AS TOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS: “I think we're relatable,” Lauren Conrad of The Hills told Entertainment Weekly in an interview this week, though I don’t think you’ll find the word “relatable” in an dictionary. “We really are very lucky, the lives we live — we get to live in L.A., it's very glamorous, we have great jobs, and we have a lot of fun — but at the same time, no matter how great our lives are, we're still going to deal with the same problems as anybody else.”
I suppose that does go some way toward explaining the (to me, inexplicable) appeal of MTV’s The Hills, which ended its second season on Monday night. The real marvel of the show for most people – and I’m even willing to include “fans” in this vast group – is how it can persist in calling itself a “reality TV” series despite all appearances to the contrary. The show might be “about” the life of Conrad and her friends, but it forces you to ask how real a life can be if it’s this thoroughly managed for the camera.
“People can sit back and say it's real, it's fake, but at the end of the day to me this is real because this is my life,” said Conrad. “Someone else having a lighting crew coming in to their apartment at 8 o'clock in the morning and set up booms and lights is very weird. But for me, that's real. That's how I live my life.”
Some of us would balk at calling it living, others would wonder at the effect of living willingly – collaborating, in fact – with constant surveillance. Few people, though, would regard it as reality, at least as it’s lived by all but the tiniest minority of the population – the ones that are either on The Hills or under 24-hour supervised lockdown at a maximum security prison for violent psychopaths. Not that I’m calling Lauren Conrad and her friends psychopaths; I’m just putting it out there, is all.
“I think there are just certain things that have become normal,” Conrad explained. “Like, even when we're not being filmed, if an airplane flies over me, I stop talking. If I'm about to tell someone a secret or sing, I take my finger and feel across the top of my shirt to see if I'm wearing a microphone. Or I'll do it to rub the top of the microphone, because that messes with the sound and they can't hear you when you do that.”
Yup, totally normal. I do that all the time, but the hardest part is making sure the 35-piece orchestra that follows me around knows the musical cues for when I burst into song, or when I have to think about which route to take to the Sobey’s to accommodate the tracking and crane shots. Of course, I always have the voices in my head to tell me what to do. They’re my best friends.