'The Hills' Looks Painfully Staged, but Is the Show as Fake as a Pair of LA Lips?
No one seems to care anymore that MTV airs pretty much anything but music (the money's in Ridiculousness and various reality TV programming), but there are a few shows that, when they debuted, really tolled the bell signaling a change in the network's format for good. Programs like Laguna Beach and The Hills are definitely part of that conversation, but what adds insult to injury is that viewers for the longest time shouted, "But it's scripted!"
Is 'The Hills' scripted? Yes. A lot. So, so much.
If you had any doubt in your mind as to whether or not the storylines in The Hills were manufactured for the camera, there have been several occasions where not only producers who worked on the show, but also the stars themselves got extremely candid about the veracity of what transpired on set.
For example, Heidi Montag said in a 2016 interview with BuzzFeed that her promotion at Bolthouse Productions was entirely drummed up for some on-camera drama between her and Elodie. "I definitely did not get the promotion over Elodie," Heidi said. "She really worked there and I pretend worked there, so it was obviously a pretend promotion for her to be upset about. That whole plot was scripted."
It's important to note that this occurred in Season 1 of the show, so this isn't a case of the producers starting with a genuine plotline and then trying new things in order to drum up ratings later on. It was basically a drama where people played themselves in manufactured situations.
This isn't the only scripted portion of the show either. Remember Whitney Port's trip to Paris? It didn't happen.
Whitney told Vogue that even though they shot the scene at the airport that showed her heading off to France, she never even had a ticket booked or boarded a plane: "That was so ridiculous. I got dressed up in an airport look and went for it. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but I thought, OK, this is good for me because I really was pursuing a career in fashion. I thought it showed that I was down and determined to do this."
Other fake plotlines: Heidi never intentionally crashed the Teen Vogue party; Justin Bobby came to shoot pick-up scenes on the day he "wore combat boots to the beach" but didn't really ditch Audrina — who, by the way, wasn't really friends with Lauren and Lo; Brody and Lauren never actually dated, and Brody never slept with any of the other female cast members; and Heidi and Spencer didn't actually fight (it was just for the cameras).
Also, the apartment that Spencer kicked Holly out of it? Yeah, that was actually Holly's apartment, and Heidi never tried tricking Spencer into having a baby and all of their interactions with Enzo were completely made up.
So why did they go through with all of the fakery? Well, Spencer Pratt probably put it best, telling Us Weekly: "The producers would tell me to do crazy stuff and I’d do it. It was a bummer thinking I wouldn’t be making millions eating lunch on camera. I’d say five percent reflected reality. We were good actors."
What about the Hills reboot? Is it just as fake as the OG one? While no one involved has outright said it yet, it's safe to assume that if the previous formula worked for MTV and raked in millions of viewers and helped launch people's careers, the reboot's probably going to be more of the same.
Fake-real drama programs got spoofed by 'SNL' in 2018 with its Real Intros of Reality Hills sketch.
It's pretty on the nose.