I Know 'The Hills' are Alive . . . Help Me Understand Why

Thehills_cast_s3_240 You know how I hate to be on the outside of a pop-culture phenomenon looking in.

So once again, I decided to give The Hills a chance. Because I read US Weekly on a regular basis (what? It's totally for work.), I already feel like I know Whitney, Heidi, Spencer, Audrina and Lauren. I know about their plastic surgeries. Their catfights. Their break-ups and make-ups. I'm not sure if I really learned any thing new from watching the trip to Paris season premiere.

Because I have to say, I still don't get the show. So I'm turning to you, my people, to help me understand the show's appeal.

I'm assuming there's no way you can actually watch the show live since the ratio of actual show to commercials is maddening. And I'm assuming that you don't mind that the show is so clearly not reality. But I have several other questions:

1. Since gossip magazines have already reported what has happened with Heidi and Spencer, what is the appeal of watching the show unfold?

2. Do you actually like any of the characters? Or do you more enjoy making fun of them?

3. Does the show have "so bad it's good" appeal?

4. Lauren seems the most grounded of them all? Is that a correct assumption?

You know I love cheesy television but I just can't figure this show out. And I don't think (or I would like not to think), it's because I'm outside the show's target demographic. After all, I tune into Gossip Girl and Greek every week. Help me understand. Talk about The Hills below.

This Week on When TV Bribes TV Gal

Sarahwaynecallies_prisonbreak_240 No sooner had I lamented that Prison Break had been picked up for a fourth season when news broke Sarah Wayne Callies will reprise her role of Dr. Sara Tancredi next season. Boy they really know the way to a girl's remote control. Now I'm going to have to tune. Prison Break can no longer be dead to me.

Do you feel the same way? Will Sara's return make you want to tune in? Or are you still bitter over her now fake decapitation? Talk about it below.

Highlights of the Week Ahead

All times listed are Eastern Time for March 31- April 6

Did you love the return of Greek as much as I did? This is a show that right now can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. This week, Cappie and Casey throw a Great Gatsby party Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family. And because you know I love these thought provoking questions -- who do you want Casey with? Cappie or Evan? Talk about it below. I think you know who I'm rooting for.

So do you think we'll meet someone else who could be the mother on How I Met Your Mother (Monday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS)? I've heard from so many of you that my idea that Stella's daughter could be the daughter Ted is talking to doesn't work mathematically (the daughter appears much younger than Lucy would be) and you are probably right -- but these episodes have really let my mind wander (like why would Ted sound like Bob Saget when he's in his 40s?). While you're watching this week's episode that finds Barney using a March madness elimination technique to find out who the mystery woman in his life is, consider this -- I'm hearing we will be seeing more of Sarah Chalke on the show.

It's the season finale of The New Adventures of Old Christine Monday at 9:30 p.m. on CBS and Jason Alexander guest stars as Christine's gynecologist. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm worried about this show's chances of returning in the fall. The show has had a rocky season creatively. Much like what can happen with Michael on The Office, sometimes the writers take Christine just one step too far and make her a caricature instead of a character. But when the show gets it right, it's one of the funniest shows on television. So I'm so rooting for it to return for a fourth season. How about you?

Medium concludes its two part episode Monday at 10 p.m. Let's hope Sarah Drew's great performance gets her back on TV on a regular basis soon.

It's a big week for Elizabeth Berkley. She begins her guest-star stint as Horatio's ex-wife in a two part CSI: Miami, which begins Monday at 10 p.m. on CBS and concludes on Tuesday. And then on Thursday you can catch Berkley when she hosts Step It Up and Dance on Bravo at 10 p.m.

When your show airs up to three times a week, I'm thinking it's easier to reach this milestone. American Idol celebrates its 250 episode Wednesday at 9 p.m. on FOX.

Morgan Fairchild guest stars as herself on Men in Trees. I know I pick on Men in Trees but I can't seem to stop myself so feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you're all set with my Men in Trees rants. But seriously is there a more dysfunctional (fictional) relationship on television than Marin and Jack? I mean if you fight every episode, do you really belong together? I am enjoying the Cash/Terri story line and now that they are in New York, I miss Jane and Sam. I keep hoping they decide to move back to Elmo.

Ethansuplee_parishilton_mynameisear My Name is Earl is back with new episodes beginning with a one hour premiere this Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Alyssa Milano returns as Earl's potential love interest and Paris Hilton guest stars as herself when she appears to Earl in his coma induced state. But what is stirring up the most talk is NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker introducing the hour by recapping what has happened this season. Apparently series creator Greg Garcia asked Zucker to participate and he agreed. After you watch Zucker's intro, let me know what you think. As you know, I haven't been as thrilled with My Name is Earl this season. I think they spent far too much time with Earl in prison. The challenge of this show has always been to sustain its premise (Earl helps people on his list) without constantly repeating itself. Let's hope that when Earl gets out of his coma (and let's hope that happens relatively soon), the show is back on track.

Next week The Office returns and to help you catch up, NBC repeats four episodes from this season beginning Thursday at 9 p.m. Rashida Jones reprised her role of Karen at 9:30 p.m. and Michael is deposed in what I think was the best episode this season at 10:30 p.m.

Don't forget that Without a Trace is back with new episodes this Thursday at 10 p.m. on CBS. And so is Henry Thomas as the oh-so-creepy Frankin Romar. And even though Poppy Montgomery had her baby in real life, look for Sam to deliver later in the season.

My whole plan of giving The Return of Jezebel James the silent treatment after its premiere worked out great. The show has already been cancelled and Amy Sherman- Palladino can put this whole thing behind her. FOX moved Canterbury's Law into its time slot. I know some of you weren't too fond of Canterbury's Law -- citing its unlikable protagonist and flimsy regard for actual legal practices -- but I'm still a fan of the show. And if you are too, make sure to catch the show on its new night. It's a terrific episode that finds Elizabeth defending two teenage girls accused of murder.

I'm also very worried about Aliens in America, which has so lived up to the promise of its pilot and has turned out to be a charming and often laugh-out-loud funny sitcom. The show needs our support. So tune in this Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on the CW to see Raja charm the most popular girl in school.

That's all for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with this week's familiar faces and much much more. Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for discussion? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com. Have a great weekend. Talk to you on Wednesday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal