Sporting a bubblegum pink Juicy Couture zip-up, I sat on my junior high best friend’s couch, utterly transfixed with the scene unfolding on the television set before me. It was the series premiere of The Hills, and I’d been a loyal Laguna Beach watcher since sixth grade. I couldn’t wait to join LC as she started her next chapter in Los Angeles. Over the next four years, I lived vicariously through Lauren, Heidi, Audrina, and the others as they navigated nights out while underage, scored internships that they seemed to do literally nothing at, and fell in and out of love- sometimes with boys with multiple first names.
Realizing that the 10-year anniversary of this iconic show is May 31 has me feeling not only a little old, but also mega nostalgic. During its six-season run, The Hills taught us a lot. From instructing us on how to properly cause a scene in a nightclub, to teaching the power of brunch, and maybe most importantly instilling a belief that boys like Brody Jenner and nightly outings to Les Deux were not only normal, but also fairly commonplace for the average 20-something. Although I eventually grew out of this delusion, there are plenty of other pieces of real-life-applicable advice we can take from this anything-but-real show.
1. It’s OK to ‘break up’ with a toxic friend.
Lauren and Heidi were the best set of reality television besties since Paris and Nicole. Which is probably why it hurt so much to watch the pair break up in front of our very eyes. Ugh. Whether or not you believe the rumors that much of the show’s drama was engineered by the producers for ratings, the feud between Lauren and Heidi showed all of us that it’s okay to say goodbye to a particularly toxic friend, no matter how close you used to be. Lauren yelling, “You know what you did!” gave Abercrombie-clad sixteen-year-olds everywhere the courage to confront their frenemies once and for all.
2. Always choose Paris.
It would totally suck to have one of your worst decisions broadcasted on national television for everyone to judge. What would suck more would be choosing a summer in Malibu with your boyfriend over a once-in-a-lifetime summer in Paris, paid for by MTV/Teen Vogue. While Lauren may forever regret her decision, we don’t have to. Learn from her mistake. When deciding between studying abroad in Italy and spending yet another semester in your college town, always go with the option that might score you a boy with an accent.
3. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
That’s what’s called the “fundamental rule of holes.” While it may have seemed to viewers at home that life in the Hollywood Hills was nothing short of idyllic, Lauren likely felt differently. After having spent most of her formative years being followed around by MTV, the cameras were interfering in her personal life and taking more than she was ready to give. She decided to leave the show several years before the series drew to a close. After leaving, Lauren wrote a book, designed a clothing line, and was just generally even more perfect than seemed possible. When you find yourself in a situation where you’ve gained all you can gain, don’t be afraid to move on. Never continue down a path that you realize is wrong for you just because you’ve already taken a few steps and are afraid to turn back.
4. Guys come and go; girlfriends are forever.
Throughout the show, it seemed that the girls had an endless rotation of boys whirling in and out of their lives. There were Jason’s and Justin’s and Brody’s- oh my! While the dudes may have been hot AF, they never really toted any staying power. Heidi’s marriage to Spencer (no comment) was the closest that any of the girls came to commitment while on the show. In contrast, regardless of how much drama the girls weathered, they always managed to bounce back stronger than ever.
5. The rest is still unwritten.
Even amidst the worst crisis of the show’s run, it was hard to ignore the lack of wrinkles on the screaming girls faces. This is because at 20, 21, and 22 they still had their entire lives ahead of them. Sure, some of their decisions impacted their lives both positively and negatively, but the major life choices that every (semi) functioning adult is expected to one day make were still fairly far ahead of them. With the exception of Heidi, the girls have all turned out fairly well-adjusted, proving that no matter how hard you went at the last frat party, you still have your whole life ahead of you..