“The Hills” hurts less online…

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I had never watched “The Hills” before watching it for this class, which frankly I am more embarrassed than proud to admit. For a show that has so much stigma attached to it (as we have seen with all of the previous “Hills” postings), this love/hate L.A. situated reality was something that I hadn’t been terribly compelled to get involved with…if I want SoCal sunshine sans plot, I’m going to watch my girl Giada:

So, as I was watching the episode “Boyfriends and Work Don’t Mix” on my laptop, what struck me more than the snooze-worthy plot or drama or Lauren-looks was how I had less aversion to the idea of watching the show on the computer than on TV. Despite the fact that, as far as I can tell, “The Hills” is most commonly viewed in the traditional televised format, but to me, its success which was not visible in that format became completely clear translated to the digital hub of the internet. Very intelligently, the producers behind the show are speaking directly to their audience, a generation technologically interconnected through facebook and youtube (and now twitter, though less so at the time of the show’s debut in 2006), digital media that give everyone some variant of celebrity recognition in the constant communication between users. So, for me, while the celebrity recognition of these characters was not justified on TV, watching them in a format where I am used to seeing pseudo-celebrity all the time sat more comfortably. Instead of pointing out all of the instances of the unreal in their reality (of which there are PLENTY…around halfway through the episode, Heidi and Lauren are talking, we see Heidi from a p.o.v. over Lauren’s shoulder, but when we see Lauren, we see no camera behind her capturing that p.o.v.), I let it slide.

My suspension of disbelief was higher…as TV becomes a more respected form of narrative art, TV in the internet faces the same pitfalls as regular television used to. I mean, I sit through all the web commercials…don’t you? I even remember that they were advertising Cheer, Olay, and Secret…yikes.

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One Response to ““The Hills” hurts less online…”

  1. cls365 Says:

    I think you bring up a really interesting point about HOW we consume television today. First of all, I rarely sit down and watch TV via the actual television, yet I watch shows on my laptop daily. However, when I’m “watching” these TV shows on my computer, I usually shrink iTunes to a 2″x2″ box on the upper left hand corner of my screen, while I check Facebook and read emails. Thus, the popularity of “The Hills” makes a lot of sense in our ADD culture, because we can have it playing in the background and follow it (I statement I cannot make for watching show like “The Wire”). This is the way our generation consumes the videos made by YouTube “stars” like the VenetianPrincess, so why should TV shows be consumed any differently?

    I think there is more to “The Hills” popularity than the way in which it is consumed, though you make a very interesting point. I think by calling it a “reality show” viewers feel less removed from it, and watch it believing that this could be THEM. They voyeuristically watch the glitz and staged glamour synonymous with lives of Lauren and Heidi, and buy into the notion that these are just “regular” girls. Of course, without the cameras they might be “normal,” but with them, they magically turn into celebrities made famous for being Teen Vogue interns.

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