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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

The Reality Shows You Love to Hate and Hate to Love

America's favorite love-to-hate/hate-to-love reality shows are back. New seasons of MTV's "The Hills" and "The City" have started, but with some changes. The most notable: the replacement of Lauren Conrad on "The Hills" with Kristin Cavallari, Conrad's arch-nemesis from high school. Their dramas played out on "The Hills"' predecessor "Laguna Beach." Cavallari's presence is sure to shake up the reality show in its fifth season. "The Hills" peaked when Conrad and former best friend Heidi Montag had a screaming match at a club in Season 3 over Conrad's alleged sex tape and Montag's evil other half, Spencer Pratt. Since then, "The Hills" had become stale and irrelevant by reiterating Montag's whining about becoming friends with Lauren again and the fact that the show never acknowledged Conrad's rising celebrity and other job of fashion designer. With any indication from the premiere episode, "The Hills" is headed in a new direction full of drama with Cavallari as its lead. In just the premiere, entitled "The Bitch is Back," Cavallari has a loud fight with two of the other vapid only-famous-for-doing-nothing stars, Stephanie Pratt and Audrina Patridge. Cavallari is known for stealing boyfriends, so when she starts flirting with Patridge's ex, the insults start slinging. This will inevitably continue to develop throughout the season so many more fights can be expected. Over in "The City," the New York City counterpart to Los Angeles' "The Hills" and the Whitney Port spinoff, new changes in casting have also taken place in its second season. Half of the cast was overhauled, leaving behind just Port and haughty co-worker Olivia Palermo. Port has returned to working for cutthroat Kelly Cutrone while also working on her clothing line. She has a new roommate and co-worker, Roxy Olin, whom she was schoolmates with in California. Olin is a wild, partying straight shooter and a welcome addition to the cast. Cutrone's interview with Olin was the highlight of the premiere, as the audience got a glimpse of the two characters that will bring the most bite to "The City." It is an interesting dynamic to see kind, saccharine Port surround herself with women who are her complete opposites. Port's former co-worker Palermo has a new job this season as well. She now works for "Elle" magazine under Erin Kaplan, who does not appreciate Palermo's uppity attitude. They have a throw down over styling issues within Palermo's first few days of working, hinting to the audience that many more are to come. Both shows will benefit from the casting shake-ups. Cavallari is a much more entertaining lead that Conrad's blank good girl character. Everyone loves to watch a bad girl wreak her havoc, which Cavallari will definitely do on season five of The Hills. Port, while sweet and driven, is not exactly the most exciting lead. Hopefully there will be more screen time for Cutrone and new girl Olin, as they are sure to have the best lines and create the most drama. For some inexplicable reason, "The Hills" and "The City" draw viewers back episode after episode. Is it that they get a voyeuristic pleasure out of watching the young, rich and famous lead their glamorous lives? Their lives can hardly be considered accurate on a "reality show" that is so obviously scripted and poorly acted. These shows are the ultimate in guilty pleasure, mostly because guilt is the prominent emotion felt while watching them. There are many, many better ways to spend one's time, yet "The Hills" and "The City" are so addicting and entertaining that they cannot be missed.