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February 11, 2013 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Who Said It: Marissa Cooper Or Franz Kafka? A little game from Buzzfeed. Guess if these quotes are from “The O.C.” or Modernist 20th century Austrian literature? The OC previously, Kafka previously.
posted by sweetkid (29 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I got them all right, which means I'm either brilliant or truly pathetic.
posted by lalex at 6:12 PM on February 11, 2013


I got them all right, too, despite having never made it a whole minute into an episode of The O.C. nor reading anything Kafka other than Metamorphosis.

It's mostly obvious from the language: Kafka wouldn't have used the word "okay," Mischa Barton wouldn't say "cannot," etc.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:29 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


kafka talks old-timey. cooper is just... navel-gazing dramz and bad writing.
posted by twist my arm at 6:30 PM on February 11, 2013


It's mostly obvious from the language: Kafka wouldn't have used the word "okay," Mischa Barton wouldn't say "cannot," etc.

This.
posted by 3FLryan at 6:40 PM on February 11, 2013


Man no offense dude but this might be the worst "thing, or completely different thing???" quiz ever
posted by theodolite at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a jokey joke. It's a joke about how melodramatic Marissa Cooper is on the OC. She's so melodramatic it's comparable to a famous 20th century German novelist who wrote about themes like alienation, existentialism, and the futility of fighting the bureaucracy. Even though her life is billionaire stepfathers, water polo matches and South Coast Plaza.

Don't think the point is to win.
posted by sweetkid at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


cooper is just... navel-gazing dramz and bad writing.

No, Cooper is GOOD writing of a stupid character, but life has stupid characters. Marissa's an idiot and definitely the worst part of the show, but having her say stupid shit isn't bad writing, it's an accurate portrayal of what that particular person would say. Not everyone talks like Oscar Wilde.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:49 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, once you realize that Marissa Cooper is basically Daisy Buchanan the show moves from transcendent to sublime.

I am very attached to this particular theory of mine and willing to discuss it in depth over MeFi mail if you should wish such a thing.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:50 PM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Not everyone talks like Oscar Wilde.

Or Franz Kafka.
posted by dersins at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2013


Marissa Cooper also says "I mean" a lot, as like a filler expression. I always saw that as more Mischa than Marissa, just a random little phrase she stuck in her lines.
posted by sweetkid at 6:52 PM on February 11, 2013


Also, once you realize that Marissa Cooper is basically Daisy Buchanan the show moves from transcendent to sublime.

I am very attached to this particular theory of mine and willing to discuss it in depth over MeFi mail if you should wish such a thing.


I might have to do a little rewatching and take you up on this.
posted by sweetkid at 6:53 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


This makes me want to reread Kafka and rewatch the OC but somehow the second one more.
posted by kettleoffish at 6:54 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somebody tell Buzzfeed that Austro-Hungarian is not the same as Austrian. Kafka was German-speaking Czech.
posted by alexoscar at 6:57 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


yea you're right.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on February 11, 2013


I only got one wrong and I never saw The Oc. Marissa Cooper speaks in the degraded modern dialect.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:13 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Marissa's an idiot and definitely the worst part of the show, but having her say stupid shit isn't bad writing, it's an accurate portrayal of what that particular person would say.

forgive me then. i'm ignorant of the OC and didn't know they had good writing of good dumb characters. wasn't really part of their rep as far as i know. but, just based on the link... anyone can write that character. rich white girl who feels put upon and says dumb shit isn't even a good warmup exercise.

Not everyone talks like Oscar Wilde.

hope that wasn't directed at me.
posted by twist my arm at 7:48 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry about it! It was a show that was marketed as being a lot dumber than it is; it's actually got a lot of really excellent characters (and some appalling ones, as well, both well and poorly created).

And no, that wasn't directed at you, it was directed at Marissa, and, to some extent, me; when I was doing improv/sketch comedy in college I had to make sure some of my characters used bad grammar because otherwise I was actually just playing/writing me all the time showing people how witty I was, not actually creating characters.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a jokey joke. It's a joke about how melodramatic Marissa Cooper is on the OC. She's so melodramatic it's comparable to a famous 20th century German novelist who wrote about themes like alienation, existentialism, and the futility of fighting the bureaucracy. Even though her life is billionaire stepfathers, water polo matches and South Coast Plaza.

Don't think the point is to win.


The point of our comments was that, for these "thing, or completely different thing?" quizzes to be good, they need to be hard - thus breaking the boundaries between two seemingly unrelated things. But, it is clear when it is Marissa and when it is Kafka - clear to people who have seen one episode of the OC and maybe read "The Metamorphosis" in high school - rendering the comparison kind of lame.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:57 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


This makes me want to reread Kafka and rewatch the OC but somehow the first one more.
posted by ook at 9:03 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dudes, if you are sharing your strategies for beating the "Kafka or Cooper" quiz, you are not standing outside the machine.

