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Is The Hills Real or Scripted?

May 31, 2020
4 min read

Considered one of the best and most popular reality TV shows of all time, ‘The Hills’ is a spin-off of another reality drama, ‘Laguna Beach’. It picks up with the story of Lauren Conrad, who had also appeared in the predecessor series. It starts with her pursuing a career as a fashion designer while finding a balance in her personal relationships. Over the years, the focus has shifted from one character to another, with the sequel series, ‘The Hills: New Beginnings’, continuing with another phase in the lives of these people.

While the show has proved to be consistently entertaining, it has also led people to question if the drama sprouts from reality or is it all written down beforehand. Is ‘The Hills’ real or fake? Here’s the answer.

Is The Hills Scripted or Real?

As entertaining as ‘The Hills’ is, there has always been a question about its nature. One of the most important factors that leads to such suspicion is that the show looks scripted. While other reality shows use confessional interviews to let the audience in on the mindset of the characters, ‘The Hills’ does not indulge in this aspect. The reason for this approach is that the show-runners wanted to create something that didn’t look like other reality series on the market. They wanted something that would set ‘The Hills’ apart, and hence, decided not to go with the confessionals.

Due to this limitation, the crew had to rely on the cast to relay their emotions effectively, be it with their dialogue or their expressions. Then, the scenes would be carefully edited to make it all look seamless. Creator Adam DiVello said, “if we wrote the show, we would have had much bigger story lines than what we were dealing with. I think we would have had gigantic, soap-opera-type story lines. We were kind of shackled to the reality of what these people’s situations were.”

He also accepted that there were times when they would miss certain things that happen off-camera. For that, they would have the cast re-create the entire thing so that they could get it for the show, but this doesn’t mean that they were creating something on their own. After they had all the footage they needed, they would rework it in editing, shuffling the pieces here and there to make it all coherent for a 30-60 minutes episode.

While all this sounds logical, there have been times when the cast members have come out about the show and confirmed the doubts about its drama. They have claimed that many times, they were forced to create tension in the series because that’s what the show-runners wanted, not because it was happening in their real lives.

Cast member Audrina Patridge said, “As it went on, it was very manipulated and guided and you’re kinda put in these scenarios where you would show up and you didn’t know what you were in for until you were there, and you wanted to run out but they locked the door on you. She claimed that she was forced to film a scene where she gets in a fight with Kristin Cavallari, and they had to fabricate it because they wouldn’t be allowed to leave otherwise.

The suspicions were all but confirmed in the finale where the curtains and the sets were revealed breaking the illusion of the California sky and the living quarters of the characters. Despite this move, the show-runners never quite confirmed everything. They left it on the audience’s imagination, which led people to wonder if the finale was a nod to the scripted nature of the show or was it just teasing the haters who had always claimed it was fake?

Considering everything, it is safe to say that not all of ‘The Hills’ is a real thing. Even if the dialogues per-se are not scripted, situations are manipulated where the cast has to do something just for the sake of drama. Apart from that, the crew must also get a lot of intense stuff from the real-life of the cast members. This means that the show falls somewhere in the middle of the reality/fake meter.

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