I’ve seen The Hills before. In fact, I’ve seen quite a few episodes throughout the past seasons. I will attribute that to my roommate and our sole TV set, but I’ll admit that through the years if you had asked me what the latest sitch was between Lauren and Heidi, I could provide a sufficient answer.
That being said, I was not an avid viewer during this first season and I was pretty shocked looking back on this early episode (I tuned into “Somebody Always Has to Cry” because it promised tears). Both Heidi and Lauren look completely different and, shockingly, seemed to have real feelings and a real friendship. But what really shocked me about the show’s characters and plot line was how similar they felt like watching a friend’s home video. And for anyone who has ever watched a home video that they themselves were not in, it can be pretty boring. So why is The Hills such a success? In class, we discussed some reasons for its popularity (self-identification, living a “fabulous” life), almost all of which seemed dependent on the characters themselves. I have seen a few episodes of The City, and despite the rather drab Whitney character, I do enjoy PR-maven Kelly Cutrone (who is apparently, of course, getting her own reality show on Bravo). And while I guess I can relate more to Whitney than to Kelly, she is appealing because she seems to be the only character rooted in reality. So in that case, am I drawn to those that I find best representative of “the real?”
Also something to ponder… as apparently this data is real. A salary breakdown of characters from The Hills based on a single season:
Lauren Conrad: 1.4 million per season
Heidi Montag: $65,000 per episode ($1.25 million per season)
Spencer Pratt: $65,000 per episode ($1.25 million per season)
Audrina: $35,000 per episode ($665,000)
Whitney: $20,000 per episode ($380,000)
Brody: $10,000 per episode ($190,000)
Lauren “Lo”: $10,000 per episode ($190,00)
Stephanie: $8,000 per episode ($152,00)
Very few people make these kinds of salaries. So how can we expect people paid this astounding amount to be a fair representation of reality?