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!