Lauren Conrad’s The Hills debuts tonight on MTV

Tonight at 10 p.m. ET, Laguna Beach star Lauren Conrad gets her own show, The Hills. The series follows her move to LA to work for Teen Vogue. And by the way, it’s Lauren, now, not LC; “None of my friends call me L.C. That was just a high school nickname, and nobody refers to me like that anymore,” she tells USA TODAY.

Reviews of the show, which is shot and edited like Laguna Beach, tend to be skeptical about the show’s veracity. In The New York Times, Virginia Heffernan writes, “I watch this show as fiction,” perhaps because Teen Vogue “receives heavy promotion.” And The Chicago Tribune’s Allison Benedikt calls it “unscripted,” with scare quotes around that word.

But it’s The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Terry Morrow who makes the strongest accusation. He writes that the show is scripted, calling it “a reality show without a shred of reality to it,” whose “situations and dialogue come straight from a page.” As of this morning, he hasn’t responded to my Sunday e.mail message asking what evidence he has. While it’s tempting to just make an unsubstantiated claim about why he made such an unsubstantiated claim, perhaps it just has to do with ignorance about the subgenre’s conventions which aren’t quite cinema verite, but also isn’t fiction.

In any case, Lauren says that compared to her last show, “The main difference is that the problems are more real,” Conrad says. “Laguna was very catty. These girls are my friends. It’s a young Sex and the City. Four main girls. We all have different ideals.”

The Hills [MTV]
MTV heads for ‘The Hills’ Wednesday [USA TODAY]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.