Welcome back, friends and neighbors, to Required Viewing, Laguna Beach edition. We’re aware that the show has a third season, but we’re respectfully declining to watch or write about it. Because: no LC, no Kristin, not even #TeamNeverStephen.
We pick up right after the momentous snowboard vacation in which Jessica pined over Jason (insert eyeroll here), LC didn’t leave the condo, and Kristin and one of the many Alexes boarded and flirted with cute snowboard instructors.
A: Lots and lots happens in the final half of the second season. There’s a final semester of school, of course, but most importantly, these characters all know they’re famous now. They’re planning to move to LA in the fall and try to make it even bigger. So there’s an undercurrent of “I know you’re watching me and I have learned which are my good angles” throughout the second half of the season.
Before we go any farther, we must discuss Brooke’s predictions from our last installment. Brooke, take it away!
B: I had some big hopes for the second half of this season, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were some real surprises tucked into the proceedings, but before we get to that, let’s go through my (mostly correct) predictions one-by-one and take stock.
- 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. Color me stunned. Dreams do come true! I mean, LC did have to do the unthinkable and not only deign to actually date Jason, but seemingly develop some pretty real feelings for him in order for this to happen. BUT, when Jason got drunk and did Jason things, LC stood up for herself and told him to go right to Hell. I’ve never been more proud of her.
- Kristin on more dates eating all the food and giving absolutely no fucks about it. Nailed it. Kristin kept doing Kristin, and she did some world class eating in the second half of the season. Pre-game burgers, breakfast fries, pancakes. Get it, girl.
- LC having some fun. Me time, Talan time, time with her girls. We’ll say partial credit on this one. She did seem to have a pretty great time at her party, where she even blew off #TeamNeverStephen and loathe though we were to see it, she seemed to have real fun with Jason on their date.
- 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 I’m going to take full credit here. The Mexico trip definitely had the vibe of a lot of producers saying things like “You two should really try to squash that beef.” Moreover, LC didn’t even bother going on this trip. But, don’t worry, Jessica totally handled the role of girl who never leaves the room.
- Jason getting dumped by Alex and whichever
girlvictim he decides to date next. Check and check. Sort of. Alex ended up talking herself into the end of their relationship because Jason did the “clam up until they break up with themselves” maneuver (more on his evil genius later) and his backslides with Jessica led to him getting hella dismissed by LC.
- A theme party with a theme that is actually decent. HA. What was I thinking? LC’s party did technically have a fiesta theme (that was her party right? Or was it the one where Morgan was invited, but “not her friends”) I don’t recall. Whichever one that was, the theme happened, but it wasn’t good.
- Several more The OC references. Not a one. What are these people even doing with their lives?
- A parent actually doing something parental. Or quoting Amy Poehler’s “cool mom” from Mean Girls without realizing they were doing so. Stunner. Jason’s parents wouldn’t let him go to Cabo. Whaaaaat? Parents doing parents. And I’m pretty sure the parent with the weird graduation gown advice definitely qualifies as an unintentional Mean Girls reference.
- 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. I mean, yeah. Obviously. My favorite? Prompting Jessica to choose between Jeff and Jason and proceeding to answer for her. This, of course, followed by a statement that amounted to, “I know you, don’t even try to lie to me on this one.”
- 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. This happened so often! Mostly with Jessica and one of the Alexes — which, who even cares. But we did get some decent cuts between #TeamNeverStephen and LC+Jason.
A: That’s a lot of correct predictions. I mean, this isn’t Shakespeare, it’s MTV reality, so the predictability factor is off the charts. But still. Brooke, I think you’ve got a future in scripting reality shows!
I have to say, one of the most surprising things for me from above was Jason’s parents refusing to let him go on a weekend bender with his friends in Cabo (with his girlfriend too!). They did “drag” him to Costa Rica (poor, poor little white boy), but that’s some excellent parenting skills.
Speaking of benders, now that I’ve seen these episodes 3-4 times, I’m seeing things I hadn’t seen before, including the amount of drinking that’s going on. Kristin and Alex’s fiesta party, LC’s party, the fashion show, obviously the Mexico trip — they don’t show the kids drinking but they are 100% druuuuuuunk. I think the episode with the fashion show, where Jason is dating LC and kisses Jessica, is the most obvious on retrospect. Jason is clearly hammered, and so is Jessica. And LC is obviously sober as a bird.
