What Happens in Vegas Does NOT Stay in Vegas


In the episode before “The Boys of Summer” (520 of The Hills) – the episode I chose to watch because the title was ironically identical to Season 4 Episode 1 of The Wire that we were assigned – Kristen and Jason had gone to Vegas together.  This we found out in the “last week on The Hills” segment.  Yet in every scene involving either Kristin or Jason, not to mention the ones with both of them together, the word “Vegas” was said at least 5 times.  Stilted sentences and misplaced cliches were always punctuated with some information about how their Vegas weekend in Vegas had been so wonderful; how, in Vegas, they had really clicked, when he came to see her in Vegas, last weekend, in Vegas.  Vegas.

My roommate Hannah made some comment that the show has really gotten more annoying since they started scripting it, and I think the insane amount of explication and repetition is a big reason why.  Each dramatic conversation between any of the characters has to begin with not merely a reference to, but a full explanation of the event that lead up to that confrontation.  Employing this traditional TV technique that Michael Newman discusses in “From Beats to Arcs: Towards a Poetics of Television Narrative,” The Hills takes explication to the extreme.  As a result, each scene contains a full story in and of itself: back story, building action, decision point, and denouement.  I assume this is so the viewer can multi-task or enter in the middle of an episode and be fully caught up with the plot.  However, this insipid repetition makes it almost impossible for a viewer to sit and watch the full half hour beginning to end.  I can understand allowing for greater accessibility by providing entry points into the storyline, but the producers of the show are starting to punish those who actually do watch the whole episode from start to finish!


One Response to “What Happens in Vegas Does NOT Stay in Vegas”

  1. emp299 Says:

    I agree that the constant repetition of plot points has made the show increasingly hard to watch. I’m not sure where it was said it first, but The Hills has been widely called a drama filled show where nothing happens. I never knew why this was so true, but I think you hit it with your point about insipid repetition.

    They spend way too much time recapping events. I think they ran out of material once Lauren cut off communication with Heidi (the episodes right before Heidi moved out to go live with Spencer were by far the [relative] best- they were the most realistic since they involved actual emotions because of in-the-moment fighting, which is what’s missing from The Hills now).

    Ironically, the producers trying to get back to the original Heidi/Lauren dynamic is what officially killed the show–at least for me. I, for one, stopped watching The Hills once Lauren left, after sticking through her dry as the desert last two seasons:

    “As the show grew in popularity, Lauren started to feel like she was living a dual existence. She evolved into a paparazzi-stalked star, a development The Hills producers chose not to include on the show. As a result, the parts of Lauren’s life that could be filmed shrunk until she realized she was living more of her life off-camera than on — an odd setup when the show is supposed to reflect reality.

    But there was also a specific incident that affected her decision to leave The Hills, and surprise, surprise, it had to do with her former best friend, Heidi Montag. The two girls appeared to make up in a teary reunion at the end of season four, but that’s where Lauren wanted their onscreen interaction to end.

    Lauren tells us that TheHills producers insisted on finding ways to bring the two together during season five. “What they didn’t get is that I didn’t want to fight with her anymore,” Lauren explains. “It’s hard to look at somebody who used to be your best friend and say, ‘We can’t be friends. Too much has happened.’ I’m trying to move on, but they won’t let me. And when someone keeps pushing you into the same position, well…you get upset.”

    The final straw, according to Lauren, was the 23rd birthday party that costars Audrina Patridge and Lo Bosworth threw for her. In full view of the cameras, Heidi showed up by tagging along with a friend.”


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