Okay, now here is a post in which I'm liable to lose some respect points as either a cultural elitist or as a man with his finger on the pulse -- probably both -- in which I ask someone, anyone, to explain the success of "The Hills" to me.
I am not a snob. Really. I have watched and continue to watch all kinds of shows in all kinds of genres that would get me laughed out of certain critical circles. Hell, I've been mocked on this very blog for my affections for "Beverly Hills 90210" or "American Idol" or other bits of fluff.
But I am completely, utterly, 100 percent baffled by the phenomenon that is "The Hills." Never in my life have I come across a show that is so popular and yet so stultifyingly boring. (And I know from stultifying, having been somehow hypnotized into watching the entire first season of "Big Brother.")
I mean, I get that the women are sort of hot, in a completely boring, vacuous way, and I suppose the guys are too, in a totally inarticulate, d-baggy way. And James Poniewozik has argued that the entire show is beautiful, and that's why people seem fascinated by it.
But this is an obvious cultural blind spot for me, and so I put it to anyone in the audience who actually watches the show and -- and this is the important thing -- genuinely enjoys it on some level, to attempt to explain to me why. I promise not to judge you, and I'll look unkindly on other commenters judging, but with the fourth season premiere of this masterpiece coming up on Monday, I'm trying to figure out if there's some point that's eluded me all this time.
There has to be some reason that people are so obsessed with watching this thing, and reading about its stars in the tabs. It can't all be people watching it ironically, can it?