On the ‘Beach’: Reality TV as a hybrid - East Valley Tribune: News

On the ‘Beach’: Reality TV as a hybrid

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Posted: Monday, November 14, 2005 1:06 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Unlike most college students, Melissa Bowery lives for Mondays. The Arizona State University junior says she is addicted to MTV’s "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," a reality series centered around a group of wealthy high school students.

The show’s second-season finale will air commercial-free tonight. Bowery says she’s looking forward to seeing how the hybrid drama/reality show will play out for Laguna’s brat pack.

"I’m consumed by the show,’’ the 20-year-old Tempe resident says as she sips a soda in ASU’s Memorial Union. "My friends and I are completely addicted. We get together Tuesday mornings before class and talk about

how much of a jerk Jason is or how much of a (expletive) Kristin is.’’

Bowery is referring to Jason Wahler and Kristin Cavalleri, who she says are two of the show’s most talked-about characters in her circle.

"I can’t stand Jason,’’ chimes in Jennifer Reynolds, an ASU senior who is sitting at a nearby table. "He’s such a cheater. I don’t understand why girls

continue to fall for him!’’

Like Bowery, Reynolds says she’s addicted to the show.

"I used to be really into ‘The Real World,’ but the Austin season is pretty boring this year,’’ she says. "Every week something juicy happens on ‘Laguna Beach.’ There’s boyfriend-stealing, petty girl fights and lots of eye candy.’’

BLOWING UP

"Laguna Beach" has become MTV’s most-buzzedabout show. According to the network, the program’s second season reached more than 83 million viewers through its 16 weeks, and it is the mostwatched program in its time slot.

The show was recently picked up for a third season, and it has spawned a similar series, "8th & Ocean," which will tell the story of 10 male and female models who live in a beachfront apartment complex in Miami’s South

Beach. ‘‘8th & Ocean’’ is scheduled to air next year.

"Laguna Beach" has even transformed its cast into young Hollywood stars.

Cavalleri, the show’s breakout performer, is set to appear in the film "88 Minutes," alongside Robert DeNiro and "The O.C.’s" Benjamin McKenzie, next year.

Cast member Talan Torriero is rumored to be a past flame of Lindsay Lohan’s. And cast member Stephen Coletti has been making the rounds in Hollywood clubs with "The Real World: Las Vegas" reality queen Trishelle Cannatella.

TESTS OF TALENT TO COME

With the success of the show, it’s only natural that the cast would become stars, Reynolds says. "They’re in all the magazines,’’ she says. "They’re rock stars in their own right, but it still remains to be seen whether or not they have any real talent. I guess we’ll see when Kristin’s movie comes out. That will probably be the first real test of talent.’’

And if she fails?

"She can always ride the reality wave,’’ Reynolds says. "There’s always ‘The Surreal Life!’ ’’

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