11 reasons you miss The O.C.

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Ryan, Seth, Marissa and Summer. Such an awesome and diverse bunch of kiddos. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since The O.C. went off the air, after 4 seasons of teenage (and adult) drama rollercoaster ride, bolstered with a solid dose of humor. While the acting wasn’t exactly the forte of this show, folks like Adam Brody (Seth), Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan as Sandy and Kirsten Cohen, or Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper gave strong performances that really stuck in my mind to this day. While the series at times plunged into the ridiculously soapy turf, soon enough it always rebounded back on the right track. The direction of the plot was often questionable, but you enjoyed watching these great characters and how they deal with their problems. Here’s the top 11 reasons why you wish The O.C. kept going.

1.
Chrismukkah – people need that time of the year to mellow out and get some peace (as apparently we can’t be that way all year round) and it doesn’t matter how you want to call it. For a long time I thought Chrismukkah was just The O.C. neologism, but apparently it entered the language. Each season had the holiday episode and all of them rocked (the alternative reality episode was probably my favorite, 4×07).

chrismukkah

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2.
Jimi Cooper’s punchable face – at first you felt sorry for the guy. He was married to the demanding Julie, and the young Kaitlin was a real pain. But then it’s unveiled that the financial errors he makes aren’t just some rookie mistakes. The dude is ready to gamble his life away and he thinks he can get away untouched by simply stuttering apologies. Possibly the most annoying character in the show, which is why every time he got beaten up I was applauding the other guy.

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Wait for it…

3.
The hippie Chris Pratt – way before Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, or the amazing Parks and Rec., the comedic actor was already doing Andy Dwyer-like role as Summer’s college boyfriend. Being wacky has always been the thing he does the best.

Other notable guests on The O.C. included Olivia Wilde or Kevin Sorbo (Hercules from the 90s TV show).

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Biofuel rocks indeed.

4.
The transformation of Julie Cooper – she started out as this villainous, manipulative figure who seemed to only care about money, though she did offer some comic relief too. Although getting the $$$ (even by backstabbing your friends) continued to be quite important to her throughout the seasons, we learn more about her past and the reasoning behind her actions. As a matter of fact, she’s a person who ended up going through a lot of emotional ordeals and stressful situations in the series. These events humble her a bit, and by the end she became a likable human being.

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Some things are best left in the closet.

5.
Luke becoming the bro – the polo team sends their regards. He wasn’t the brightest dude around and he had a problem with staying faithful, but once he got reestablished as a comic relief character, the show became a lot more entertaining – I prefer Luke the goofball to Luke the bully.

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6.
Rachel Bilson – surely one of my biggest television crushes ever and the cutest girl in the series. While initially Summer Roberts was presented as not that smart (particularly in contrast with Anna), the showrunners fortunately added the depth to the character and made her more interesting.

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It’s so scary that all these actors and actresses I grew up with are in their 30s or 40s now. Rachel is 34, Michelle Williams 35, Sarah Michelle Gellar 38, Mellisa Joan Hart 39, Christina Applegate 44 and Jennifer Aniston 47 (!).

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7.
Ryan and his women – for a guy who lacked in making small talk, he certainly had intense dating life.  Marissa, Taylor, Theresa, Lindsay, Sadie… His relationships with different girls were quite interesting as he definitely matured over the time. Who was the perfect girl for him? Firstly, you would need to answer the question that will forever remain with us: ‘What if Marissa was still alive?’ I see her as quite an unstable chick, but Marissa was glowing the most when she was with Ryan around for sure.

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The feels.

8.
The Cohens – they are definitely one of my favorite on-screen parents ever. As I mentioned, Peter Gallagher was incredible as Sandy – his dialogues were either witty and hilarious, or adorably lame. He wasn’t perfect, but there was so much kindness in the guy, and he was the person to count on in a pinch – for the family and friends Sandy could make exceptions and go against his beliefs. Kirsten was the caring, loving, worrying kind of mom many of you may be familiar with. She always bottled her own pain inside until it exploded, and those were the times she needed the help herself.

