10 Important Life Lessons From Laguna Beach & The Hills

Photo: BEImages/Gregory Pace.
The O.C. was an instant sensation when it premiered in August 2003. It also raised an important question: Who were these entitled teens basking in the sun and surf in California? Were they based on a blessed community of people who actually exist? Yes, that they were.
MTV heard our silent prayer and answered our questions when Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County premiered 10 years ago. It all started with “A Black and White Affair.” The first episode established the show’s central love triangle (Lauren a.k.a. “L.C.,” Stephen, and Kristin) and how the residents of Laguna spent their time (hanging out at each other’s houses, planning swanky theme parties, attending said affairs, and then meeting up to recap what happened the night before).
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Laguna Beach was untrod territory for reality shows. Cast members weren’t competing to survive on an island or become America’s next singing sensation. It’s closest relative was MTV’s other stalwart franchise, The Real World. However, on Laguna, the characters weren’t all trapped in a house and forced to interact with one another. Here, the camera acted as an omniscient observer, letting the drama unfold in a way that’s both compelling and mesmerizing. Hence, the enduring popularity of MTV's rebroadcasts as part of its RetroMTV programming block.
As the show progressed and spun off into The Hills and The City, cast members became tabloid fixtures. Producers chose not to include their increasing level of fame in the show, so the “reality” aspect became more and more implausible. Regardless, Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti, and their friends from Laguna Beach are all real people. Watching them live their lives in sunny California taught us some important lessons about our own. These are just a few of them — the rest is still unwritten.
1 of 10
Friendship is about quality, not quantity.
Well said, L.C.
2 of 10
Life is short. Don’t sugarcoat words.
Say what you want about Lauren Conrad, but she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. Even if it means losing a close friend to Spencer Pratt.
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3 of 10
Always get the last word.
This is where Lauren Conrad really excelled. When it comes to confrontations, she’s basically a master of wise platitudes that send people groveling. The lesson? If you're not able to get the last word, at least get the most memorable one.
4 of 10
A cheater can spot another cheater.
“He's cheating on you! Take it from someone who used to cheat on her boyfriend. Those are signs of him cheating,” Kristin insisted to Jessica. Sometimes friends need a little tough love.
5 of 10
Go to Paris.
When Teen Vogue wants to send you to Paris, please take them up on that offer. Even if you don’t like free trips to France, you will forever be known as “the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” Don’t be that girl. (Also, who doesn’t like free trips to France?)
6 of 10
Why speak when long, silent stares say so much more?
No Doubt sings, “Don’t speak; I know just what you’re saying.” Ronan Keating croons, “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Everyone on Laguna Beach and The Hills took this lyrical advice to heart — possibly a little too much. Lauren and Jason spent entire dinners with the camera panning back and forth between the two of them as they sat silently, staring each other down, words never emerging from the trespass of their lips. They were just that telepathically in sync; no words were needed.

Actually, in an interesting piece of behind-the-scenes intel, Lo Bosworth explained that those pointed stares were just sound checks. Illusion shattered.
7 of 10
Chicks before well, you know.
Lauren and Heidi’s relationship crumbled because the latter chose Spencer over her friendship with Lauren — a decision she later regretted when Heidi found herself friendless.
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8 of 10
Never underestimate the power of beauty products.
Oh, young Lauren. So matter-of-fact in your proclamations.
9 of 10
Let bygones be bygones.
At a certain point (here, Heidi and Spencer's wedding), let the past be the past so you can get on with the present.
10 of 10
Pets are a lot of responsibility.
Maybe some people aren't ready to care for one.
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