A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?