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The Hills Recap: The Tiger and the Temptress

On the Today show this morning, there was a feel-good segment about two brand-new tiger cubs, born in captivity in an effort to increase their species' numbers — many kinds of tigers, the Today show tells us, are endangered. They were so cute and little and we just wanted to pet them forever and ever. And then we watched The Hills again (yes, have to watch this show TWICE! We sacrifice for you! We ... we ... we can't wait till it's over), and were reminded of those poor baby tigers, who in some hellish, Back to the Future 2 version of the world, would end up living in a small cage, in a nightclub in L.A., being gawked at by people like Stephanie Pratt. Sigh. WHY IS THERE A TIGER IN A CLUB? If this were a Pixar movie instead of an MTV reality show, that tiger would be freed in the night by his scheming brothers and other animal friends, and they'd travel back to Africa together in a big balloon with Ed Asner. But life is not a Pixar movie, we're sorry to say. And that tiger is probably still in its cage right now, sleepy with tranquilizers, dreamily plotting his move to snag a Pratt sandwich.

Remember when it was announced that Audrina was getting her own spinoff show? This episode gives a taste of what that show might be. And ... it's not going to be good. Watching plotlines about Audrina is kind of like sitting on a plane with no books or magazines. You're just looking around, biting your nails, and finally you're forced to watch a rerun of How I Met Your Mother that you've already seen, twice, because it's on and there's nothing else to distract you from the fact that you're 50,000 feet up in the air and could literally drop out of the sky at any minute. That is to say: It's not fun, but you'll take it over staring at a tray table and feeling anxious. So the girls are sitting around talking about their upcoming week — Stephanie has a date with Max, who looks like "a prom king." Audrina is feeling angsty about Justin and Ryan. "If Justin ever got to the point where he was the guy you wanted him to be, would you ever consider going back to him?" asks Lo. Audrina does her best to look confused, but doesn't quite get there. And who does Audrina want Justin to be? She loves him for the BS-spewing, greasy-haired, eccentric-dressing man that he is.

Credits! Heidi's picture makes us miss her (and that rascal Spencer) even more acutely. We miss you, Speidi! Oh yes we do.

First off, let's dissect the Audrina-Ryan-Justin happenings. Aud and Ryan are hanging out at Les Deux with the crew (and an abused tiger), and — uh-oh! — in walks Justin, wearing a shawl sweater and a black hood. Stacie mentions that Justin's hot, and Kristin concedes that "he's looking good." And he is, compared to his more vagabond-y styles of late. Remember when Kristin and Justin were, like, super-serious? Are we supposed to forget that? Yes? Okay, we will push it out of our brain to make room for other, more pressing facts, like how to spell McKaela's name. "I guess this is supposed to be the big meeting," remarks Ryan, breaking the reality-TV promise to never acknowledge that something is a setup. Justin shakes Audrina's hand, which Lo finds hilarious, and then they all sit awkwardly while Justin whispers some JB-isms into Brody's ear. "She seems happy, I’m happy for her. I’m not going to like the kid right off the bat. He’s a rock-and-roller dude; it takes one to know one. You know, playing music, women will be around. She don’t deserve any of that shit no more." Brody solemnly nods. Ryan, rightly, wants to get out of there, and high-fives Justin as he's leaving. "I give high-fives. High fists," he says, and everyone kind of giggles about what a dork he is. "That girl deserves the world. She don’t need a little rocker going through running her up again," observes Justin. We don't know about referring to Ryan as "little," since his spikes put him up to about six-foot-five, but we get what he's saying.

Later on with Kristin, Audrina admits she was upset when Ryan wanted to leave so quickly. "It was kind of Ryan’s opportunity to sit there and stand his ground and be like, 'I’m not leaving, you leave, this is my girlfriend and her friends and our table.'" Kristin muses that maybe Justin is jealous. "Who knows?" says Audrina. And we're back on the airplane, with nothing to do.

So Ryan comes to Aud's house wearing red pants and they have yet another "talk," during which Audrina unsuccessfully tries to explain why she's acting distant. "I'm not used to spending all my time with someone, like, all the time. And when we go out, I feel like our friends get frustrated with us because we’re sitting there all the time, not even arguing, just whatever it is." Ryan furrows his brow, causing his hair to hit the ceiling. "I can’t tell if it’s that, or you just want to push and run," he replies. They agree to disagree or something. And then we get to go to a Ryan Cabrera concert! Woo-hoo! He is sleeveless and big-haired and you know what? He doesn't look as bad on stage as we'd feared! Kind of cute, even. He sings a love song — “You’re all I wanted … down down down.” Audrina starts to cry. "It’s the music? Like it reminds you of good times?" asks a concerned Stephanie. Aud can't really explain it. "It’s just everything. It’s way too hard," she says. Think of the tiger, Audrina! Compared to that guy, you've got it made.

And then there's Allie. Ugh. She and McKaela have a lunch during which she reaffirms her innocence in regard to the whole "breaking into Brody's house" thing, and also has this to say about Kristin: "She always seemed very immature; she has a bad reputation; she’s not a very smart girl … " She's pretty skimpy on the details of her alleged break-in, and McKaela doesn't seem too convinced. Fast-forward to the Nylon party, populated with young cool celebrities whom we don't recognize. Kristin is donning an unfortunate updo that makes her resemble a friendly lion (it's big-cats week on The Hills, apparently), and here come Allie and McKaela, gunning for a fight. McKaela starts talking to Brody, but Kristin butts in. "How innocent can you be if you’re friends with Allie Lutz? People may say I’m a bitch, but at least I'm honest," she says, in an disturbing inversion of the "Imagine" lyrics. Kristin, think of John Lennon and his message of peace! But, alas, she does not, and the fight escalates when Allie joins the fray. We've clipped it below so we don't have to transcribe. McKaela seems upset with Allie. "This sucks; they all hate me. Why didn’t you just walk away?" she inquires. Allie purses her weird lips. Brody and Kristin go home together, and that is the end.

A short note about Stephanie's date with Max. First of all, he brought Girl Scout cookies, which is sweet. Then he was nice when she mentioned that she is related to a demon. So what went wrong? Our guess is that he was more turned off by the soggy salad, bland pasta, and Steph's unhealthy-looking stick legs than the DUI/Spencer confession.

And now, our unequivocal Hills reality index!

As real as two reality stars sunbathing during the day when everyone else is working:
Stephanie did seem truly excited for her date, even though it was a fake date. Too bad she cooked for him and ruined it all.
Brody and Kristin's relationship continues to feel real to us. And even though Brody is "enjoying being single," etc., he genuinely likes Kristin.
McKaela's love of the boyfriend-style watch. Sure, why not? We also like it.

As fake as two fully made-up for TV girls browsing the vegetable aisle:

Justin, as much as we love him, wouldn't be around if not for the cameras. But we'll take him any way we can.
Who is Allie, anyway? Get her out of here, producers! She freaks us out.
Ryan just happens to sing a love song as Audrina arrives at his concert. Yeah, that probably didn't go down that way.

Photo: MTV