#TeamNeverStephen takes a major backseat for the second half of the season, except for some pivotal moments in San Fran, and Jason and his antics take the forefront. Brooke mentioned his evil genius, and I want to talk more about the thing the girls do: blame each other but let Jason get away scot-free. LC is the exception, but you can already see her start to waiver in the season finale. Brooke, what are your thoughts? Also, how excited are you that Polster made a brief appearance? How much does Dieter want to be in the mix during FashionShow-gate 2005?
B: Before we get into the whole Jason discussion I must briefly acknowledge #TeamNeverStephen’s fall from desire. Last season he had Kristin locked down in a relationship and he had LC mooning all over him. Flash forward and Kristin has eaten all of the lobster and paid him a visit in San Fran without so much as a hint that she thinks of him as anything more than a bro — even his fireworks view did nothing but prompt her to borrow his coat. Then he rolls back into Laguna and even LC, who has always come far to willingly be at his side is “meh” on him. She only has eyes for Jason, which is such a mistake, but it was great to see Stephen strike out.
Okay, onto Jason. This fucking guy. We Googled him and it turns out he’s become a really decent human being, but as we’re watching him in this time machine, he’s the worst. He’s only into girls until he has them, he can’t manage to attend a charity fashion show without being schwasted and he somehow has these girls at each other’s throats to get with him — until they get furious and he uses some kind of Jedi mind trick of blankness to get them to talk at him until they breakup with themselves. AM, what do you mean when you say we can already see LC “starting to waiver” ? She’s not going to cave and get back with this bro during The Hills is she? They don’t make any sense, she can do way, way better. I was so proud of her, don’t let your inner Kristin die, LC!
I was excited that Polster appeared, but turns out he’s not an enthusiast anymore, he’s just “Trey’s Friend” now. Weak. He lasted about as long as Jessica’s crush on Jeff. If only Dieter’s appearance was so brief. Bro took a break from mooning over Stephen to try to save LC at the fashion show. Memo: She doesn’t need saving. First, this guy tries to corroborate the kiss, talking to Jason and Jessica. Bro, LC saw them herself she doesn’t need fact checking here. After Jason pokes the bear enough times that instead of ignoring him Lauren tears him a new asshole, she wraps it up with a simple request: keep him away from me. This was Dieter’s moment to shine. He failed. Miserably. I’ll say it again, LC, buddy up with Kristin, she would have run him off so hard. Or let Heidi loose on him. She seemed ready to rumble.
And speaking of Heidi, AM, sound off on my theory. Did Heidi hitch her wagon to LC just to get on TV? The friendship seemed real, but …
A: First of all, I can’t talk about The Hills yet — that’s next up! However, LC did mention something about “we’re talking” in the final episode of Laguna with regards to Jason. That’s ominous given that not only will your parents not even let him in the house, you gave him an unequivocal dress-down in the driveway on your last scene together. Anyway, I know what happens and I cannot comment any further. Speculate away.
Dieter I would imagine was also in his cups, and desperately trying to facilitate LC and Jason for some reason. Totally agreed that LC had that one handled, because, again, she was sober. And not taking any shit.
I also can’t talk much about Heidi at this point, but I hadn’t remembered that she isn’t even introduced as a character! There’s no mention of where she came from or why she’s suddenly at LC’s pool. I will say this much: she met LC in San Francisco at school when the brief “away from Laguna” stint happened before season two started filming. More than that, I cannot say without spoiling the action.
One more note on Kristin and LC. There’s not a whole lot of mentions between the ladies of still hating each other, but Kristin does diss LC in a big, unnecessary way at LC’s end-of-the-summer party. She comes, she doesn’t even say hi (looks to me like she chickens out of saying anything to LC), and steals Stephen away. LC is visibly bummed, and I don’t blame her. I think she wanted to try to mend the relationship, but doesn’t get the chance. I still don’t get why exactly Kristin hates Taylor so much, and I can only assume that something happens off camera and they never mention what happened on camera. Perhaps more boy stealing? Whom might Taylor have tried to poach? Perhaps Talan?
Brooke, what are your predictions for Jason and Heidi for The Hills? And how bad for Talan do you feel? Also, how low is Jessica’s sense of self-worth that she seems to fully support Kristin stealing Jeff from her?
B: I’m going to have to assume that we can’t be rid of Jason this easily. And LC has pretty terrible taste in dudes (at least at this point in her life), so my concern that she’ll backslide seems unfortunately justified. Now, as for Heidi, she seems pretty fun from what we’ve seen of her, but … what little I know of The Hills tells me she’s not always going to be LC’s best gal pal. And that she becomes kind of Jessica-y. This may be inaccurate, but it’s what’s in my brain. Now, here’s a crucial point though, as someone with the potential to script a reality series (AM said it so it’s true now), I like to think I can see producer interference when it happens and I think that’s a bit of what happened with Kristin and LC at this party. I also think it’s a significant factor in absolutely everything that happens in The Hills.
