Cue up that old Vitamin C song, it’s graduation time in Laguna Beach. Somehow, the rocket scientists we colloquially know as Jason, Casey, Kristin, and Jessica have managed to persevere through four years of academia and are now ready to tackle the wide world of college… or at least post LB stardom. Probably the latter. Still, I was certainly thrilled for this episode, if only because we got to see nearly every Laguna parent up close and personal. The only one missing was my favorite desperate housewife, Charlene Torriero. I guess that’s because her son Talan decided to spend his senior year recording the male response to Hollaback Girl (I believe the song is tentatively titled “DUMB”). Either way, high school’s over for the gang. Like I’m totally going to cry! You guys! Group hug!Last night’s show kicked off with another delightful recap by Ms. Kristin Cavalleri as she recounted all the wonderful moments of last week. Okay, basically she just scoffed at Jason and LC, dismissively calling their hookup “Ugh, random!” On the enticing side, however, was news that Alex M. and Casey would be making up. Could this be? Might an olive branch — or at least a quesadilla — be extended? I waited with bated breath!
The show then began in earnest with the warm image of our dearest Roz sitting on a couch with her yearbook. You know, after last week’s bizarro anomaly of LC and Jen bogarting the opening scene, I was a little concerned that our favorite sidekick might no longer be the queen of the intro, but luckily order was restored, and I could breath easy once again. As Roz sat with her yearbook, Kristin and Jessica suddenly bounded into the scene all full of restless energy and donkey-voiced excitement.
“Alex, you have to sign my yearbook!” insisted Kristin.
“And you have to sign mine!” added Jessica. Wow, this was like the best moment in Roz’s life. Everyone wanted HER! Master for a day!
Eventually, the yearbook craziness died down, and the conversation became more pensive. “I can’t believe we’re like graduating,” muttered Kristin. Listen, there’s no one more shocked than me — and all your teachers, I’m sure. Jessica hopped on the “Wow” bandwagon next, saying, “Like eighteen years of like –” but Roz cut her off, correcting her with “Twelve years of school.” Poor Jessica. Simple math was never her thing. Come to think of it, any sort of brain functions just weren’t her thing.
But hey, even though Jessica may or may not have been attending classes since the day her umbilical cord was cut, at least she managed to make it through the grueling Laguna Beach High School curriculum, unlike Talan, who we learned would not be walking in graduation. He’d be getting his GED instead — which will come in really handy five years from now when he’s working at the 7 Eleven in Rancho Cucamonga. To quote Roz, “Like, okay, random!” Yes, it’s been two minutes and “random” has been said disparagingly twice. That’s so standard.
And speaking of standard news that’s so random I’m totally like dunzo with it, Stephen and Dieter would be heading to Laguna graduation. “Why are Stephen and Dieter going?” asked eighteenth-year student Jessica. “Cause they want to go?” No, silly. It’s because they want to be on MTV more. It’s the LC effect. Then again, Kristin probably had the wisest response of all: “They still like us.” The girls all cackled evilly, providing the perfect segue to Hilary Duff. When we returned, we saw this episode’s title flashed on the screen: “The End of the Beginning.” We then arrived at the home of LC, who’s fast becoming the poster child for “The Beginning of the End.” Like last week, our unofficial super senior was flanked by tantastic Jen and new sidekick Heidi who was helping LC make her bed. Wow, it’s like sidekick initiation. Maybe soon Heidi will get to see LC pack! Nevertheless, the girls were all abuzz about LC’s latest date with J. Wahl, and they lapped up the details like a thirsty dog in a toilet. Probably the most shocking development was that Jason had picked LC up in a hot rod. Heidi for one could not BELIEVE that the car didn’t have a roof. I know, it was like a vehicle from the future, this car with no roof. Some people have already termed these strange beasts “convertibles.” Crazy, right? I wonder if Heidi went to school for eighteen years also.
