Jennifer Armstrong
September 14, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Laguna Beach”: Cameron plays the field

So Tessa and Cameron, huh? Wow, didn’t see that coming. Well, I saw it coming because I watched the ”next on Laguna Beach” scenes at the end of last week’s show, but otherwise, wow. We either skipped a bunch of time in between episodes here, or this was way out of the blue. Sort of like many things this season, but we’ll get to that in a sec.

First, I’d like to say that Jessica is growing more endearing, if also more pathetic, by the minute. Her gym routine killed me. ”Twelve pounds? Isn’t that like a lot of pounds?” Topped only by: ”I don’t know how to gym. I don’t like the gym. I don’t gym.” I was really loving her sorta-clueless, sorta-cute routine — till Cameron started lifting weights and I lost my train of thought, anyway.

Oh, yeah, about everything this season coming out of nowhere. They keep making me feel like perhaps I’ve missed episodes, or an entire explanatory season, with their obtuse, elliptical comments. All of a sudden we’re in a living room chatting with Chase and Tessa, wherein Tessa expresses nervousness about an upcoming event, and says she’s going to San Diego, and makes reference to something called ASR, to which she hasn’t been since she got sick (an event alluded to several times now, and still not explained to my satisfaction). Not to mention that she’d assembled the most random group of people to accompany her: Rocky and Rocky’s boyfriend, of course, but also Cameron and some dude named Nick.

Turns out this Nick character is Cameron’s heretofore hidden playa enabler. ”You’re over Jessica,” he said as they drove down to San Diego. ”You gotta cut that loose.” Suddenly Cameron turned into a page from Men Who Love Too Much as they further discussed the basically nonexistent terms of that relationship: ”She doesn’t treat me good enough to make that kind of commitment.” Look, I support a high school stud’s right to live it up as much as anyone, but, um, huh? Seriously? Just tell the girl you don’t want to be her boyfriend, and stop making a fool of her on freaking national television.

When everyone arrived down in the S.D., it was revealed that cute Tessa was participating in some clothing-modeling situation. During which Nick observed, astutely, ”Tessa’s really unique looking.” And Cameron responded, sensitively, ”She’s hot.” We learned later, since we’re apparently all about the revelation of information we could’ve honestly used a little earlier, that Cameron and Tessa used to date. Actually, we didn’t even learn that. We surmised that from a mysterious exchange between the two of them about, you know, that month, during that summer, which was good.

Speaking of good, though, that Cameron is a master of smoothosity, with the casual caresses of Tessa and the flirty-but-noncommittal compliments and the implication to the waiter at dinner that he may or may not have a crush on her. And, gee, what’s that? You say he hasn’t called Jessica back at home yet? Shocking.

Poor Jess was out with Alex H. in Laguna detailing the traits her ”perfect man” would have, which she said would be ”a list of like 70,000 things” but turned out to really just be like 5 things, many of which applied to Cameron. Except the ”someone who’s like polite and respectful,” though Jessica seemed to believe that also described Cameron. And apparently Alex H. did as well, because she cooed, ”I think you guys are like destined to be together.” If we have not all learned a valuable lesson about how our friends enable our romantic dysfunctions, then this Laguna Beach episode is for naught. And God forbid a Laguna Beach episode should be for naught.

Naturally, Mr. Polite and Respectful was in a hotel bed making out with Tessa by then. And the next morning, Tessa was gushing, ”I like him so much. I had a lot of fun with him last night. I think I’ll do it again.”

And where was Cameron as soon as he returned home? On the beach with Jessica, being all kinds of sketchy about, like, everything. The worst part: She so totally knows what he’s doing. The girl’s intuition is practically knocking her out cold. ”How was Tessa?” she asked. ”Did you hook up with Tessa?” She thinks she’s paranoid and crazy, but she’s actually smart. What was that we learned about her skipping a grade? Oh, Jessica.

What do you think? Did we miss some explanatory scenes, or does the show need to provide a little more background information? Will Cameron choose Tessa or Jessica, or neither? And if does choose Tessa, is that a good thing?

You May Like