Friday, August 19, 2011

What is next on my list? The O.C.

Yes, I mean the 2003 TV series on FOX. Why am I reviewing this particular show? Because I loved it, and therefore you must too!

The main plot is quite easy and as a matter of fact very smart too. We get to know Ryan, who is an under aged boy who gets caught with his brother stealing a car. Why are we interested in him? Ryan is a bright kid, smart and quick, his only problem is that he is brought up in a neighborhood not so good... As a matter of fact he lives in Chino (which if you have never heard of or seen in television, need to imagine it like the criminal block in your city. Nobody has any money and they live in horrible circumstances therefore everyone is a criminal. Yes, it is highly, highly stereotypical). Again, why is this important? Many people who are different get oppressed by their surrounding for being that way and therefore become like everyone else. But in this very story line Ryan is offered to stay at the house of the public attorney Sandy Cohen, assigned to him by the state. Sandy’s wife Kirsten makes a ton of money and therefore Ryan has a chance for a new life. The idea of someone with bright prospective being saved by his own friends and family who treat him unfairly and then a possibility of a new life is in itself a beautiful idea. But we only cared about Ryan’s backgrounds till the second episode of the second season... From that point on it turned into something whole different. We kind of forgot there was a time he wasn't rich and all the necessary TV series clichés started to take place one after another (but it never got as bad as One Tree Hill...).
Still it is one of my favorites of all time, because it was even good before they cancelled it and I always hate the American public, because hundreds of shows that I like get cancelled because THEY don’t watch it, while they are innovative and fun, instead they waste their brain cells on stupid and incredibly dull and yes, let me say it once more, STUPID reality TV. I mean, where does the point come when we say, yeah, let’s NOT film THAT!

But never mind let us get back to California, the city of Newport. Oh that song, it gets into your ears and never leaves...
The first season mostly concentrates on how much stuck up snob kids dislike and hate Ryan and they are not very pleased with newcomers. Except for Seth, the Cohen’s only son who loves having a friend and a brother and Marissa, the girl next door who will obviously become the love interest. In this season we concentrate on the “not with you nor without you” relationship of Marissa and Ryan and the love interest and girlfriend of Seth, Summer, Marissa’s best friend. The Cohen’s adopt Ryan, Marissa’s parents get divorced, she becomes an alcoholic and because Ryan has got pregnant his ex-girlfriend from Chino, he moves back home and Seth moves away to Portland because he is pissed at Ryan for leaving, this way breaking Summer’s heart.

The second season, of course, like every TV series in history begins with new additions to the cast! Kirsten’s dad Caleb, Newport’s number one man marries Marissa’s mom Julie. This way the two families are now legally connected, but this leaves Kirsten pretty upset. She lost both her sons and her dad married her biggest enemy. Sandy struggles to get his sons back, no luck so far. And Marissa is still a drunk. Sounds fun so far, huh? Anyway, Ryan is told that his girlfriend lost the baby, and she doesn’t want him to go home because she knows he is unhappy. He gets Seth and they go home. Kirsten is very happy, but the plot thickens... Caleb is in a trial and is paying some woman, we don’t know way, but later found out he is paying child support, since he cheated on Kirsten’s mother and had a child. It is just later that we discover that his child is the same one Ryan shares class with and ends up dating. Marissa is seeing her gardner and Summer is dating a boy who is exactly like Seth, except he is good at sports. All with new pairs try to survive another horrible Christmas, without much success. Marissa becomes a lesbian for a little way, but she and Ryan end up back together, just like Seth and Summer. Trey, Ryan’s brother gets out of jail and is given a hand by Ryan to get back on his feet. Unfortunately he falls for Marissa and forces himself on her while Ryan is away to visit the Cohen’s nana. When Ryan finds out, he becomes himself and attacks Trey, they fight, struggle and Trey almost chokes him when Marissa shows up and shots Trey in the back. END OF SEASON TWO!!!
In this last scene, when Trey is shot, the song „Hide and seek” from Imogen Heap starts to play (click on the title to see on YouTube which song is this). 

This very last scene has become a cultural icone, many-many internet reviewers, blog writers and college humor videos use this song when someone is shot. From now on you’ll know, it is the parody of The O.C.

Season three begins with Ryan having nightmares. Kirsten’s father dies in the previously last episode, and the richest man in the city leaves them no money, as it turns out, he had none. Julie is too ashamed to admit she has no money, so she moves into a trailer park while Marissa moves to Summer’s house. The police lets Ryan go, as we discover, after Trey gets to his senses, that it was Marissa who shot him. He flees from Newport and Ryan and Marissa try to get their relationship back. Kirsten, who also became a drunk thanks to her dad, comes home from rehab to find Sandy has left his attorney job to become the new president of her dad’s old company, which she wasn’t able to handle. NEW CHARACTERS!!! Summer’s dad is brought into the picture and he dates Julie for a little while; Marissa is kicked out from her school because of the shooting and at her new school meets a kid named Johnny. (I F***ING HATED HIM!!! He was like a little puppy, except he wasn’t cute, and he had an accident so Marissa felt sorry for him, and of course he fell for her! Everytime he rolled in we had to be sorry, because poor puppy, but he was just miserable and ugly!!). Johnny of course dies, I mean, why not? But Ryan and Marissa are driven apart. She starts dating some douchebag who cheats on her, while Ryan hooks up with Johnny’s cousin Casey, who might have been the biggest mis-cast in the history of television! Sandy leaves his job, because he hates it, their marriage falls back into place and they are happy again. Seth and Summer apply to Seth’s dream University, even though they know that that University only takes one person from their school. And so it happens that Summer gets accepted, but Seth isn’t able to tell her he didn’t, so he breaks up with her, wanting her to go and be happy. It is almost too late, but he gets her back by applying to a University near her, at least in the same state, and their union is strengthend. Marissa decides to move away after graduation to her dad’s boat, and asks Ryan to be with her her last night. On their way to the airport, the douchebag she was seeing gets them into a car accident and Marissa dies. END OF SEASON THREE!!!

