"Defying our expectations," Heidi Montag "has emerged as a kind of feminist hero" in the new Hills season (airing tonight), a New York Times critic writes.
"Her groundswell of self-assertion begins when [beau Spencer Pratt] insists on eloping, prompting Heidi to declare, 'This isn't, like, Spencer's relationship and you decide what we do,'" critic Ginia Bellafante says.
"The full-on joyous Oprah-fication of Heidi culminates with the show's return and gives The Hills a new momentum," she writes. "After taking a break from Spencer at her parents' modest house in Crested Butte, Colorado, Heidi returns to Los Angeles to kick him out and chastises him for taking her flat-screen TV with him." (The happy pair celebrated Easter Sunday together.)
Meanwhile, Lauren Conrad, who spends her screen time "pining for [Brody Jenner], who, she has confessed, never makes her feel good enough... could learn from Heidi right now," Bellafante writes.
Conrad – who told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm sure a lot of people don't take me seriously" – is the cover subject of the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Tell Us: Which Hills star is a better role model?