We knew MTV's reboot of The Hills would drum up some very vintage drama, but last night's episode basically put all of the early aughts' pop culture controversies into a blender and left audiences very confused about what year it is.
The Hills: New Beginnings' latest installment saw The O.C. star Mischa Barton devoting part of her second-wind screen time to settling the score with an old nemesis whose heyday aligned with hers: Perez Hilton, the gossip blogger who rose to internet infamy as a result of his scathing takedown posts about the hottest celebrities of the era.
Hilton happened to be invited by Spencer Pratt to a party for his sister, and Barton seized on the opportunity to confront him about a wide range of subjects, accusing him of body shaming and bullying, damaging reputations and careers, and outing celebrities who weren't ready to reveal their sexuality to the public.
"It's not just about the body shaming or outing people who are gay before they're really out of the closet," she said. "I just can't really accept the apology entirely on behalf of how I truly feel."
At first, Hilton seemed receptive to the criticism, saying, "If I could go back in time -- and I say this on my kids' lives, I swear -- if I could go back in time and do things differently, I would." But once Barton kept pressing the issue, doubting the sincerity of his statement and once again reiterating how harmful his blogs were to her and others, he threw up his hands in very dramatic fashion and walked away from the conversation.
For many of us watching on our couches, the scene was something plucked straight out of 2004, when both Barton and Hilton were top on the list of celebs people loved to hate, and the internet reacted with the requisite confusion about how all of this is still happening in 2019.
The Hills: New Beginnings is definitely not the first rebooted series to capitalize on nostalgia, but its ability to bring back feuds we'd long forgotten is certainly unique.
For her part, Barton told BuzzFeed News that the confrontation "felt really good" and that she was speaking not just on behalf of herself, but for others who might not get the chance to stand up to him. "I am not even a person who feels overly bullied myself per se, even though he was a bully. I just feel that I don't like that whole culture," she explained.
The Hills: New Beginnings airs on Mondays at 10/9c on MTV. The Hills is available for streaming on MTV.