It would seem damn near impossible to have cameras rolling in everybody's favorite quaint seaside village and not find characters worthy of an entire miniseries. Moralists, street people, yuppie scum, kooky New Agers, damn dirty hippies—they all call Laguna home. And don't forget the gays and lesbians. Viewers love the gays and lesbians (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Ellen, The Republican National Convention).
Toss in a devastating fire here, a mudslide there and well-placed exterior shots of that magnificent coastline, and you couldn't help but create must-see TV. Based on the first couple of episodes, MTV has brought us must-pee-on-the TV so the damn thing will emit the sparks missing from their newest reality show.
Laguna Beach—thanks to MTV's "unlimited access"—follows a handful of teens with ocean-view homes, unlimited charge cards and invisible parents (one girl's father is said to be a TV preacher). Lauren ("But my friends call me LC") is set up to be the put-upon audience favorite, our sympathy card. Another blonde who confusingly looks just like her is the designated town bitch; Kristen rules the in-crowd clique and has her hooks in dashing Stephen, who should really be with his longtime friend LC.
That's about as much as you get for a "plot" to drive all this "reality"—which is so real that when LC "unexpectedly" drops in on Stephen at work, somehow two cameras have already been set up to capture close-ups in their face-to-face talk. But manufacturing reality is not the problem. Manufacturing tedium is.
Example: these kids pack a $700-per-night suite at the Surf and Sand for a night of partying, and other than a couple of tightly wrapped girls grinding near a bed, nothing happens. Nothing. Hell, give me a hooker, an eight ball, a diaper, a rusty trash-can lid and the dirtiest room at the Stanton Inn any time.
MTV is shooting for drama, but they're producing drudgery. As one dead scene washed over another and another and another, I found myself screaming, "LINES!" It's a piss-poor reflection of Laguna schools that these pretty little heads obviously have nothing inside them.
If the real Orange County is really this vapid, book me on the next train to Blythe.
LAGUNA BEACH: THE REAL ORANGE COUNTY AIRS ON MTV. TUES., 10:30 P.M.; CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR FREQUENT REPEATS.