Salon's Thomas Rogers visits Conrad's book signing in New York, and opines that Conrad's success hinges on her blandness. He writes,
Much of the appeal of Lauren Conrad, like the Bella Swan character in the "Twilight" novels, is that she's a near-perfect cipher for young women. It's her very blankness that made her so well-suited for "The Hills" — and a much better choice of star than the woman who will replace her on the show, Kristin Cavallari — because she doesn't create drama. Drama happens to her. It's a feeling that many junior-high-age girls (and some grown-ups) can easily identify with: I'm just trying to be nice — so why is everybody being so mean to me?
Her book, LA Candy, tells the story of Jane Roberts, another nice girl who "just wants to live her life as honestly as possible — and plan celebrity parties, dammit — but is foiled by the producers' meddling and the distorting lens of the camera." It remains to be seen whether the two books that are slated to follow, and the related movie that may result, will help Conrad parlay her Hills experience into lasting fame. She has one big problem: if her appeal is her sheer reactivity, her status as a blameless girl who shit just happens to, then she risks wearing out her welcome she appears too savvy. People might buy that Jane/Lauren just kind of stumbled into a reality show, but will they believe that she stumbled into a book contract, a movie deal, and whatever lies beyond? And if they don't, will they still like her?
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, of course, don't need to worry about maintaining their image as nice people, since much of their fame relies on people totally hating them — and their nine-zillionth return to I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! is unlikely to change this. In the past, they've seemed aware of the loathing they inspire (how can you say the things Spencer says and not know that you're an asshole?), which makes their recent decision to start talking about Jesus all the time sort of confusing. Jason Boyett catalogs their religious performances, including Heidi's no-doubt-inspiring prayer session with Patti Blagojevich. He also quotes non-reality-star Christians like magazine editor David Sessions, who says,
As far as I know, Heidi and Spencer haven't done anything but yell about Jesus on TV, which makes them look like tacky opportunists and makes religious people in general appear ridiculous. Most Christians would look at their prissy, entitled, hateful behavior-it's all right there on tape-and conclude that anyone who took their beliefs very seriously wouldn't behave in such a fashion.
See, everyone knows Heidi and Spencer are horrible. So why are they trying to associate themselves with a religion that's supposed to be about virtue, charity, and loving thy neighbor? Boyett offers a possible explanation. He says that 46% of non-churchgoers agree with the statement, "Christians get on my nerves." Is it possible that Heidi and Spencer are actually trying to annoy people more? Whatever the case, only time will tell which media strategy pays off better: Lauren's nice-girl schtick, or Speidi's manufactured evil. Until then, they remain locked in an epic struggle between kind-of-goodness and irredeemable obnoxion, a struggle as old as time itself, or at least as old as television.