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Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County was smarter than you think. The show, which premiered in Sept. 2004, was an overt move by MTV to capitalize off the massive success of The O.C., which had premiered on FOX about a year earlier. Get it? That's why there's that subtitle, "The Real Orange County."
You'd think it came off a little too heavy-handed, that everyone would reject the confident clarification. But juxtaposing Laguna Beach with the definitely fictional O.C. made young people (read: dumb people) think that high schoolers in California actually lived like this. And those youthful teenagers set out to emulate the show, because it looked awesome at the time.
Laguna Beach sparked a generation of adolescent TV-watchers who grabbed coffee, tried to hook up in hot tubs, and thirsted for drama.
Ten years later, all those teens are in their twenties, and there isn't a more common insult thrown around than the term "basic," which Kreayshawn defined as "liking what's typical to like," and to which I'd add, "having a prevailing sense of whiteness." Do you think it's a coincidence that basicness blew up at the same time everyone who watched Laguna Beach grew up? It isn't.
So 10 years after the premiere of The Real Orange County, it feels necessary to pay homage, and really examine the ways the show turned us all into a generation of basic bitches. Here's How Laguna Beach Taught the World to Be Basic.
Andrew Gruttadaro is the Pop Culture news editor. He still loves Jessica even though she let herself get walked on by every guy in Orange Country. He also tweets here.