Orange County got saddled with the reputation of being boring, plastic, milquetoast, fascist and very, very, very, very, very white due to the combined—and obviously evil—forces: the Republican Party, landowners, builders, evangelicals and Bob Dornan. Mostly Bob Dornan. But a funny thing about reputations: those you carry in with you to the reputed person, place or thing are often shattered like so many pieces of Crystal Cathedral glass.
To witness this phenomenon in action, the OCWeeklyDatalab canvassed local college students originally from somewhere outside Orange County. They were asked what their preconceived notion of Orange County was before they arrived and how they view this place now.
Stereotype: "Wealthy people with lots of fakeness—I mean, fake noses, boobs, liposuction and frivolous spending. People back home always bring up surfer boys."
Reality: "Mostly, I see adults who are rich and fake with their little dogs in sweaters. And surfer boys: Are they here? I haven't met one yet."1
Stereotype: "I didn't know shit about Orange County; everybody told me it was full of Asians."
Reality: "It isfull of Asians."2
Stereotype: "I'm afraid of the Irvine Co. because they own everything."
Reality: "Irvine has no ghetto because of the Irvine Co.4, and Santa Ana is dirty because they don't have the Irvine Co."5
Noventa Vincentina, Italy6
Stereotype: "The O.C.is a very famous show in Italy. I knew it would be like the show around Newport but different for the rest of the county. My friend told me the weather would be really nice."
Reality: "The weather? It's like London or Berlin!"7
Stereotype: "A rich place with a lot of Taiwanese, and all they do is shop!"
Reality: "Not a lot of Taiwanese, but a lot of Koreans, not enough Chinese."8
Chula Vista, California
Stereotype: "I always thought of the OC as LA, but not as crappy."
Reality: "Yeah, it's like a suburb of LA, but not as crappy."9
Stereotype: "White girls with big boobs and streaky blond hair and the plastic surgery capital of the world."
Reality: "Yes, blond girls with big boobs and streaky blond hair, but a lot more Asians than I thought."10
1. She's obviously never been to the Shore House.
2. Flores attends UC Irvine, where we calculate the Asian-to-northern California Latino ratio as 4,578 to 1.
3. Trip, and you'll actually fall into OC.
4. She's obviously never been to Orange Tree.
5. That's not dirt—that's history.
6. Average yearly temperature: Mama Mia, that's a spicy meatball.
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7. Call us back in August, Guido.
8. And waaaaaytoo many Finns.
9. Imagine: someone from Chula Vista, a suburb of Poway, trying to school us on suburbs.
10. We calculate the Asian-to-blond-girl-with-big-boobs-and-streaky-blond-hair ratio as 362 to 1.