On the second-season premiere of ''Laguna Beach,'' Kristin uses her new power as a senior to trash LC and to torment Stephen with her mysterious new boyfriend

By Timothy Gunatilaka
Updated July 25, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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”Laguna Beach”: The new queen bee stings

It seems Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County has taken a cue from Josh Schwartz’s source material, The O.C., and raised the emotional ante for its sophomore season. And by ”emotional,” I mean harrowing, humiliating, and grating. This season looks like it’s gonna hurt, and sorry, kids, there will be no respite via witty repartee — Dieter’s not exactly Adam Brody.

With Lauren out of high school, Kristin’s the new narrator and BGOC this year, and she wasted no time in unsheathing her claws, trashing Lauren — ”or LC, as her friends call her,” she sneered — and blowing off the seemingly devoted Stephen. A montage showed him and the other seniors from last season returning to our beloved Beach for winter break in their respective modes of transport (planes, trains, automobiles!), setting up a second montage in which Kristin distanced herself from him while he wallowed away to Dashboard Confessional. She opted to shop over making time for her former true love. Harsh, baby, harsh. But that was less painful than watching their tense reunion, which couldn’t end soon enough. The sight of Stephen — still so in love and now so in pain as well — struggling (and failing) to stay stoic before the girl who forgot him in less than one semester…Oh, how I miss last season’s Stephen, too charming and carefree as he blithely bounced from Kristin to LC and back. And now we’re left with this sob story.

But Stephen’s not alone, as Dieter has also joined the broken-hearts club. Remember all those times last season when he was labeled ”Stephen’s ‘Wingman’ ”? Never made much sense, given that both spent most of the year in relationships. Now he’s free to fulfill that role, as he’s been cast off by Jess for some guy named Jason, a Ryan Gosling look-alike with a roving eye.

While it seems Jess is being duped by a playa (sorry, Jess, those hipster-cute wide-frame glasses aren’t helping you see any better), Kristin has no excuse for her vindictiveness. At the party, she wouldn’t let her friend Gary tell Stephen about her new relationship before she herself loudly announced her new love for all to hear. Kristin wanted to be the one who broke the bad news and wreaked the ensuing havoc. Argh! And just who is this new boy toy, ”Matt” from USC? Hmm, could that be Matt Leinart, Heisman-winning quarterback of the national champion USC Trojans? (Google it, the rumors are everywhere.) The same Matt Leinart who for some curious reason decided to stay at USC for another year rather than enter this year’s NFL draft and join the 49ers of my hometown, San Francisco? Elbow surgery, right….Looking at the big puddle of goo our good Stephen has become after leaving Kristin and moving to the Bay Area, I suppose this Matt kid would be wise to stay in SoCal for one more year.

But I digress: Last year, I thought LC was being unfair to Kristin when she referred to her as a bitch in virtually every episode. But nothing from LC’s biased viewpoint could ever prepare us for the narcissistic, self-centered harpy standing before us today. The king of cool — the Stephen of yore — is dead, victim to his former flame. All hail Kristin, the queen of mean — but in a cute kinda way.

Think I’m being too hard on Kristin? Too sympathetic to Stephen? Why do the LB kids eat only pasta? (This week’s Pomodoro-dinner count is 2: Jess and Jason; LC and Stephen.) Will Jason be faithful to Jess? Will Kristin and Stephen somehow get back together, or has he already moved on to LC? Did Lo’s brief cameo leave you hungry for more? And how about the Niners’ chances at the playoffs this season?

Laguna Beach

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