On Tuesday night the second season of The City premiered on MTV. I’ve been stewing over the new episode since it aired, and I’m not sure why I still watch a show that never fails to frustrate me. I'm a recent college grad and current industry intern, who has spent hours sending in dozens of internship applications only to get one response. I know what it’s like to spend an entire day in the fashion closet of a major publication, and how grueling it is to write up entire racks of clothes and then wheel them around town. Conveniently, none of the unpleasant aspects of fashion internships are ever depicted on the show. By now it’s no secret that much of the action on The City is staged, but its classification as a “reality show” blurs the line between the real and the fake. Younger girls who are in the target demographic might not realize that breaking into the fashion industry isn't so simple, and doesn't provide instant perks. To be perfectly honest, growing up in Virginia and going to school at Tulane, I didn't know the full scope of what a lot of jobs in the industry required until I had one. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that fact.
The show depicts how glamorous the lives of their intern/PR assistant/struggling designer stars are, leaving out the fact that their lifestyles are subsidized NOT by their fashion careers, but by an exorbitant per-episode salary. While MTV is granting girls all over the country a glimpse into a world that they would not otherwise have access to, they are doing them a major disservice by not depicting how difficult starting out in this industry really is. Does the network truly expect its viewers to believe that fashion jobs are so easy to come by and attain, especially in the current economy? The programs have yet to show any of the girls pounding the pavement for jobs, or the all-too-familiar disappointment following a rejected application or blown interview. What ever happened to “paying your dues?” I guess in MTV-land it doesn’t exist. To be fair, it seems that Whitney attained her first Teen Vogue internship on The Hills on her own merit, but the same can't be said for the other girls. To me, The City cheapens the efforts of so many people who have worked up the ranks to get where they are today. I’m sure many of you reading this can commiserate, and know first hand that while it’s beautiful to watch, MTV’s sugar-coated “reality” series shouldn’t be taken as much more than pure fantasy. Okay, phew. My rant is complete. Well, until the show pisses me off next week because I know I'm going to get sucked in again.