Previously on The SF Appeal, we discussed the seminal sex romp movie: 40 Days and 40 Nights. This week, we look towards television:
Last week, MTV finally did us all a huge favor and spared us another season of their too-long running scripted reality show, The Hills starring Academy of Art dropout Lauren Conrad along with a rotating cast of farm animals and bags of sand wearing designer sunglasses. While I would love to wax poetic on what a huge step forward the end of this show was for American culture, our focus here is on San Francisco and how much fun it is to spot familiar streets on television. With that in mind, let’s talk about that time LC decided she couldn’t hack it in Fog Town. And for that, we’ll need to travel back to the land before LA: Laguna Beach.
Avid hate-watchers will remember that, long before these innocent (ha!) young ladies started getting yelled at by Kelly Cutrone and hanging out at Les Deux in Hollywood, they were once in high school in “The Real Orange County.” The show was intended to be the reality TV answer to The O.C., but actually turned out to be much worse. Mostly because of the soundtrack, but also because no one should have to be filmed as they go through those awkward transitions at age 17 where they assume they are suddenly a full-grown adult just because they graduated from High School and have a job at the surf shop.
Most importantly though, the end of Laguna Beach‘s first season was an important step for Lauren, as she flew off to Academy of Art University right here in our own hometown. Meanwhile her childhood friend, Stephen Colletti, packed his surfboard in the back of his pickup and hauled ass up the 5 to attend SF State. (And, presumably, because this show would be even more empty without someone for Lauren to talk to.)
As with everything in a post-Real World/Road Rules Challenge-era MTV, the editing is where is the magic happens. By taking a look at how the producers chose to piece together bits and pieces of San Francisco, we can gain some valuable (not really) insight into how the rest of the country sees us. It’s a kind of cultural version of, “Does this make me look fat?”
And we do look fat. Or not us really, the tourists. Because when you’ve only got 30 seconds to show viewers around the majesty of San Francisco, you end up with a kind of condensed version of that San Francisco tour DVD that they sell at the Walgreens at Powell and Sutter:
(I hope you’ll pardon the blurry screencaps, MTV only gives me streaming online episodes to work with.)
Aside from some establishing shots of the signs outside of SF State and Academy of Art, that’s all we have to get our bearings. (Although, let’s be honest, by conservative estimate there are about 9 billion Academy of Art signs in this city, so that’s not very helpful.)
And as if that weren’t enough to make a point about lazy producers on a lazy show about lazy people, it turns out they’re not even very good at their jobs. Take these two back-to-back shots:
To be fair, these guys went to Editing school, not Bridge Identifying School and at one point they did expertly match-cut a shot of an airplane with a shot of a seagull. I hope they won an award for that.
But in the end (or rather the beginning of Laguna Beach: Season 2: Son of a Beach: The Kristin Cavallari Show) we learn that LC finished out her first semester only to transfer to a community college closer to home. Why she decided to do that we may never know. (It was money, they paid her.) To make matters worse, the Internet tells me that the only thing to come out of LC’s single term at Academy of Art was a new friendship with aforementioned sack of sand: Heidi Montag.
So, just like last week, the rest of the country is actually somewhat justified in blaming San Francisco for the continued downfall of American Youth culture. (Although, we didn’t give her the Triple-F boobjob, that’s on you Los Angeles.)
Got a suggestion for SF-based movies and TV shows? Leave ’em in the comments. We’ll be here every week, or at least until the big one hits and we fall into the ocean.