Elsewhere in the ‘Guna, Stephen visited Kristin in her “office” to pick up an all important ticket to graduation. The two then talked about how crazy it is after the prom when all that’s left to face is graduation. “That’s like the last big [clicking sound],” said Stephen. Is it just me, or has Stephen been relying more and more on clicks and clacks to express himself? Maybe he took an immersive coarse on Bushmen communication skills in college.
Meanwhile, over at Jessica’s house, Dieter pulled up to get his graduation ticket (way to not snag one for your sidekick, STEPHEN), and while it was fun (READ: boring) to watch the former couple playfully chat, I was much happier to switch locales to Taylor’s house where she and a corpulent Alex sat in lawn chairs and gabbed about Casey. You see, Casey-dilla wanted to make peace, so she had invited over the entire Alex clique for lunch. Taylor and Alex weren’t totally psyched about the invitation, but it was okay because it meant they could sit around and mock Casey’s voice — which they did quite well. “It’s not mean, it’s just Casey,” said Alex. And in other news, it’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno. That made no sense. And yet, it did.
Over at LC’s house, Jason arrived, but sadly sans hot rod. Too bad. I’m sure Heidi would have loved to have seen an actual car WITHOUT A ROOF!!! The lovebirds then drove off to Jason’s grandparents’s house, and on the way, the couple officially deemed their relationship “random.” So it’s official. Tonight’s secret word is “random.” Not that I’m looking down on it. Back in my day, “random” was quite the buzzword as well. I remember showing up freshmen year in college and a guy from Alaska down the hall from me asked, “Why do you say ‘random’ so much?” And then a shroud of self-consciousness descended upon me, and I never uttered the word again. Until today. Random.
Anyway, let this discussion of the word “random” not temper my enthusiasm over meeting Jason’s grandparents. Would they be equally as vacuous? Would they have a similar penchant for patterned t-shirts? Would they communicate with an elaborate pattern of “Uhs” “Ums” “Yeah, no’s” and blank stares? Sadly, the answers to these questions would remain a mystery as Jason informed us that his grandparents would be out of town. Blast! Anyway, the kiddos walked into the house, or estate really, and damn if it didn’t make LC’s place look like a crappy outhouse. Then again, with its cold concrete lines and modern touches, the mansion kind of looked like a corporate headquarters instead. So take THAT, Jason’s grandparents!
Later, LC and Jason slipped into the hot tub and talked about the future, or as Jason calls it, “huh?” The topic of conversation was whether or not they could ever live far from the ocean. LC said NEVER, but Jason actually said yeah, he could. He then asked, “What’s an ocean?” Eventually though, he admitted, “I could live here forever.” Well, maybe you can visit Talan in the 7 Eleven.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the best part of the episode — possibly the season. Family time! Yes, with graduation day finally upon us, it was time to watch all the ‘Guna girls receive gifts from their parents and then scoff at their caps and gowns. First we caught up with Jessica who was stressing over what to wear. A red dress? A hot pink dress? This was all fine and dandy, but the big story here was that we got to see Jessica’s sister Diana. And let’s just say… she won’t be the star of any upcoming seasons.
With the dress dilemma threatening to grow into a full-scale crisis, Jessica then called up Roz who was so nervous, she was afraid she’d cry. Looks like Dr. Frasier Crane might need to sooth her frazzled nerves. Meanwhile, over at Kristin’s house, we met some girl named Blake (maybe a friend from Chicago) but more importantly, we finally saw her mom, Judith! Oh joyful day! Sorry, Will & Grace. You’ve been packing in the celebrity cameos for years now, but Laguna just outclassed you hardcore. Anyway, Kristin told her dad Dennis that she was feeling weird about graduating, but he calmed her by saying, “Well, we’ve all done it already.” EXCEPT TALAN.
Well, after giving Kristin a brand new BMW SUV last week, surely Dad’s graduation gift would be off da hook this week. Right? Would it be a laptop? A diamond necklace? An IRA? Well, get ready because Pops bought Kristin… a frying pan.
This is awkward.
[more crickets. Errant cough.]
