Why The Hills 10th Anniversary Special Was Seriously Disappointing

Photo: Courtesy of MTV.
"So often we would say like, if you knew the real story, you would understand," Lauren Conrad tells us at the beginning of The Hills: That Was Then, This Is Now. "And what I'd like to do is tell that story."

It was an enticing invitation. So my coworkers and I settled in with slices of pizza and our black mascara gifs ready. After 10 years of asking "What was real? What was fake?" and quoting lines like "She's going to always be known as the girl who didn't go to Paris," and "You know what you did!" I was ready for a nostalgic walk down memory lane.

Unfortunately, MTV's 10th anniversary special didn't quite feel like that sentimental revisiting of one of my generation's favorite shows. While there was some reminiscing and a few never-before-seen clips, the actual Hills-related moments were interspersed between snoozy segments of a grown-up Lauren Conrad in meetings for her clothing line, or walking her dog with her husband, or taking philanthropic trips for work. The only other people interviewed about their reflections on The Hills? Director Jason Sands, producer Sophia Rossi, and Lauren's parents.

That's right. There was no Heidi, or Whitney, or Audrina, or Lo, or Jason, or Spencer. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Lauren Conrad fan (her Instagram has sent me down plenty of Pinterest holes), but like every viewer, I signed up for a special about the 10th anniversary of The Hills. Instead what I watched felt like an hour-long advertisement for LC by Lauren Conrad.

Though the lack of cast involvement and LC-congratulation was excessive, there were a few gems throughout the episode that made it worth watching. The first: We got a glimpse of Lauren's casting tape, when she was just 17 and admitted that she wasn't great at academics and "never thought she'd be successful." She then takes us on a trip down memory lane, reminiscing on how she met Heidi (they shared a cab home from class during their one semester at the San Francisco Academy of Art); the duo's first encounter with their "very pretty neighbor" Audrina; and Lauren's Teen Vogue internship, which it sounds like was actually somewhat real. (One scene they showed I'd totally forgotten about: Remember when Lauren saved a "Paparazzi"-era Lady Gaga from a horrific wardrobe malfunction and Gaga called her a superwoman?! Hope that's on LC's resume forever.)

Gif: Courtesy of Giphy.


"I think that we all sort of in our own way learned how to deal with it," LC says of the notoriety that came with the show's popularity. "Some of us embraced it, some of us hid from it. I never loved being on camera. A lot of people want to be on camera." (Anyone else think that was shade toward Heidi and Spencer??) One person who didn't end up on camera back then: A pre-KUWTK Kim Kardashian, who we see at a party in a clip that ended up on the cutting room floor. (Hard to believe there was a time when Kimmy was so un-famous, she got edited out of a show.)

But the juiciest moment, in my opinion, was when Lauren addresses that her ex-boyfriend Jason (who was, let's face it, the OG Cali-bred fuckboy) had a drinking problem. "What made it harder was that I could see he wasn't sober," Lauren says of their post-breakup scene. In the unseen footage, Jason mumbles, "It's 10 in the morning." Lauren responds, "You're not normal right now. What is wrong with you?" Then we see the actual footage that was aired, which just made it seem like the two had an emotional goodbye. Further proof of how much editing can change the context on these reality shows. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to bring this up if I ever find myself on the couch of a Real Housewives reunion.)

I was also sipping my tea when the episode shared outtakes from a scene between Lauren and Brody (who have both confirmed their relationship was not real). After Brody caresses LC's face, she looks at the camera and asks, "Can we please be done? This is the most awkward thing ever!" Brody playfully tugs at her arms, saying, "What's awkward about this?" Everything, clearly! Lauren admits she did have a crush on Brody, but it just "felt forced"; the two had "zero chemistry." As much as I would have loved for them to be a thing, it's clear from this scene that Brauren (Lody? BroC?) was not meant to be.

So, there you have it, folks. That was Lauren telling us "the real story." Even though she didn't address not going to Paris. Or the sex tape rumor. Or discuss where things stand today between her and Heidi, or explain WTF was up with Justin Bobby, or mention the logistics of them drinking on camera before they turned 21. (She does, however, say the most interesting thing about her husband William Tell is that he's never seen The Hills. Really, Lauren?! Nothing about his personality?)

MTV: You know what you did! It was a bit of a bait and switch to call this The Hills 10th Anniversary special, when it really should've been called Lauren Conrad, 10 Years Later. We all love LC, but even if you couldn't pull off an entire reunion, I think fans would have preferred to see more than one former Hills cast member reflect on the series. But I guess until I get my full-on reunion show, I'll just have to go back to watching old episodes on Hulu. *Cue Staring, at the blank page before you...*

Gif: Courtesy of Giphy.

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