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9.
The geek talk Seth’s fanboyism was one of the charms of The O.C. Thanks to that Captain Oats got a lot of screen time. Comic books and pop culture references proved to be exhilarating additions to the show.

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10.
The theme song –  ‘Californiaaaaa!’ The opening titles just wouldn’t be the same without Phantom Planet’s chill California song. The music played an important role in The O.C. It promoted lots of indie and alternative bands. We also learned that Marissa Cooper is actually a punk rocker at heart. It’s kind of awesome how Ryan doesn’t know much about music yet for some reason his favorite band is Journey out of all the options available out there.

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Ryan likes Journey so let’s celebrate with a tribute Foreigner band.

11.
Ryan/Seth bromance – it’s the very essence of The O.C.; two dudes from extremely different backgrounds actually bonded and became true friends.  Their characters are like water and fire, yet also quite similar. After some time they learn a lot from each other, gain confidence and open up about their issues. This dynamic duo and their silly conversations are the driving force of this show. While Ben McKenzie isn’t a particularly versatile as an actor, Adam Brody more than made up for him. Still, Ryan’s fairly quiet nature (+ body language – the stares) was actually the thing and contrasted well with Seth’s blabbering.

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3 thoughts on “11 reasons you miss The O.C.

  1. I couldn’t disagree more about some of the above, especially your very in accurate and unfounded criticism that Ben McKenzie was/is lacking and not versatile as an actor. To the contrary, he was, is and has proven to be all of that and more, while some of the other former O.C. cast were essentially playing themselves in their onscreen roles and hardly doing any acting at all. One-note orchestras… If you check Ben McK’s work on and since the O.C. in films, especially indie projects, and 2 other leading roles in Southland and now Gotham, I think you’ll retract the previous.

    • I have seen his Southland and Gotham roles, and particularly in the latter his character is just dull and he just can’t carry the weight of the leading role (I blame the storywriters though). However, I haven’t seen his movies so my opinion is based on the 3 TV series mentioned. I guess it might be too harsh to pin-point Ben only and criticize his acting when some of his fellow costars were probably even worse. Don’t get wrong though, I really loved The O.C. and some of the comments I made are just nitpicking.

      • I’ll respectfully disagree, minus the point that S1 of Gotham’s writing post-pilot really gave no one, other than the over-the-top villains no true material beyond the mundane as backdrop and procedure. Straight man in that context would be the thankless task with no colors. S2 was a more serialized format and a step in the right direction with more of a character-driven focus, particularly by mid-season towards the end, including 2 episodes very much out of the usual formula. It was still lazy with much of the writing, but included moments, particularly in a series of episodes in the prison and post-prison arc, with resonance and compelling content and challenge. As for supporting cast and other cast from The O.C. as weak links, I do agree. There were many that several of us, and we watched as a group of dozens, simply couldn’t watch at all, and some were main cast. Some of S3 add-ons were true distractions and the actress who portrayed the character killed at the end of S3 was one we had to try to fast forward past.

        Everyone’s entitled to an opinion and it’s clear that mine is the polar opposite of yours, although you contradict yourself in your attempt to articulate that. Perhaps the claim that Ben “just can’t carry the weight of the leading role” is the worst dig when he a) was the lead on The O.C. among the ensemble as well as the primary on the acclaimed Southland ensemble and b) he’s had rave reviews and was amazing as the sole actor in the one-person film update of Johnny Got his Gun, a film made not for revenue, but to preserve a version of the film since the previous ones had been destroyed and it’s such an important and (sadly) timely topic with this country still at war all these years since post 9-11. If someone can be the only actor on stage and film with no supporting cast, music, effects, then that’s the ultimate test. When it comes to writing, the actor has no control- as with editing and direction. And if you actually liked The O.C., then…

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