On ''Laguna Beach,'' Jason and LC flirt at her barbecue, go on a date, then share a nighttime dip in the hot tub. Gross.

By Tom Conroy
Updated October 16, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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”Laguna Beach”: Jason and LC hook up. Gross.

Hi. Your regular Laguna Beach correspondent, Tim Gunatilaka, was unable to file this week because he is in a state of toxic shock following exposure to scenes showing Jason and LC hooking up. I managed to survive by repeating the magic words ”It’s fake. It’s all staged. The producers made them do it.”

Fortunately, there was some possible evidence that the nascent romance was a typical LB setup. For one thing, the dialogue seemed especially coached this week. Take that suspiciously clever exchange between LC and Jen when they were sunbathing while planning LC’s barbecue party:

Jen: Lauren, what comes before part B?

LC: [Unsuspecting] Part A?

[Laughter.]

Then Kristin uttered what may be the first and last witticism of her life while her father was driving her to buy that fancy German import. After her dad praised her old Isuzu’s reliability, she said, ”It’s been a Trooper.” Mr. Kristin, clearly as stunned as we all were by this sudden evidence of brain activity, could only say, ”Oh, wow.” To which Kristin smugly replied, ”I came up with that myself.” Somewhere a Laguna Beach staff writer is phoning his agent.

But Kristin’s car subplot was only a distraction from the real traffic accident: Jason and Lauren’s hookup. Talan, who just happened to shop at the same store as Lauren, also just happened to show up at the party with Jason, also known as J. Wall (sp?). Apart from some typical MTV-reality sandbagging of an unsuspecting new kid (Talan and Taylor smirked while trashing Casey’s beefy, older-looking date, Dexter), the party coverage largely consisted of shots of Lauren flirting with, stroking, or hugging Jason, followed by cuts to Stephen (who Lauren is ”102 percent over”) either looking peeved or taking a sip from a plastic cup. Maybe he was playing the Laguna Beach drinking game: Every time your not-quite-ex stomps on your heart, drink. Repeat until humiliated.

The usual party postmortem was another sunbathing scene featuring LC, Jen, and Heidi, who discussed how boyfriends were like shoes (you don’t find them, they find you?), or sunglasses. Or was it purses? Anyway, LC said that there are beloved everyday purses, then the gorgeous ones you really want. ”The gorgeous bag is usually an a–hole,” said Jen sagely. ”Then,” Lauren said, ”you have like these other purses that you really like but don’t want to be seen with.” Well, speak of the devil and he speed-dials. Who should call but Jason, asking LC out on a date.

The awkward silences that followed during LC and Jason’s dinner (is J. Wall short for ”With Jason It’s Like Talking to a Brick Wall”?) once again let you hope that the entire misbegotten flirtation was set up. Perhaps prompted by an off-camera producer mouthing, ”Say something,” one of them would utter, ”You’re cute,” or something like that, followed by a polite smile from the other.

The longest exchange went like this:

Jason: Wow.

LC: What?

Jason: Nuddin’

LC: Why’d you say, ”Wow”?

Jason: ‘Cause I’m with you. [Gulp!]

LC: [Shakes head.]

Jason: That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

He finally put himself, LC, and us out of our misery by saying, ”Wanna go to the hot tub?” There we saw a series of hugs, tugs, pecks, and shoulder slaps that it would take a primate-body-language expert to decipher, after which the couple padded off to…have sex? Say goodnight to her parents? Check their scripts?

How did this all leave me feeling? Well, what comes before queas B?

What do you think? Is this the worst Laguna Beach romance ever? Is it the worst romance ever, period? Or it is so contrived you can’t get upset?

Laguna Beach

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