Sunday, 16 May 2021

The Hills: Nursing Home Edition by Naomi Elana Zener

Molly, a young reporter from Variety, the TV/film industry periodical, found herself reluctantly at the Hollywood Hills Home for the Preternaturally Preserved to conduct a ‘where are they now?’ piece on the remaining cast mates of yesteryear’s celebutantes from MTV’s hit and rebooted show, The Hills.  MTV died with demise of cable TV, leaving behind a litany of MTV-stars who couldn’t find fame, fortune, or relevance with the network now long gone.  To Molly, the article made no sense, but she was told there was a story there, so like any good newbie journalist who was underpaid, she followed the story.  But, to her, society no longer needed to hear from a gaggle of no longer girls without a flotilla of cameras trailing behind them, while they coquettishly batted eyelashes at never men who never were interested in them in the first place.


Each had their reason for agreeing to the interview: remaining relevant, hoping to be cast on a new show (there was a resurgence on geriatric programming given the success of Grace and Frankie—there was even talk of a Golden Girls reboot), or reminding the world they weren’t dead yet. However, whatever their reason, they would only participate in the interview on the condition of complete anonymity, in case it led to bad press. The adage of any publicity is good publicity no longer being true, the surviving Hills stars were savvy enough to remember that reputation was everything, and they wanted to preserve whatever good reputation they had left with the public that once adored them.


“Ma’am, these folks don’t have much attention to give these days, if you know what I mean, so please be brief,” the nurse at the front desk advised.


Molly nodded her head. She laid down a tape recorder in the middle of the table, where the four original cast members sat around the table.


“So, I understand you want to tell me about your days making The Hills and all of its reboots. The tape recorder is on, we are now on the record.”


“Who’s filming this?” Mr. P asked.


“No, no one is filming anything. I’m here to interview about what life was really like when you did The Hills all those years ago.”

“No one cares about back then. This is us, now. We are ready to show the world…” Mr. P continued.


“So, basically, you want to bring the series back now?” Molly asked.


“Isn’t that why were all here? Living together like we used to? Why Variety sent you?” Miss A inquired.


“I’m in!” Miss S shouted, waving her cane in the air before breaking out into the show’s original theme song.


“Staring at the white walls and bedpans,

Nurse brings you your medication.

Reaching for your walker in the distance.

So close you can almost feel it…


Feel the life in your heart,

Others no longer have it!

You live another day, but

Not your friend, not your friend…”



“Stop changing the lyrics to that fucking song,” Miss A croaked. “I can’t stand hearing it anymore.”


“Why man, it’s funny,” Mr. B replied. “It’s the proper homage to our real life, like now, but a throwback to when it all commenced in the deep roar of motorcycles….”


“Enough with the words. You make no sense,” Miss A squawked. “You never did!”


“I’m an urban philosopher,” Mr. B countered.


“You’re a bullshit artist,” Miss A retorted.


“Sing your truth!” Mr. B shouted to Miss S who never stopped humming the tune.


“No one wants to be reminded how old we are,” Miss A cried.


“Only you know how old you really are. Your face still looks like it did when you were 22,” Mr. P retorted.


“So, did any of you actually get along?” Molly inquired. “Like, ever?”


The four former cast mates turned nursing home neighbours exchanged glances furtively.


“No,” they replied in unison.


“It was all staged for the cameras,” Mr. P advised.


“Well, everyone knew it was scripted and staged,” Molly interrupted.


“She was never my sister!” Mr. P shouted, and then paused. He looked over at Miss S who continued to hum the show’s theme song. Then lightening struck. “No, she was my sister. But, she’s dead now, so I guess I won!”


“We made money. We spent the money. We had fame. We lost fame,” Miss A added.


“Man, that’s the most profound you’ve ever been,” Mr. B said to Miss A.


“Fuck you! That show was made to make us look stupid.”


“What’s it like living together now in this nursing home?” Molly interjected.


“Like before, but no cameras, food is lousy and we ain’t getting paid,” Mr. P advised.


“I don’t mind the food,” Miss. S offered.


“That’s because you eat now and have no frame of reference to what food, tasted like in your twenties” Mr. P added. “You never ate any!”


“Too bad your wife didn’t outlive you. She was easier to deal with.”


“Peace be, my friends. Be like the planets and just rotate around and away from each other,” Mr. B offered to no one in particular.


“Oh, shut up already!” Miss A spat.


“There’s so much great tension here. I wonder what The Hills – the geriatric edition would look like?” Molly pondered aloud to herself.


“You know, that’s not a bad idea,” Mr. P replied.


“It’s better than selling crystals,” Miss S muttered.


“What was that?” Mr. P asked. “I thought we were planning on doing a show. Isn’t that why we’re living here?”