That said, my theory of Marissa Cooper is that the character makes sense when you consider that The O.C is basically a fantasy, but not the fantasy about the boy from the wrong side of the tracks* being elevated to a life of privilege, as it was sold to the networks. Rather, it's a fantasy about a geeky Jewish outsider finding his place in a world of shallow Los Angeleno WASPs. Ryan Atwood, the notional star, is a part of that self-actualizing process - he is the protective big brother and best friend Seth needs to be socially successful. Summer Roberts starts out as the unavailable ideal woman, but is rapidly redeemed by her growing affection for Seth.

Marissa doesn't really have a role in Seth's story. In fact, she is an obstacle to the bromance between Seth and Ryan. In fact, if one imagines the O.C. as a "monster of the week" series, whatever is going on with Marissa and Ryan is usually the monster. Ryan is fundamentally good and noble (although easily distracted) - he has to be, because he is one of the glittering prizes of Seth's quest. So, Marissa ends up holding the idiot ball pretty much all the time.

She's an alcoholic! She's a shoplifter! She's totally oblivious to the fact that her new best friend is homicidally needy! She's a lesbian - not really! She's seriously injured or killed yet another young man!

As a result of this, the character was fatally broken, to the point where it was no longer credible that Ryan, who was becoming increasingly mature and grounded as he grew into his big brother role, could no longer credibly be mooning after her. And there are only a finite number of cycles you can go through before the character's metanarrative ("Marissa's doing shots with an unsuitable man? Must be Tuesday") becomes absurd. At which point all you can really do is kill her off and start clean.


*The wrong side of the tracks here being a parallel universe Chino where everyone looks like a model and behaves like the tough guys in a jeans commercial.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:30 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Why does no sleep make me pleonastic, and prone to the use of pleonasm? Why?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:00 AM on February 12, 2013


Somebody tell Buzzfeed that Austro-Hungarian is not the same as Austrian. Kafka was German-speaking Czech.

...And he was Jewish. That probably meant more to him than all of the above.
posted by WalkingAround at 1:49 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



...And he was Jewish. That probably meant more to him than all of the above.


Just like Seth Cohen.
posted by sweetkid at 1:51 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dudes, if you are sharing your strategies for beating the "Kafka or Cooper" quiz, you are not standing outside the machine.

Yet again, that is not what we are doing. We're not saying, "hey guys, here's how to beat the quiz." We are stating:

"What the quiz tries to do: Make you see that two seemingly unrelated things are actually so related as to be indistinguishable when anonymized.

What the quiz does: Makes you see that two totally unrelated things are really easy to distinguish even if you barely try or know next to nothing when anonymized."

So the quiz is dumb.
posted by 3FLryan at 6:28 PM on February 12, 2013


"What the quiz tries to do: Make you see that two seemingly unrelated things are actually so related as to be indistinguishable when anonymized

No, that is not what the quiz is trying to do.
posted by sweetkid at 6:41 PM on February 12, 2013


OK, sorry. Now I'm lost. What is it trying to do?
posted by 3FLryan at 6:54 PM on February 12, 2013



It's a jokey joke. It's a joke about how melodramatic Marissa Cooper is on the OC. Look if you didn't see the show or think it's silly or something, cool, but maybe this isn't for you. Nothing wrong with that. But no, the quiz isn't objectively "dumb."
posted by sweetkid at 6:58 PM on February 12, 2013


One might perhaps compare Zoe Quinn's "Hitler or Lovecraft" quiz. If you are serious about finding strategies to get the highest possible score, it's actually relatively easy: Hitler and Lovecraft have different forms of expression, and tend to hate on different kinds of people.

That's not really the point of the game, though: the point of the game is to juxtapose these two people and their modes of self-expression in a way in which they would not normally be juxtaposed, in order to give the player an insight into the creator's perspective.

Here, the creator's intent, I would imagine, is not to create a genuine brain-teaser, but rather to create a humorous juxtaposition between existential terror as expressed by the go-to guy for literary existential terror, and existential terror expressed by a thirtysomething writers' room writing lines for a teenaged character with the life experience of Hunter S Thompson.

(I would actually go further and say that the punchline for which the rest of the quiz is the build-up is "I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand" - where, if one does not know the quote, one might have to consider seriously whether this is a man attempting to communicate despite having become a giant cockroach or a troubled teen from the OC*.)

And, on another level, it's the kind of reference joke that happens a lot with Transformers or MacGuyver a generation earlier - where the humorous placement of cultural products from the writer's milieu shoulder to shoulder with canon works is expected to generate a humorous charge of its own.

However, there are certainly complaints in the comments about how it is too easy - so, it seems possible, certainly, to see it as a test of pure skill. It just seems a little odd.

*Don't call it that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah what running order squabble fest said.
posted by sweetkid at 8:53 AM on February 13, 2013


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