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How ‘Siesta Key’ Is Different Than ‘Laguna Beach’

Laguna Beach round two? Not exactly. Mark Ford, one of the producers behind MTV’s Siesta Key, compared the new series to the show that made Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari famous in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly.

The main difference? The cast is in a different chapter of their lives. “I think a life moves a lot faster now than it did back in the Laguna Beach days. We didn’t really have social media and Instagram and all the different pressures that come from that. And also these kids are older. The Laguna kids were — when we started I think 16 through 19. These kids are 19 through 23. It is a different time in life and they are moving a little bit faster then those Laguna kids were, which is really good for television,” Ford tells Us.

Siesta Key
The cast of ‘Siesta Key.’ MTV

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“They all grew up together. That’s what intrigued us. That’s what we loved about Laguna Beach and what we don’t like about other reality concepts. You really want an organic group of friends that know each other, understand each other and know the ins and outs of each other’s lives,” he adds. “That just deepens their connections and their relationships in a way that I think makes it relatable to real kids who grow up with those same friends and you reach that point in life where you are graduating college and everything is sort of up in the air. Like, ‘Am I going to live here the rest of my life? Are these going to be my friends as I move into adulthood? Are we changing? Are those old feelings coming back?’”

Secondly, the series will focus on the stars’ families more. For instance, parents won’t just be making a quick appearance to hand over graduation gifts.

“Because the drama is an hour supposed to a half hour we’re really able to digs into these kids’ lives in a deeper way compared to say Laguna Beach,” Ford explains. “Of course there is going to be the fun intrigue of who’s dating who and who’s in love with who and who’s breaking whose heart — there’s plenty of that. But there is also a lot of really relatable drama around one of the cast members’ parents who are going through a divorce. Another cast members’ mom is dealing with a chronic illness. So we are seeing how these kids are dealing with this time of life when adult decisions are hitting them in the face really hard. They are trying to stretch their childhood as far as they can but life is coming at them really fast. It’s going to be a really fun, drama-filled series but there is a lot of heart in the series as well.”

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Still, there are some obvious similarities with the cast, which includes Garrett, Kelsey, Chloe, Alex, Juliette, Brandon and Madisson. There will be love triangles and frenemies galore.

Laguna Beach
Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti, Lauren Conrad and other cast members of MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” on July 26, 2004. Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

“What it shares with Laguna Beach is the beautiful, idyllic backdrop and the idea of coming-of-age with your friends and dealing with that,” he says. “[Audiences] can definitely expect love triangles. They can maybe expect love quadrangles. There is a lot of organic, real relationship drama that unfolds.”

As for villains? “There’s not a specific villain. One thing that was always great about Laguna Beach is that you kind of can’t bullsh-t your friends. When you are around them you are who you are. Because they’ve known you your entire lives,” he says, before adding: “I wouldn’t say there is one villain, no. But there might be a few!”

Ford and fellow producer Kevin Lopez were first introduced to the concept by a producer in Florida. They pitched the show to MTV in March and began filming the next month.

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“We’ve actually thought that this type of show has been missing from TV for a while,” Ford tells Us. “We feel like the landscape of television has kind of left it wide open, especially in the unscripted space.”

And they immediately realized that they may have another hit on their hands. “The big event that is in the first episode with Alex’s birthday. And he has a huge party and emotions came out so organically where the relationships became so clear to us and so relatable. That was probably day three of filming and I think we knew right there that we had a cast that could carry this. That were comfortable in their skins, were very open emotionally about their feelings and they are also incredibly gorgeous,” Ford says. “That combination doesn’t come along very often and I think we all producers felt from the beginning that we had lightning in a bottle.”

Siesta Key airs Mondays on MTV at 10 p.m. ET.

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