Creating something out of nothing.
That’s what The City (and the work of genius that spawned it, The Hills) endeavors to do every time the cameras roll. Young, bright-eyed twenty-somethings move to Manhattan all the time in the hopes of seeing their dreams come true— but does this make their lives TV-worthy? Is Whitney Port’s life inherently entertaining? What if a camera crew followed me around New York as I dragged myself to class, worked at my internship and hung out with my friends… would there be anything worthy of prime-time entertainment?
I’d venture to say that without shrewd editing skills and that poppy soundtrack, Whitney’s life on The City wouldn’t be primetime worthy either. The drama is so contrived, the conversations so forced, that I usually miss half the show because I’m rolling my eyes. At one point in the second episode, our doe-eyed heroine says something to the effect of, “I can’t believe there’s already drama in my life- like, this is what I left behind…” Well, of course there’s drama. That’s what you’re being filmed for. Must we spell it out for you, Whit? As sagely roomie Erin replies, “You’re right back in it, sister.”
Amid all the contrived drama, blank stares and generic skyline montages, scheming “social” Olivia Palermo delivers a refreshing dose of reality. Sure, her pretentiousness and name-dropping (Manolo is a family friend? Dude didn’t even recognize her) is obnoxious, and those precious, sighing looks of condescension are as frequent as the show’s commercial breaks. But with Whitney constantly whining about her hairy Aussie BF or trying to forget the intense stress of “work” with nights at Tenjune, it’s nice to get some Big Apple wisdom from Olivia: Try harder at work. Don’t rely too much on a man. Don’t buy the first apartment you see. Even this: don’t fall into the “wrong crowd.”
Hm… maybe being a “social” does mean knowing a few things. Even if that doesn’t include knowing the difference between uptown and downtown.