I don’t know why, but it just seems that The OC has lost a lot of its original vibe. I have gone on and on about many of the problems with the show, and this episode started us off with some of the reason. As we open, we get a shot of Ryan, Seth, and Zach, who I affectionately call “the last three people on the show I want to see in a scene together”. Quite honestly, Seth has spent his whole life being confused by girls and handling rejection. Other than four or five months when he was happy with Summer and the short amount of time that Anna decided to stick around, he has pretty much been a huge loser his entire life. There is no doubt in my mind that he would go back to being an isolated comic book collector without missing a beat. When the guys sat down for breakfast and were joined by Summer and Lindsay, I couldn’t help but think that Seth would be a whole lot more believable as a fifth wheel as compared to a ladies man. But for now, let’s pretend we actually give a shit one way or another.Where is Marissa when all of this is happening? Drunk at home, of course! Her mom is out of town, doing research for the new magazine. Personally, I think that Julie wanted an excuse to get out of Newport and get her another little piece of Jimmy Cooper, but her absence means Marissa has free reign over the house. She’s dancing around in her camisole (it looks like Mischa might have decided to eat something in the last couple of months, because she actually had some shape in her boobs), having a screwdriver and playing her music as loud as she wants to. Things are going fine, except that Caleb has decided he wants to, you know, act like a father. He knocks on her door, and then walks in when there is no answer.
Although she has spent most of the summer walking around in a bikini that is far more skimpy than her nightshirt, Marissa suddenly gains some modesty when Caleb walks in. He tells her she has to go to school, but she says she is sick, i.e. she is just skipping shcool. Thank God somebody in this town is doing normal teenage activities, right? Caleb doesn’t make a fuss and we soon learn why Marissa was so preoccupied. She calls Alex, and it turns out that they have been “hanging out all week”. I guess that makes sense. After all, she did spend a drunken evening in her living room sharing suggestive looks. Maybe I need a little more feminine insight, but what exactly did Alex and Marissa find in common that they would hang out every day of the week. I just don’t see Alex getting excited about her next pedicure. Whatever, we all know they just sit around and get drunk together. It’s really the only thing Marissa is any good at.
The rest of our teenagers are back at Harbor, discussing various topics. Lindsay is complaining to Ryan how her relationship with Caleb is going. It’s not going well because, well, she doesn’t speak with him. This girl obviously hasn’t been around Newport for very long. If she wanted to get to know him, why doesn’t she just go to his office and barge in. Caleb’s a dick, but he’s not going to have his own daughter arrested.
In the cafeteria, Summer and Zach are grabbing a cup of coffee when Summer notices that it looks like Seth is not enjoying himself. Again, I say he is becoming reacquainted with his inner dork. Summer needs to know what is going on, so she sends Zach over to investigate, which turns out to be one of the dumbest things she has ever done in her life. In the process of trying to help Seth through his difficult time, Zach gets lured in by the process of something that will serve a higher power. We call that higher power Seth’s plan at an original comic book. Oh comics! The perfect excuse to ignore the hottest girl in school! Good thing there aren’t any cooler people around in this school that would snatch her up as soon as she is neglected.
Have you ever noticed how you can’t get a handle on what is going on during the school day for these people? They seem to come and go as they please. Case in point we have Ryan Atwood, who apparently took his lunch break to see Caleb Nichol at the Newport Group offices and pull out some of that excellent sanctimonious attitude we have all been trained to vomit as we hear it coming on. Seriously, what was the point of this interaction? We know Ryan hates Caleb and Caleb shares that same sentiment. We know they are going to clash over Lindsay, so you don’t have to spend more than thirty seconds establishing that fact. And what kind of lunch break does this guy get that he can travel around Newport bothering executives. And finally, what kind of jerk is he that he visits the Newport Group and doesn’t say “Hey!” to Kirsten when he has the chance? Chances are she is having some issues with her husband, and Ryan’s power knows no bounds. He was able to guilt her out of her own closet, he might even get her to stop drinking.
We also learned that Kirsten is going to get yet another reason to start drinking. Sandy is sick of the unemployed life, so he decides that he is going to try and start his own law practice. Kirsten wants him to get a nice and respectable office in a high rise, but cool Sandy just can’t make his wife’s life easy. He decides to buy a seaside fixer upper, just perfect if you want to surf in between seeing clients. But that is not what’s going to make Kirsten a lush. While he is enjoying the tour of his office, Sandy gets a phone call from his favorite law professor and mentor. He’s in trouble, and needs help. He’s been accused of sexual harassment. Not really, but the five other people who watch Kevin Hill will find that line funny.
