July 30, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Laguna Beach

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Reality TV

”Laguna Beach”: Jess’ trust issues — and ours

It’s fitting this episode is titled ”You Can’t Trust Him,” because there’s some trouble brewing. Yes, beloved Laguna Beach, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. I just feel like you’re not being honest with us anymore.

Perhaps last week’s discussion board has influenced me, but didn’t this episode just seem far phonier than any episode before? Alex M. and Taylor’s beach run-in with Talan and Jason was too convenient, the boys’ practical joke on the girls too easy, and there’s no way Jess is actually this dim, right? Even the cast members seem to be offering a knowing wink here and there.

But first, children, let’s learn a little safety lesson: When your alarm goes off and you hear some sinister tapping at your windows, do not (DO NOT!) walk outside without a care in the world. Or a bat. And yet, during poker night, there went Morgan and girls. Following a warning from the alarm company and from Morgan’s father, and after seeing some blood on a window, they moseyed outside with more cheer than fear to check out the hubbub. And you boys, if you find it funny to play Scream with your gal pals (I’m talking to you, Cedric and Jason) — donning ski masks, skulking in the dark, and setting off some supposedly top-notch security system — you best be packing some Kevlar because you never know who’s packing the heat. Boys, you will be shot. That is, unless you’re on a reality show. The prank worked out all too effortlessly, and the girls’ dialogue suggested they we’re in on it too.

Casey: ”It’s a scary world out there.”

Alex M. [quite cynically]: ”Oh, and we live in Laguna. We have no idea.”

Jason’s prank mainly provided him with a chance to flirt with Alex M. during Jess’ night out with the ladies, during which Alex H., per Kristin’s demand, had to get one boy’s digits. (Alex: ”Can I get your number, just, randomly?”) Bah! Once again, the scene looked set up, and the lines sounded scripted, as if being fed to the cast members by someone off camera. Even our darling Lo, in her one scene this episode, behaved oddly. After she walked into LC’s house and played with her hair, the camera suddenly panned away and we heard a Lo-like voice drone, ”Oh. Wait. I. Have. A. Question. What. Is. Up. With. Stephen?”

And to what is the questioner referring? If you recall at the end of last episode, there was some frisky towel tugging between Ms. LC and Mr. Stephen, which got us all hot and bothered but left us uncertain as to what happened. Not too far into this week’s episode, we thought we get our answer: There the two were, all sleepy yet googly-eyed, preparing a pancake breakfast the apparent morning after. (Oh?) Then they started talking:

Stephen: ”So last night was good?” (Oh my God.)

LC: ”We went to bed at four!” (Omigod.)

Stephen: ”Last night was ridic…” (O-mi-god!)

LC: ”Do you want whipped cream with it?” (O-M-G! Wait. She was talking about their breakfast.)

But even here, LC seemed to be feeding Stephen with all the details of the night before, for he seemed to have forgotten, as if nothing had actually happened. Curious, no?

So what do you think? Setting aside overarching conspiracy theories, supposed on-set secrets only you know, and everyday hatin’, didn’t this particular episode seem a bit fake, even by LB standards? Also, did anyone else get a Bush-Rove vibe to Jess’ declaration about Jason: ”Yes! If he cheated on me, and I had solid proof and evidence, then, yes, I would break up”? And finally, Casey’s pink puffy jacket: Good, bad, ugly?

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