The City, MTV’s latest spin-off of the original SoCal rich girls franchise, was supposed to be a replacement formula of sorts to wean us off wildly successful shows like The Hills and Sex and the City. Page Six had dubbed Whitney Port “the new Carrie Bradshaw”, but such lavish praise has proven itself to have been embarrassingly premature. Whitney had managed to fool us into believing she was mature and (relatively) wise on a show full of girls being largely uncommunicative and inscrutable as they exchanged drawn out, monosyllabic conversations and expressions of disbelief. But now that she’s expected to carry a show of her own, she emerges as a passive pushover with a personality that mostly resembles cardboard. Whitney is quite possibly the worst heroine ever because not only is is hard to relate to her, it’s altogether impossible to admire her. If the new Carrie Bradshaw is supposed to be a girl who lets herself be walked over by rude and petulant boys, makes obvious statements that are never meaningful or necessary, and wears increasingly ridiculous headbands, we can all bury our Manolos and mourn them along with any hope for feminism.
As far as I’m concerned, there are only two reason to keep tuning in every week. The first is, of course, the show’s incredible knack for inadvertently creating comedic gold, like a particularly scintillating office conversation about Olivia’s furry vest in which Whitney states that “it must keep you warm” and Olivia responds that “it does”, or when Adam Senn tells his model girlfriend Allie (who has the deadest eyes I’ve ever seen) that he would do anything to not see her cry, while not only neglecting to consider that he should offer her his umbrella, but actually letting the rain drip off of it and onto her head.
The second reason to watch it is for Olivia Palermo, who, although she comes off fake and affected, is easily the most interesting character on the show. While MTV is clearly marketing her as the bitchy, conniving Upper East Side “social” to Whitney’s poor little Sally Sunshine, I’ve had a soft spot for this girl ever since her whole Socialite Rank debacle. Before being casted as Whitney’s foil and professional rival on The City, she seemed like a very (very) pretty girl who was well dressed, well mannered and well educated, but for whatever reason was always shunned or picked on by all the other New York socialites. Admittedly, Olivia’s persona on the show is a little too much to take, but besides being as gorgeous as a porcelain doll, she is always the most immaculately dressed and the best put together of the entire cast. Olivia is like a real life Blair Waldorf, albeit a less sharp and less articulate one.