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What Made "The O.C." Great, Bitch
February 3, 2013 7:30 AM   Subscribe

What Made "The O.C." Great, Bitch
posted by infini (22 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
At UC Berkeley, Peter Gallagher's role on the show has been immortalized by the Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship, which supports law students working in the Orange County public defender's office. This is something that exists in real life.
Oh hell yes.

However, I have to disagree with the article - the final season was the best season, where they all learned that there was more than the O.C. out there. That what they thought was home was just a fragile badly built Newport Group McMansion model home that falls apart at the first earthquake.

And that last episode, with that stupid ridiculous montage where everyone gets what they want, yeah, it still makes me a little sniffly.

And Ryan/Taylor forever, bitch.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:46 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't call it that.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:07 AM on February 3, 2013 [16 favorites]


I can get that everyone has their own personal cult TV show that either ended up crashing and burning or was cancelled before it really got a chance to find its audience. (I still mourn the latter fate of Special Unit 2.) I didn't think that this article really helped non-fans understand what made The O.C. special, though, aside from noting its indie soundtrack and the fact that Ira Glass was a fan, and that it was somewhat self-referential. "The Joys And Derangement Of "F Troop"" did a better job in that respect.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:15 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I kind of love how the ended it - surprised they didn't talk about that more. What an awesome show that transcended the type of thing it was supposed to be. When Marissa picked up that gun? Ack! So cool.

They never showed the characters as being able to deal with the things that happened - and therefore, the show was unable to move on either. It's like many damaged adults, who still carry the pain of first loves.
posted by agregoli at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure The O.C. was where I first heard The Killers.
posted by young sister beacon at 8:18 AM on February 3, 2013


" . . . [Seth] does not become more like the other characters, but they become like him, even adopting his hyper-fast and ultra-quirky speech patterns. " . . . which they fail to mention were undoubtedly inspired by his stint on the Gilmore Girls. I suspect GG helped inspire the use of the indie soundtrack, as well.
posted by MeiraV at 8:25 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just realized that I live in the area where The Real Housewives of O.C. are, and I teach in the area where The O.C. was set... I think my world perspective is probably a little skewed...

When I was in high school I pumped gas at a station in Newport (we were one of the last full-service stations in OC, because rich people), and what I learned was that people who own the really, really expensive cars pump their own gas. Cadillac? No problem: pump the gas, wash the window, check the oil. Ferrari or Lambo? Stay away, greasy high-school kid. Which makes sense, really.

The other local station sells 100 octane gasoline now, for like $9/gallon or something.
posted by Huck500 at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2013


Ah, so The OC is basically the rich dad/poor dad version of Gilmore Girls?
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:46 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


an O.C. post!!? i will hold nothing back in declaring my undying love for this show. well, pre-Marissa death second-circle-core nonsense.

I identified with Seth. same nerdy jewish outsider personna. we even share part of a name. same taste in music. when he professed his love for Death Cab For Cutie early on (it certainly would be ridiculous to talk about this show without talking about the music), I definitely 'oh-look-I-died'. same need to attach to the more popular and outspoken friend. and Seth really was the center of the show, being Josh Schwartz' ostensible avatar.

it never recovered from losing Marissa. it tried to limp forth after losing that limb, but it turned out to be a fatal wound.

oh, and to anyone who didn't see the big reveal on Gossip Girl (another Josh Schwartz show) coming from a mile away probably hadn't seen The O.C.. Dan Humphrey was Seth Cohen. again, the avatar. even the same caring, handsome father married to the uptight blonde mother.
posted by ninjew at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


well, pre-Marissa death second-circle-core nonsense.

I dare you to say that to Pancake's face.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


it never recovered from losing Marissa. it tried to limp forth after losing that limb, but it turned out to be a fatal wound.

On the contrary, Marissa was the anchor holding down the show in a mire of narcissistic angst. Once they got through an episode or two of people dealing with her loss, it got on to the things I actually liked about the show, like Ryan and Seth's friendship and Julie Cooper being ridiculous. And everything else being ridiculous.

The fourth season is really a delight. It was basically wish fulfillment for the fans who liked what I liked about the show.
posted by Copronymus at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


My girlfriend is from Orange County and the first time I visited her family I think I was a little surprised that reality didn't map up to the vision of ~*~the OC~*~ I had constructed as a high school freshman in the midwest watching the show on television. I mean I knew it was fake, but I think it secretly hoping it was real. Or real-er.

Then I realized that reality was even better, because Arrested Development is a documentary.
posted by dismas at 10:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the contrary, Marissa was the anchor holding down the show in a mire of narcissistic angst. Once they got through an episode or two of people dealing with her loss, it got on to the things I actually liked about the show, like Ryan and Seth's friendship and Julie Cooper being ridiculous. And everything else being ridiculous.
Word. I never like Marissa, either. Her departure from the show was 2 seasons too long in coming.

The O.C. was at the root of my one star-struck celebrity encounter. It was Thanksgiving of 2004, and I couldn't afford to take time off of work to drive 800 miles to see my family, and was too poor to fly, so I had Thanksgiving all on my own in my tiny, 400 sqft studio apartment in Austin. I was a huge The O.C. fan so my plan for the day was to cook myself a bunch of my favorite foods and gorge on the first season DVD set that had just come out, which I had borrowed from a friend. At about 11:00 am, I realized I had forgotten a crucial ingredient for my meal, so I went out to the neighborhood grocery store. On my way in, I passed a dude on his way out who looked familiar, but I couldn't quite place him. (This was really common for me at the time--I had graduated from UT the previous year, and *everyone* in Austin under the age of 30 or so looked familiar to me. I had probably seen them on my bus route, or they lived on my hall freshman year, or I sat in a lecture hall near them, etc etc, or they just had that young, urban Austinite look). It took me a minute to realize that it was Ben McKenzie, who of course, was from Austin. I took 30 seconds to hyperventilate in the floral section of the grocery store, then rushed back out into the parking lot to see if he was still there, but alas, he was gone. I was left with the one sidelong look I had had at him, and the realization that he was a shorter than he seemed on TV, of course.

