Laguna Beach - THIS was the Orange County Aristocracy I was waiting
for. A nearly perfect collection of soulless, emotionally isolated,
lonely and vicious children of infinite privilidge. I think I see what
happened - the filmmakers latched onto last season's central kids - the
sleepy but good-natured LC and Stephen, the ditzy Lo, the artsy and
soulful Trey, the oddly priggish Morgan and Kristina - and in the deal
they got the scorching hot vampiress Kristen, then a junior. Kristen
virtually took over the show, but her evolution was fun to watch,
particularly amid the ebb and flow of the other characters.
Unfortunately, all of the above graduated except Kristin, leaving
the whole franchise to her. So this season we get Kristin's more
natural social class - the screaming bitches and callous jocks - that
no TV producer would have picked in a vacuum, but here we are anyway.
I wish i was exagerating or being dismissive. I'm not. The bile
between the clans of girls and sexual indifference of the guys has been
like the opening 3rd of any really over the top teenage movie. And I
think the producers hate them as much as we do - unlike last year, they
routinely humiliate the kids by showing moments they never did last
year - mean jokes and thoughts about each other said in private, the
giggly retellings of other's failures and even routine drunkeness (I
mean, last year's kids never seemed to be far from a good time, but the
producers didn't seem to enjoy watching them stumble and fall, nor
drunkenly lick each other's faces, as they do this year).
Perhaps inevitably, Kristin - the scheming slut queen of last year -
is now the nearest thing to a wise voice of reason - the three or four
less-hot friends she pulls behind her, like satelites pulled behind a
planet, are worshipping and needy. She is strict and demanding. most
appualing is the season-long destruction of the sweet-natured but
hopelessly niave and insecure Jessica - she is just cute enough (or,
more plausibly, just stacked enough) to attract the preying attention
of the school's cruelest boys, but not near skilled enough to naviagate
thier waters. She hooks up with baseball stud Jason - possibly the
shallowest male character in Reality history - who is bored with her
almost before he begins.
Hitting way out of her league, Jessica falls for him. Her life
becomes an unending series of unreturned phone calls, almost all of
which the producers show us.
Kristin intially tries to help her friend ("take it from a girl who
cheated on her boyfriend - he's cheating on you!") but sours on the
project when she realizes Jessica isn't in her league, either. Soon
Alex M., a lurking girl of average looks but striking availability
latches onto Jason. Or rather, Jason, managing briefly to string
together five or six words, takes up her open offer (literally in front
of Jessica - nice).
Alex M.,, a bit of a queen bitch herself among the girls but no
expert with guys, then misses all the same signs that Jason is done
with her, too. As far as she is concerned, they are together. The
glee she takes from having 'stolen' someone's guy is palpable.
Jason, in a piece of calculated sexual theatre I personally think he
did entirely to show off for the camera, then calls Jessica (from a
golf course, where he's goofing off with friends - she's the butt of a
quick round of jokes between them) and later on hooks up with her. At
a party, full of eyes. Alex M., out to dinner with Kristin and the
clan, get s text message on her phone about the liason AS IT'S
HAPPENING. Say this for the Laguna kids - they know how to leverage
At fault, clearly, is Jason. He's a grinning, thoughtless asshole,
who went a step too far entertaining himself between two willing girls.
And he gets blamed by exactly no one.
Instead, the entire herd comes down on Jessica. Crucially, Queen
Bitch Kristen, who could have solved the problem, doesn't. She piles
on. The girls all go to Cabo - where last year's show hit an historic
high note - where they all get drunk and party all week, except for
Jessica- she gets to sit in her room and cry. Kristin does nothing to
make the peace, and as the week wears on, Alex M. attacks and
humiliates Jessica at a nightclub. No one holds her back. The only
person who tries to diffuse it is Jessica's friend, Emily, who's
"If you ruin Jessica's Cabo trip, you're ruining my Cabo trip." -
wow. that's sticking up for a friend.
Alex M replies: "Sorry Dude."
Once back home, Alex M. 'confronts' Jason while he's playing
basketball (though only sort of grab-ass, shoot-around ball) with his
friends. Smart. She hits him with some dreary "where are we right
now?" and "do you have feelings for me?" rap. She never had a chance,
of course, but this particular form of relationship suicide is really
painful to watch.
He says, literaly, nothing. He nods, grins, grimaces, shrugs, and
then caps it with a "whatever."
And the star-crossed lovers part.
It's about as fun as it sounds - mean people behaving horribly.
Funniest of all is that the very best looking of the new cast could not
have cracked the starting line-up against last year's (except for
Morgan, who didn't really count anyway), who never, ever treated each
other so badly.
(though, could it be some of the ol' LB-Season 1 magic that the
producers end the Cabo show with a shot of a downtrodden Alex M walking
away while, in the foreground, Jason now back on the court, happily
hits a lay-up? Now that I think about it - of course it was)
In all a vast letdown from last year.
(As Kristin would say, more drama)