[04/21/09 - 07:00 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: MTV's "The Hills"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: As always, due to the Paley Festival's policy of not allowing electronic devices during the panels, I won't be blogging the event "live." Plus, I don't want to be the douche with a laptop clicking away when everyone's trying to enjoy the show. In any case, look for my handwritten blog - how 20th century - to be transcribed and appear around 11:00 PM PT each night. And if I'm feeling adventurous, you might get a few tweets from the after parties.]

7:06 PM - A late start! Random observation: this evening marks the first time someone hasn't booed during "The Hills" segment of the Paleyfest clip package.

7:08 PM - Tonight's legacy clip comes from a 2002 episode of "Sex and the City" in which Carrie gets to raid the Vogue sample closet.

7:18 PM - Paleyfest lieutenant Craig Hitchcock welcomes a rather sparse crowd to night 11 of this year's event. He in turn intros Entertainment Weekly's Tim Stack, who's here to moderate tonight's panel.

7:22 PM - Tim, who amusingly notes he has the pop culture tastes of a 16-year-old girl, brings out "The Hills" creator Adam DiVello. Adam points out that tonight is one of the rare times that they have the majority of the cast in one place. We'll try and count our blessings. He's brought a clip package of the series to bring us all up to speed.

7:45 PM - Tim returns to introduce our panel: Stephanie Pratt! Lo Bosworth! Brody Jenner! Audrina Patridge! Whitney Port! Lauren Conrad! Adam DiVello and fellow executive producers Liz Gateley, Sean Travis and Sara Mast!

7:47 PM - Tim notes the absence of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. "They're preparing for a big event this weekend," Adam reveals after some hemming and hawing by the cast. "So they could not be with us... It's a big, gigantic event that takes place [this weekend]." Tim asks if anyone here has been invited to the wedding the big, gigantic event. Stephanie, Lo, Brody and Audrina all raise their hands. "We are preparing as well," Adam notes.

7:49 PM - Adam on the show's origins: "I think the viewers just really related to her [on 'Laguna Beach'] and caught on to the story that she was telling and I think a lot of viewers saw themselves in her. When she had come to us and she said she was going to go to LA to go to fashion school... [we] went to her mom and dad and asked them if we could follow her to fashion school." Lauren had apparently just turned 18 at the time. "In the 'Laguna" days, everything had to go through the mom and dad."

7:50 PM - Adam continues: "I thought Lauren's [path] was really relatable to our viewers and LA obviously is a wonderful city so it totally made sense - to me she was every girl. She wears her emotions on her face as opposed to her sleeve." Lauren adds, "I remember when he asked me I just said yes in the room because I loved filming 'Laguna Beach.' Towards the end it was very hectic because everybody was fighting and [Adam] was like, 'I want to do this same concept, I want to follow you to LA and shoot you at school and all these great parties but I want to shoot you with a whole new group of friends. And in my head I was like, 'Oh my gosh! A whole new group of friends that I won't fight with and I'll get along with, it'll be so fun!'"

7:51 PM - Tim asks if Lo wished she got "The Hills" gig instead of Lauren. "In high school I always wanted to go to college, I feel like most high school kids their dream is to go to college. So I started at UC Santa Barbara and Lauren was in LA so it just wasn't an option... she had this opportunity so she took it. And then I transferred to UCLA my junior year and both being in LA we started spending time together again. I remember one night [she] was like, 'Hey I have to film tonight, want to come?'"

7:52 PM - Audrina on how she came to the show: "Adam actually came up to me. He was like, 'Hey, hi my name is Adam.' And I talked to him and then he and I actually met Heidi at the pool and we just really hit it off and started hanging out. That same night we all went to dinner together and we all just became friends." Brody jokes that Adam uses that same line on all the girls.

7:53 PM - Whitney on her journey: "I was actually going for an interview at Teen Vogue on my own. I was working at Women's Wear Daily and I went to go interview with Teen Vogue and all of a sudden I got a call from MTV saying, 'We're filming this show at Teen Vogue and will you do a casting tape for us?' So that's how it happened."

7:54 PM - Lauren on living life in front of the camera: "I think that the way they film it is actually a lot more comfortable than you'd think. When they're in a room they're always in corners and the crew is really friendly. I mean, there's moments where it's very difficult in the beginning to really open up in front of a camera. I think we've all had moments where we were really upset and it's hard the first time you cry on camera but at the same time you're surrounded by people you care about and it's almost more comforting that way."