I can't believe this show isn't on Netflix or Hulu streaming. I'm guessing that it has to do with the music rights.
posted by donajo at 10:41 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Once they got through an episode or two of people dealing with her loss, it got on to the things I actually liked about the show, like Ryan and Seth's friendship and Julie Cooper being ridiculous. And everything else being ridiculous.

Seriously true.
The show needed a whole lot more Cohen's and a whole lot less Marissa.
Personally, I think the show went off the rails when they killed off the under-used Alan Dale (as Caleb Nichol).
posted by madajb at 1:08 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried so hard to hate this show when friends watched it, but I secretly loved it. I think it's time to come out of that closet and finish the series.
posted by Grandysaur at 4:48 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't believe this show isn't on Netflix or Hulu streaming.

The first two seasons were on Hulu 2-3 years ago because that was my only experience with the show. (Indirectly, I was always vaguely annoyed with it existing because of its removal of a key character from Gilmore Girls just as Lane Kim was getting to finally have an awesome rock and roll love life.) Hulu has changed a lot since then, and the days of 2 seasons of random shows I never watched when they first broadcast seem to be in the past.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2013


The first season of The OC is wonderful, fabulous, fantastic. Easily stands with the best of teen drama: season one of Friday Night Lights, season one of Veronica Mars, season two of Buffy. That the show fell so far, so fast in season two seems to be par for the course with Josh Schwartz; Gossip Girl suffered the same fate. I don't know if he gets bored or just runs out of plot or what.

There were three things early in the first season that really sold me on the show. One is mentioned in the article: in the second episode, Luke, established as the asshole jock cliché, runs back into the burning house to save Ryan. On a typical show, the jocks would've left Ryan to fend for himself (and of course he would've gotten out in the nick of time). But on The OC, even in the beginning, the characters had shades of grey. Luke hated Ryan, but he wasn't going to leave him to die.

The second was Marissa being angry with Ryan and, as a result, sleeping with Luke for her first time. It's clearly the wrong choice for her, and I think on most teen shows, she'd make out with Luke and then reconsider, or he'd do something to show his inner jerk and make her reconsider, so that Marissa could eventually have a soft-focus first time with Ryan. On The OC, nupe. Her first time is a horrible mistake.

And the third was Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. In a genre where the parents are usually one-note fun-barriers, the Cohens were present and involved in their kids' lives. And they were wonderful! Truly, some of the best parents in a teen drama ever.

All three of those, looking back, are really about the same thing: subverting expectations. Schwartz & co used a lot of the tropes of teen dramas, but twisted them enough to make them feel fresh. Add in the clever writing and use of music, and it was a cracker of a show.
posted by Georgina at 7:06 PM on February 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ah, the O.C. It along with Arrested Development resulted in a weird echo from my short time living in Orange County, which had ended only a couple years earlier. I enjoyed them both, but have only returned to the latter for repeated viewings. I think that's out of pain for the turn that the OC took, the bizarre twists that lead to the death of Marissa, and how it ultimately was both a relief and disappointment when it happened. I still can't remember if I watched the fourth season or not, even though I own the first two...hrm. It was such a great show that went south. I compare it in my mind to Glee, which also spiraled away after the first season. It's as if people can't write teenagers beyond a first season before running out of reality juice.
posted by Atreides at 8:35 AM on February 4, 2013


1. How do I contribute to the Sandy Cohen fund? I NEED TO KNOW.

2. Just reading about this show still gives me chills. It tapped into some yearning part of me-- the outsider, the found family, Julie Cooper being so amazing (and, when arguing with Marissa, almost always RIGHT, despite her advice being presented as if she were the villain), Ryan's secret musical theater background, Luke's "I LOVE MY GAY DAD" plotline. Everything.

3. I made a friend the fall after the summer run, and she expressed an interest in watching the show. I would take my .avi files over on DVDs for us to watch. And, because she was working as a nanny for a super rich member of congress, we watched them in the place where she lived: an opulent pool house. Magical.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:57 AM on February 4, 2013


I can get that everyone has their own personal cult TV show that either ended up crashing and burning or was cancelled before it really got a chance to find its audience. (I still mourn the latter fate of Special Unit 2.) I didn't think that this article really helped non-fans understand what made The O.C. special, though, aside from noting its indie soundtrack and the fact that Ira Glass was a fan, and that it was somewhat self-referential. "The Joys And Derangement Of "F Troop"" did a better job in that respect.

I enjoyed both VR.5 and Nowhere Man, both of which received 1 incomplete season to resolve large mysteries. Those might be called cult shows.

The O.C. was a household word. It ran 4 full seasons. Not top 10 or anything, but definitely not a cult show. (I liked The O.C., mostly b/c I like indie rock and it was fun to see the normalization of geek culture.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:26 PM on February 4, 2013


DON'T YOU DARE BRING UP NOWHERE MAN

every time I see bruce greenwood in a movie or TV show I think of that
posted by ninjew at 1:41 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nowhere Man at least got a shoehorned conclusion that was passable. At least they tried to wrap it up for fans. VR5 just vanished into virtual oblivion.

Compared to the ending of Lost, the ending of Nowhere Man was pure genius (spoiler alert).
posted by mrgrimm at 9:30 PM on February 4, 2013


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