Intellectuals like to relate Hollywood celebrities to olden-days European royalty, a comparison that's never been truer than with The Hills. As with the last millennium's aristocrats, they have their stylists, their money, their accountants, their bizarre and complicated dinners, their castles, and not too many thoughts.
“Unwritten” opens The Hills' sound track and it's the perfect selection, because the whole thing is “un.” Uninteresting, unchallenging, uninspiring. Insipid, sappy, lobotomy-y. There are references to California, but they're just impressions — impressions of not:
Natasha Bedingfield sings, “You won't see a cop walking the beat/Nobody walks in L.A.” Or, “Are you still beautiful in Los Angeles?/Does it really make any difference?” And, “I'll get out of California/I'm tired of the weather.”
Nothing happens. It's the aural equivalent to watching the blondes in their kitchen exchanging not-very-special dialogue, an off-camera fan gently buffeting her hair and billowing the silky designer-donated clothes. And the made-for-emotions music swells, ballooning the moment.
I do love reality shows, just as I love the aristocracy. I find both fascinating and tragic in their boredom and not-ness. It must be so hard to live doing nothing, having people do it for you. Others decorate, style, dictate — both before and after — editing, sound-tracking, story-spinning.
Serfs complained about the landed gentry because they inherited a position of plenty without having to pay for it, but there was, and is, a fee of sorts.
The price royals and celebs pay is that they have to stay that way — stay weird and stay watched. There is no getting out. I always felt bad for Prince Charles, so emasculated by his mother, forced to marry Diana when all he wanted was to talk architecture and be Camilla's tampon. He didn't keep up appearances, and he wasn't made king. He's like a child star who, when no one cared about him anymore, wasn't even allowed to overdose.
Montag's Frankensteinian plastic surgeries are nothing new. Centuries ago, royalty kept their rarefied auras with bizarre habits like bathing in servants' semen or virgins' blood. Did you know it was a “beauty consultant” on Countess Elizabeth Báthory's payroll who suggested the latter?
And in their tortured view of the world, because they're so rich and famous, royals and celebs like to take, but expect no cost. After masterminding the murders of 600 chambermaids, Liz finally stood trial and got off, as aristocracy could not be executed. She merely was put under castle arrest. Today, anyone but LiLo (who sings “A Beautiful Life” on The Hills' sound track) with that many DUIs would be jailed. She gets an anklet, which she asked Chanel to decorate.