Something I learned recently is that reality TV is cheap and easy to make. We all know it’s not exactly “real” either. Despite this lack of quality, people still watch and have been doing so for quite some time. MTV (aka Music Television…yeah they don’t even play music anymore) has been one of the pioneers in reality TV with The Real World having been one of the first and most notable reality TV programs. Since The Real World, MTV created other reality shows that have impacted and continue to impact their viewers, myself included.
One of my favorite television shows while in high school was the MTV reality drama, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. This show was huge for me because, along with The OC (another show I watched at the time, set in Newport Beach, CA), it gave me an interest in Southern California and the lifestyles of the people who lived there. It did this so much so that last year when I visited my cousin in SoCal, a trip to Laguna Beach had to be a guaranteed part of the itinerary (you can bet I went to Laguna Surf & Sport…check out the pics at the bottom). I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in my interest either. If you watched Laguna, you definitely wished you lived there or could visit there at some point.
Laguna Beach followed a group of high school upperclassmen, mostly seniors, as it chronicled events during their last year of school which meant parties, bonfires, barbeques, concerts, fashion shows, a spring break trip to Cabo, prom, graduation, and leaving for college. The show was narrated by a senior girl named Lauren, aka “LC” (you know her now by the name Lauren Conrad), but also included her best friend Lo, friends Morgan, the supposedly innocent one, and Christina, the preacher’s daughter, her long-time friend/crush/occasional friend with benefits Stephen, her guy friends and Stephen’s best buddies Trey and Dieter, Talon, the junior that all the girls seemed to have a thing with, and of course Stephen’s sort of girlfriend/the root of all LC’s drama, Kristin. In Laguna, the amount of drama was always at the forefront between all the hook-ups, relationships, talking behind people’s backs, and the rest of the high school bullshit you want to forget about after you graduate.
So why am I bringing up an MTV reality show that’s not even on TV anymore? Well firstly as I mentioned it was one of my favorite shows and I still watch old episodes from time to time especially from Season 1 (there were 3 and the first was the best). Secondly, Laguna Beach was a starting point for the careers of some of the main cast members. Lauren Conrad has taken the fashion world by storm and after starring in Laguna Beach, went on to film the MTV spinoff “The Hills” which lasted six seasons. She recently just married former Something Corporate guitarist William Tell (so cool…I was a huge SoCo fan back in those days too). Stephen Colletti went on to become an actor. You may have seen him in a few episodes (or 50 some) of “One Tree Hill”. Even Kristin Cavallari has had her fair share of moments in the spotlight while starring in “The Hills”, “Dancing with the Stars”, and is currently married to Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler with whom she has two children. From what I’ve heard the other cast members also seem to be doing well in their respective lives and careers.
Lastly and really the main reason I decided to blog about this show right now is because Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the show’s premiere on MTV. It’s crazy to think that it’s been that long since I watched Stephen and LC check out the property of LC’s unfinished, future home that overlooked all of Laguna while two palm trees were placed in the ground. It feels like just yesterday I was watching those kids ask each other to prom in the most extravagant, yet somewhat adorable ways (Yes children Laguna Beach did promposals before promposals were even a thing) or graduate from high school while Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” played in the background. However in the past week I’ve seen posts all over the web about Laguna’s 10th anniversary so I know even after 10 years it’s evident that this show affected more than just me and the cast members. I’m not the only one who remembers that Kristin was the only person who wore white to the Black & White party or that Trey almost got in a fight with a midget after the Blink-182 concert or that Stephen dressed up as a bear and scared all the girls when they were camping at Catalina. It’s not just me who hears the name Stephen and can’t imagine it being said without really stressing the last syllable (cue the “Ste-PHEEEENNN”). I’m not alone in believing that Lauren and Stephen should’ve ended up together and was “stoked” to get the impression that maybe they would when he picked her up from the airport in San Fran before they started college, and I certainly can’t be the only person out there who still wants to know what happened with LC and Stephen that night in Cabo! They definitely didn’t just watch movies or whatever was said they did. Unfortunately, as we all know what happens in Cabo, stays in Cabo. Overall, it’s good to know that there’s a lot of people out there who loved this show just as much as me.
So thanks Laguna Beach for entertaining me in high school. Thanks for being part of the reason that started my love for California. But mostly thanks for still being pretty gnarly and memorable after 10 years. Now, like Kristin’s car, this blog post is so dunzo.