“Laguna Beach”: Season 1 Review

As I’ve been immobile over the last few days, I’ve finally had the time to watch, from beginning to end, the first season of Laguna Beach.

In contrast to season 2, the drama really wasn’t as entertaining, and the storylines were slim – reduced to the Kristin-Stephen-Lauren love triangle. As a whole, the season demonstrated an expected learning curve for its inaugural year, as in my opinion, it didn’t hit its stride on manipulative editing, music selection, and episode-to-episode cliffhanger creation until the penultimate “The First to Go” (including a heartbreaker of a scene between Kristin and Stephen, who surprisingly end up as the show’s emotional anchor).

Other thoughts:

  • I was impressed with Trey’s thirst for activism, especially in the face of Laguna’s stereotypical consumerist culture and seemingly apathetic climate.
  • Though they weren’t billed characters, I really hoped to see more of Dieter and Jessica (as a couple or as individuals) – before Jessica’s descent into the land of the jealous and needy in season 2 (and really, how cute was Dieter’s prom-posal?).
  • I loved Lo(!) and thought she was edited to be one of the most grounded girls in Laguna.
  • I enjoyed the “foreshadowing” of Lauren’s interest in fashion (the producers really couldn’t have set up The Hills better if they tried), but I really can do without hearing her utter the phrase “best friend” ever again.
  • Based on the deleted scenes, the editors really could have highlighted Trey and Morgan’s college selection processes, especially since they were both initially rejected by their first choices. This would have been a great opportunity to expose the very impressionable 14-16 sect of the audience to post-secondary applications, but this plotline was likely shafted in favor of more time for the aforementioned love triangle.
  • For anyone who hasn’t had a gander at the DVDs, they are worth a look purely for the sequence of “Laguna Beach Interviews” on the third disc. Questions such as “What does hooking up mean?” or (to Lo), “Did you ever tell Lauren to just get over Stephen?” are granted a mock-serious tone with its white-on-black panel display format.

Some may think I wasted precious hours of my life, and while I will admit that an entire season in two days was a bit much, Laguna ultimately shirked my need for painkillers.

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