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The Hills Recap: Reunited and It Feels Sort of Good

“You seem happy,” our old friend Justin Bobby says to Audrina, eyeing her fondly as they bounce in unison on a nightclub banquette. “I am happy,” replies our heroine, smiling broadly, gently touching J.B.’s ragged collar. It was like a bittersweet ending to an old romantic movie — next thing you know, Justin takes off his jacket to reveal that he's actually crippled in one hand (gasp!), which is why he’d been unable to return Audrina’s texts all those thousands of times. And she slowly realizes that he’d loved her all along, but was prevented from showing it because of some horrible drumming accident he’d suffered. And the techno music swells as they kiss and live happily ever after, the dumbest yet best-looking couple of all time.

Well, that's not what happened. Normal people don’t have reality-TV producers arranging impromptu meetings with exes; you’re never fully prepared, lines written out, looking camera ready when you bump into the person who broke your heart (or whose heart you broke). It's usually horrible and you look like crap. And even with all that prep, you could sense Audrina's awkwardness and residual pain as she happily chatted with the dude who tortured her for years. Poor Aud! But let's get through the rest of the recap first, as Kristin also deserves (a teeny, tiny bit) of our sympathy.

So Kristin and Stacie and their cute little dogs discuss how Kristin needs to move on from Brody. "That's the thing with friends with benefits — you try to be casual, and then you don’t realize that your feelings and heart are into it. Someone’s going to end up getting hurt," says Stacie, wisely (since when did Stacie become the stable friend who gives good advice? Last season she literally punched someone every time she was on-camera). "It's always the girl," Kristin sighs. It's not always the girl, but it's usually the girl, we're sorry to say (based on anecdotal evidence and the law of physics that states that men + sex = sex! and women + sex = unintended emotional attachment).

So Lo meets Mckaela for lunch because they are both Kappas, and that is what sisters do. "Sisters for life!" jokes Lo. But seriously, one of the ways they sell sororities to the undecided is to emphasize the post-graduation networking possibilities, and at this very lunch, we get to see that go down. “I’m still wanting to get a job and further my career,” Mckaela says earnestly, which is sort of cute, since she has no career to further, but whatever. We don't hate her at all, we just hate having to write her name, which is very confusingly spelled. Lo says she'll pass along Mckaela's résumé to Smashbox, where she works ("It's kind of a dream job"), and it's actually refreshing to hear people on this show talk about jobs ... and then they get to Brody. Sigh. Lo recommends that Mckaela be friendly to Kristin. Why do we feel like this will end with a girl fight in a bar?

Next up is a brief screwball comedy scene in which Stacie and Kristin go out to find all "the hot guys" in Venice, and from what we can see, they were vastly mistaken in their estimation of the good looks of guys from this area. Slovenly dudes hit on them left and right, almost knock over their wine, and ask Kristin if she's "a fan of the movie, Can't Hardly Wait." We are fans of that movie, but please don't tell that guy. The girls are unsuccessful in their "manhunt."

Mckaela and Brody, meanwhile, go out again and talk about, what else, Kristin. "I’ve dealt with a lot of girls before that have given me a hard time, and I don’t want to deal with it," says Mckaela. A lot of girls? That's suspicious. "You're going to have to deal with it; that’s a part of life," says Brody. What? No it's not and no she doesn't. But we guess if she wants to "further her career" on reality TV, she will. Say it again with us: Why do we feel like this will end with a girl fight in a bar?

Over at Smashbox, Mckaela has an interview with Lo's boss, Simon, who only seems slightly less creepy than our old buddy Brent Bolthouse (we can't ever remember people's names, and yet Brent Bolthouse just rolled off the tip of our tongue. That is disturbing). It's staged and funny and she says things like, "I love the fashion world, and I have a strong appreciation for it." Aw. And whaddya know, she gets the job! Good for her.

Now on to the ghost of deadbeats past ... Justin Bobby! Audrina, Lo, and Stephanie go to the Viper Room to check out a band called Purple Melon (heh), and it just so happens that Justin's band, Ed Stanley, is the next act. "Justin's in a band?" asks Steph incredulously. "I thought that was always a joke," adds Lo. And then, folks, we are treated to the most hilariously awesome performance of Justin on drums, first with shirt, then without, which we've included for your pleasure in the video clip below. Audrina looks psyched throughout, and Lo and Steph seem on the verge of hysterics. After the show, the girls go over to say hi, and we finally get to hear Justin speak. "Everything good? Good? Everything’s going all right? Boys, friends, life, girls?" Oh, J.B., how we missed transcribing your nonsense! Audrina remarks on his shorter hair, they chat semi-flirtatiously for a few more seconds, and then Justin drives off in his vintage yellow paddy wagon.

The next day, over at Chez Spikes, Ryan gives Audrina a tour of his new house. She fails to mention that she saw Justin, and then says "maybe it's a good thing" that Ryan's going on tour for a few days. Trouble in reality-TV-ready-relationship paradise? Maybe! If at all possible, Ryan's hair seems to have grown an inch or so in the passing week.

In the final scene we get the culmination of the two plotlines: Brody halfheartedly apologizes to Kristin, and Justin and Audrina reunite once again. Kristin annoyingly falls under Brody's doe-eyed spell once again, immediately forgiving him and then leaving the club with him arm in arm. Kristin, he's cute, but try to resist! Alas, she can't hear us. Justin arrives wearing a strange assemblage of clothing — a worn peacoat, a blue pajama top, and what look to be sweatpants. "You look beautiful. Look at me, I’m all grubby," he opens to Audrina. Grubby, my friend, is not the word for it. More like: insane. "I don’t think Spike’s going to to like this," he says, and now we are officially in love. Spike! SPIKE! Best nickname ever. "I don’t feel like I can talk to you about it," Audrina replies. "Why not? I’ll tell you anything, you know that." Not true, Justin. Audrina just sort of giggles blandly for the rest of the night, not revealing the pain she's feeling (sometimes we like to pretend that Audrina is a real person; allow us this). "When Spike's away, Audrina will play," concludes Justin.

And now, our unequivocal Hills reality index!

As real as Audrina's enthusiasm for Justin's band:
Stephanie and Lo's horror during Justin's performance. There's no way they could have faked their way through those jaw-dropping stares.
Kristin's jealousy. Kristin, man, you've got to get over Brody, he's really cramping your style. As our mom says, "On to the next!"
"I’m really into metallics right now," says Stephanie. It's true, she is.

As fake as Heidi and Spencer's alleged separation:
We're glad they did it, but the fact that Justin's band was playing right after Purple Melon, well, come on.
Mckaela's job interview was completely scripted, of course. "I’m a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara; I majored in art history; and I really want to get involved in this aspect in this industry," she says in her best robot voice.
Audrina's sort of laughing throughout her final interaction with Justin, which leads us to believe it was about take twelve on that scene.

Photo: MTV