The Hills’ third season debuts tonight

Laguna Beach spin-off The Hills returns for its third season tonight, which debuts at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.

After months of tabloid bickering, tonight’s episode includes the long-awaited confrontation between Lauren and Heidi. That makes the show “more convincing than ‘Friends’ and just about any other comedy about female relationships,” The New York Times Virginia Heffernan says, “because — as anyone who has ever been a young woman knows — undying friendships die.”

One half of that friendship, Heidi, and her boyfriend Spencer, aren’t too happy about the series. They “trash the series’ accuracy and voice qualms about how they’re depicted in Lauren’s voice-over,” Entertainment Weekly reports. Specifically, Spencer says, “We don’t fight in real life. The only fighting was for the show. But we’re not playing that game this year.” He also refers to their engagement, saying, “We can’t wait to see how they edit that. We would get engaged; we just wouldn’t do it on Lauren’s show.”

Lauren maintains the series isn’t faked–“They can never make you say or do something. You can always blame editing, but they can’t do magic.”–but the show’s executive producer says reality doesn’t matter. Tony DiSanto tells the magazine, “I really believe viewers are watching it not necessarily as reality versus fiction, but as the story of these characters they’re into.”

The Hills [MTV]
‘The Hills’ Are Alive [Entertainment Weekly]

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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.