Yes, Dennis gave Kristin a frying pan, and even though it was a random gift (and I say “random” totally without irony), I sort of liked the quirkiness of it. Plus, Dad was able to attach a hokey meaning to it by saying that now Kristin could cook up all sorts of things with her life. Unless, of course, she doesn’t know how to cook up things, which is not totally out of the realm of possibilities.
More exciting than this frying pan exchange, however, was that across town, we finally met Roz’s mom Lisa. I instantly liked her, mostly because she brought Roz into this world but also because she didn’t seem preoccupied with appearing 22 (paging Charlene Torriero — your Botox supplies are at the loading dock). Anyway, Lisa gave Roz a ring for graduation, and so began an overwhelming montage of gift-giving and parental cameos. First we went back to Jessica’s house where we met her dad Darrell (he gave her a ring too), and then it was off to Taylor’s place where stepdad Ken was busy giving her a necklace. Next stop was Casey-dilla’s pad where her über-Botoxed/face-lifted/collagen-injected tranny of a mother gave her daughter what else? Jewelry from Tiffany’s. This of course sent Casey squealing louder than that time Imelda served up gorditas with a side of pico de gallo. Next, we went back to Roz’s house and met her modest cousin Shannon, and then we traveled over to Alex M.’s house where we found her dad Craig, her step-sister Dominique, and her stepmom Annette. Who knew Alex M. had such an exotic household: Dominique and Annette? Sounds like the starring lineup for the latest midnight showing on Cinemax.
Sadly, Alex did not receive copious amounts of jewelry, but instead a trip to Spain for a month. As her jaw plummeted to the ground, we then headed off to Cedric’s house, but what’s this? The end of the parental gift-giving montage? Not fair! Yes, we were deprived of seeing Cedric’s parental units (I’m sure they’re just as goofy as he is), and instead we watched him sort through his clothing for the perfect graduation outfit. Luckily, Jason showed up to help out, and as he went in for the handshake with a little “What’s up, buddy?” Cedric pushed his hand away and full on embraced J. Wahl, quietly saying, “Cutie.” You think I’m making that up, but I’m not. Who needs Brokeback Mountain when you’ve got these two?
Anyway, Jason then stood by and advised Cedric on his outfit. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat disoriented. After all, wasn’t Jason the Master? Shouldn’t the sidekick have been watching him? This defies the very rules of the Sidekick/Master doctrine. Nevertheless, Cedric ultimately decided he was only going to wear boxers under his robe. He would have gone naked, but feared public embarrassment in case he became, uh, excited during the ceremony. Oh Ceddy. Fear not. Between all the teachers and the old people and the families and the boring roll call, there’s very little at a graduation worth getting aroused over. But then again, if Jason were to sit next to Cedric, and if their flesh should happen to mingle in a fleeting yet torrid moment, the erectile reaction might be more than anyone could ever handle. Better wear the boxers. And some duct tape.
We then popped over to Jessica’s house briefly, but long enough to see her mother who looks exactly like her, and then it was time to catch up with Taylor again. Dressed in a cap and gown, Tay-Tay had grown upset with this stunning departure from haute couture. “This hat is putting me in a bad mood,” she complained. Hat? How about mortarboard, or at the very least “cap.” Looks like Taylor was on the eighteen-year program also.
Nevertheless, Taylor feared that the gown made her look ugly, and while any parent would probably pipe up and say either, “Well, you’re beautiful regardless” or “Graduation is not about appearance,” Taylor’s mom instead advised, “You need to go extra sexy so it counteracts the potato-bag effect.” Way to go Mom!
Back at Casey’s mansion, our former beauty queen spurred her family on by emitting one of the oddest noises of her Laguna career. The clan headed off to the ceremony, and when they arrived, I couldn’t help thinking that Casey’s mom Kelly looked disturbingly like Ron Pearlman of Beauty and the Beast and Hellboy fame. Needless to say, that’s not a good look.
So many things going on in this picture: Casey’s Bill Gates-ish dad, her tranny mom, that weird girl in the foreground. This could be the next American Gothic.
