After six seasons, marked by streams of mascara-stained tears and countless barbecues, “The Hills” finally bowed for good on Tuesday. But instead of playing it straight, the last few moments of the series cleverly addressed years of rumors about the reality show’s, well, realness, by panning out to reveal that Kristin’s goodbye with Brody had been filmed on a Hollywood backlot. And although some “Hills” fans have taken issue with the surreal ending, creator Adam DiVello said he was just going for a “wink.”
“We had joked early on about different ways to do kind of a wink to whether it was real or not,” DiVello admitted to MTV News.
“There were a lot of ideas thrown around, from even Lauren waking up and this whole thing was a dream, which would have been a little ‘Newhart,’ ” he revealed. “We had come up with a bunch of ideas, and then I had this idea to focus it on the Hollywood sign and really just kind of incorporate Hollywood into the ending of it. Our show’s one that’s based in Hollywood, and these kids live, work and play here and never, never really kind of acknowledged in the series that Hollywood is where shows are made.”
“Hills” executive producer Liz Gateley agreed with DiVello’s assessment that the ending was a wink to the show’s more skeptical viewers.
“It was important for me to go out with a high concept ending,” Gateley said. “My vision for Laguna Beach was to meld kids’ real lives with scripted storytelling devices, which, when the show aired, made the viewers always question ‘is it real or is it fake’ and changed the television landscape forever. That question intensified in the Hills. The intent of this ending was to play with that — a nod to the biggest question surrounding the show. So viewers can now interpret this ending however they want. It’s all on the screen.”
Of course, that final shot had some fans wondering if it was confirmation from the show itself that what they’d been watching all these years was fiction. But DiVello argued that it confirms the opposite.
“It’s a nod to how much work goes into making it feel like a scripted show,” he said. “When we set out to make the show, it was a reality show without the conventions of a reality show. When we showed up to Paramount that day we kind of walked Brody through it, and he was shocked,” DiVello recalled of shooting the finale. “I believe Kristin kind of started to cry a little bit. I think she was surprised when she showed up as well. We had a great time. [Viewers wondered,] ‘Were these things shot on soundstages or were they shot in their apartments?’ But I think everyone knows it was a reality show, obviously.”
So would he change anything about that ending?
“I think it was great. I think we did tie up some stories with the cast and I think, ultimately, not only myself, but the people that work on my team and I think the network and I think America wants to see the kids happy,” he said. “And I think it showed that. You always want to leave the audience wondering what happens next. At the end of the day we were telling stories. I hope people leave it [as] a fun, six-season trip to California,” he said of the “Hills” legacy.
“I hope they leave with fond memories of it. We make this show for the fans.”
Do you feel any differently about “The Hills” finale having heard the show creator’s assessment? Share your thoughts in the comments.