Optimistically Cautious

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Laguna Beach": Season 3 Review

I watched the season finale of Laguna Beach this evening, and couldn't help but be disappointed. Departing from the usual half-hour format, this episode was an hour in length. They should have stuck to a thirty minute time limit, as the content ended up stretched and drawn-out.

With the exception of two cast members, all other characters would be back next season to finish off their senior year in high school, so it seems the editors did their best to frame storylines as cliffhangers: the Tessa-Rocky-Breanna triangle; Alex and his ability to stay true to Rocky despite the temptation of college girls; and Chase's choice between his band's future and a diploma. I find it rather odd and voyeuristic in many ways, as unlike a scripted show, Laguna's audience will essentially be waiting for life to happen to these people, as opposed to anticipating what writers might decide to plot.

Also, unlike vulnerably honest Lauren, or wickedly entertaining Kristen, Tessa didn't function well as the show's narrator. Nicknamed the "wet blanket," Tessa was often whiny, indecisive, and not much fun to watch. Cameron, the show's male lead, never measured up to Jason's player ways or Stephen's romantic ideals, and thus wasn't able to act as a stabilizing pillar either. Without a strong emotional centre, Laguna as a whole suffered a downturn in quality.

I found this finale to be less aurally manipulative than past seasons as well, due to the use of a more rock-based soundtrack. I wonder if this was a conscious effort to push the "maturity" level of the show as the audience grows up as well (assuming a shift from pop music can represent such development).

At the very least, I do like the structure of the seasons, with the episodes punctuated by timely school events: winter formal, spring break in Cabo, promposals and prom, graduation, and the start of summer. Within the chaos of teenage drama, the predictability of these occurrences is much appreciated.

I am optimistic for Season 4, but in the meantime, let the countdown to Season 2 of The Hills begin!


Anonymous Mack D. Male said...


December 18, 2006 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger Gravitas said...

To each his own. Besides, you should be studying! :)

December 18, 2006 at 6:40 PM  

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