Well, the moment we’d all been waiting for was upon us. Graduation. Graduation graduation graduation. Amazingly, a new Alex was thrown into the mix. Alex B. was the graduation speaker, and she had stunningly profound things to say: “If only everyone in the world had the chance to experience the beauty and uniqueness of living in Laguna Beach.” Oh, IF ONLY! Mental note: be sure to drive down to the ‘Guna this weekend and experience the beauty and uniqueness of it all. Anyway, Alex B. continued: “If only LBHS had a Starbucks on campus and valet parking. Then we probably wouldn’t have been so late to school so many times.” She then added, “And if only the lobster bisque weren’t always so lukewarm and if only we used two-ply toilet paper made from cash, not single ply. Then maybe some of us would learn something in class.”
Yay frying pans!
By the way, side note: way to dress up for your kids’s graduation, PARENTS. Every adult male was walking around without a tie, let alone a blazer. You’d think they were hunting around for a pickup round of golf — which they very well may have been.
Anyway, the next day, we caught up with Roz and Kristin as they soaked in the post-graduation experience. And poor Roz. I always thought she was the smart one, but either she’d secretly been on the eighteen year program or her brain had just been fried from all the activity. She could not, for the life of her, understand the expression, “The end of the beginning.”
“For like fifteen minutes, Jake was trying to explain to me what it meant, and I still have no idea. The end of the beginning. I really honestly don’t get it,” she said, her voice filled with equal parts puzzlement and alarm.
“I’m not going to explain it to you. I don’t have enough patience right now,” lashed back a giggling Kristin. For shame, Roz! You know better than to ask a Master to explain something. By the way, who can’t wait for the inevitable Kristin/Roz falling out? You know it’ll happen someday. Maybe not this season, and maybe not even on camera. But mark my words: it will happen.
With the whole “end of the beginning” thing blowing Roz’s mind, she then moved into less abstract territory: specifically, wondering whether or not the two of them would gain the freshman fifteen. “You will, I won’t,” shot back Kristin. Wow, she is testy tonight! Of course, the key to getting the freshman fifteen is actually making it through freshman year first, so let’s hope that works out, right? (Probably won’t).
Meanwhile, remember that peace luncheon at Casey’s house? Well, it was time to set that in motion. Alex, Taylor, and Morgan showed up at Casey’s mansion (which had been curiously decorated with giant sculptures from the Orient), and good news! “I made you guys lunch!” Casey proudly announced. And by “Made you guys lunch,” she meant, “I told Imelda to make us lunch!” Well, the girls all took a seat outside, and with awkward tension hanging in the air, Alex decided to make some of the most useless small talk of all time. “How cute is your table?” she asked, clearly hoping some idle furniture discussion might lighten the mood. Luckily Imelda came by to serve up Casey’s “homemade” lunch, and before we knew it, everyone was getting along like gangbusters. “Oh my gosh, you guys. This is sad,” bemoaned Casey as her Peace Luncheon came to an end. Yes, the only thing sadder would have been if Casey’s mom had sworn off Botox for the rest of her life.
As the show wound down for the night, we ended with the promise of a gossip-filled summer for our teens. LC and Jason walked along the beach and once again discussed their future plans, which for the most part involved moving to Los Angeles. “Been here long enough,” muttered LC in the understatement of the episode. We then cut to possibly a different day and time altogether as Roz greeted Jessica and Kristin on the beach with a happy, “Heeey bitches!” Sure enough, Rozzy had the full scoop about Jason and LC, causing heads to turn and jaws to drop — especially Jessica’s. “Jason is weird with girls,” commented Kristin. “Like he doesn’t show any emotion or act like he even likes any of them.” She then added, “Plus he’s always talking about Judy Garland and dancing to Madonna. I just don’t get it.”
Well, let the gossips say what they want. The show ended with Jason and his gal strolling along the beach. “I love Lauren,” Jason said, curiously unaware that Lauren was right there. Oh, I shouldn’t make fun of him. Differentiating between the second and third person is very difficult. It’s an art that only the sharpest of kindergartners can master.
What did you think? How random was this graduation? Was it totally standard?