Metaconsumption, Convergence and Stylization in the “Real” Teens of Laguna Beach

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Author: Myles Ethan Lascity, Chestnut Hill College, USA
Email: lascitym@chc.edu
Published: August 17, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.5.1.05

Citation: Lascity, M. E. (2018). Metaconsumption, Convergence and Stylization in the "Real" Teens of Laguna Beach. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 5(5). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.5.1.05


Abstract

Despite its name, the shows making up the reality TV genre are well-known for being “real” in only the loosest sense. Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004-2006) followed teens through the end of their high school careers, as they attend prom, graduated and prepared to embark on college. The MTV series was constructed as a “real” foil to the popular scripted drama, The O.C. Unlike shows that set out a premise – from The Real World’s “seven strangers picked to live in a house” to the competition-focused Survivor, Big Brother and The Bachelor Laguna Beach portrayed itself as real and, in doing do, blurred the lines of real and fiction.

This article interrogates the role of stylized consumption within the “real” world of Laguna Beach to argue the show blurred reality through consumption of relatable cultural products, including The O.C. This article argues that consumption within the show was key to making the teens relatable and realistic. From there, the television practices take on a new dimension by allowing routine teen events to be stylized and dramatized yet still read, ultimately, as real.

Keywords

consumption, convergence, Laguna Beach, reality television, social construction