“We live here because we are geriatric and your crystals didn’t pay the mortgage,” Miss A shouted.


“No, I wasn’t suggesting anything…” Molly interrupted.


“We could get a camera crew,” Mr. B said. “Hell, we can film it on our phones ourselves.”


“Why would anyone tune in to watch a bunch of old people in a nursing home?” Miss S asked before returning to her humming pursuits.


“Why did anyone tune in to watch a bunch of kids with no direction live in homes they couldn’t afford or own? Nothing better to do.” Mr. P stated. “This is the best idea I’ve ever had.”


“Five minutes ago you forgot all your ideas. Now you’re full of them?” Mr. B chided.


“It would be real reality TV this time. Doesn’t get more real than bedpans, dentures and dementia cause that’s what every wants to watch. Old people shitting their pants,” Miss A added. “I’ll pass.”


“Why do you have to label everything? It’s bad for your inner calm.”


“If I had any more calm in my life living here, I’d be dead,” Miss S added.


“I wish you were dead,” Mr. P chuckled.


“Oh, shove a crystal up your ass.”


“Maybe it’s time to end the interview,” the nurse suggested upon walking into the sunroom and witnessing the former reality stars growing agitated.


“Let’s talk about something else, since no one is bringing the show back?” Molly suggested.


“MTV needs us. They should bring back the show,” Mr. P proclaimed.


“MTV doesn’t need you…” Molly started.


“I can’t even find the channel anymore on the TV,” Miss S advised.


“MTV is dead. The channel went off the air decades ago,” Molly advised.


“Wait, what?” Mr. P asked.

“MTV, is like, gone?” Miss S whispered.

“That’s what she said. You never listen,” Miss A added.


“Wait, why?” Mr. B asked.

“People stopped watching reality shows about people who do nothing all day,” Molly explained.


“Good riddance!” Miss A proclaimed.


“Dude, why do you have to be so down on MTV?  They made you,” Mr. B asked.


“They made me “like” you! I never liked you,” Miss A replied.


“Who’s gonna watch us now?” Miss S asked.


“No one watches you. You live in a nursing home!” Mr. P shot back.


“But, we’re famous. Everyone watches us. They love us,” Miss A whined.

“No one loves you. No one ever did,” Mr. P cried, throwing his hands in the air. He desperately wanted to storm out of the room, but his arthritic everything forced him to stay put until the nurse brought him his walker.  “I’m done with this shit. Nurse, I need my walker!”


The nurse brought the walker over to Mr. B. She pulled his chair back away from the table and put the walker in front of him. She helped him slowly to his feet, placed his hands around the bars of the walker and stood behind him as he shuffled his right foot forward slowly. About a minute later, his left food started to shuffle forward. Everyone looked on in silence waiting for Mr. P to make his dramatic exit.


“Mr. B loved me,” Miss S whined, breaking the silence.

“No, he loved Miss A,” Molly reminded her.


“Didn’t you even watch the show?” Miss A asked.


“Why would I watch the show? I was on the show,” Miss S shot back. She looked confused. The nurse rubbed her shoulders to help calm her down. “Wait, so you didn’t love me?”


“Babe, I love, love. The world is love turning around and if you’re on the ride, I love you cause I love the ride,” Mr. B chimed, looking dizzyingly into Miss S’ eyes. With the interview running longer than anticipated, he’d forgotten to take his medication and he began to act loopy.


“Oh, get on your dirt bike and ride away,” Miss A spat.  “I’m done with this interview.”


Miss. A put her motorized wheelchair into drive and rode back to her room.


Miss S continued to shake from the shock of learning MTV had moved on to greener, heavenly pastures.  Mr. P had managed to make it halfway to the door to the sunroom. The nurse remained steadily behind him.


“Nurse, please take me to my room. I need to rest,” Miss A request.


“I’ll have to call someone to come help you since I can’t let Mr. P walk by himself, in case he falls again,” the nurse explained. She pressed on her walkie-talkie to call for a colleague to assist Miss S back to her room.  The second nurse arrived before Mr. P managed to take five more steps towards the door. The second nurse led Miss S away to her room. Only Mr. B and Molly remained in the sunroom.


“I think we’re ready to wrap things up,” Molly suggested. “I do have one last question. If you could tell give your audience and our readers one piece of advice, what would it be?”


Mr. B sat silently, letting Molly’s question marinate in his mind.  He closed his eyes and begun to sway his head from side-to-side. After a few minutes passed, Mr. P finally crossed the threshold and left the sunroom, and Mr. B opened his eyes slowly, looking straight at Molly with his signature-penetrating gaze.


“The song was right, man. The rest is still unwritten.”


 © 2021. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.