7:55 PM - Adam notes Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" wasn't their first choice for the show's theme song. The first: Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway." "For whatever reason we couldn't get it," he says.

7:56 PM - Tim asks when the girls first realized they were famous. "We went to a high school for some like weird assembly [for 'Laguna Beach']," Lauren reveals. "And a girl - Stephen Colletti walked up - and a girl pulled out an inhaler and passed out... he literally took her breath away."

7:58 PM - Liz on the show's naysayers, in what easily is the quote of the night: "It's an escape. And that's why we all watch some of these shows like 'Gossip Girl' and 'The Hills.' I think that these folks do talk about a lot of intelligent things, including global warming, we just don't show it on the show."

7:59 PM - Lauren's reaction to watching the sizzle reel we just saw: "[It's] really heavy seeing it all in one sitting, I don't think I've ever been able to do that before. Yeah, it is a little sad, it's just kind of... it's crazy because it doesn't feel like five years. I remember that scene, I remember filming that scene, I remember filming the whole pilot and it's just gone by so quickly, so much has changed. I think we're all going to always have this experience that we went through together."

8:01 PM - Tim asks if Lauren regrets not going to Paris after the first season: "I actually don't... because that summer was very important to me. That was the summer that I broke up with Jason and I mean, even looking at the footage... everything about who I was changed that summer, it was really important to me. And the second time around, I got to go with Whitney. It was one of the longest and best weeks of my life." Adam adds, "We get a lot of flack for the show not being real... and, you know, that's one of those instances where Lisa brought up the idea of her going to Paris for the first time and we were all set. I mean passports ready to go, camera crews booked, we're ready to go to Paris and this one's like, 'I'm going to spend the summer with Jason.'"

8:05 PM - Adam on the show's concept of "scheduled reality": "That's a big part of it. We have, we kind of... it's their lives and it's what's going on in their lives. We're not with them 24 hours a day, we don't claim to be 100% documentary where we're just following them around... we shoot about four days a week so we kind of hear what they have going on in their lives and we go after what we think is necessary for us to tell a story."

8:06 PM - "If something crazy happens I'm not going to come home and be like, 'Uh, I'll tell you on Monday,'" Lauren says when asked if the gals censor their behavior until the cameras arrive. "We actually do," Audrina cuts in. "We do sometimes," Lauren admits. "We don't really talk about it, we kind of do this weird like [makes a face] 'Okay, wait.' And then Monday comes along and you'll be like holding it in for so long, that you'll be like, [excitedly] 'So what happened this Friday?' It comes out awkward but that's just kind of, we know we have to wait to be on camera to talk about it."

8:07 PM - Who was scarier to work for Lisa or Kelly? In sort: equally scary. Also confirmed as crazy: Emily. I have no idea who any of these people are.

8:08 PM - Adam admits they hired a helicopter to get the final shot in the pilot. "It was a pilot, we were trying to get a show." This is followed by a lengthy discussion on how the camera crew managed to capture Audrina and Justin Bobby's breakup scene next to a dumpster. I think I'm starting to get punchy.

8:13 PM - Tim asks if the girls are wary of dating anybody on the show anymore. "One time [Audrina and I] went out, we were like set up and they were like, 'Oh, we both really want to be actors,'" Lauren says, adding they brought their headshots. "We constantly battle the celebrity life, you know, versus their real life," Adam adds. "I think when they do start dating... obviously they start dating celebrities, you know? And because they are celebrities, some of them we can't shoot, some of them we can, other ones just want to be celebrities... so it's really hard. Like a Justin is, was one of those really rare creatures in our show and in Los Angeles... he's a hair stylist in real life... but thing of it is he doesn't want to be an actor, to my knowledge, so he kind of comes across naturally."

8:15 PM - The gang rehashes the legendary - at least according to the panel - Jen Bunny saga. Darn that Jen Bunny... or something!

8:17 PM - Brody explains what he calls the "levels of shadiness" when it comes to dating people's exes: "It's very shady if it's a serious, serious boyfriend or girlfriend. And there's an amount of time, if you pass like six, seven months of being with that person and just them and no messing around not just on and off dating, it becomes a little more serious. And Lauren and I, we're just kind of, we had a crush but Spencer and Heidi kind of, I'm just saying, Spencer and Heidi kind of made us realize that we'd be better off if we were friends." This is what I missed by not watching "Bromance."

