Hard to believe but The Hills debuted well over a decade ago. The breezy, soapy series about young, beautiful, rich, and often idiotic people depicted life in idyllic California completely changed MTV forever (most of its shows afterward looked and felt a lot like The Hills) and it familiarized us with tabloid figures and enduring media presences like Spencer Pratt, Adrian Patridge, Whitney Port, Heidi Montag, Lauren Conrad, and Kristin Cavallari. Today, Cavallari turns 30, so she’s more than officially an adult. We’re using that occasion to reflect on The Hills, and there sure is a lot we forgot happened on that show.
1. Kristin Cavallari wasn’t always on the show.
Maybe I’m the only one here, but I forgot that The Hills was a continuation / spinoff of another MTV reality show, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (And that title capitalized on another then-hot, now-overlooked teen sensation, Fox’s The O.C.) Cavallari was the focus of that series, but Lauren Conrad was the definite star of The Hills. Then she left in the fifth season or so, and Cavallari came back to the franchise.
2. Oh, that’s where we know “Unwritten” from.
Natasha Bedingfield had two stone-cold soft-rock classics in the mid-aughts: “Pocketful of Sunshine,” (forever associated with Emma Stone singing it ad nauseam in Easy A) and “Unwritten,” a lightly inspirational, “you go girl” anthem about following your dreams and stuff. It makes sense that it was the theme song to The Hills, a reality show ostensibly about those things.
3. Heidi Montag looked a lot different.
Yes, time ages a person, and she’s been open about the surgeries she’s had done, and whatever, that’s fine. It’s just she changed so gradually nobody noticed how much her appearance changed.
4. Lauren Conrad thought she might get glue poisoning.
While working as an intern at Teen Vogue, LC complains about having to lick a ton of envelopes while mailing out party invites. (You know, like what an intern does.) She was probably kidding, but she thought she could ingest too much glue and get sick. Apart from Susan on Seinfeld, this isn’t a thing.
5. Heidi was with another dude at first.
Speidi forever, sure, and they’re actually still together in 2018, but those two are so inexorably linked, for better or for worse, it’s reasonable to forget that when the show started, Heidi was dating some guy named Jordan.
6. All the guys were pretty much awful.
None of those guys, e.g. Brody Jenner, Justin Bobby, Jason Wahler, seemingly wanted to be tied down in a relationship. When one of the ladies could get some alone time, all they ever wanted to do was fight.
7. Justin Bobby was especially awful.
Audrina’s often flaky boyfriend wore big combat boots to the beach. Why would you do that?
8. Ryan Cabrera was there.
Remember Ryan Cabrera? He was a singer-songwriter who sounded like other sleepy pop acts of the mid-2000s you might hear on Grey’s Anatomy, like Snow Patrol or Daniel Powter. He had a big hit in 2004 called “On the Way Down” and he dated fellow oh-so-2000s celebrity and reality show star Ashlee Simpson for a while. He was also on The Hills. He dated Audrina!
9. LC chose a guy over career.
Well, that’s a little disappointing and problematic. Ultimately, everything worked out—Conrad was a famous person from TV and she parlayed that into a career as a writer and fashion designer. But at the end of the first season of The Hills, Conrad opted to stay in California with her boyfriend, Jason, rather than take an internship in Paris. Ugh.
10. Spencer had a problem with crystal.
As in actual crystal. While it’s admirable he tried to deal with his anger management, it’s a little bizarre that he tried to do it by purchasing a ton of crystals, which he said healed him. To each his own, we guess.