Is This a Real Question that Real People (Still) Ask?

by Adam Reger

I’ve been almost completely oblivious of the MTV series The Hills, which I guess just concluded. When I’ve run across it it’s either been through The Soup or just flipping around. When I’ve had the option of giving it more attention than The Soup would, though, I’ve inevitably bailed.

I’ll skip listing all the reasons under the category of how bad and dumb it seemed—MTV, class warfare, blah blah blah—and cite the only one I needed: Was I really supposed to believe that this was real?

It was on the other day at the gym and I was trapped watching it for about thirty minutes. (The remote was with another gym-goer, who seemed sincerely into it.) Even with the sound off, this thing looked much closer to The Office than The Real World (which, granted, is not completely “real” but is not a record of actors playing characters): do reality shows typically station two cameras around a cafe table to record the facial reactions of both participants in a conversation?

I could go on—and to be fair, if I let myself go on at length about this ridiculousness I’d probably get around to talking about the achievement of the young actresses I’ve seen on the show, doing an actually pretty passable job of simulating the utter mundaneness of everyday conversation—but I’d rather not. What spurred all this bloviation is this Yahoo! TV Blog post on the (shocking!) apparent fakeness of the entire show. (Although, to be fair, there’s lots of acknowledgment of the long-running charges that the show is fake, and plenty of intelligent on-the-other-hand equivocation. And the post did point me in the direction of this story, which is pretty excellent.)