Tag Archives: TV Review

The Hills/The City: Fake Reality, I GET It Now.

Dear Audy,

I have a confession to make, I have gotten hooked on fake reality. Well, not in the drop acid and wander around in a fantasyland way, but in the staring mindlessly at the screen and into the deliciously plastic worlds of The Hills and The City.

The Hills debuted in 2006 and ever since then and a couple of months ago, I have thought it sounded like a stupid show to watch. I didn’t understand the fake reality thing. Was I supposed to pretend it was real life when it was clearly scripted? I didn’t understaaand…but now I do.

Lauren, Heidi, Audrina and Whitney are (fake) living the lives that my teenage self dreamed about. There they are, in L.A., the home of Hollywood, rampant gangs and ludicrously luxurious living. Ok, so the gangs don’t exactly make an appearance, that would be a blot on the beauty of the (fake) world we’re looking into, right? Don’t want that. Oh no, because in The (fake) Hills, life is sunshine, lollipops and lipstick! That is exactly how it wormed its way through my (fake) high brow snobbery defense system. That, and the weakening of said brow battalion that occurs when I am sore and dopey.

The Hills follows four (fake) successful, beauties, making their way in the world after high school.

Firstly, we have Lauren. Lauren is our central, girl-next-doorish, generally nice, unwittingly super self righteous, yet somehow rather relatable heroine. Next up is her best friend, Heidi, seemingly fresh-faced, funny and friendly, but a little forlorn at the idea of actually working for a living. As the show progresses, so does Heidi. From sweet country girl to self important, Spencer schmoozing, plastic-morph barbie. It’s hard not to pity her whilst watching her transform – plastic surgery in young people always seems to me like they’re almost cementing their insecurities, which is likely the opposite of what they’re trying to achieve. The stars don’t mention her transformation on the show at all, which is just weird. Have her (fake) friends not noticed that she’s starting to resemble Cher?

20100831 heidi-montag-and-lauren-conrad
Lauren Conrad & Heidi Montag (click for source)


Thrown in to the (fake) friendship mix, is Audrina, an icon for grungey wannabes everywhere. Audrina is a completely different personality type to Lauren and Heidi, I mean, if this isn’t obvious enough by the fact that she is brunette, whereas they are blonde (huge difference, duh), then there is always her icky biker kinda boyfriend, Justin Bobby, to nail home just how alternative she is. Audrina wears a lot of black (so baaad), eyeliner and slightly hurt expressions. Like Heidi (face it, like a lot of girls), Audrina has trouble navigating her (fake) love life, suffers from ‘never been in love before’ naivety and entertains greatly by becoming increasingly more daft as her bra size goes (mysteriously) up.

20100831 audrina-patridge
Audrina Patridge (click for source)


Rounding out our group of hot, young, ladies is Lauren’s co-worker at Teen Vogue (dream job, anyone’s inner teenage self?) is Whitney. Whitney is our sweet, dignified, understatedly coquettish Cali-girl with a heart of gold and the figure of a supermodel. She’s there so that Lauren has someone to bitch to about her other (fake) friends and for us to envy as she goes about her life being charming and successful, despite any obviously apparent actual talent. Whitney is so charming in fact, that she went off to New York and got her very own (fake) reality show, The City, which I am currently enjoying immensely.

20100831 Whitney Port
Whitney Port (click for source)


Working in the fashion industry has Whitney showing off a lot of pretty clothes and accessories, it’s kind of like sitting on the couch and watching an issue of Cosmopolitan. All pretty colours, consumption and distractingly bright, bright, bright. Even Whitney’s new (fake) nemesis, Olivia, is pretty, in spite of her strange tendency to colour her cheeks in orange, it’s always interesting to see what she’s wearing and to watch her acting like a fantastical bitch to everyone she meets. The City seems to have embraced its position of fictional construct in the disguise of reality and this also makes me happy. The ‘that would never really happen’ scenarios that they string together make me smile. Why care if it’s not really real life? It’s still easy to tune out and pretend for a while that it could be, the stars assist with this using their drawled out speech patterns and the producers help with some snappy editing and an irritatingly addictive indie pop soundtrack.

Watching these lucky young ladies living dream lives is a bit like curling up with a Dolly Fiction novel (Do they still have Dolly Fiction?). It can be fun to pretend that my real problems don’t exist for a while and to fantasise about fighting the fictitious issues that Lauren, Whitney and their (fake) friendship crowds face. Oh, to have my biggest worry be what to wear! Oh, to behave so shallow and inconsiderately of everyone else and yet have them play along! Oh, to sun-bake and take beach trips, to go shopping and wear a new dress every day! Oh, to generally get around without pain! Is it starting to sound like fun yet?

I have only seen the first four seasons of The Hills. Season 5 looks hilarious as Lauren walks away to write fictional novels based on her fictional television life (L.A. Candy) and the producers shove ex-Laguna Beach power bitch Kristin into the protagonist role. I think I shall enjoy watching her annoy everyone and how she is just suddenly in Lauren’s post high school friendship group from many angles, even hooking up with Audrina’s ex-oil rag, the ever-stoned Justin Bobby. Funny, funny, funny.

