The Hills S1 Recap: Intro + Meet the 1st Season Cast!
When The Hills first premiered on May 31, 2006, I was 27, and had just moved from Northern Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I was renting a tiny bedroom in a South Minneapolis bungalow while I worked as a counselor for a maximum-security unit of male juvenile offenders. After losing the better part of my early twenties to lonely, dead-end stints in Iowa and Wisconsin, an intense, troubled romantic relationship that had ended in fatal tragedy, and the deep, dark maw of grief that had swallowed me whole afterward, moving to Minneapolis felt like a fresh beginning…a chance to finally start the kind of glittering, cosmopolitan life I had been putting on hold for so long.
The Hills hit at just the right time for me…like Lauren, suddenly I was meeting all of these exciting, interesting people; going to amazing parties and events; dating a string of worldly, fascinating men; and best of all, getting noticed for my writing/blogging. I had secretly always wanted a really big, glamorous life…and while my life had thrown me some considerable curveballs on my way to it, nothing was stopping me from vicariously living through shows like The Hills, The Entourage, and The Newlyweds. They were my portals into the kind of sunshine-y dream life where everyone was swinging around Takashi Murakami Multicolore Louis Vuitton bags, driving big black Escalades, wearing Juicy Couture jeans, and drinking an eternal cup of Starbucks while making magic on movie sets or shopping at Kitson or eating at The Ivy.
Which sounds super materialistic! And in many ways, it was. When you’re making barely minimum wage (while also legit getting beat up every day at work) and subletting a bedroom the size of a postage stamp only to punch lower to a basement dwelling that for sure makes your parents the opposite of proud, those shows could always be counted on to show me that there were other people living a much more comfortable life than me, which of course I wanted. They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can definitely make you unhappy when you’re making the kind of money that can barely buy anything.
But the biggest reason why I loved shows like The Hills so much was because each episode was slowly waking me up to the fact that my ultimate career goal was to someday write for Hollywood. It wasn’t a dream that I had allowed myself to have before (or even admit that I had), because it had always seemed so impossible and far away. These were the days when blogs were still just becoming socially acceptable, and Twitter was still a glorified version of the Dodgeball app…so to make it in Hollywood back then, you still had to have the guts to pack up your Honda Accord (or BMW convertible, if you’re Lauren Conrad) and move out to California on only a hope and a dream (and maybe some very loose social connections on your Uncle Richie’s side).
And I didn’t have ‘em! The guts, I mean. I had started my blog, An Amber-Colored Life, back in 2004, which had quickly gained some attention, but I was still only starting to feel like writing might be a viable career path for me. And, because I was stupid, I already felt like I was too old to do the whole “I’m moving to Hollywood!” thing (which now sounds SO ridiculous and makes me want to lovingly punch 2006 Me in the face, because now I’m 40 and am seriously planning on chucking everything in the next year or two to move out to Hollywood to be a goddamn intern because life is f*cking short, my credit score is A+, and my skin has never looked better, so… Seize those dreams, goddamnit!).
So instead, I settled for The Hills, never even dreaming that the experience of watching this obviously-structured MTV reality show would further influence my future career path (did you know that Lauren became a NYT bestselling novelist with her L.A. Candy series? Can I tell you that even just reading about that for the first time lit SUCH a huge fire under my ass that it basically became partly responsible for me finishing my first novel?!); bring in countless new friendships; prompt me to perfect my cat-eye eyeliner technique; inspire more than a dozen music downloads and about as many fashion choices (baby-doll tops and flared Silvers, I still miss you); as well as bind me forever to literally everyone else who knows exactly what it means to always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris.
But it did! It also integrated itself so fully into my life at that time that, when I would watch an old episode or binge an entire season, it was like being thrown back into a wormhole of my late twenties…the struggle of grappling every day with my still-fresh grief; the joy of feeling like I was closer to my dreams than ever before; the resentment I felt regarding my past choices; the swelling excitement and novelty of going out all the time and feeling like I, too, was taking the city - or at least OkCupid and MnSpeak - by storm; and the stubborn determination that bleak paychecks and basement living wouldn’t last forever.
