Thursday, 22 July 2010

Imperial Bedrooms - The Hills



I am a huge fan of Bret Easton Ellis and have read all of his work apart from American Psycho, for some reason I feel the need to save that one in case he dries up & is unable to produce any more masterpieces. I loved Less Than Zero and was as disappointed with the movie adaptation as much as the protagonist Clay was at the beginning of this book.

It's great to catch up with your fucked-up acquaintances and this bunch of erstwhile yuppies is as fucked up as they come. The book is concise in content but densely thick with self-obsession and paranoia, in fact you can almost feel the pull of black goo as you turn each page. It's a beautifully written and compelling book and if you are a fan of Less Than Zero or Bret Easton Ellis you will love it as much as you love your own mother.

MTV's The Hills is referenced on a night out in an exclusive name-checked location. The Hills, like Imperial Bedrooms, name-checks every location. This is where the penny dropped for me. I am also a huge fan of The Hills, I cannot explain why. For most the programme is just a series of conversations about relationships and bitchy girls being filmed having rehearsed conversations in Hollywood's most exclusive restaurants and clubs. It is by all accounts rubbish but I have always felt that the show had some dark undercurrent running throughout. Relationships were torn apart and scrutinised for our entertainment, friendships destroyed and this gang of privileged rich kids began to disintegrate before our very eyes and become deeply affected by their environment, giving us valuable evidence that Hollywood is a very dangerous place for a young person to develop.

Take for example the 'characters' of Spencer and Heidi and their evolution from the first season to the last. Spencer is wildly narcissistic and as the show would have us believe, somewhat dangerous, resulting in him being banned from the shows wrap party because other cast members were allegedly terrified of him. Heidi has disassociated herself from all blood relatives and friends and had every bone in her body shaved or altered in some way to turn her into the Barbie doll image of so called perfection. Both of these characters have attempted to exist beyond The Hills with appearances on I'm a Celebrity... and posing naked for Playboy. When they're not being filmed for the "reality" show they both become exaggerated versions of their characters within the show. In fact, their former friends and relatives have been quoted as saying that they don't know who they are any more. Both Heidi and Spencer have no sense of self - both are now fucked-up characters that would lie perfectly under the sheets in Imperial Bedrooms.

Less Than Zero features the iconic billboard sign that reads 'Disappear Here', it's a lesson to be learned. In Hollywood you have to keep your feet solidly on the ground or you will disappear... up your own arse. So now I can explain why I like The Hills so much, I suppose it’s only “reality” is in its undercurrent and the fact that MTV managed to find some actual kids that were borne of the Bret Easton Ellis creation of which I am so fond.


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