Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County



"Real" OC is just like the fake one; mature teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jealousy and petty behavior are common; characters have love triangles and talk behind each other's back; the cast is uniformly white and wealthy. Qualities that might make these kids good role models aren't highlighted. One girl has vowed to abstain from sex until marriage.

Not applicable

High school girls dress as sexily as possible; constant focus on the opposite sex and who's hooking up with whom; sexual innuendos; love triangles.


Slang and some mild profanity ("slut," "bitch," etc.) as teens speak in their "real," unscripted manner.


The featured teens have expensive cars and clothes and more spending money than the average teen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The teens do a lot of partying and some of them drink -- they're never seen with containers of alcohol since they're underage, but it's implied. Teens appear to be intoxicated during a spring break trip to Mexico, as well as during parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show offers plenty of mild profanity, sexuality, and other possibly objectionable content, as well as general silliness. Even teen viewers may take offense at how empty and shallow the minds and lives of the cast members appear to be. Alternatively, teens may be easily swayed by the lavish, lax lifestyle of these teens who shop, lounge, and tan on their parents' dime.

What's the story?

Set in the famously wealthy Southern California beach community, MTV's reality series, LAGUNA BEACH: THE REAL ORANGE COUNTY, follows the lives of real kids attending high school in Laguna Beach -- most notably Lauren "LC" Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti, and Tallan Torriero. Some of the teens have graduated and gone off to college, allowing for underclassman to take center stage. MTV's cameras were not granted access on school grounds. Rather than following the reality show format of having cameras on the cast at all times, isolated segments are presented in a dramatic format (as if they were scripted), complete with musical score.

Is it any good?


The isolated segment approach makes the show feel like soap opera, but one in which even less happens per episode. Wildly different camera angles of the same scene should leave audience members wondering exactly how many takes were shot to get the latest confrontation, just right. The problem with adding dramatic conventions to a reality show is that there's no drama in the sense of crafted characters, conflicts, and resolutions. Episodes feature the recurring characters talking and going places -- and preparing for important rites of passage like prom and graduation -- but meandering, meaningless scenes stack up to produce a show about nothing.


Most are college-bound, but the show only features their leisure time. As a result, they come across as more careless and flaky than they really might be. Some teen viewers will enjoy watching two girls vie for the same cute guy's attention (as well as seeing the guy switch back and forth). But this love/lust/flirtation triangle grows boring quickly, and a critical teen viewer may wish for more characters and more variety in subject matter.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what's important in their lives vs. what seems to be important to the teens on the show. What parts of their lifestyle are appealing? Which ones aren't? Is anything on the show similar to your own teens' life? What impression does this program give your kids about Southern California -- or teenage life in general?

TV details

Cast:Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti, Talan Torriero
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Well-meaning show with the usual reality TV drama.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byPlanet August 3, 2011


more real than The Hills and much better. It is a good program
Kid, 11 years old December 11, 2011

Mindless Crap. Not fun to watch.

I actually live in Laguna Beach, and this show is just mindless crap. Life in Laguna Beach isn't the way they depict it. The only fun part of the show is seeing places you know and seeing them there. Since later I am going attend LBHS, I will look at my school and frown upon it because of these morons.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written by90210fan January 31, 2011

for teens

Love it shows lots of consequences for there actions


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide