Not that there was any question, but The City, which debuted last night on MTV, is just as set-up and fake as the series that spawned it, even though it does have elements of reality.
New York Magazine’s profile of the new series says it is “at once totally genuine and ridiculously contrived” but insists “the fake reality is more real than you might think.” That’s despite the fact that the article starts with producers directing crowds and telling a cab where to stop to get the best shot, The magazine even talks about the show as if it was fiction, saying Whitney’s friend Erin Lucas “will play Whitney’s friend from back home” and notes that Whitney’s love interest, Jay Lyon, was “asked if he’d be interested in being a regular on The City.”
MTV executive and executive producer Liz Gately said that filming Lauren Conrad’s $75,000-an-episode life has made it “harder for us to find those moments when she’s the Lauren going through more universal and relatable experiences,” which is why The City was born.
As to the fakeness of Whitney’s job with Diane Von Furstenberg, Page Six said (citing–what else?–an anonymous source) that Whitney “doesn’t really work. She is hardly ever in the office,” and said other employees “can’t get their work done because MTV tells them they can’t move any thing at their work stations. They do so many reshoots that everything has to look exactly the same every day.”
But New York’s piece says otherwise, although since its source is Kelly Cutrone, The Hills guest star and fashion publicist who hired Whitney and Lauren to work for People’s Revolution, it may be just as sketchy. Cutrone said Whitney was “a very real employee” and “[t]he way it all happened is exactly how you saw it on the show,” and also insists, “It wasn’t like I did all that for Whitney thinking she’d get her own show. … It’s not like I’m in secret cahoots with DVF here. I mean, I don’t even represent her.”
Show creator confirms that Whitney didn’t know anything about the possible job until it was caught on tape, despite her (typical) blank expression. “The truth is that Whitney was really in the dark. She didn’t know she’d be in New York, and neither did we,” Adam Divello said.
Whitney herself isn’t the best advocate for making the show seem real, as she described the alleged documentary about her life as “a really wonderful opportunity for all these kids,” and said “It can be kind of weird. I like to think people are friends with me because they like me, you know, and not because of what I can do for them. But of course it’s just part of the job, you know?”