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Romance On TV: “The Hills” Is Back And More Scripted Than Ever

By now, it’s pretty much accepted that The Hills is, to a certain degree, scripted. According to a recent article in Entertainment Weekly, parts of scenes are re-shot (for example, if the girls enter a nightclub and a crowd of people get in the way of the camera, the producers will have the girls enter again), Lauren Conrad and crew let the producers know in advance what their plans are (partially so that they can get approval to shoot at any venues and also so that they can devise a “storyline” for the week), and the producers also have no control over whether the girls play any of their conversations or actions up for the cameras. In general, while some of Lauren’s dialogue can seem forced, I feel like she’s mostly being herself and as honest as she can be, given the circumstances. Heidi and Spencer, on the other hand, seemed to have completely scripted their own story within the show, and while the scenarios may be very loosely based on real life, most of their interactions seem entirely made up and acted, and not remotely spontaneous. The producers, with Heidi and Spencer’s absolute willingness to do anything to stay in the spotlight, are telling a made up story with these two d-bags. And the story is not only boring, it’s frickin’ buggin’.

On last night’s episode, Heidi’s sister Holly comes into town and Spencer is basically the most horrendous host ever. In addition to being pissed that Holly is visiting (god forbid Heidi maintain contact with anyone from her life before him), he’s rude, obnoxious, and generally a complete a-hole. The whole debacle likely is a performance that he, Heidi, and Holly are in on, but I have a serious problem with the fact that the character of Spencer is presented as egomaniacal, selfish, vaguely emotionally abusive, and controlling, all traits which Heidi seems happy to ignore. It’s not that I need my reality TV stars to show growth or have some sort of a story arc, but it’s kind of disturbing that Spencer never really gets called out for his total evil crap by his girlfriend or any of her family members. People shouldn’t be watching The Hills for “the message”, that’s for sure, but they are sending one, and that message is, “You can, like, totally forgive your boyfriend who controls everything you do, and comes between you and your friends and family, and treats people in your life like crap, and also totally ruins your career aspirations, because like, true love TOTALLY conquers all!”

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