So when I talk about The Hills, I’m basically talking about myself. Which is great, because talking about myself is literally my favorite thing to do!
And with the premiere of The Hills reboot, The Hills: New Beginnings premiering tonight, it’s a great reason to dust off those stretchy cami, slouchy hobo, and Von Dutch coated memories and shoot back to a time when rumors about a sex tape could still ruin your life instead of skyrocket you to instant fame and fortune.
So release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin, (no one else can feel it for you!!!) and let it in by brushing up on the main cast of season 1…
When we catch up with the undisputed star of Laguna Beach on the first episode of her spinoff The Hills, LC has dropped out of the school she was going to in San Francisco in favor of attending FIDM, where she pursues a degree in (first) Fashion Design (later Product Development (f*ck yes I did my research because unlike Heidi at literally any job I’m a PROFESSIONAL) and goes after an internship at Teen Vogue. Lauren will later go on to surprise basically everyone by capitalizing on her reality TV fame in a majorly savvy way, only this really shouldn’t be a surprise because rumor has it her Hills contract stipulated that no one on the cast could match or surpass her salary per episode ($125,000) which is kinda brutal and brilliant at the same time. She’s now the founder of the fashion lines LC Lauren Conrad and Paper Crown, the co-founder of the fair trade online + brick-and-mortar store The Little Market, and the host of the podcast, Asking For a Friend. She’s also published nine (!) books - two novel trilogies and three guides. Conrad married a dude named William Tell in 2014, and she never ever ever thinks of Stephen Coletti when they do it, probably. They have one child together, which I don’t know anything about because kid stuff is frankly super boring to me.
When we first meet Heidi Montag, she’s Lauren’s best friend and roommate. Lauren and Heidi met at fashion school in San Francisco, but after they both realized they hated the weather and feeling out of place with all the “goth girls” at their school (literally a real thing they said), they decided to transfer to FIDM in LA. Heidi, for her part, attended FDIM for, like, a day before deciding to drop out to pursue a job offer from Brent Bolthouse of Bolthouse Productions, an event planning company. She started making new friends, learning a lot at her job, having a blast at clubs, and alternately bickering and brunching with her boyfriend Jordan. That is, until they finally break up and - thanks to Kristen Cavallari - she’s fatefully introduced to Spencer Pratt that summer. Then everything turns to shit - thanks to Spencer, Heidi loses all of her best friends, her boundaries, her job, her family, her happy-go-lucky personality, and even her sanity, culminating in an infamous makeover where she underwent ten plastic surgeries in one day.
Speidi got married in April 2009, and Heidi would go on to star in the American version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, debut a stunning failure of a studio album called Superficial; make her feature film debut as Kimberly in Just Go with It; star in the British version of Celebrity Big Brother (twice), write three plays (Wherever I Am, Here She Is..., and Dreams Come True ), cowrite “How to be Famous” with Spencer, and then finally find her way to back to fame and fortune with her and Spencer’s Podcast, Make Speidi Famous Again. Which is a semi-decent podcast, if you like listening to the sound of their baby constantly crying and whining in the background.
Model, actress, and receptionist to the stars, Audrina Patridge is working at Quixote Studios and basically living in a bikini when she befriends Heidi Montag on the first season of The Hills. The doe-eyed brunette with the body-ody-ody becomes known for having the absolute worst judgement when it comes to men (and that’s even over Heidi and her love for Spencer, which is saying a LOT). She likes the bad boys! Boys who aren’t too nice, because that can be boring! Which means we basically watch her light her love life on fire over and over and OVER during the rest of the series.
During the later part of the series, Audrina’s house ended up being robbed by the Bling Ring, where she was famously quoted for listing “jeans made to fit my body to my perfect shape” as some of the items that were taken. After the series, Audrina would go on to compete on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars (she finished in seventh place), and then star in her own reality TV series, Audrina, which was about her and her family. Predictably, it was canceled after the first season, which Audrina tried to tell us was her choice, because she wanted to take some time to live “real life” for a while. Also predictably, no one bought it. She also starring in some straight-to-DVD films, including Sorority Row, Into the Blue 2: The Reef, Honey 2, and Scary Movie 5 (though her scenes were ultimately removed from Scary Movie). She also hosted NBC’s late-night travel show, 1st Look, but, like, who hasn’t?!
