An excerpt, available in Teen Vogue, manages to be both laughable and depressing. Jane Roberts "moves to Hollywood and ends up the star of her own reality show," and now she's called in for a special meeting with her boss Fiona. Will her white dress look bad on camera? Will her boss yell at her and humiliate her in front of the viewers? Not to worry, young Jane! Fiona actually wants to offer her a promotion:
"Of course, it will be strictly on a trial basis," Fiona went on. "Let's say three months. During those three months, you will work harder than you have ever worked before. At the same time, you will have opportunities that you have never had before. And if you succeed, your future as an event planner in this town will be virtually guaranteed."
In addition to a secure "future as an event planner" (something we should all aspire to), a "real job" with Fiona promises "more responsibilities, more respect ... more everything." Jane jumps at the chance, even as she becomes dimly aware that aspects of the conversation may have been staged (Why is Fiona wearing makeup? Why is she smiling so much?) But the really sad part comes when Paolo, a hot young photographer, just happens to wander into the office and immediately asks Jane out. "Lauren" writes:
Despite just meeting him, Jane couldn't help but be excited. She looked past the camera in the hallway and spotted Dana. Jane grinned and mouthed, "He's so cute!" Dana nodded in agreement and gave her a thumbs-up. Jane noticed a release form in Dana's hand. Did that mean Paolo had been released? Did that mean it had been a setup?
Jane clearly lives at the pleasure of her producers, who orchestrate her life for maximum entertainment value. But when she realizes this, is she disturbed? Read on:
Jane smiled to herself as she realized she didn't care. She was already thinking about what to wear on what might turn out to be her very first on-camera date .... her first date, period, since Caleb. Okay, so Paolo wasn't Braden. So what? It was nice to have a guy interested in her. It had been a long time. Too long.
Just when you think Jane might display a flicker of insight, she decides a hottie is a hottie, and who cares if he signed a release. Jane is self-aware enough to realize her life is being scripted, but not self-aware enough to actually care. If "Dana" is going to line up fun, low-pressure jobs and sexy, willing men, why should she argue? Why not just allow her identity to be slowly chipped away until everything in her life is planned out for the audience, and the line between what's real and what's staged completely disappears?
Of course, Lauren Conrad has probably been far more complicit in her own fame than the hapless Jane. She may have been initially shocked at her producers meddling in her life, but she clearly learned to work the system, and perhaps Jane will too. Far from just "ending up" on a reality show, Lauren Conrad has willingly allowed her life to be intruded upon, shaped, and presented weekly to eager viewers, so that she can gain a level of exposure she wouldn't have been been able to get any other way. And this, dear reader, may be the saddest story of all.