You must watch "The Hills" tonight.

  Just to say - around the metaphoric watercooler tomorrow - that you too witnessed the strange and otherworldly transformation of Heidi Montag-Pratt (or whatever her real name is now.)

  Us Mag has this clip of a pivotal scene, with the family all 'round dinner, talking about Heidi and what she's done to herself. Interesting or perhaps noteworthy in all these discussions tonight (at 10) - what does Spencer think about all this? Not once - once! - does his name come up, either in the family conversations or among friends. As the 6th gets underway, the guy is virtually forgotten. 

  My review follows...The episode's definitely a hoot, and most definitely worth watching - not that fans need be convinced...

  

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THE SHOW "The Hills"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 10 on MTV

REASON TO WATCH The final 12 episodes

CATCHING UP "Laguna Beach's" Kristin Cavallari joined last season to wreak chaos on established / hardly established relationships. She hooks, then unhooks, Justin Brescia, aka Justin Bobby, the chopper-riding, baby-faced Russell Crowe sorta-lookalike. Brody (Jenner) gets the full Kristin, too. Naturally, Audrina (Patridge) and Playmate Jayde Nicole, despise her.

WHAT THE EPISODE IS ABOUT Season six opens on a beach in Miami, just before the Super Bowl, with Lo (Bosworth) and Stephanie (Pratt, sister of Spencer) talking about (who else) Kristin and Heidi (Pratt). They're worried about increasingly erratic Kristin, who's about to become erratic writ large - boozing until sunrise, and perhaps involved with drugs, too. (Sunglasses have become her favored fashion accessory.)

But Lo has news about Heidi, though archly cautions that "it's all hearsay": She has had work done on her nose, eyebrows, ears, chin, breasts and buttocks. "Lipo?" Stephanie wonders casually. No, says Lo. "Like a bigger butt." (You simply cannot make this up.)

Cut to Crested Butte, Colo., where Heidi presents the rebooted - or I should say re-bootied - Heidi to her mom, Darlene, and sister, Holly. Darlene is not happy.

MY SAY The uncharitable or even charitable observation about "The Hills" at the beginning of the end is: Good riddance. Enough with your silly lives, boozy babble and empty chatter about lost love and two-timing boyfriends. The world has moved on to . . . "Jersey Shore." We do not care anymore.

But, in fact, we do. At least, I do. After five long and often inexpressibly ridiculous but compulsively watchable seasons, I do want to see if everyone grows up, or at least gets the faintest glimmer of self-awareness, maturity, empathy or wisdom.

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Based on this episode, forget it. Not gonna happen. Ever. But there is a definite vibe that suggests actions have consequences - that you can drink too much, or waste your life too much, or shave too much fat from your chin (even when there was no fat there to begin with). It all feels very forlorn.

BOTTOM LINE Great reality TV junk, and as junky as ever.

GRADE B