TV Article

Seventeen Candles

On ''Laguna Beach,'' Kyndra shows up to sneer at Tessa's birthday party and continues to stalk Jessica's boyfriend

THE DARK FORCE OF THE SNIDE Kyndra staged a walkout before they even sang ''Happy Birthday''
THE DARK FORCE OF THE SNIDE Kyndra staged a walkout before they even sang ''Happy Birthday''

''Laguna Beach'': Party time

Okay, Tessa's kind of growing on me. Granted, it's through no overwhelmingly admirable quality of her own — she's still pretty much Generic Cute Nice High School Girl. But the more I see of Cami and Kyndra's indiscriminate horribleness, the more I want to give all the other girls on screen points just for not being devil spawn. That, and I get all gushy when Tessa gets all gushy around Chase. Hell, I get a little gushy around Chase. That rock-star thing, man. They don't even have to be stars yet for us girls to fall prey to it. I see mussy hair and stubble and a guitar, and suddenly I'm a quivering puddle. Tessa, sweets, I feel your pain. How could a girl be just friends with that?

And of course, Tessa did what any self-respecting gal does in this situation: She rationalized her feelings away, scoffing, ''Who wants to date a rock star?'' (Answer: Everyone. See above.) You know what really does get me with this girl? She's got the kind of face that registers every scrap of emotion. She can pretend she isn't crazy in love with Chase, but that pain that flitted across her brow when she thought he was too busy to celebrate her forthcoming birthday with her gave her way the heck away.

Kyndra, of course, does not have that problem, as she does not appear to have...what do you call them?...yes, feelings. She does, however, have — OMG! — a mom. ''That's a pretty hot outfit for not having a date,'' Mom teased as Kyndra scurried around prepping for Cameron's arrival. (I wonder if Mom knew about their little sleepover from last week.)

Turns out Jessica has a mom, too, though I actually had to rewind my DVR to check that because Mrs. Jessica looks about 19 years old. I seriously thought she was some random new friend who came on the scene to lecture Jess about continuing to let guys step all over her. (BTW: Who else was stunned to learn that Jessica skipped a grade? Maybe it's the relative emotional immaturity that makes her such a disastrous judge of guy character.) Anyway, Mom No. 2 made a good point: ''Didn't you learn anything from Kristin?'' Given that we were about to cut to Cameron on a date with Kyndra (did he not even bother to take her to a different sushi place from that Jessica date?), I'd say the implied answer was: Uh, no. She did not learn a damn thing from Kristin's genius.

Anyway, the real matter at hand in this episode was the surprise birthday party Rocky was throwing for Tessa. Kyndra was inexplicably invited despite that total bitchiness extravaganza at her party last week — this whole set-up is the kind of thing that would happen on a scripted teen drama and seem totally unbelievable. Like, hello, nice girls, just stop inviting the mean girls and you won't have to deal with them. Anyway, cheers to that, because it brings us brilliant exchanges like the following discussion about receiving the confetti-filled invitation in the mail:

Kyndra: I was like, great, like, thank you, I hate confetti. And it said, like, ''Rollin' Rocky's Birthday Party'' or...

Cami: If you ever tried to pull something like ''Kyndra's Kooky Castle for Cami's 17th Birthday,'' I'd be like, okay, bitch, no.

So seriously, why is it that there's a fight over Cameron and not Chase? Because, really, he was all kinds of hot at Tessa's bash. ''We wouldn't do this for anyone but her,'' he said into the mike as the band opened their party set. And the one song we got to hear a chunk of wasn't half bad, if a little standard-alt-rock. Him singing it shirtless probably helped. Cami and Kyndra were so totally out, by the way, before the crowd even got to sing ''Happy Birthday'' — they were very much not into someone else being the center of attention, it seemed.

The queen bees didn't know what to do with themselves the next day except make really super-extra-catty comments. (Sample from Cami: ''Raquel, just some of her outfit choices, like, do you have a mirror?'') So score this round for Tessa. Even if later that day, Chase was cutting their dinner short when, after getting a cell-phone call, he announced, ''I gotta go. The band needs me.'' Seriously, dude? What exactly constitutes a mediocre-teenage-band emergency? No, really, someone tell me. I want to know.

What do you think? How are the characters shaping up? Do you think the producers had something to do with the enemies' getting invited to the various parties? And do you think Chase has a clue about Tessa's feelings?

Originally posted Aug 24, 2006
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