The original, fresh-faced cast of "The Hills."
For some, this month marks the beginning of March Madness, the college basketball tournament that turns normal people into bracket-following freaks for a good three weeks. Yet for those who don't give a fig about sports, March ushers in Vulture's "Reality Rumble," a cutthroat contest to decide the greatest reality TV season of all time. Lucky for us, MTV has a few dogs in the fight, including "Real World: San Francisco," "The Osbournes," "The Hills" and "Jersey Shore."
Unfortunately, Lauren Conrad & Co. were just booted from the bracket (BOO!); however, just because the series is no longer in the race, that doesn't mean we can't still cull some valuable life lessons from it -- especially in the areas of gender politics and career ambition -- and Vulture's Margaret Lyons has brilliantly listed four pieces of sage wisdom we learned from the "Hills" ladies' missteps. To summarize:
1. In your 20s, career ambitions should trump boys: Toxic relationships were always on the cocktail menu for the "Hills" girls. Lauren had Jason Wahler, whom she put first over her internship at Teen Vogue countless times; Audrina Patridge had Justin Bobby, whose talent for burping the alphabet should have been a sure signal from the start that the two would never be a power couple; and Heidi Montag had (and still has!) Spencer Pratt, who seemingly convinced her to pursue the position of Head Reality TV Villainess...which didn't quite bode well for the long-term.
2. For women in the workplace, perception is everything: After LC chose to stay in Malibu with then-boyfriend Jason Wahler instead of spending the summer working in the City of Lights, she became known to everyone in the office as "The Girl Who Didn't Go To Paris" -- a term coined by her tough-as-nails boss, Lisa Love. Because Lauren chose love over career ambition, she was belittled by the "Devil Wears Prada"-ish magazine editor, and perhaps not taken seriously for the remainder of her time at Teen Vogue.
3. It doesn't behoove a woman to have her name associated with a sex tape (at least, not usually): "The Hills" was talking about sexual smear jobs before "slut-shaming" became a tag on Jezebel. However, as we saw when LC's purity was called into question, nothing ruins a woman's cred faster than a sex tape -- or simply the rumor thereof. Just ask Kim Kardashian. Wait…that can't be right.
4. Birthdays never live up to expectations: Much like New Year's Eve and T-Pain's remix of Lorde's "Royals," b-day celebrations are almost always a bust -- like the time Lauren and Heidi cried into their cosmos while being trapped on a yacht for LC's fancy shindig. Not only will you save a bunch of money, but you won't stress out about having to cancel a 12-person dinner reservation on OpenTable.
Oh, and there's one more lesson that Vulture must have accidentally overlooked...
5. Mascara is no one's friend.
Photo: Steven Lippman/MTV