In 2016, Audrina had a daughter with and married Corey Bohan, a Australian motorcycle rider and professional BMX dirt bike rider the The Hills viewers would meet on Season 3. They were married two years before Audrina filed for divorce, filed for a restraining order against him, and got full custody of their daughter. I won’t even make a joke about her horrible judgement regarding men coming full circle because honestly what she’s gone through with Bohan sounds like straight up abuse and a horrible nightmare and nobody deserves that, and so obviously I will refrain.
Lauren's close friend and co-worker at Teen Vogue. Probably known best for her open-mouth reaction shots to almost literally everything LC said and her affection for over-pronouncing the “G” syllable. Whitney was also the more mature, grounded, insightful Greek Chorus of the cast when she was on The Hills, and frankly, for that reason alone, I loved her.
And hey, guess what - unlike my favorable opinions regarding Air Supply, apparently I wasn’t alone: Thanks to her popularity on The Hills, Whitney was offered her own spin-off, The City, which followed her adventures in pursuing a fashion career in NYC. Unfortunately, the series only lasted two seasons, and was canceled in 2010 (still a mystery to me. AMERICA, HOW COULD YOU SLEEP ON THE CITY?!).
But no matter! After it was canceled, Whitney launched her fashion line "Whitney Eve", published True Whit: Designing a Life of Style, Beauty, and Fun, and hosted + judged a bunch of shows. She even had a cameo in What To Expect When You're Expecting. She got married to a former The City producer, Tim Rosenman, in 2015, and they had a son in 2017.
Oh yeah, and it’s been confirmed (by me) that she is also the missing Haim sister.
Jason, LC’s ex-boyfriend from Laguna Beach, becomes her boyfriend once again during the first season of The Hills. They squabble, he uses his cocaine money to buy her a Chanel bag for Christmas, they fight on New Years, they make up, she gives up Paris to rent a Malibu beach house with him for the summer, they break up. Being that he cheated on her ON CAMERA with that dirtbag Jessica during Laguna Beach, I don’t think anyone really had high hopes for their long-term potential. Still, he would pop his head in again during later seasons, reminding Lauren of her first great love.
After Jason left the show, he had numerous drinking-related arrests, went to jail, and battled substance abuse by going to rehab several times. He even appeared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. His story has a happy ending - Jason is now a huge public advocate for drug recovery, and even co-founded a men’s sober living home, Widespread Recovery, in Laguna Beach. He also married Ashley Slack in 2013, which was basically just two VERY beautiful people promising to do it with each other for the rest of their lives, which is also what I hope my wedding will one day be like.
Jordan was Heidi Montag’s boyfriend during season 1. They met at a party earlier that summer, and you may remember him as the guy who always tried to pick a fight with Heidi, and then gave her a puppy for Christmas. They broke up because they couldn’t stop fighting, and then Heidi went to go take a nap. Where is Jordan now, you ask? Acting, producing, and writing with his ol’ pal Brian Drolet! That’s it. That’s all I could find out from a simple Google search, and I’m not doing more than that, because you’re not paying me for this.
Poor Brian. Jordan’s best bro, whom he moved from NYC to LA with, was an aspiring actor/model who wanted so bad to hook up with Audrina, while all she wanted to do was not hook up with him. But alas! It all worked out in the end, because Brian went on to have a part in the Iron Man movie and Audrina went on to be #16 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll in 2010!
And that’s it! Stayed turned for the S1E1 recap, where I’ll for sure find more ways to relate The Hills back to myself! Also, make sure to check out my Instagram in the coming weeks, where I’ll be posting even more The Hills content (esp on IG Stories), including The Hills-related collectibles that you can grab for your very own!
Until next time…