Monday, March 24, 2008

Feminist Manifesto

New York Times TV critic Ginia Bellafante has, in today's published review of the new mini-season of The Hills, labeled the much maligned "villain" Heidi Montag as a "feminist hero" for managing to "[climb] her way to a bigger position at the event-planning company where she orchestrates Nascar parties, and [refuses] to acquiesce to the demands of her fiancé, Spencer" in the course of this new season. Damn ... you just *know* that Lauren LC Conrad has already cancelled her subscription to the Times over such high praise of her nemisis by the paper:

The pseudo-improvised reality series "The Hills," as it plays out beyond MTV, on tabloid covers and in nearly every other byway of the modern media, is above all a vicious decimator of hope. It mocks our hearts; it plays with our allegiances, and we welcome the abuse. During its third season, which picks up again on Monday after a three-month hiatus, "The Hills," set among young aspirants of the Hollywood Hills' music and fashion industries, has continued to track the emotional warfare between former best friends Lauren and Heidi, while delving more deeply into the twistedness, gaslighting and superficiality of the boyfriends who ensure that the tortured rivals treat each other like Crips and Bloods. The show that looked, in all of its Antonioni-esque plotlessness and dreamy cinematography, at the ignominies of youthful friendship has turned toward the more conventional cruelties that good-looking playboys perpetrate on young women who wear low-rise pants and put on boots in warm weather. Defying our expectations, Heidi has emerged as a kind of feminist hero this season, climbing her way to a bigger position at the event-planning company where she orchestrates Nascar parties, and refusing to acquiesce to the demands of her fiancĂ©, Spencer, that she get herself home on time. Her career-mindedness sets their relationship off course. Heidi identifies the problem with no name: a boyfriend who sits around an apartment decorated to look like an '80s video arcade while trying to deny Heidi a real wedding with the glory of registering. Her groundswell of self-assertion begins when he insists on eloping, prompting Heidi to declare, "This isn't, like, Spencer's relationship and you decide what we do." The full-on joyous Oprah-fication of Heidi culminates with the show's return and gives "The Hills" a new momentum. After taking a break from Spencer at her parents' modest house in Crested Butte, Colo., Heidi returns to Los Angeles to kick him out and chastises him for taking her flat-screen TV with him. How proud Gloria Allred would be. And oh, what Lauren, her vulnerability hidden beneath her baroque moralism, could learn from Heidi right now. Lauren is pining for Brody, who, she has confessed, never makes her feel good enough. (Although we are led to believe that she could still have a chance with him, Us magazine has already told us no — reality squelching the suspense of mock reality.)

... and the review goes on from there (click HERE to read it in its entirety). I, for one, am not surprised that the New York Times has taken this TV show under review, it really has become the guilty pleasure of a large portion of the 18 13-35 year old demographic (both female AND male, no matter how much the guys deny it). I am a bit surprised that the NYTimes would bestow this much favor on Heidi, tho. I agree that she comes off as the more independent woman when placed side-by-side with LC but I'm not sure she exactly exemplifies the virtues of the feminist school of thought. That said, Heidi has been rockin' balls on the show lately ... whether it's genuine (doubtful) or by careful design (more likely), Heidi has put Spencer in his place and has taken some power back for herself. I guess I can see the point here. Perhaps even more substantial than the Richardson endorsement of Obama and whether you agree with it or not -- Team Heidi just got itself a pretty damn great endorsement here. [Source]