8:19 PM - "He's a complex person," Stephanie says about her brother. "I'm new on the show so I missed the little triangle of Lauren, Heidi and Spencer. What I can say about him, from what I know separately is that we've never always gotten along. Like we will hate each other and then I will think he's the coolest person and want to be his best friend. But he does have a good heart and despite everything you see on the show - the fights and how bad of a person he is with Heidi sometimes - at the end of the day, Heidi's the most important person in his life and he is capable of love because he loves that girl like no one could ever love her." She goes on to recount a story in which Spencer got all of his buddies to send her a rose for Valentine's Day when she was in eighth grade.

8:21 PM - Brody on his fractured friendship with Spencer: "We were always best friends back in the day... and he was always kind of, he would mess with other people. And he would do these little antics and things that I didn't really agree with, that he would do that to other people. But he never did it to me, ever. And I was the one person that he never did it to. And as far as Lauren and I go, I always liked Lauren. I always thought she was a great person and we were good friends. And when he kind of just said, he basically gave me an ultimatum - it's either you're friends with me if you're not friends with Lauren. You basically have to choose not to be friends with Lauren otherwise we're done, we're not friends anymore. And I wasn't in the middle of that, like I was the middle but that's their relationship, her and Heidi is their relationship. So I chose to take the high road and be friends with Lauren because I have nothing against her. And that kind of ruined our friendship."

8:24 PM - Tim asks Lauren if she still thinks Spencer is behind the sex tape rumors. "We actually have it on tape, that he takes responsibility and apologizes for it," she says. "Sorry, spoiler!" She later adds, "Four years I waited for that."

8:28 PM - Lauren on her relationship with Heidi: "I mean we're friendly. We can be in the same room, we can talk. I mean, after that she actually called me and we had a really long phone call and kind of caught up. It was kind of awkward because she was like, 'Hey, so how have the last two and a half years been?' And it's very weird because she really was my very best friend who knew everything about me. And to go from that to like... someone who you just can't stand, can't be in the same room as. I mean, the fact that we did the Rolling Stone shoot together was a really big deal."

8:32 PM - Tim asks if Stephanie has given up on trying to mend fences between Heidi and Lauren. "Just recently gave up," she says. After success or failure? "You guys will have to watch and see."

8:34 PM - Lauren on having any regrets about doing the show: "When you put friendship through a true test you get to realize who your real friends are. I mean, here we are, I'm done filming and I still have really great friends around me. And I know that they can go through really hard times and still be there. And those are the friends you want to have. You could have a ton of friends but to have like 10 really solid, good friends that are always going to be there for you, that's so much more important."

8:35 PM - Audrina on her relationship with Justin Bobby: "I got involved with him before I got on the show. And it's really hard to meet a new guy and, you know, it's like you've known him for so long it's almost like a comfort thing. Like it's so easy to fall back into. I don't know, he's just that mysterious bad boy and... that's where I am in my life right now and you know, maybe I don't want to be involved with anything serious. It's just fun and I'm still young and learning and having fun."

8:37 PM - Liz on the show's future without Lauren: "We're hoping that if we do [continue], Lauren will miss us so much that she'll want to come back."

8:38 PM - Audience Q&A time.

8:40 PM - Someone asks why the girls bother fighting about whether or not things happened when there's evidence on film that will prove or disprove them. "I don't think any of us argue about stuff like that, we're not that dumb," Lauren quips.

8:43 PM - Adam on how they cast they show: "All the casting is organic. They're all people that they know or have met. We don't just pull people off the street." Shhh, no one tell him about what Audrina said at 7:52 PM.

8:47 PM - Brodi on his history with Lauren: "I used to date Kristin Cavallari [audience gasp!] and that was her like arch-nemesis. One night Kristin was actually really rude to her and came up and slapped her upside the head... And so she did something very rude to Lauren, this is how we first met... and I didn't know Lauren at all. And I left and I came back with my buddy Frankie Delgado and so me and Frankie were there and Frankie was really good friends with Lauren. And I talked to Lauren. I kind of said, 'Hey, that was messed up!' We sat next to each other and I was just talking like, 'Sorry about Kristin, that was messed up of her, blah, blah, blah.' That was the first time we met. And then Spencer and Heidi started to kind of, they started their whole thing. And Heidi was best friends with Lauren at the time so they she kind of introduced us and we became better friends and yadda, yadda, yadda." A story for the ages indeed.

8:51 PM - Audrina's favorite band to work with: Alkaline Trio.

8:53 PM - That's all! I survived! See you guys tomorrow.

  [april 2009]  


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