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The Hills is a Spin-Off of the MTV reality show Laguna Beach, following a group of twentysomethings living in Los Angeles. In particular, it follows (or followed) Lauren "LC" Conrad, one of the characters from Laguna Beach, as she attends the Fashion School of Design and Merchandising and gets an internship at Teen Vogue magazine. She later went on to work for the fashion PR firm People's Revolution, and left the show in season five following Heidi and Spencer's wedding. Other characters include:

  • Heidi Montag Pratt Montag, Lauren's roommate and BFF turned worst enemy.
  • The aptly-named Spencer Pratt, Heidi's boyfriend and later (ex?)husband.
  • Audrina Patridge, who becomes Lauren's roommate after Heidi moves out.
  • Whitney Port, once a fellow intern of Lauren's at Teen Vogue. She went on to star in her own spinoff, The City, in which she works as a fashion designer in New York City.
  • Brody Jenner, a friend and former boyfriend of Lauren's.
  • Kristin Cavallari, a Laguna Beach alum like Lauren and an aspiring actress. She became a replacement for Lauren in season five.
  • Stephanie Pratt, Spencer's sister. Her appearances on The Soup via Adam Westing later turned her into a Breakout Character.

The Hills was a hit for MTV, with some of the highest ratings of any show on cable. Even though its ratings declined from its early peaks, it is still regarded as one of MTV's most popular shows. It also managed to earn itself a sizable Hatedom when it was airing, and earned a reputation for being staged and vapid. It is one of The Soup's favorite targets of mockery.

This series has examples of the following tropes:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Brody Jenner and his posse, especially his friend Frankie. In one episode, Frankie declares that a woman will be able to go back into "his rotation" of women he dates.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Heidi and Spencer. The two of them appeared on the Alex Jones Show, where they discussed 9/11 conspiracy theories and microchip implants, and Heidi obsessed over the "Mark of the Beast."
  • Coolest Club Ever and In Da Club: All da time.
  • Current Events Blog: Cast member Audrina had one of these during the show's run. There are also many gossip blogs that follow the show; some of them have revealed the sneaky editing and manipulated situations in both this series and Laguna Beach.
  • The Ditz: Heidi.
  • Edited for Syndication: In the United Kingdom.
  • Executive Meddling: One of the reasons why Lauren Conrad allegedly left the show was because MTV wanted to push her feud with Heidi, even though she wanted to put all of that behind her.
  • Fan Service: Obviously, given the women on the show.
  • Follow Up Failure: Both The City (which was The Hills transplanted to New York with a new set of backstabbing characters and relationship woes for Lauren's friend Whitney) and Audrina (which followed Lauren's other friend, Audrina Patridge) were underwhelming shows that were cancelled at the end of their second and first season, respectively. Both were canned by MTV (Audrina wasn't even picked up after the first season finished shooting - VH-1 aired it) because the network was moving away from the reality show surge it had focused on for most of the 2000's.
  • Gainax Ending: Revealing that the show had been filmed on a backlot and not answering what was real or fake. The fandom were not pleased.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: The antics committed by Lauren and Whitney at their Teen Vogue internship (screwing up basic orders, letting their friends into exclusive Hollywood parties, mangling the tasks they were given) would have been enough to get them canned several times over. However, they are always inexplicably given a free pass by the managing editor of the magazine because they are reality television stars.
  • Hollywood California
  • It's for a Book: On many occasions.
  • Manipulative Editing: Overdubbed lines, temporal shenanigans, reshot sequences that don't match with the rest of the show... it's all here.
  • The Parody: Mad TV's The Hills parody.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Jen, one of Lauren's friends, falls under the influence of Heidi. Heidi then convinces to Jen to reject Lauren and "hook up" with Brody (who Lauren was dating at that time).
  • Product Placement: During the scenery transition sequences, the names and songs of the bands playing in the background are displayed in the lower-right corner of the screen, along with a prompt to visit MTV's website to buy the music. Cell phones (from carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T) and clothing are also prominently showcased throughout the series.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. A rather... interesting choice for a reality show that has been accused many times of being staged.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: As evidenced by the volume of information discovered via interviews with cast members and current event blogs, the show was especially guilty of this:
    • The issue of all the paparazzi who hung out in front of Lauren's house waiting for her to come out so that they could take photos of her is never brought up, and the audience is expected to believe that she lives in anonymity.
    • Lauren stated outright that she was not on the receiving end of Spencer's "I'm sorry" phone call.
    • Audrina Patridge (who went to high school 20+ miles away from Lauren) has admitted she was "cast" as Lauren's best friend, having never met her before.
    • Heidi never applied for and accepted the job at Bolthouse Studios (where she "works" for the first three seasons); the producers worked out an agreement with the studios to have her come into the office and pretend to work as an intern for a certain amount of hours every week (while they filmed it).
    • Spencer getting in bar fights and the police not getting involved is also quite strange.
  • Reality Show: Presented as such, but there is more evidence supporting the theory that it's scripted than there is supporting the idea that it's real.
  • Rich Bitch: Everyone, but Heidi in particular.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money
  • Serial Escalation: How much plastic surgery can Heidi get?
    • The producers seem to understand this trope, as an entire episode was dedicated to the disbelief everyone (including Heidi's friends and family) expresses when she reveals her new look. Said episode also turns out to be one of the few "real" moments of the series, as Heidi's mother cries and says she doesn't recognize her own daughter anymore.
  • Spin-Off: Of Laguna Beach. Also, this show has its own spinoff, The City.
  • Time Compression Montage:
  • Twenty-Four-Hour Party People
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: When it's all funded by MTV, why not?
  • Unreliable Voiceover: There are several times in the series when what the audience hears voiceovers (in regards to previous episodes) that in no way accurately reflected what went on in said episodes.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Stephen (from Laguna Beach) appears in a Very Special Episode, making an appearance at Lauren's party and rekindling his feelings for her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Audrina and Justin, Lauren and Jason, Kristin and Brody...yawn.
  • With Friends Like These...: Lauren and Heidi. Just... Lauren and Heidi.
  • You Keep Using That Word: On too many occasions.
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