucked costar a hug. (A colleague of mine likes to say she’s too full of pathos and I’m inclined now to agree.) Lauren’s had a few drinks at this point but sums up their conundrum nicely: “The person you love? I don’t think he’s nice … I don’t like him, but I still love you. But I can’t be a half-friend to you. … Maybe we have a drink and go from there.” A few drinks later and Heidi even gets a goodbye hug. It was touching if you wanted it to be -- and at this point, you gotta buy into it all if you're still watching "The Hills." Maybe this was the re-start of a beautiful friendship.

Wrong. The alcohol’s happy haze didn’t last long. In the next episode, which MTV so kindly aired right after the premiere, Lauren’s none too happy the morning after. She rails against Stephanie for inviting her because, guess what, she still doesn’t want to be friends with Heidi. Yes, it’s only Heidi that deserves the Emmy, not Lauren. Darn you, birthday booze.

Meanwhile, Spencer makes a dramatic leap of his own, rekindling his bromance with his former friend Brody. Brody, who’s not as empathetic as Lauren but is, you know, a dude, takes Spencer back and advises him to get less serious with Heidi. Roam free. Monogamy is for losers. Even Heidi’s mom gets in on the act, bringing ‘round one of Heidi’s old boyfriends in her quest to split her and Spencer up while getting them their own MTV show. She’s tricky, that one.

My own opinion? I think Spencer and Heidi need to drum up storylines that aren’t about the instability of their relationship. Anyone with Internet access -- or better, Twitter -- knows these two are rock solid in their love for fame and each other. It’s too late to change things this season -- Perez Hilton just reported a “a four break-up” deal the pair struck with an unnamed tabloid magazine involving putting the couple on its cover after each split. The fourth is coming, and it looks like Heidi herself is already teasing the story. If MTV does give them their own show, they’ve got to do better.

Could “The Hills” go on without Lauren? That's the big question this season, isn't it? From the looks of the season-long preview that aired tonight, everyone's making the push for it. Perhaps the most surprising push comes from ... Audrina and Brody, who will, heaven help us, hook up at some point. Gah.

What do you think? Would you keep watching without Lauren? Will you keep watching this season? We haven’t even seen Justin Bobby yet …

-- Denise Martin

Lauren Conrad looks beyond 'The Hills'
Lauren Conrad's final words

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