Halftime Leisure

A Case for the Classics: The O.C.

March 2, 2017

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The O.C. is, was, and always will be the perfect show. It was full of teen drama, including class divisions and tumultuous romance; it had a heartwarming family dynamic complete with poignant Jewish humor (when is Jewish humor not poignant though tbh); and it lasted just long enough to stay interesting.

On the 10th anniversary of the show’s finale (which was technically Feb. 22 but better late than never), I write to convey a message of nostalgia for what is arguably the best show that will ever grace our screens. There’s the timeless scene, set to the music of “Mmm Whatcha Say” that I think comes from one of Jason DeRulo’s songs (a classic within itself), in which Marissa shoots Ryan’s brother, and the camera just pans to everyone’s ridiculous facial expressions because those fuckers weren’t going to win any Oscars for their acting talent. Then there was the perfect romance of Seth and Summer, proving that if you really love someone, all will work out in the end, along with the imperfect romance of Ryan and Marissa–STILL TO THIS DAY I AM SO FUCKING MAD THAT SHE HAD TO DIE IN THE THIRD SEASON I MEAN REALLY but okay so you get the point the show is really damn good. A classic, if I do say so myself.

In contrast with so many of its competitors, such as Gossip Girl and 90210, it’s four-season cap made it exciting throughout the series. I didn’t feel like I was watching it just to figure out what happens at the end. The plot lines didn’t draw on or go off the edge (like all that Lola/Charlie bullshit in Gossip Girl…honestly don’t even get me started). Despite some unfortunately frustrating characters, like Taylor Townsend (especially Taylor Townsend), The O.C. managed to come to a perfect climax and tie up loose ends so that no one was left disappointed.

The final reason that The O.C. stands in my category of classics is the episode where Ryan goes into a coma and imagines an alternate reality where no one in Orange County knows who he is. Signaling back to the beginning of the show when he is taken in by a wealthy Newport Beach family from his lower-class hometown of Chino, this episode gives viewers an alternate glimpse of life without Ryan’s presence in the first few seasons. One hopes that in his coma-induced fantasy, Marissa is still alive, and in my head I was thinking, “Oh shit are we getting into some existentialism/mortalism where Ryan dies so he can finally be with Marissa like what is happening is this real?” But no, in a deeper twist, Ryan finds out that even without him having an influence on Marissa’s life, she would have still died from a drug overdose in Tiajuana, an event in which Ryan actually saved her life a couple seasons prior. So, here, the viewer finds out that Ryan actually added years to Marissa’s doomed life. And if that isn’t an intricate plot-line that makes you question whether you’re watching a teen soap opera or a sophisticated psychological thriller, then nothing will.

The O.C. is the classic tv show of our time. And part of its beauty is that you can mindlessly watch four episodes in a row and then something happens that’s a bit more profound and you have to pause and say, “Wait what that’s not okay.” To be fair, though, Gossip Girl is also a classic for me, as are like 100 trashy shows that I would rather not mention. But art is art, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you don’t think The O.C. is profound and inspiring, then you probably shouldn’t have gotten this far into my midnight Halftime rant anyways?

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