At this point, I started to cry, so goddamn hard, you have no idea! My sister couldn’t console me, nobody could. I hoped that is just a cliffhanger, surely they can’t kill her! But two days later I found the article in the daily paper, Metro, which stated that she was indeed done with The O.C., I cried again. It was not made much clear why she left, I believe there was a breach of contract and she was fired. I was really, really sad. In my life I had never cried on a TV series, nor a movie, my first time was at the end of the second season, when Kirsten had her intervention from the family. Ever since then, I can’t sit through an entire of season of The O.C. without finishing a box of Kleenex!  (But that goes as well when I watch ERGrey’s Anatomy, the season ending of 24, several One Tree Hill episodes and when Lilly Rush, Kathryn Morris’s character in Cold Case got shot.)

So that brings us to season four. Two characters, already presented in the previous season get a more serious role, Marissa’s little sister Kaitlin, who so conviniently just got back from boarding school and an old school mate of theirs, Taylor. Summer is at Brown, she became and environmentalist, which drives Seth mad. Ryan won’t get on with his life and keeps having nightmares until he confronts the douchebag and tells him that this was his fault. He killed her, not Ryan and he will not carry this burden with himself. Ryan and Taylor start dating, well, Taylor falls in love with him, but she doesn’t get him on her hook right away. And Julie starts to date some rich guy from Texas while she is blackmailed by a weird man to give him information about Ryan. We discover that is Ryan’s father, who got out from jail and is back to make sure his son is OK. He and Julie fall in love and she gets knocked up. The Cohen’s expect a baby as well, but find that they are not happy in their home anymore. What to do?

Season four was cancelled after 16 episodes in 2007 because of the lack of viewers. It was to be expected that that would highly decrease with the loss of Marissa, as she brought in several fans. But I am very glad that they brought the story to an end for all of those viewers and fans that stayed true to the series even after one of its star characters got killed off. Mostly, what was so beautifully done is the very last minutes of the last episode. Summer decides to take a job protecting the environment while Seth waited for her proudly during the university. We have a scene were we see them get married. Kirsten and Sandy have a new baby, a little girl and they leave Newport to move back to their old house in Berkley. Julie, instead of being dependant of a man again, decides to go back to school, which she never got to finish because of getting pregnant with Marissa. She gets her graduation diploma and keeps raising her newborn son and daughter. Ryan keeps dating Taylor, as she completes her, unlike Marissa who sadly just ended up bringing out all his bad traits. Also, he finally starts University, which he couldn’t after Marissa’s death and becomes and architect like his always dreamt he could be. In the very last scene, as he goes home from a construction site, he sees a boy with his bicycle waiting next to a payphone (which is the same scene we can see in the pilot episode when California starts to play; only the kid is Ryan and Sandy rescues him). He sees himself back when he needed a hand from life; he turned to him and said “Hey kid. You need help?”.

Of course, as mentioned, there are several clichés this series couldn’t avoid, just like none of them can if they are 40 minutes long and are categorized as “drama”. But it is touching, somewhat really funny and heartwarming. If you have ever been an outcast, you will find this TV series appeals to you. And yes, you surrounding and neighborhood makes you, the only thing you can do is try to fight it, no matter what. Nothing is worse than losing yourself!

Season 1, 2, 3 and 4 are available on if you are looking for region 1 DVDs, or you can look it up on I myself stopped buying it because I was pissed of by how different the DVD for season 3 was from the first two!!! And it isn't really fair, to bring back the old style for the fourth one!

Bye, until the next item on my list!
Sandy Cohen – Peter Gallagher
Kirsten Cohen – Kelly Rowan
Ryan Atwood – Ben McKenzie
Marissa Cooper – Mischa Barton
Seth Cohen – Adam Brody
Summer Roberts – Rachel Bilson
Julie Cooper – Melinda Clarke
Taylor – Autumn Reeser
Kaitlin Cooper – Willa Holland
Jimmy Cooper – Tate Donovan

Seasonal cast:
Theresa - Navi Rawat
Caleb Nichol – Alan Dale
Dawn Atwood - Daphne Ashbrook
Luke – Chris Carmack
Lindsey – Shannon Lucio
Zach Stephens – Michael Cassidy
Alex – Olivia Wilde
Johnny – Ryan Donowho
Dr. Neil Roberts – Michael Nouri
Sadie – Nikki Reed
Kevin Volchok (Douchebag) – Cam Gigandet
Frank Atwood - Kevin Sorbo
Ché - Chris Pratt

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