The OC

My last post was entirely too serious, so even though today I am feeling some major feelings, I’m going to sweep those under the proverbial rug and talk about something totally inconsequential: my love of the erstwhile series The OC. Is it my favorite show of all time? Maybe not. Do I own the box set? Naturally. Did I once, as part of a book publishing class for my master’s degree, create an illustrated diagram of all the show’s various tangled relationships through the whole four seasons? Why yes, I did. (If I still had said chart—and I probably do in a hard copy somewhere—I’d post it on here. It’s one of my finer efforts, I think.)

I occasionally like to half-watch TV shows while I’m blearily putting on makeup in the morning, and since the fall series have STILL not started, I will sometimes pop in a random OC DVD. Recently I started over with the pilot, and was shocked by how good it still is. I remember stumbling across the show for the first time when I was at home and bored, I think still in high school. SoapNet was showing the entire first season as a marathon, and I instantly got hooked. I sat in my parents’ bedroom for hours, indulging guiltily in the rapid-fire jokes and over-the-top melodrama, reveling in the Cohens’ easy, glossy family chemistry. And, naturally, developing a huge crush on Adam Brody (which doesn’t hold up today—except for when he’s flashing his dimples).

I find some of the plot lines fairly boring now, but I’m surprised at how good of an actor Ben McKenzie is when they’re letting him be a vulnerable, troubled teen rather than some sort of stoic cage fighter. And while Mischa Barton’s wide-eyed “Heys” drive me b-a-n-a-n-a-s, I’m noticing something about her brittle, wounded demeanor that makes Marissa Cooper a more believable—if wildly inconsistent—character than I’ve thought before.

What’s also interesting is the number of now big names who appeared in bit parts: The Vampire Diaries‘ Paul Wesley as semi-psychotic waiter Donnie, Amber Heard in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her turn as a vapid shop girl, and, of course, Olivia Wilde as Marissa’s ratings-bait girlfriend.

I also thank the OC for introducing me to lots of great music and the combined amazingness that is Melinda Clarke and Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows. Put them in the same room and you’ve got an instant recipe for success.

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