We’re going back to Cali…Cali…Cali. Laguna Beach, to be exact. Like our protagonist, LC, we spent one semester in San Francisco and we didn’t care for it. Today on Required Viewing, Annemarie makes Brooke watch the first half of the second season of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County The drama, it’s real.
A: It’s worth noting at this point what a massive hit the first season of Laguna Beach really was. So much so that I would wager it was a factor in encouraging LC to only stay in San Francisco that one semester. Granted, Stephen (we’re still solidly #TeamNeverStephen around these parts) is still ostensibly away at school, as is bestie Lo. But the prospect of still being a part of the show must have been a factor. Or so I’m guessing.
Season two picks up at winter break of the following school year. Meaning that since we left our characters in August at the start of school, not too much has changed. Stephen continues to play LC and Kristin, and is succeeding only in playing LC. Kristin is still playing all the boys, but no longer seems to care a whit for LC as she has a new nemesis that’s even more mysterious: Taylor. On the new side of things, Jessica is in the world’s worst relationship with the world’s worst boy: Jason. Taylor is but one of a few new characters, including so many Alexes that we couldn’t keep track. All we know is that one is Kristin’s bestie and one is trying real hard to hook up with Jason for reasons I can’t fathom.
Brooke, what are your thoughts on where we picked up the story? How do you feel about Polster’s incomprehensible disappearance from our lives?
B:Real talk. I am devastated that we’re suddenly without Polster. There is no enthusiasm for anything/everything on this show with Polster gone. How am I supposed to know what’s cool now? I also miss having Lo around on the reg, because she had the best side-eye glares.
Moving on. Season two is rather fantastic so far. I have pretty much zero care for, or interest in, the new people, except to say that Jason is somehow even worse than #TeamNeverStephen and The New Girl looks like a teenage version of a lady who appeared on Rock of Love, a show that may need to be featured here if AM hasn’t seen it.
What makes this season great is that the perspective and VO shifted to my girl, Kristin. Kristin is doing her to an even greater degree than when she was wasting time with Stephen, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. She evidently has a football dude on the side, is hooking back up with Talan (best life choice, I maintain) and still has Stephen’s heart a-flutter enough for him to make random appearances. But, now that she is so far past caring about Stephen, well … let’s just say he’s getting a bit of comeuppance in the form of massive Valentine’s lobster dinners that he’s not really getting any part of and having conversations where his schedule is rearranged without him even fully realizing what’s happening. But don’t go feeling bad for him — he’s still stringing LC along in the worst way.
Now, I may be #TeamKristin but I am definitely not against LC. She seems to be having kind of a bummer of a time still mooning over this guy who does not even deserve her. Not even a little. Can we get LC a dude worth her time? Or better yet, let her get in touch with her inner Kristin so she can have a great time and not get bogged down in the little things? Let’s work on that.
Another standout element of this season so far has been the friendships. It feels like we’re really seeing more of people who are genuine friends. This was always true with LC and Lo, but seems more predominant this season. What say you, Annemarie? Are the relationships feeling more genuine or am I falling for the glossy finish the producers cooked up with their big budget?
A: Poor LC. I had forgotten how thick they laid on the LC-Stephen hookup subtext, in that it’s the least subtle thing ever. They clearly hooked up, and he clearly still prizes Kristin time over LC time. But you’re right, Brooke, in that Kristin is doing Kristin so well that she doesn’t even have a true nemesis. She doesn’t need one. She’s enjoying her time with her girlfriends and time with boys. I had also forgotten that Kristin and Matt (otherwise known as star USC quarterback Matt Leinart — whom I hated because he was good and I dislike SC) were a brief thing. I mostly love that Kristin seems to care as much about a bonafide celeb courting her as she does #TeamNeverStephen and #HookupKingTalan.
I don’t know if it’s the production value or simply more refined storytelling, but the real moments feel slightly more real. I know, it’s a reality show with a dubiously large amount of probably scripted scenes, but they’re capturing some good stuff regardless.
Polster, Polster, where for art thou Polster? He is not there, but we still have Dieter to moon over #TeamNeverStephen and new chap Cedric to obsess over Jason. There’s so nothing wrong with dudes loving their dude friends, but this is played for pure comic relief.
Brooke, what are your hopes and dreams for the second half of the season? Other than more Lo, of course.
B: I’m still holding my dream that LC and Kristin become BFFs and take over the world together tight to my chest. But, in terms of things that are not pipe dreams, here’s what I really want to see.
- A girl on this show NOT named Kristin to learn to stand up for herself and not say things like “I deserved it,” when some bro-y guy rightly apologizes for “treating you basically like shit.” Wait, maybe this should go in the pipe dreams column because my girl is the only one with a handle on this right now.
- Kristin on more dates eating all the food and giving absolutely no fucks about it.
- LC having some fun. Me time, Talan time, time with her girls.
- Another road trip with a whole lot of the crew where the activity is clearly scripted and LC can’t be bothered to care enough to actually participate. #PuzzlesForLife
- Jason getting dumped by Alex and whichever
girlvictim he decides to date next.
- A theme party with a theme that is actually decent.
- Several more The OC references.
- A parent actually doing something parental. Or quoting Amy Poehler’s “cool mom” from Mean Girls without realizing they were doing so.
- More of Kristin having no time for drama and calling people a dumbass, hanging up their phones and otherwise dropping knowledge when everyone needs a reality check.
- At least one more montage that cuts betwixt several people (ideally LC and Kristin) with apropos period music and juxtaposition that suggests a lot of things that actually have nothing to do with each other (or probably anything) are actually related and mean something.
Whaddya think? Am I going to be disappointed?
Also, can we talk about how many questions I have related to the timeline choices and continuity errors this season? The suggestion that Kristin and LC have the same (or nearly the same) birthday? Kristin’s disappearing T-Mobile Sidekick? Talan’s short then long then short again hair situation? It’s like my whole life is a LIE.
A: First, the important notes: Talan’s bits were clearly shot out of the order they showed them in. The disappearing/reappearing Sidekick was just a continuity error, or perhaps they had them come back a different day with the same clothes to re-shoot the same scene? It’s possible. They’re tricksters, that MTV.
For your hopes and dreams for the rest of this season, I’d say you’re likely to see roughly 50% of what you want. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say Jessica does NOT grow a spine or any confidence.
Now go, order all the lobsters and don’t let #TeamNeverStephen have any. This is my hope and my dream for you, Brooke.
So basically, our lesson from this edition of Required Viewing is: In a world full of Jessicas, be a Kristin. Next time we take Annemarie to a very different vision of high school life with Donnie Darko.
Main image and blackbox gifs via MTV in this pretty great recap of our favorite episode of the season so far.
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