I shall also be giggling along with Whitney, Roxy and their contrived lives in New York. I’m about up to where Whit is going to design her own clothing line, can’t wait to see what she (or whoever) comes up with! I don’t really like the poncey nature of the fashion industry, however I do like pretty clothes…a lot. I also like watching how they wear their hair and makeup, with these big screen TVs, you get quite a lot of detail and I find it interesting to be able to see close up how they have created the look that you get from a couple of feet away. Makeup can be banged on as a necessity or treated like an art medium and I far prefer the latter. If I’m going to bother putting makeup on, I want to have a little fun with it!

So there you have it, Audy. Fake reality can be a bit of fun sometimes! Especially when one needs a break from real reality. I had a little jaw mishap whilst brushing my teeth a few nights ago and the result is a lot of neck, shoulder and generalised pain to deal with. I am attempting to Feldy it out, however I need a lot of breaks and that’s where the need for zoning out comes in. I have another wedding to attend in a few weeks and am about to begin Operation Sew A Pretty Dress, the second…might even spend my afternoon choosing a pattern and fabric! I am gaining some nice inspiration from my slightly shameful television crack problem, but mostly I just know that I would like it to be blue…that’s a start!

Love & Escapism,
Caf

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  • Beating The Pain With An Escape To Beverly Hills

    Dear Audy,

    What an exciting weekend!! So far, I have spent the entire time on the couch. I feel like I have been in flare forever and a little like I’m start to lose touch with reality. I don’t exactly see that as a bad thing, reality is so painful and so very real. I have been dealing with full body burning for long enough that I think I have earned a break. I can’t take a physical break, so I’ve been mind vacationing in Beverly Hills with some physically healthy, if imaginary, young friends.

    20100207 90210 girls eating icecream

    (click photo for source)


    Flares can be really confusing. All of a sudden, I can’t do even the small tasks that get me through the day and rehab activities become too excessive when laid upon household chores. I gave hydrotherapy a go on Friday, I figured I was in so much pain anyway that it couldn’t hurt. That was stupid thinking, of course it could hurt. The actually movement felt good, however a few hours later the pain skyrocketed once more and I felt set further back than where I started. It’s been hard to handle this because, along with maintaining general health, improving CRPS through physical therapy is based on the idea that the body can desensitise to the pain of activity if we can find our physical limit and increase it ever so slightly. The trick is finding my pain limit, but not exceeding it. The catch is that I don’t know at the time of activity that I have exceeded the limit, I don’t know until the flare strikes later and then it’s ever so confusing to try and back track my movements to find the trigger. The second catch is that I have CRPS – there isn’t always a trigger, sometimes the pain just is.

    I am so tired of being bored. I’m certain now that the mirtazapine is helpful for controlling my anxiety because I don’t feel irrational and angry about the pain…I’m just bored. I’m tired of the cycle, I’m tired of the pain spreading, I’m tired of fighting the negative thoughts (even though I’m still winning, mostly) and I’m tired of having no control over my life. Chronic pain exists in many forms at different levels, for me it is strong enough to incapacitate me to the point at which I can’t even stand to make toast. I have never known such a feeling of helplessness as not being able to care for myself within my own home. I’m tired of asking for help. There aren’t enough Zs in the alphabet for me to express just how tired I am.

    Anyhoo, what am I going to do? There’s nothing to be done but Hope, Endure, Fight. HEF – a fitting acronym, considering putting up with CRPS is a Hell of a lot of Heffort (could not resist). I’m still trying to move. I’m not giving up on the pool, although I think I’ll arrange a driver next time, and I have been distracting my brain in one of the best ways I know how – TV show marathon.

    There’s nothing I like quite so much as engrossing myself in a television world, vicariously partaking in the characters lives and filling up my brain with thoughts of their problems, rather that my own pain. TV show marathons are easy, light entertainment. You meet the characters and the world at the start, after that the brain really doesn’t have to do much to keep up and follow along. It’s easier to follow the new adventures of an old character than to be introduced to new ones. Kind of like it’s easier to read a book after the first couple of chapters, once the style and setting has been firmly established with the imagination’s eye.

    I have spent these past couple of days in pain on the couch, however my mind has been wandering shamelessly around Beverly Hills with the second generation of 90210 brats. Sometimes I get a little sad, when my thoughts become a desire to move about freely like those people on the screen, however mostly it’s just a nice way to chew through the hours when neither my body nor brain care to function. 90210 shows me so many characters to relate to parts of, so many bright colours, so many pretty clothes. Annie’s dresses are sometimes awfully cute, but Adrianna’s preppy meets pretty style is my fave.

    20100207 90210 Adrianna Smiling blue cardi
    (click photo for source)


    The sad news is that I’m out of 90210 and feel the need to do something else for a while. My options are limited, but I need to keep fighting, I need to try to get chores done even if it’s only a dish or two at a time. I need to keep my focus because this is the time when it’s hardest to, this down part of the pain cycle when everything feels compacted and exaggerated at the same time. I need to keep my head Audy, so that I can bounce back, or climb back – the verb isn’t important. What’s important is not losing my mind to the negative and keeping my focus on doing all that I can to get better.

    Love & A Little Escape,
    Caf

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