30 Things We Noticed When We Watched the Laguna Beach Premiere 15 Years Later

The iconic MTV reality hit premiered 15 years ago, with lots of questionable fashion, potentially illegal underage activities and more

By Tierney Bricker Sep 28, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Watch: "Laguna Beach" Cast Plays "Real or Fake" Game

Welcome to the real O.C., b--ch!

So that line is from The O.C., but it really applies to Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, MTV's reality hit that premiered in 2004, following the lives of a small group of seniors and juniors in the small town of Laguna Beach, Calif. 

In death's latest reminder of your mortality, Laguna Beach premiered 15 years ago today (Sept. 28), introducing the world to the infamous love triangle of Lauren Conrad (aka L.C.), Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti, a romantic feud that would go on to become so popular that Hollister would sell Team LC and Team Kristin t-shirts.

Laguna Beach would go on to have two more seasons (true fans don't count season three as canon, let's be real) and an even more successful spinoff when it followed LC to The Hills, and it really does capture such a specific moment in American teen culture, from the fashion to the lingo to the questionable antics. 

The Hills & Laguna Beach: Where Are They Now?

In honor of Laguna Beach's 15th anniversary, we decided to rewatch the pilot, titled "A Black & White Affair," to see how it holds up in 2019. Our findings? Shocking.

Prepare for nostalgia overload...

Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

1. First things first: Respect must be paid to the iconic theme song, one of TV's best ever, with Hilary Duff's "Coming Clean." Just perfection.

2. Here's a quick rundown of how Lauren introduces the regular cast: Lo Bosworth is first, with Lauren explaining, "No matter how crazy it got this year, I could always count on Lo." (Oh, how true that would be on The Hills. Foreshadowing?!)

Christina Schuller is "the reverend's daughter. No really, she is!" Morgan Smith is summed up by her goal which is "to save herself for the right guy." Trey Phillips is "the serious one" but also has the "best party house" in Laguna. Get you a high schooler who can do both!

The lone male junior, Talan Torriero has "hooked up with most of the girls in our school. Twice." And Kristin, Lauren's mortal enemy, is "another junior" who "think she's hot. OK, I guess she is. But she can't stand me."

And Stephen, of course, is the reason why.

3. How Lauren introduces herself she will likely regret for years to come, since she has since shed the infamous "L.C." nickname: "I'm Lauren. My friends call me LC. I've always been the nice girl, but this year, I realized sometimes you just have to go after what you want."

4. Our first scene ever is LC, Lo, Christina and Morgan planning the latest theme party for the gang over Starbucks drinks and chips and salsa. They've already done G.I. Joe and Army Hoes, Trophy Wives and Aristocrats...so they need something major, something fancy: "We could make it like a black and white cocktail hour?" the group of 17 and 18-year-olds decide. This episode of TV would lead to an implosion of theme parties in high schools and colleges across the country. 

5. Lauren's sunglasses are peak 2014.


6. "Surprise, b--ch!" Alex's sunnies proving to be even more 2014. 

7. Said group of teens think the best place to throw this even is at a hotel, which would be "so rad." 

8. We forgot Stephen worked at the Surf shop! You know, people thought of all of the kids on this show as spoiled rich kids—which...yeah—but not all of them were super-wealthy. Stephen had a part-time job and drove a beat-up SUV, as did Kristin, whose dad actually worked for LC's at the time. 

9. Low-rise jeans. WHY DID WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? 


10. Can you believe French tips (aka the prom manicure) is coming back in style? (For our thoughts on this resurgence, please look to the unfortunate face K-Cav is making in the crappy still we screen-grabbed.)


Editor: "So this kid is just a friend of the cast, but not a castmember...what should we call him?"


Editor: "So these kids are underage but this kid is holding a beer bottle. Should we blur it out?" 


13. Justice for Dieter Schmitz, forever Chyron-ed as Stephen's wingman even when he was in every single episode of the first two seasons, dated one of the main cast members in season two (the reason she was even in the group!), and served as Lauren's confidant and support system. We repeat: Justice. For. Dieter.


14. That being said, his first conversation on the show is about wanting to go "bubble-bathing" aka hotel-hopping to fill their Jacuzzi's with bubble bath soap, not thinking of the employees that will have to deal with. A necessary reminder that teenagers are a--holes. 

15. Consider all of your illusions officially shattered about palm trees in California, thanks to the construction team working on Lauren's new house. 


16. "This reminds me of the houses on The OC!" Stephen says of Lauren's new house. How meta!

17. "Our town is so small. We need a new girl. I'm sick of hooking up with the same girl." Talan says this to Kristin, the girl he is hooking up with. A necessary reminder that teenage boys are a--holes. 

18. Jan, the manager at the Surf & Sand Resort, is totally down with renting a suite ($700 for the night, which "sounds fabulous" to Lo), because they promise not to have a dance party and Lo says they are "trustworthy." Has the "Sure, Jan" meme ever been so necessary?

19. Scientific fact: ever girl who grew up in the early aughts had this Abercrombie & Fitch polo in every color and likely wore 2-3 with the collars popped at a time. 


20. Excuse us while we have PSTD over seeing this choker on Kristin that we are all guilty of cutting tights to recreate. 


22. Here is Stephen's assessment of his romantic dilemma: "Kristin's like a really good girl to hook up with and have fun with, that's why I'm so amped. We can just have so much fun. But coming down to boyfriend-girlfriend stuff, Lauren would be a better girl." A necessary reminder that teenage boys are a--holes. Stephen Colletti, the OG f--kboy?

23. When Stephen picks up Kristin from her house for their date, he just yells inside to her off-screen dad, "See ya, Dennis!" Can you imagine calling your boyfriend or girlfriend or friends' parents by their first name in high school? The audacity!

24. Kristin is wearing a turtleneck, denim mini-skirt (with a wide-ass belt not put through the loops) and Uggs in June in Southern California.  Kristin Cavallari, the OG basic b--ch?


25. Christina uses a three-barrel curling iron to crimp her hair for their fancy party.

26. Flip phones, y'all. 


27. Jessica Smith, aka season two's resident troublemaker whom Jason Wahler would cheat on LC with, actually makes her uncredited debut in the series premiere. Little did we know...

28. Ditto Jen Bunney, Lauren's one-time good friend who would go on to infamously betray her by hooking up with Brody Jenner behind her back on The Hills


29. The final exchange of the episode would go on to represent basically Lauren's entire Laguna Beach journey when it came to her love life. After Stephen leaves with Kristin, Lauren sighs, "I'm so bummed right now," to which random, unnamed dude at party responds to with, "Skinny dip sesh, later!"

30. At the beginning of the episode, Lauren says in a voice-over that she is really going to miss her friends when they all go off to college and expresses fears over them all drifting apart. 15 years later, she's still close with most of the LB gang, even though most of them left their small beach town.

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