On ''Laguna Beach,'' the two Alexes negotiate a truce in the love-triangle catfights, but the claws soon come out again

By Timothy Gunatilaka
Updated September 13, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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”Laguna Beach”: The girls in love and war

Let’s pause this week to discuss great moments in peacemaking: the Treaty of Versailles, the founding of the U.N., the Camp David accords, the summit meeting between Alexes M. and H. to reunite the warring factions of Laguna Beach. Their efforts led to Jess’s talk with Alex M. and Kristin’s meal with Taylor. Screw Bono — give Alex H. a Nobel. But armistice this was not. In the end, we realized the battle has just begun.

Okay, we have to make an obvious point that you’re likely already thinking: The producers probably set this up. Fine. Cool. All right. We’re gonna have to reach a point when we accept the show’s scripting. After all, despite its reality-TV posturing, Laguna Beach‘s attraction is that it’s presented like a normal narrative drama. By narrative conventions, this meeting was inevitable. Therein lies LB‘s beauty. And whether fact, fiction, or something in between, the summit scene was kind of endearing.

Alex H.: I do wanna hang out, like, more, if you guys want to?

Alex M.: Oh, I do. I do. I never ever thought it would be weird or awkward to talk to you now.

Alex H.: I’m gonna start crying if I talk about this too much.

I still resent Alex M. for what she did to Jess, but her desire to reconcile the rival groups seemed so genuine, if not sweet.

That said, what the hell is wrong with Alex H.? Thus far, the gal’s been nothing more than peripheral. And her efforts at mediation seemed well intentioned. But isn’t she one of Jess’ best friends? Even if Alex M. wants to make up now, the girl still worked Jason while he dated another. That deserves just a little hate from Alex H., right? Conversely, Kristin showed her support by pretending to be surprised at Jess’ disclosure that Jason’s dating Alex M. (Also, Kristin deserves some props for yelling about Casey, ”Omigod! Bitch is wearing high heels. Such a little slut!”)

And so, the inevitable Alex M.-Jess throwdown occurred:

Alex M.: I see you talking to everyone else but me!

Jess: What am I supposed to say to you? I was never really mad, but —

Alex M.: Yes, you were.

Jess: Nnnnnnnnnno, I was extremely bummed out. Just depressed. It takes a lot to get me mad.

Apparently. What’s the opposite of anger-management class? Anger development? Kristin’s bitch boot camp? Sign Jess up. She needs to assert herself rather than placate everyone around her. It was inspiring to see Jess handle her meeting with Alex M. so stoically. At first. But it became embarrassing fast. Contrast this with Kristin’s remarks about Taylor: ”It’s not that I don’t like her. I just don’t care for her.” That works for me. Don’t act like you’re friends with the gal you’re secretly thwarting.

Speaking of which, I never thought Kristin could be so bested in the conniving category but Alex M. (and, yes, Jess) gave our star a run. In their concordat, Alex M. spoke to Jess about respect — that she’d never, like, make out with Jason in front of her. And yet, at first shot Alex M. hugged and eventually kissed the boy for, like, an eternity. To be fair, Jason’s arrival did deserve a dramatic embrace. His entrance seemed like some long-lost return. The boy came to the beach bonfire from a distance, as if he had emerged from the ocean, having endured an arduous journey to come upon this roasting of wieners. It was like Greek mythology.

Myth, indeed. As Jason kissed Alex, he looked in Jess’ direction and smirked. Cut to Jess smiling back awkwardly before returning to the kissing couple. Alex M. then aborted and yelled at Jason: ”What are you looking at? You’re laughing at me!” Slap! (Girl slapped him. It’s about time someone did. Yay!) We then cut back to Jess smiling, apparently laughing at the ordeal. Except I don’t think she really was. It looked like the editors just inserted some random footage of Jess awkwardly smiling. I doubt she even witnessed the kiss. The lighting of the two respective scenes looked too dissimilar, as if from a different time of day. Not to mention, Alex’s change from giddy kisser to face slapper happened too abruptly. I’m all for maximizing the effect. But, editors, at least please try harder.

Yet, whether or not she saw the incident, Jess is officially bonkers. Witness her weird grunts and snickers, that demonic grin, her gonzo speed interrogation of Jason (”Heheheheh! I have a question for you: Did you tell Alex I was talking to you earlier? Don’t lie to me. Right now. Don’t lie! Don’t lie! What did you say I said? Heheheheh!”). Girl’s gone crazy. Maybe now she can get revenge. After her insane spiel, she cutely tilted her head and invited Jason to ”hang out,” which we later learned equaled kissing on the beach. The placement of said kiss is uncertain. Just the cheek, right? Regardless, I kinda feel bad for Alex M. now. How weird is that?

I can’t wait to see the ”wrath of Alex” that she promised to unleash on Jess. Oh, the suspense! Jess is wacko, Alex is scorned, and Laguna‘s back!

What do you think? Did this episode return the show to its previous glory? What are the chances Cedric’s incessant teasing of Jess is actually founded in a crush? Is this playground love?

Laguna Beach

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