California Here We Come…
From car crashes to comas and all the drama in between, the quintessential hit show about California teens left us all wanting more when it went off the air. It’s been 13 years since the series graced our living rooms on primetime TV, but the love still runs deeper than the Pacific Ocean for this modern soap. The O.C. may be best recognized by beach bonfires, Chrismukkah celebrations, Atomic County comic books, spot on musical moments (like the catchy Phantom Planet theme song that always gets stuck in your head), or characters sitting under a lifeguard tower pondering life. But the most often overlooked element, however, is arguably the most essential ingredient of the whole series.
Oh yes, we’re talking about fatherhood personified Mr. Sandy Cohen, portrayed by none other than Peter Gallagher. And his eyebrows.
Think about it, without Sandy Cohen, we wouldn’t have Ryan Atwood, the once trouble kid from Chino, who with consistent life advice from Sandy evolved into an upstanding college student. Without Sandy Cohen’s expert love lessons, our favorite TV couple Seth and Summer wouldn’t have withstood the trials and tribulations of high school love. The horror!
With those all-knowing eyebrows and his tell-it-like-it-is attitude, we all kind of wish our dad was a little more like Sandy Cohen, right? So, what better way to commemorate one of the iconic shows of our youth than by analyzing its more dramatic moments through the bushy lens of Peter Gallagher’s infamous raised brow.
Be warned, spoilers ahead.
Ryan’s Entrance and Swift Exit from O.C. Season 1, Episode 27
Quite possibly the most dramatic episode of The O.C. is the Season 1 finale, The Ties That Bind. Viewers had grown to love Ryan Atwood as part of the Cohen family, when he decides to leave Orange County for Chino, accompanied by Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” – just tear our hearts out and rip it in two why don’t you? Let’s admit it, we all shed a tear or two, and obviously we give this a gut-wrenching 6 on the Eyebrow-O-Meter.
Seth and Summer’s Spider-Man Kiss Season 2, Episode 14
They broke up, got back together, and broke up again – and while we experienced the tumultuous roller coaster that is tween relationships alongside Seth and Summer, through the good times and bad we always knew that in the end they would end up together. Because, duh?! Sandy Cohen knew it too, so from 1 to eyebrow-raising shocking, we give this particular reconciliation a 2.
Trey Drama Season 2, Episode 24
Ryan Atwood’s only brother, Trey, came into The O.C. like a wrecking ball. His inevitable exit was defined as a cultural moment by the Imogen Heap song “Hide and Seek,” that spurred an SNL digital short. True to soapy O.C. form, we could’ve predicted this moment, but not the aftermath which tore apart poor Marisa Cooper. Mmm, what you say …Sandy Cohen? We give this an 8 on the Eyebrow-O-Meter.
Summer: from O.C. to Organic Season 4
Summer was first introduced to the world wearing blue sparkle eyeshadow with a coordinating Juicy Couture tracksuit. Who would’ve guessed that by Season 4 we would see Summer embrace her crunchy granola side - surely not her future father-in-law, Sandy Cohen. Despite advocating for lab rabbits at Brown University, she still referred to crutches with a classic “EW.” So, while college matured Summer Roberts, her kind personality and love for celebrity gossip never changed – hence why this moment gets a cool 4 on the Eyebrow-O-Meter.
Ryan and Taylor’s Love Connection Season 4
Taylor started as the obnoxious goody-goody avoided by The O.C. core four. Yet, as the seasons progressed so did her storyline. Dare we say that by Season 4, we kind of loved her? Regardless, no one, I mean no one, saw the relationship between Ryan and Taylor coming, but we can’t refute that sparks fly between them. Now that is a true eyebrow-raising moment, and Sandy Cohen agrees with a 10 on the meter.
There is no denying that every episode of The O.C. had a shocking moment worthy of the Eyebrow-O-Meter, which is why fans of all ages are still obsessed with the series. We may have been hot emotional messes through the heartbreak and highs of the four seasons, but Sandy was always there to wipe our tears and offer the best advice, with a side of perfectly groomed eyebrows. All the feels!
Let’s be honest we all need a little more Sandy Cohen in our lives.
In the spirit of Chrismukkah and bringing people together, Hulu’s Summer Road Trip is hosting a free screening of an episode of The O.C. followed by Top Gun in sunny San Diego on August 20th. Take a trip down memory lane with your favorite Californians and celebrate this iconic series on the well-deserved big screen.
What: The O.C. and Top Gun screening event (free)
When: Saturday, August 20th @ 5:30pm
Where: Ruocco Park in San Diego (San Diego, CA)
To find out if Hulu’s Summer Road Trip is coming to a city near you, read here.
This post also appears on the Hulu Blog. Check it out for more fan coverage of your favorite TV shows.