The MTV Vault: “The Hills”

Believe it or not, The Hills was a phenomenon. It was a legitimate force to be reckoned with. Television execs who had produced shows with the emotional depth of Band of Brothers or the earth-scorching awesomeness of The Sopranos were jealous. The women from Sex and the City looked old, ugly, red-haired, wrinkled, and horse-ish. (*Okay, the last one was forced and far too specific.)

But, for a period of… let’s say three years, that show with Lauren Conrad and her minions multiplying into their own mini-empires was the hottest place on television.

Brody Jenner owes his Instagram account to its hallowed walls. Every fashion blogger on the planet (and there are roughly more fashion bloggers in the world than there are Chinese people) owes his or her or her “fortune” to the platform built by Lauren Conrad.

Watching Season 1 is eery, and a little creepy. When it aired, most of us were younger than those girls, so they just looked like, O MI GOD, so HOT?!?!!!! Now, they’re teenagers. And, there’s a certain point in Season 1 – sometime in the middle of the New Year’s episode where they’re all wearing top hats and looking like lost theatre students in a high-budget production of Alice in Wonderland – where it’s obvious that more than one of them has a drug problem.

What else do you do with money you haven’t earned, after all? And, really… they did earn it, didn’t they?

If you have a few hours to kill – and, if you watched the show once, then you do now – revisit Season 1, and wonder what was wrong with you in 2006, and wonder if you’ve changed at all now.

(Let’s hope you haven’t.)