Recap: ‘The Hills’ Returns, Earth Resumes Its Rotation

…And we're back! After interminable months of waiting, we are reunited with our darling Lauren Conrad as she's set off for Paris, leaving behind a fragile "relationship" with boy toy Brody for a few days across the pond. But before we can find out what happens next to the impossibly silly, skinny girls of The Hills, we must first deal with MTV's especially hype-y preshow. Lauren, Audrina, and Whitney walk onto the MTV stage to introduce the actual premiere; this is the most we'll see of poor Audrina, who gets NO face time this episode. "Thanks for partying with us!" she yells. As usual, she looks confused. Is that my old friend Sean Kingston? she thinks. Why no, no, it's not, it's freaking Mariah Carey, here to co-host The Hills party. Awesome! Inexplicable, but awesome! Mariah says she's a big Hills fan, which is funny, because we saw a TMZ video in which she says she's never seen the show. Whatever, The Hills are not about details.

On to the actual show. First, in Paris:

We're in the thick of Lauren and Whitney's French adventure, which is "about to change everything." We didn't realize that this trip is only one week. That is a short amount of time to "change everything," and also a short amount of time to be carrying the shitload of luggage these two are toting. But there are lots of French things to look at: ­­bridges, bicycles, the Eiffel Tower­­!

As the girls are ostensibly in town to cover the Crillion Ball for Teen Vogue, they immediately find out they're supposed to pick up shoes from Colette for a photo shoot and then get their own ball gowns from Alberta Ferretti. Lauren pronounces Givenchy "Give-in-She," and we laugh and laugh. Don't you want to work in fashion, L.C.? Their driver, who is so very français, corrects her. He might be snarling; difficult to tell. Of course, Lauren decides they HAVE to get the ball gowns first (which are, admittedly, very pretty), and by the time they get to Colette, it's closed. Aha! Lauren always messes stuff like this up; we wonder why they don't just fire her…?

Lauren gets a phone call from Audrina, conveniently timed mid-shoot to tell her that Brody, in the course of two days, has gotten himself a new girlfriend. See, Lauren really did lose the guy by going to Paris … FOR ONE WEEK. God, these kids move fast. Fast on the rebound, the girls go to a bar to meet some rock guys from a band called­­ lamely­­ Rock n' Roll. Not surprisingly, they're all pretty lame, especially Mathias, who has clearly been hired to have eye-sex with Lauren. The girls decide to meet the band at a very "fancy" club, but Lauren has nothing but pencil skirts packed! Tragedy! So, in a move WE'RE SURE was of her own accord, she hems her Ferretti ball gown into a cocktail dress and wears it to the club. It looks kind of cute.

The next day is the ball, and while Lauren's getting ready, she realizes her dress has a huge orange stain on it. But it's not from the club — it's actually from her curling iron. That's right: She didn't screw up the massively expensive gown by trying to hem it, or by wearing it to la discothèque. No, she messed it up by hanging it up right next to her trusty Conair, and the gown got burned. HILARITY. Our heroine is near tears, but by making sidekick Whitney (yep, she's still around) call the dress store for her, Lauren is able to get a new Ferretti dress just in time for the ball. She leaves early and goes riding around with Mathias on his Vespa in the drizzling rain. Très romantique! It's light out when he brings her back to the hotel, which could be the result of either a very late night or very poor editing.

So, how did Paris change everything? "After witnessing all the couture," Whitney decides she wants out of Teen Vogue. And Lauren maybe broke a nail or something? Unclear.

Meanwhile, in Colorado:

Heidi's been hiding out from Spencer at her parents' house in Crested Butte and skiing with her mom, who is a very bad actress. Mom would love to see Heidi "starting fresh" and dumping Spencer's manipulative ass, and Heidi purses her INSANELY PLUMPED-UP lips in contemplation. Heidi needs to stop with the plastic surgery, stat. She resembles this doll once had; its hard head was too creepy to look at and so it was best used as a weapon (apologies to our younger sister). Spencer's very sad in his dirty apartment in L.A., and after his evil twin, Stephanie, counsels him to give Heidi space, Spencer decides to drive to Colorado to get her back. Smart move, McDoucherton. Spencer and Heidi have a dramatic reunion: She doesn't really say anything and he just looks mean, as always. Then they fight about breaking up in front of her parents. We are embarrassed for everyone involved in this situation, except for Spencer and Heidi. And her parents. Spencer wants Heidi back, Heidi wants her space, and Spencer calls her "delusional." Spencer ends up going home, sans Heidi. And they all live happily ever after.

And now, our Unequivocal Hills Reality Index, wherein we evaluate the most real and staged moments of the show.

As Real As Lauren Is Awkward
• Eduourdo, the weirdo ball escort. "Do you surf?" he asks Lauren. Ha-ha. Ha. That guy is totally genuine.
• Mariah Carey's story about burning her hair off with a curling iron. Well, duh. That probably shouldn't count, but needed mentioning.
• Whitney's getting nauseous after she and Lauren can't pick up the shoes. "I feel pukey!" she says, making gagging noises. This is the most un-robotlike we¹ve ever seen Whitney act.

More Fake Than Audrina's Boobs
• Audrina's phone call to Lauren, which was definitely read from a script. But she can't really read, which is what makes it tragic.
• Spencer's "surprise" visit. If it were a surprise, why were there cameras outside, waiting for him to arrive? Heidi's dad's delivery of, "What the heck are you doing here?" should win him a Razzie.
• Lauren's dress just happens to get burned? We swear we saw an MTV PA sneaking out of that room, hysterically laughing.
Emma Rosenblum