Its one of the wealthiest, most beautiful communities in the world and MTV has unlimited access to the tight-knit power clique of eight rich, beautiful teenagers that live there. Their lives intertwine in ways you wont believe, until you drop in for a visit. Watch as these friends share experiences through parties, relationships, love triangles and small town injustices. This is where the angst and the tumultuous affairs are the stuff of prime time drama. Welcome to Paradise, otherwise known as Laguna Beach, California.
, the MTV hit about real-life rich kids in the coastal Orange County town, is too real to be a soap opera and too fake to be a reality series--and therein lies the rub. At least if Laguna Beach
were a scripted drama, you could buy the suspended disbelief that a crush would just happen
to appear in front of you as you're saying, "I wonder what he thinks about me." Or if it were truly a reality series, you can forgive the repeated exclamations of "This is going to be soooo fun, I am soo excited, you guys!" But because producers pull one too many puppet strings to heighten drama and add exposition, the sudsy guilty pleasure can be hard to watch. After all, how many times in a week can two guys pause in the middle of skateboarding to discuss their feelings? (This is addressed in the post-show interviews, where cast members spill that they're ordered to alert producers when they're about to dump someone so they can film the action in time.) Nonetheless, season two builds in addictive nature courtesy of alpha female Kristin (Cavallari, who later wound up a tabloid staple), now the narrator. She's the spice to season one narrator LC's sugar, a Mean Girl without the moral lesson. (Ironically, home movies featured on the DVD show Kristin, age 2, dressed as a witch for Halloween.) She unabashedly breaks hearts, "hooks up" with her friends' crushes, misleads her hangdog ex Stephen, and bashes rival blondes. If Kristin had less sense, she'd actually be a perfect match for perennial cheater Jason, whose "hotness" remains inexplicable given his inability to ignore his hormones. Don't miss Jason's interview in the bonus features, in which he repeatedly uses the words "bad," "stupid," and "I wasn't thinking" when confronted about his many dalliances.
Aside from the theatrics, this gang encounters prom, spring break trips to Mexico, graduation gifts from Tiffany, and charity fashion shows. College and parents are non-entities; "the new girl" comes with a lavish mansion, backstabbing gossip, and a personal hairstylist who gives her Barbie mop-locks. But for fans who know drama all too well, the Laguna Beach crew represents high school in Fantasyland, where your friends just happen to be beautiful and rich. -Ellen A. Kim