Ah, The O.C. Where did you go? Why did you leave? Almost 10 long years have passed since your departure, your drama and wit is still so greatly missed. How does one remedy this sadness? They re-watch you. All four seasons of you. And then repeat.
First airing in 2003, The O.C. was a big hit with both critics and popular culture. Up until that point there was nothing like it. It was edgy, highlighting serious topics like drugs, sex and youth crime that weren't really explored on TV back then. It cleverly balanced its time between the four teenage protagonists and their parents, thus broadening its appeal across multiple generations of viewers. Mostly, it was addictive. This was TV that sucked you in and kept you hankering for the next week's episode (because yes, you couldn't download shows back then). It was simple, harmless enjoyment — nothing too clever or fancy to see here, people, but that's what made it great.
On top of all that, The O.C. is one of those shows that captures a moment in time. There's the fashion of the noughties, the music, the ever-growing technological advancements and the pop culture. This was a great decade, even if it's rarely examined in film or television. If you're a Generation Y kid like me, watching The O.C. now will give you some serious nostalgia. Those were the days, right?
Still holding a solid 7.5/10 on IMDb, The O.C. deserves some current recognition. Recently, I re-watched the whole series and found myself enjoying it even more than my 13-year-old self. I understand all of the dry jokes and cultural references now, and am able to see that there are actually some very great things about this "soap." So, I challenge you: re-watch The O.C. Embrace its simple goodness. You know you want to. Still not convinced? Here are five reason why it's a wonderful idea.
1. The Seth Cohen
Sweet Sethella. He is what makes this show, hands down. It would not pack the same punch without him. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he is one of TV's best comedic characters ever created. All of the gangly awkwardness and ironic wit. Seth definitely has the best lines in the show and steals just about every scene he's in. Played to perfection by Adam Brody (who can imagine him as anything other than Seth Cohen?), this is one character you won't be forgetting anytime soon. Also, Chrismukkah.
2. The Script
Big props to the screenwriters for a very clever script. There are so many amazing, speedy conversations between characters (especially Seth and Ryan) that provide pure golden entertainment. There are a lot of references in there as well, so pay attention. The script is also surprisingly heartwarming and moving at times, particularly when it comes to Ryan and his family, and the many romantic relationships. Becoming invested in the characters is easy with dialogue as good as this. I mean, "Welcome to the O.C., bitch" — come on!
3. The Adults
As I mention above, The O.C. was notable because it focused on the adult world of Orange County as well as the teenage one. This is a theme that creator Josh Schwartz introduced to his later, even more successful (and dare I say fabulous) show Gossip Girl. Right from the first episode, the prominence of the adult characters is asserted, and we quickly realize that they aren't just there for context and actually have detailed, compelling stories of their own. Sandy Cohen is standout, of course. Moralistic, hilarious and passionate, he is an everyday kind of hero who really brings all of the characters together. The other adults are great, too. Julie Cooper, am I right?
4. The Soundtrack
SO many wonderful bands are featured on The O.C. This is just another reason why it was such a success with viewers. In the noughties, it was different, featuring a mixture of the latest music and cool new acts. In one episode, The Killers (looking very baby-faced) perform all of their early bangers at the local bar (pictured above). I first discovered indie bands Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse through The O.C. as well (so will be forever thankful). On top of this, several artists debuted what became hit songs on the show, including Coldplay and Gwen Stefani. 10 out of 10 on the music front.
5. The Ryan And Marissa
Yeah, you can't mention The O.C. without mentioning Ryan and Marissa. It was their unconventional, "forbidden" relationship that hooked me in the first place. The whole different worlds scenario really gets you. Tough, rebellious Ryan has had a seriously shitty upbringing, so is naturally a little protective. In comes gorgeous, wealthy Marissa, who is desperately looking for an outlet from her stifling life. A perfect match. As corny and somewhat predicable as their on-again, off-again relationship is, it works. It's got just the right amount of drama, sweetness and fun to keep us interested. Season 3's finale will really get the waterworks going, though.
Watch the trailer for the first season below:
What are your favorite O.C. moments?