FunnyOrDie’s spoof of The Hills, starring James Franco and Mila Kunis as Justin Bobby and Audrina, respectively, is OK, but so much of the vacuous MTV reality show is ripe for parody that it’s almost surprising it isn’t better. Maybe I’m just bothered by the fact that Kunis’ mannerisms — the faux-meaningful, wide-eyed side glances, the heavily-loaded head-nod — are more an embodiment of the monumentally self-possessed L.C. than a mimicry of ultimate empty vessel Audrina. Or maybe I’ve just seen better — I mean, there are certainly no shortage of Hills spoofs on YouTube, and many of them are a lot weirder, a lot scrappier — and thus a lot more interesting.
By my count, there have been at least two episodes of the real Hills this season alone in which Lauren confronted nemesis/former best friend Heidi with the allegation that Heidi allegedly spread rumors about an alleged sex tape that Lauren allegedly made with ex-boyfriend Jason. Confrontations like these usually amount to about four or five lines of dialogue, but the Hills producers manage to stretch them out into four or five minutes of Meaningful Stare-padded drama, which is likely why these scenes seem to be spoofed more commonly than any other. Even Gawker spoofed of one of these big fights a couple of weeks back, “starring Gawker editor Joshua David Stein [and] his mustache.”
But I far prefer Hills spoofs made by real kids, whose interest in the show is probably slightly more balanced between irony and sincerity, and who have a tendency to latch on to minute details of the show and puff them into technically inelegant but conceptually elaborate parodies. In this spoof (produced by and starring real-life, real-sized girls about the same age as The Hills girls, but set within markedly less glamorous environs), a single actress plays both Heidi and, via the magic of rudimentary digital trickery, Heidi’s creepazoid boyfriend Spencer. The fight between Lauren and Heidi ends up taking a backseat to the bizarrely funny spectacle of seeing Heidi ghosted by her evil male double.
Also worth a look is The Hillz, even though it’s probably more accurately a spoof of Laguna Beach, the show from which The Hills was spun off. Whereas most Hills spoofs exploit the show’s use of wordless facial close-ups to create dramatic tension that may not exist in the scene otherwise, The Hillz offers a dead-on send up of the aggressive, repetitive vacuity of the show’s actual dialogue. One “conversation” consists of a girl reeling off names of stores at the mall; another shows that when dudes get together, the phrase “hot bitches” is a noun, a verb, a greeting, and a question.
The Hillz also hilariously nails the schizophrenia of the young men depicted on these shows, who seem to transform from potentially violent walking hard-ons to sensitive romantics the second their bros are out of earshot. It may not be anywhere near as polished as the Franco/Kunis clip, but as a critical regurgitation of what’s actually going on in shows like The Hills and Laguna Beach, The Hillz feels like a sharper reading of its source material.