Sandy learns a little later that his professor, Max, has suffered from a few strokes and doesn’t have long to live. He needs Sandy’s help in finding his daughter, Rebecca. It turns out that Rebecca was Sandy’s dream girl in college. She was beautiful, Jewish, and an activist. Things were going great until a man died when she was sticking it to the man and his evil nuclear power plants. She ran off to Canada, and nobody has heard from her since. It is up to Sandy to once again bring a family in need together. Lots of things must have been going through his head, such as “Oh, remember when my mom came and told us she had inoperable cancer last year? I wonder how that turned out?”
While Sandy was contemplating the ramifications of starting this search for his old flame, we have another scene with the three guys. They are all busy coming up with ideas for Seth’s new comic book. Summer comes in hoping to take Zach away and well, I am not sure what she is planning to do, but something has to be done. Zach, who obviously knows a good thing when he sees it, declines Summer and decides that he is going to continue with the comic book brainstorm.
Let’s just all step back and take a time out from this. The writers have waded us through some pretty unimaginable shit, but this Zach and Summer thing is just too pathetic. It really points to another problem with the show. ALL OF THE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS ARE LOSERS. Where are the popular kids? I know that Summer and Marissa were supposedly banished from the cool clique when they decided to date Ryan and Seth last year, but things change. People can become popular again. Does anybody tune into this show because they want to know what a bunch of high school rejects are doing in their spare time? The OC has gone from being the 90210 of the new century to being a less funny version of Freaks and Geeks that also has the habit of being unbelievably self important.
Also, for the love of God, there is no way in hell that you have a girl as hot as Summer in high school and don’t try to at least cop a feel. Why in the hell doesn’t Zach have a sex drive? Even if we are to believe the innuendo that Zach is struggling with his own sexual identity (the sensitive water polo players to start), he would have at least made his way to second or third base so people wouldn’t start rumors. What’s the worst that can happen, a little stinky finger never hurt anyone? If nothing else, he could simply lay back, get a blow job, close his eyes, and pretend it was Seth, since he seems more interested in what’s going on in the comic book life anyway. And to think Zach actually punched Seth for getting in his way with Summer not two months ago. Just tap that shit Zach, and help me hold onto my sanity.
Later in the day, Lindsay meets up with Ryan and they start to discuss Caleb. As was expected, Ryan’s meeting with Caleb was a disaster, but he doesn’t tell Lindsay that the exchange ever happened. It turns out that Lindsay is having second thoughts about meeting Caleb because she “A9.com’ed him and the OC Weekly said, yada, yada, yada”. Now I have to say that I am happy that we have gone through almost half of an episode and we haven’t seen the inside of the Bait Shop, so there has been no lame band placement (that is if you don’t count the band that always happens to be playing in the background of every scene), but this was one of the most obvious cases of product placement I have ever seen. A9.com is Amazon’s web search engine, and while everybody else on the planet would have said that they “Googled” somebody, somebody thought it would have been worth something to plug A9 during the show. Instead, it just reinforced how lame these characters have become.
Anyway, right after she had given up on her father, Lindsay gets a call from Caleb. It turns out that he had just finished speaking with Kirsten, who convinced him that he should make first contact. They make dinner plans, and in the interest of brevity, I will just say now that Ryan joins them. To nobody’s surprise, Caleb goes off the rails because he is there, decides that Lindsay is a gold digger and leaves the restaurant, ruining everybody’s dinner. Ryan and Caleb still hate each other. Wow. Thanks for wasting 10 minutes of the show explaining that to us, because we never would have picked up on it otherwise.
Sandy knows that Kirsten is not entirely happy with his search to find Rebecca, but he drives to Santa Barabara to see an inmate that was involved in the crime that sent Rebecca to flee to Canada. Apparently this guy has spent 22 years in prison for a manslaughter charge, which seems kind of strange to me. It’s not that I don’t think people should serve their sentences, but this is California. There are murderers who get paroled after only fifteen years, you would think this guy would have been released by that time. And surely he would have had some ACLU lawyer doing some appeals? Well, not only has this guy been incarcerated for a long time, but it turns out that he with Sandy for Rebecca’s affections. What’s worse, he says that he won’t be able to help Sandy find her because she is dead. When Sandy gets home, Kirsten pretends that she is unhappy to hear that Rebecca died. The truth is that she is still intimidated by her, even after all her years of marriage. Sandy decides he can’t believe the inmate and makes some calls to Vancouver. Kirsten, seeing she can’t win this argument, starts to drink again.
