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The Hills Series-Finale Recap: No Reason for Us to Stay Here

So, that’s it. It’s over. The Hills’ journey has come to an end, and with it our weekly mixture of pleasure and pain, joy and nausea, revulsion and, um, repulsion (that one doesn’t work quite as well). Which is okay. Really, it is. Because, in Kristin’s wise words, “What am I doing? It’s time for me to go.” “Don’t leave!” you sweetly whisper in our ear, as Brody does Kristin’s. But it’s all said and done, and there’s nothing left for us here. And if we could give you hugs and cry with you into our vodka sodas, we would. Laguna Beach debuted in 2004, back when we were fresh out of college, the economy was in top form, Facebook was in its infancy, and the Black Eyed Peas' “Let’s Get It Started” was playing on repeat (okay, so in that sense, not much has changed). We’ve watched this cast morph from teens to semi-adults, and though we don’t feel any enduring connection, to, say, Audrina Patridge, we do feel nostalgia for our younger selves, back before we weren’t so old and crotchety and could have more than two glasses of wine before thinking, Okay, we’d better slow down. We have work in the morning! Sigh. Where does the time go?

We suppose we should get on with the actual recap, though it’s pretty much a 23-minute-long series of lame good-byes, which could basically be summed up as: Everyone fakes moving on; Audrina’s lips look weird; Speidi does not appear. The girls are sitting somewhere, discussing, yes, moving on, and it’s actually kind of funny to hear them attempt to get deep. “I feel like we’re all at that point in our lives where it’s, like, never going to be the same,” says Stephanie Pratt, formerly known as She-Pratt, back when she was a crazed alcoholic (oh, how we miss those days when she had her real teeth!). “You seem really happy right now,” observes Kristin. “I’ve reached my good place,” she confirms. “I feel like I’m still trying to find my happy place,” says Audrina, which we can only assume includes Justin Bobby serving pitchers of beer and a little person on a tricycle. Aud thinks she has to move out of Hollywood and “focus on myself and who I am and what I really want.” This clichéd rhetoric — I need to find myself, I need a change, make new memories, etc. — pops up a lot in the finale; we’re going to keep track of how many times, and alert you each time with a SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 1). Lo chimes in, “When you reach your mid-20s, you have a mid-20s life crisis. It’s the time in all of our lives where we make the decision about who we want to be.” SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 2). She adds that she knows exactly what’s next for her. “I want little babies!” This gets a collective “awwwww” from the other girls. We’d recommend she read this article before jumping into anything at the tender age of 23. Yes, she’s 23. We know: barf. Kristin mentions that she hasn’t spoken to Brody since he told her he didn’t want to be with her. “I just feel like nothing’s happening for me anymore. I just need a change.” SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 3).

Credits for the last time ever. Sing along now: “Feel the rain on your skin!”

Next is a type of scene that we certainly won’t miss. Brody and Frankie and Taylor are hitting golf balls, discussing girls. Someone actually asks Frankie if he’s dating anyone (did the producers read our recap from last week?). “Flavor of the week. She’s a speech therapist,” he replies. Taylor makes a bad joke about how Frankie was probably slurring, and they all laugh as if it’s the most hilarious thing they’ve ever heard. Ha-ha, Taylor! You are not funny. They then talk about Kristin: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Kristin has a voodoo doll with your face on it, pushing pins into it right now,” says Taylor. Brody insists that he and Kristin are still friends, though Frankie gives him a dubious look. Ah, Frankie: Good for getting people into clubs and pretty much nothing else. And that’s the way we like him.

Lo and Steph shop and talk about how Lo’s going to break her rule and move in with Scott even though they’re not yet engaged. Why buy the milk if you can get the cow for free? Because it’s 2010; people move in together; it’s different for our generation; it’s cheaper; it will make her life easier and better … okay, Mom? Okay.

Stacie and Kristin discuss Kristin’s plans for the future. Kristin opens, “It seems like everyone’s life is changing in a great way, and it’s got me thinking, What am I doing?” SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 4). For most, this would require introspection, perhaps a job switch, maybe a short vacation to alleviate some stress and have a few days to think. For Kristin, this means moving to Europe. Not a specific country in Europe. Just Europe. Somewhere. We assume Kristin means Paris, London, perhaps even Florence — nah, probably just Paris or London. “Have you told Brody you’re leaving?” asks Stacie, as if it’s a fully done deal that her friend is moving permanently to an undisclosed location in the continent of Europe, and isn’t, you know, going to be on the after-show of The Hills finale, which we just saw the preview for. Kristin is worried that Brody’s going to think she’s moving because of him, which he will, and which she is. “There are a lot of memories here,” says Stacie wistfully. Sure, memories of girls screaming at each other, Kristin hooking up with Justin Bobby and then Brody, Spencer freaking out at everyone. “Yeah, but I think it’s time to make some new memories,” says Kristin. SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 5).

So here’s the end of the saga of Stephanie Pratt. She’s found a lover in Josh, who rides dirt bikes for a living and who is “the manliest guy” that Stephanie’s ever dated (“This is my world, this is my office,” says Josh of the dirt-bike track). “You just, like, ride a dirt bike, but then you’re just like a Care Bear,” says Steph, in what we can only imagine is an insult to Care Bears around the globe, who immediately employ the patented “Care Bear Stare,” which fails to stop the most awkward relationship talk that ensues. “Where do we stand?” Josh asks Steph. “I’m not seeing anyone else, are you? ... Do you want to not see anyone else?” she asks, tripping Josh up with her fuzzy grammar. “Nah.” He replies, which we think means he doesn’t want to see anyone else, not that he doesn’t not want to see anyone else. They share an unenthusiastic kiss. Congrats to the cute couple! May you be free of drunk driving and dirt-bike accidents forever and ever.

Kristin goes to tell Brody that she’s leaving for the vast continent of Europe, and finds him swimming laps on his roof deck. “Maybe for the summer, maybe for longer. I’m bored here,” she tells him. Thankfully, Brody gets right to the point. “Did I have anything to do with this decision that you all of a sudden made?” She lies to him that no, he didn’t, and then disproves herself with: “Isn’t your girlfriend going to get mad when you don’t pick up the phone?” Brody calls her out. “Why do you sound so bitter when you say that?” She then invites him to her going-away party, meanly, and he says he’s not going because he doesn’t want to see her leave. We are so sick of Kristin and Brody ...

… so much so that we’re relieved to see Audrina in her gorgeous new beach house, with views of the ocean and dolphins and lifeguards that she’ll surely hook up with. Oh, wait, this is the new Audrina, who won’t be hooking up with lifeguards because she’s too busy getting Restylane injections. Seriously, she needs to cool it with her lips. Aud’s not going to Kristin’s going-away party. “It’s like we’re all growing up; it’s weird,” says Stephanie. “It’s like, what’s going to happen to all of us, you know?” muses Audrina. SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 6).

Now we must bid you farewell, for once and for all. It’s been a pleasure writing for you, our lovely, engaged audience. In the words of Brody Jenner, “Good-bye, I guess.” You can catch us on the flip side, recapping Jersey Shore, which starts July 29. (And check out our slideshow about where The Hills' stars will be when they're 50.) Later, dudes — it's been real.

Next is a type of scene that we certainly won’t miss. Brody and Frankie and Taylor are hitting golf balls, discussing girls. Someone actually asks Frankie if he’s dating anyone (did the producers read our recap from last week?). “Flavor of the week. She’s a speech therapist,” he replies. Taylor makes a bad joke about how Frankie was probably slurring, and they all laugh as if it’s the most hilarious thing they’ve ever heard. Ha-ha, Taylor! You are not funny. They then talk about Kristin: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Kristin has a voodoo doll with your face on it, pushing pins into it right now,” says Taylor. Brody insists that he and Kristin are still friends, though Frankie gives him a dubious look. Ah, Frankie: Good for getting people into clubs and pretty much nothing else. And that’s the way we like him.

They hug, cry, hug and cry. Brody makes a sad face, and he’s probably the best actor of them all.

So Scott and Lo are moving in together, and he loves her and wants to marry her and they are happy. Whoopee. “It takes a long time to find the right person that is just perfect, and you are perfect,” he says to her. Yeah, whatever. We don’t even know you, Scott. This plot is dead to us.

Kristin, good-bye and good luck! She is apparently wearing short-shorts on her flight to Europe. First of all, she’s going to freeze. Secondly, who wants their bare thighs touching an airplane seat? (Which is why we always stand on the subway in the summer when wearing shorts or skirts; we’ve seen what people do on those seats, and we don’t want our skin touching phlegm, nasty food particles, or any sort of bodily fluid. EW.) Brody arrives to say good-bye, again, rendering the touching good-bye hours earlier not quite as touching anymore. “If I had known that I were to see someone else, that you’d leave town because of that, I probably wouldn’t even have done it,” he lies. “That’s all I wanted to hear from you, but I still have to go,” she says. “I hope you find what you’re looking for,” he concludes. SELF-IDENTITY BOMB (No. 8).

Kristin drives away in the car, looking out the window, to flashbacks from previous seasons accompanied by a slower version of the theme song. There’s Lo and Lauren! And Audrina before her lips were weird! And Justin Bobby with long hair! And Heidi before her face was weird! And Kristin and Stephen Colletti on Laguna!

The show ends with an interesting twist, as the scene turns into a set on a Hollywood lot, panning to include crew members and cameramen. We’re forgoing our regular unequivocal Hills reality index for a short discussion of this final moment, which you can watch below.

On the after-show, Brody explained it thusly: "The thing is, as you saw on the end — what's real and what's fake, you don't know … Our relationship, the entire time could have been fake … That's one of the questions: What was real and what was fake, and we left it [open]." Laguna Beach was one of the first “scripted” reality shows, and The Hills followed in its tradition of setting up a scene, telling the characters what to talk about, and letting the cameras roll. Some people (Lauren Conrad, Brody Jenner) were better at this format than others (Audrina Patridge, aw), yet both shows found a large young audience in spite of the fact that the authenticity of the relationships and events could never really be verified. Some things were more obvious than others: Did Kristin really ever like Justin Bobby? Doubtful. So what was the appeal of watching semi-actors go about their semi-lives? Were we really invested in the fake emotions? Was the show interesting in an anthropological sense, showing us the day-to-day lives of a certain subset of California youths? Share your reasons for watching The Hills in the comments. One thing is for certain: Without Speidi, the show lost its strangely alluring magic.

Now we must bid you farewell, for once and for all. It’s been a pleasure writing for you, our lovely, engaged audience. In the words of Brody Jenner, “Good-bye, I guess.” You can catch us on the flip side, recapping Jersey Shore, which starts July 29. (And check out our slideshow about where The Hills' stars will be when they're 50.) Later, dudes — it's been real.

Photo: MTV