So let me just say first that The Hills is the most complex show on TV. This is Cold War level game theory going on here--how much information do you give to your adversary/ally/frenemy? And how much do you trust the information they give you? Keep in mind that "information" here includes not just facts and opinions but also facial expressions and body language. In addition, the RAND guys never had to deal with the reality-TV component to this--everything that's filmed WILL eventually reach all interested parties, either through the producers or when the show finally airs. This season looks like it's going to be about détente--the slow and difficult process of accomplishing a reconciliation.
Game theory aside, the most interesting thing about the show is the uncertain relation between the storyline (presented within and across the episodes) and the actual lives of the characters (namely, anything that is not filmed by MTV), which is absolutely mind-bending. The narrative is never confined to what we see on the show--every single tabloid piece, every public appearance, every blog entry, is actually part of the show. Some people have mentioned how the show has the most expansive authorship ever, since the actors are all involved in creating the story, but it also proves Derrida right: there is no outside-the-text.
The first question I have--and it may seem trivial given all that lit theory, but I want to start to try to bring visual analysis into the discussion--is why do so many characters make entrances with their faces obscured? Entrances are obviously planned and staged, so why create that second of confusion when you see that a character has entered an apartment but don't see who it is? To create a reality effect?
The second question is also visual--is there a pattern to the "pillow shots" between scenes? Do they comment on the upcoming scene? What position does the narration take? They are not like Ozu's pillow shots, which always place the action. These shots signify "Los Angeles," before providing an exterior establishing shot--"Lauren and Audrina's apartment," or wherever. What's the point of the aerial shots?