During Marissa and Alex’s time together, Alex learned that her ex had taken something of hers. She didn’t really want to get it back, but Marissa convinced her that they should take a road trip to Los Angeles. On their way there, we finally learn the reason for that awful tattoo Alex wears – alcohol. More importantly, Alex tells us about her emancipation. You know, the way you make yourself independent from your parents authority before you are 18. It seems to interest Marissa, but in order to be emancipated, both parents must sign, and since Jimmy is still in Hawaii, it’s going to take a while.
By the time the two get to LA it’s dark, and I start to wonder. Sandy made it to and from Santa Barbara in just one day, which would easily take more than twice as long as a trip to LA and back. We were led to believe that they left right before Caleb was going to work, so even if they stopped for gas in Arcadia, they should have made it back to LA before noon.
They get to the apartment of Alex’s ex, and although I was expecting them to get ready for a trip to the Cat’s Meow, it turned out to be much less scandalous. Alex picked up her fat jeans, some shirts, some underwear, but had no idea where her necklace was. Luckily for her, Marissa is an expert shoplifter, and found the two necklaces when she was pretending to use the bathroom. Alex still couldn’t get away from her ex, so Marissa then said “let go of my girlfriend”, finally confirming the story we broke to you so long ago (wait for the press release from washingtonsocialites.com any day now if you aren’t a true believer). I can officially dust off all of those muff diving and carpet munching jokes that I overheard in high school when people were talking about the girls’ volleyball coach.
While it took the girls eight hours to get to LA, they raced back home in much less time. And to top it off, they had time for Marissa to get a tattoo. It also served as a nice gratuitous shot Mischa Barton in her bra. I never thought I would say this, but if she works at it, she might actually have some hips in a few years. Her elbows and shoulder blades aren’t even that scary anymore. And just when you thought things couldn’t get more awkward, Caleb walks in and notices his step-daughter has a tattoo, and that strange girl from the Bait Shop is inspecting it perhaps a little too closely. The first couple of times he walked in on her, he at least knocked, I am not sure what he was doing barging in like that. But whatever. He tries to put an end to it, but the two girls leave long before he exerts any authority upon them.
If you can believe it, Zach not only bailed on Summer at school, but he was late picking her up for dinner. He was with Seth, and they were working on sketches. Summer looks intently at all the characters and wonders why she isn’t one of them. We all know that Seth spent much of his time in Portland fantasizing about her in various states of super heroine dress, but she has no clue, and he is determined to keep it that way. Seth “hides” the Summer sketchbook, but I have to wonder exactly how effective he thought it was going to be. First, whatever threat we have had of Zach doing any harm upon Seth for liking Summer has long since passed. Plus, his expert hiding place was under his bed. No, not under his mattress where any self-respecting smut hoarder keeps his stash, but under his bed. Therefore, it’s not much surprise when Summer finds the book, and then takes it back home to look at it.
The OC gets some things right, and the scene where Summer looks longingly at the sketches of her is one of them. If you are one of the people who can’t stand life without Seth and Summer happy and together, watching her flip through and not only remember what Seth meant to her, but also realize how much he was thinking about her when they were apart, must have been great news. Indeed, Summer returns to Seth’s room, tells him she likes the drawings, and you can just tell that the Zach experiment may just be over.
With that, the OC had just one scene left. Marissa and Alex return to her house, laughing and out of breath. They talk about the look on Caleb’s face, and then what the look on Julie’s face will be and then share their first kiss, and it’s surprisingly much more intimate and heartfelt than you thought the whole Marissa becomes a lesbian thing could be.
Alright, who the hell am I kidding? The writers would never be that sensible. Instead we get the alternate ending, which involves Sandy trying to find a way to tell Max that his daughter is dead. They meet at Sandy’s law office and just as he is about to tell Max the bad news, Max gives Sandy a little surprise. That’s right, Rebecca has made it Newport. It turns out we spent all of that time in suspense for a fade out from a fat Kim Delaney. But what are you to expect, these are the same guys who thought Oliver was a good choice as well.
So, all of you perverts are going to have to wait at least another week to see the girl on girl action. Some people may say they don’t like Alex, but I have no problem with her. Alex and Marissa are much more interesting than Zach and Summer, or Marissa and DJ ever were. Knowing the great sense of pace that the writers possess, it will probably last three episodes before it fizzles out, somebody dies, or Marissa gets drunk and sleeps with her stepfather. What the hell has this show come to?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 10, Season Total – 117