A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this spin-off of hit MTV series The Hills follows former cast member Whitney Port as she starts a new life and job in New York City. While there's some discussion of career goals and professionalism, the show's primary focus is on Port's friendships and romantic interests/conflicts, which sometimes leads to some innuendo and other risque situations. Whitney's job in the fashion industry also prompts lots of talk about fashion and fashion labels, including Diane von Furstenberg and Manolo Blahnik. Discussions about New York's upper crust (referred to as "socials") are frequent. The cast is often seen drinking; language includes words like "hell" (stronger terms are bleeped).
What's the story?
THE CITY follows former The Hills cast member Whitney Port as she moves to New York City to continue building her career in the world of high fashion. Cameras follow her as she starts a new job at the global design house of Diane von Furstenberg and claims her place in Manhattan's cosmopolitan social scene. She hooks up with former gal pal Erin Lucas while forging friendships with people like socialite Olivia Palermo, model Adam Senns, and new Aussie singer/boyfriend Jay Lyons. But Whitney soon discovers that being an L.A. girl in the Big Apple isn't always easy, and she must quickly learn to play by New York's own set of rules.
Is it any good?
Unlike The Hills and its earlier predecessor Laguna Beach, The City centers on a person who has a specific set of career goals, a willingness to pursue them, and the desire to expand her horizons beyond Southern California. But outside of this, the series offers pretty much the same plot lines as its two sister series: growing and fading friendships, romantic encounters, and contentious love triangles that lead to jealous fears and tears. And of course, these are all discussed during a never-ending series of meals in trendy restaurants, parties, and other social gatherings.
The heavily edited series succeeds in creating a glamorous -- though very sanitized -- view of life in New York City. Port's high-end job connects her to top fashion industry personalities, and she herself always manages to look like a fashion plate. Meanwhile, she travels in what appears to be some of Manhattan's hippest social circles, brushing elbows with musicians, models, and New York socialites. The show might offer some voyeuristic pleasure to teens, but in the end there's nothing very real about it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Whitney an appealing (or unappealing) subject for a reality show. Do you think her success in the fashion world is due, in part, to the publicity she's received as a reality star? Or do you think being on a reality show has hurt her career? Teens: Do you consider Whitney a role model? Why or why not? Families can also discuss what it takes to work in the fashion industry. What kinds of skills do you need to work in a fashion design house?
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