"Remember When..." is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.
What Happened: The date was August 2, 2006. The entire country (or at least anyone with a SideKick and a MySpace page) was following the life of Lauren "formerly L.C." Conrad as she transformed from very rich teen in Laguna Beach to very rich Teen Vogue intern in Hollywood. This was back when she was dating her high school boyfriend Jason Wahler and Heidi Montag had her original face and was actually a good friend. Pre-Spencer Heidi was awesome.
The season one finale storyline revolved around Lauren deciding between work (spending the summer in Paris with Teen Vogue) and love (spending the summer in Malibu with Jason). What would she do?! She packed a bag and drove off to...her Malibu house with Jason.
Her coworker Whitney Port took Lauren's Paris gig, and we wouldn't find out until season two that Lauren and Jason broke up over the summer, and she would always be known as "The Girl Who Didn't Go to Paris."
What Else Was Happening: MTV was trying to keep Laguna Beach: The Real O.C. going without L.C., without Kristin Cavallari and without anyone even remotely interesting. They called the new cast of "Laguna's next generation." We called it…nope.
2006 marked Miley Cyrus' debut on The Disney Channel as Hannah Montana, Britney Spears was driving with her baby on her lap, and the country was obsessed with American Idol's Taylor Hicks. In related news: the country was actually still watching American Idol.
How We Remember It
Zach Johnson, Senior Editor: "In college, everyone's Monday nights revolved around The Hills. Phones were turned off and computers were powered down in order to give L.C. our full attention. She deserved it! When the first season finale aired, it was an event. This was before the age of Twitter and Instagram, of course, so I had no clue if Lauren would choose Paris or Jason. The anticipation was killing me! I was never a Jason fan—remember when he cheated on her with Jessica Evans?!—but I also realized how ridiculous it was that Lauren was offered the opportunity to work for a major magazine just to advance a storyline.
"So when Teen Vogue's Lisa Love told Lauren that she would "always be known as the girl who didn't go to Paris," I lost my s--t. WTF, L.C.? We were rooting for you! You were supposed to be the smart one! No one would have batted an eyelash if Heidi or Audrina put their careers in jeopardy for a bad boy. But Lauren?
"I get it now. She was young and in love. And it was a ‘reality show,' so to speak. When season two premiered, I was thrilled to see that Lauren had kicked Jason to curb. Plus, there was a new villain emerging in the form of Spencer Pratt, and he made for much better TV."
Jenna Mullins, E! Loves Editor: "Watching The Hills in my college apartment with my roommates was one of the few activities we did together that didn't involve drinking beer and vodka-Gatorades. We didn't even have a drinking game tied to The Hills. That's how much we respected it. We lived in Indiana, where the seasons are fall, early winter, the dead of winter, more winter, spring for a sec and it's-so-hot-I-don't-want-to-go-outside. So watching Lauren run around sunny Los Angeles was a magical experience.
"The Hills editors really played up Lauren's choice, and it was so dramatic. They showed her packing her bags and loading up her car. And they showed Lisa Love waiting at the curb at LAX, which was stupid because we all know Lisa Love does not have time for that. But c'mon, as soon as Lauren got into her convertible, I knew where she was going. She would never drive herself to the airport. That's what town cars are for!
"Ugh, Jason. You almost ruined her career, all because you guilt-tripped her into spending the summer with you in Malibu. Granted, it's a beautiful house, but it's a pain in the ass to get from Hollywood to Malibu, so I'm betting the traffic alone made L.C. regret her decision. L.C. is not that much younger than me, but even then I knew that choosing a man over your career at that age rarely pays off. Especially when it's someone like, ugh, Jason."
Now that you've had time to think, would you have picked love...or Paris?!