But back to the present. So LC invites Kristin to this party which is super cool of her, but probably also heavily suggested by the producers who fully want a reunion of everyone for one of the last episodes of the season (and in my mind, the series). But, Kristin and whichever cronie she brought with her apparently didn’t get the memo on it being a “dress up” party. Because the producers provided the invite and neglected to mention that detail? I think so. But it’s also cast as a big deal for the girls when Stephen is wearing the same old stuff as always. It was definitely super awkward that she decided not to say anything to LC. Again, I kind of feel like this was directed to create drama at what would have been a harmonious gathering. But Kristin, don’t start doing Jessica things now, girl, you’re cooler than that. It must be noted that Jason didn’t greet LC on entering the spot either, and he was actively trying to get it in with her at that point. I feel like if Kristin or LC really wanted to fix things, they should have hung out solo. It’s a pretty uncomfortable thing to be all, “Here, Kristin, walk in with everyone at LC’s house and then go say hi while everyone you two know is watching. It won’t be weird at all. And Dieter definitely won’t try to insert himself.”
And speaking of Dieter, here’s a theory. He wanted to support LC-Jason so that Stephen would want to hang out with him more.
Oh Talan. You know I’m a Talan fan. I’m pretty sure in our very first Laguna article I advocated hard for Kristin to dump Stephen and get with Talan. His feelings for her were sweet, but I don’t really feel bad for him. Here’s the thing. We’re told that Kristin and Talan have hooked up a lot. Until a certain point, they were both just having fun. While I love that his feelings developed at some point because I am a sucker, I don’t think it’s fair for him to be mad at Kristin for doing Kristin. How many times does she have to tell all these boys she doesn’t want a boyfriend? In terms of angst and growth, I think it’s good for Talan’s inner casanova to have loved and lost too.
And as for Jessica, I don’t think she would have forgiven Kristin if it was Jason … because she actually cares about Jason. I think the whole Jeff thing was a much more fleeting attraction that she encouraged to distract herself from pining for the evil genius. And that whole awkward lollypop kiss thing was definitely a boozy decision that our girl seemed to regret over her breakfast french fries the next day. And really, she probably saved us a number of episodes dedicated to Jessica moping about having Jeff, but it not really being everything she thought it would be. So, #ValueAdd.
Any closing thoughts for us, AM?
A: Really good points on producer meddling and Jessica’s state of emotions. However, I can’t imagine a world where Kristin hooks up with Jason. She’s waaaayyyy too smart to do that. But the point is still valid. Jessica didn’t feel that strongly for Jeff and also worships the ground Kristin walks on. One should not be that obsessed with one’s female friends nor obsessed with dirtbag boys. #LifeLesson
I wonder if the producers asked both Kristin and LC if they’d be open to a one-on-one lunch date. It goes something kind of like this:
PRODUCER: So, would you be open to meeting with LC for lunch? You know, get some closure?
KRISTIN: I don’t want to do that. She knows what she did. But, I don’t give a fuck so sure, why not?
Producer scurries to LC
PRODUCER: So, would you be open to meeting with Kristin for lunch? You know, get some closure?
LC: I don’t think so.
PRODUCER: We’ll buy you both whatever you want to eat, plus a pay raise!
LC: Rolls eyes. Fine. I’ll do it.
But then, LC changes her mind because of all the potential awkward that might happen. She wants it on her turf, not a neutral location. Kristin agrees to come to LC’s house in a historic get. The producers are SO EXCITED but neglect to inform Kristin about the dress code. Oops! Kristin gets miffed because she didn’t get the clothing memo and feels the uncomfortable situation and essentially bails.
Back to Talan. I think he’s hurt because yes, he likes Kristin. Like, likes her likes her. He makes her dinner (reportedly the most romantic thing a guy can do, which isn’t untrue). She shows up, but is pretty cold. He invites her to prom in a lavish way, and she accepts, but then ignores him. In her efforts to just do her, she does end up hurting his feelings. Not to be mean, exactly, but she’s hoping that perhaps he can cool off so they can continue hooking up but she doesn’t have to be faithful to him. Otherwise, she should have just shut it completely down. I know she’s capable of that. #WhatWouldKristinDo
That’s about all for this week! We’ll be detouring over to The Hills the next time I get the opportunity to make Brooke watch something.
Next time on Required Viewing we introduce AM to a woman with more game even than Kristin and a much greater willingness to use her powers for evil.
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