Thursday, November 03, 2005

TV - LB, 10/31

(thoughts from Season 1)

As the opening credits and most cuts from commercial let you know,
Laguna Beach is a community built up against the Orange County
palisades, plungling cliffs that seperate the sea from the land.
Perhaps then, just to keep the stunning beauty of the place forefront
in our minds, we can imagine that it is these gorgeous cliffs - and not
some boring, inland, desert, Wiley-Coyote-like cliffs - that the
producers have decided to throw the show off of.
Because that's what they've done - into the abyss for the long, slow

Last year, the show was a look behind the curtain at the true Other
Half, at obscenely rich and privilidged and happy children in a green
and golden California wonderland.
This year, the whimsical kids from last year have returned from
college visibly deflated from the experience, while the kids left
behind have given away the secret that last year labored to hide:
white trash knows no boundries.

"You know what? You should know who's lap you're sitting in. You
know what? Put make-up on her and get her out to walk. If she falls
over, its her own fault."

Wow. How did we get here? Let's take a look...

At a fashion show (don't ask) Jason, the unshaven, indifferent sexual scavenger whose vapidness
girls so often mistake for personality, made a series of clumsy,
half-hearted gropes and kisses at his ex-plaything, Jessica. Childish,
akward and at war with her own self-esteem, Jessica - of course - let
And LC saw them. Or rather, saw him.

It was a depressing swing of events, if only because the last two
weeks have been on an upswing. LC and Stephen, back from failed stints
at college, have retaken the show from the dreary and bitchy Kristen.
That development alone is all the information you need to know what the
season has been like - as sherri and terri might have told Kristin, you
ruin everything, you ruiner.

But LC fell for Jason (which, sadly, is pretty much the final
evidence we need to give up the last bit of hope on interprettying LC's
reserved personality as being, ya know, 'soulful' or 'shy' or
'thoughtful' rather than 'a complete bimbo'). We all knew a White
Trash eruption was brewing - just a question of when.

It began with a rare swerve into current events, the kids took an
interest in the landslides that had brought down "like 20 houses in LC
and Stephen's neighborhood." The bulk of last year's cast - back for
the summer - decided to put on a fashion show-benefit.
LC, as the fashion student, was in charge of the whole thing, and
she actually attacked it. Where was all this passion when she was
dueling with Kristen for Stephen's affections? it would have been a
To the cause they recruited this year's cast. And really, here was
a chance to put Kristen - clearly in full-time training for her
eventual entry into the Matt Lienart-level of Young Hollywood - in a
leather bra and pants and let her shake her ass. How could they miss?
Well, first they let Talan sing. man, was that funny. I think he's
such a frieght train of ambition and well-planned exposure that he's
going to end up famous somehow - and all this will really just look
like the funny stuff that happened 'on his way up.' but for now,
knowing he's a high school kid who thinks he's a TV star and- evidently
- a rock star - man, was that funny.

And then, as Talan sang, Jason pulled Jessica onto his lap. And
started feeling her up. There was no question, none, who initiated
what (as if Jessica ever initiated anything in her life...)
Lauren saw it, called out Jason and he promtply did the "she just
came up to me. I didn't do anything, i just want to be with

That seemed OK but of course, it wasn't. Backstage, LC confrotned
Jessica. here's how it went down:
"You are a very rude girl. Sitting in other people's boyfriends
"Who's lap was I in?"
"You should know who's lap you're in. You know what? Put make up
on her and get her out to walk. If she falls over its her own fault."

As great as that was - and it certainly was the highlight of the
season - it got far, far trashier. 20 minutes later, backstage, Jason
and Jessica were fumbling and kissing at each other. And LC saw it.

Honestly, i think what is happening here is that Jason simply can't
communicate normally, and has probably gone through life not needing
to. If he can skip words, he does. When seen with his friends, they
are always playing basketball or something, but rarely with any sense
of urgency - they just play with a ball rather than relate to each
other. If this was a boys prep school - of just a place where tough
kids actually lived - he'd probably be in 4 fights a day (or a
ceaselessly carnal gay guy - it's a fine line).
Jessica, of course, simply craves approval, and jason's fumbling
looks and feels like it.
So, in each other's company, they play ceaseless grabass.

LC, of course, wasn't interested in all this. She just wanted to
punch something.

She yelled at big J. He sat around with that pissy-ness that only
the eternally-unpunished can muster when they finally get caught. And
LC, in a fantastic final shot, walked off into the night past him, like
he wasn't there, in a knee-high skirt - even her legs are perfect this
year - and halter-top. He had to sit there and watch her walk away.

It was pure white-trash, and it could have just as easily been in an
Omaha trailer park as California's most elite beash community. But for
white-trash drama, it wasn't bad.