Hills: The Complete First Season DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

There is an unbridled chutzpah that these characters have that is somehow charming.
  • OVERALL
    3.0
    WORTHY
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
There is an unbridled chutzpah that these characters have that is somehow charming.
THE BAD
No commentary tracks on this release.
THE FEATURE
Beauty is all over the place in The Hills: The Complete First Season. We open with Lauren and Heidi moving to Los Angeles to attend The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. However, this show isn't all about clothes as we see that these girls are really put through their paces at their new jobs. Add Lauren's almost brutal looking internship at Teen Vogue and suddenly these girls don't seem like they live the most perfect lives after all. There are bosses, boyfriends and many other things to grab their attention, not the least of which is the reality for everyone on this that life may not be as exciting as the people on this reality show thought it was going to be.

The relationships between Heidi and Jordan and Lauren and Jason provide an interesting counterpoint to the girls lives. They have entered the real world for the most part and it seems like everything that used to be simple between the couples no longer is. All in all The Hills: The Complete First Season does a very solid job of capturing the growing pains that people feel when they leave the nest and try and strike out on their own.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes

Cut together in one big chunk we get to see more scenes of the cast members shopping, the guys talking about the girls, the girls talking about school, etc.. A lot of this footage plays as pretty mundane and I imagine there's a lot of this stuff on reality shows. Overall, I found the sound to be decent, but it's pretty apparent that this stuff was trimmed from the regular episodes because it probably bogged down the stories. I only wonder how, out of the reams of footage that were shot, they picked these sections for the extra scenes?

Cast Interviews

The Best of The Hills: The After Show

I believe this is part of MTV.com and it's meant to give us an insiders look at these characters. The various cast members talk about their lives, loves, and why they're doing whatever it is they're doing on this show. This is interesting if you're a big fan of The Hills, but if you've been following everything going on on the show than you're more than well versed in what they're doing.

The Hills Featurettes

There are two featurettes to be watched here. They are The Hills: Premiere Party and the MTV Movie Awards. Once again, unless you are a diehard fan of this show (and I am sure that those exist), you probably will not need to watch these. The Hills: Premiere Party is a red carpet styled affair where the cast of the show discusses what it's going to be like watching it in front of an audience. The MTV Movie Awards sees the cast getting ready for the big night, going shopping for the clothes, and pretty much anything and everything else you'd see them doing on the show.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen. Shot with a crisp doc*mentary like feel, this show is very well put together. It moves very fluidly with quick cutting and well composed shots. This is one of the first reality shows that I have seen to utilize the widescreen format. This works well because it gives everything about what we are seeing a theatrical look. As such, it almost adds a heightened feeling of drama to this production.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital - English Stereo. The audio for this show was good but nothing about it really jumped out at me. I was able to hear everything being said, but what really grabbed my attention was how the camera was able to get into places like the Teen Vogue party. Amidst all that was going on, the sound was not only flawless but they were able to get some candid moments of people who really weren't meant to be involved in the drama of this show.
THE PACKAGE
The girls from this show are displayed on this front cover against a dark Los Angeles hillside. They are all smiling and dressed fashionably well. The back portion of the cover shows us a shot of Lauren dancing with Jason, it gives us a description of this show, a Special Features list, and some minor system specs on this slipcase cover. All three discs are housed inside three slim cases, all of which feature color pictures of the cast, as well as a description of what is on each disc. Inside the cases are well written, in-depth accounts of all ten episodes that make up this first season.
THE FINAL WORD
I was very surprised that I enjoyed this show as much as I did. Truthfully, it is basically rich kids with the cameras on them 24/7, but there was a decent comeuppance for everyone involved. I am not saying that I like to see that but if anyone is asking for it, the cast of The Hills certainly is. What I am trying to figure out is what it is about shows like this and Laguna Beach that make for such interesting TV?

The more I thought about it, I finally realized that it was the characters ability to play to the camera. These people may be shown to us as non-actors, but nobody would be the way they are here if they didn't understand that medium a little bit, right? Have you ever put a video camera on someone that was a non actor? Right away, they become self conscious, they stare at the camera and the footage becomes almost impossible to use. Yet, in these episodes, there is none of that with any of the characters?

It makes you wonder just how much reality The Hills: The Complete First Season really has?

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