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I thought last week had one of the best episodes of The OC in a long time. This week, uh, not so much. The saga of Johnny has been a long one this season. He joins the long list of characters that have attempted to break up our two power couples without much success. First we had Oliver and Anna. We hope Oliver was sent to a mental institution, and Anna flew home to Pittsburgh. Then we had Zach and Lindsay and Alex. Zach is probably trying to have sex with his hot tutor, Lindsay flew back to Chicago, and Alex decided that Marissa Cooper is so crazy, she’ll go back to her parents. We’ve been suffering through Johnny, who may not suck as much as some of the others, but that’s not saying much. After many weeks of wondering how it is all going to play out, at the end of this episode we figured out what the hell we are going to do with him.Usually, when a Cohen is barging into the pool house, it is Seth, who likely needs his hand held through another crisis that is inflaming his neurotic tendencies like cheap toilet paper after a night of Indian food. Come to think of it, if I had to deal with Seth like that all the time, I would probably be just as pissed off as Ryan is all the time. This episode, it was another Cohen that was bothering Ryan in the pool house, but you can still blame Seth. Sandy woke up and found that Seth was nowhere to be found, and was really worried. Considering Sandy let Seth live in Portland for months a couple of years ago, I am not sure why he is so upset that Seth is missing. He does have a hot girlfriend; right there are a million possibilities for reasons why he would be gone. Most of those reasons would even make his dad proud!
Ryan knows better and tells Sandy that Seth had a calculus exam and he shouldn’t worry about going to the school to check up on him, because Ryan was supposed to go in early anyway. Seth didn’t have a calculus exam, and Ryan found him at the pier taking in the sunrise. Ryan has noticed that something has been going on, and now that I mention it so has Sandy, so Ryan asks what’s up, and Seth tells him that he didn’t go to the Brown interview. Not only that, but he lied to Summer about the whole deal, and as we all know, the cover-up is usually much worse than the crime. However, Ryan decided that he wouldn’t bother Seth about it any more as long as Seth would be honest with Summer about it.
Seth got a little annoyed with the way that Ryan was talking with him and said that things were getting dangerously close to sounding like an after-school special. Oh, the irony. I mean, I guess that the writers didn’t know that all of us would have been asking that question long before they thought Seth would make it sound funny, but to hear Seth say it that way, you wondered what had taken them so long to get on the bandwagon. The bigger irony is that throughout the episode, the after-school special feeling didn’t go away. We are supposed to believe that it was the big bad marijuana man that caused him to “blow off” the interview. Now, I am not trying to be an advocate one way or the other, but if you believe that Seth blew off the interview because he was stoned, you are kidding yourself. Seth may be enjoying weed a little too much, but he was scared shitless about that interview long before anything he smoked would have had an effect on him. And seriously, Seth does have a lot to be scared shitless about.
Now we all know that getting Seth to tell the truth about something is not always that easy. To say that he is a little scared of confrontation is an understatement because Seth has made a name for himself by avoiding situations if they get a little prickly. Sometimes he’ll try and pretend it never happens, and other times he’ll move to the Pacific Northwest. Whatever happens, it will probably be funny, but you will also have to wait. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise that Seth couldn’t quite get the words out when he first approached Summer about the interview. She had mentioned that she and Shelley (the interviewer) had really bonded during their time together, and she is so serious about Brown that she even bought a thesaurus. Seth tries to play along, saying his interview was great, but Summer knows that something is wrong, because Seth keeps talking about Shelley as if he was a girl, but really he was just a girlie firstie. Before Summer can ask any more questions, Seth has run off with another excuse of his.
After last week’s first kiss, you would think that maybe Kaitlin and Marissa could get over their Johnny problems. Marissa likes Ryan, right? Kaitlin likes Johnny, right? Kaitlin looked like she was trying to go forward, and she started by going out on a surf lesson with Johnny. Before Johnny came to pick her up, Kaitlin managed to get in another fight with her big sister. Yes, there was the debate about whether or not the tankini was still an acceptable form of a two-piece bathing ensemble, but the real thing bothering them was Johnny. Ever since Johnny has stepped on the scene, we have been waiting for Marissa to realize what she has, and realize that Johnny is never going to have a life with her because, among other reasons, he usually is severely injured whenever they try and spend time together. The only way she could be more lethal to Johnny is if she started writing novels and killing people with an ice pick.
Right as Johnny made it to the trailer park, Kaitlin was giving Marissa the ultimatum, i.e. “Tell me you don’t have feelings for Johnny.” Johnny was turning the corner just as Marissa was failing to answer the question. He didn’t say anything about it, but you can tell that he was distracted during their surf lesson. He was afraid to do anything because he and Marissa had a history, and so Kaitlin decided that she would have to find somebody that would do something about it.
It’s really not a good day for any of the Cooper women and their love lives. Julie is lamenting that she might have ruined her only shot at getting with Dr. Roberts, and it’s not helping her to hear the profiles of all the eligible women of Newport. And did everybody notice how they described their client Katie? She’s 39, single, loves tennis, and loves working out. Wow, that must really narrow it down to about, oh I don’t know, half of the eligible people in Newport. About the only way that she could have made her profile more generic was to say that she did yoga. Kirsten sees how much this is bothering Julie, and tells her that she should help set up Dr. Roberts with some of their clients. So, your friend is having trouble getting the guy that she wants, and you suggest that she set that guy up with other women. You must be crazy or, like Julie accused Kirsten of being, high. Kirsten is sober and although her son is smoking with increased frequency, her plan is semi-sane. All of the women in Newport are so awful that after a meeting a few of them, Dr. Roberts would realize how wonderful Julie is and ask her out on a date.
The plan is so crazy, it actually makes a little bit of sense, and so Julie goes through with Kristen’s plan. Dr. Roberts is surprised at first, but kind of warms up to the idea, and lets Julie take him through the list of eligible women. Despite her protests that some are slightly pear shaped or still have braces, Dr. Roberts really enjoys himself. By the way, does anybody else think this story line has been going a little too well? Sure these two have their problems during some episodes, but they almost always are little bit closer by the end of the episode. I still think we’ll see them together by the end of the season, but I can’t tell right now if the writers are setting it up so Julie can be happy, or once again breaking her down just when she thinks things are going well.
When Kaitlin said that she was going to find somebody to do something about the Johnny and Marissa thing, she decided to go straight to Ryan. Ryan didn’t really bite when Kaitlin tried to stir shit up at the Bait Shop and at her birthday party, and I am sure like the rest of us, he wishes that the Johnny thing were just over. Kaitlin convinces Ryan that he needs to do something about their love square, which we all really know is more of a love rhombus, and I say that not because I have a fetish for Euclidian geometry, but because rhombus is fun to say. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but he should say something because he will finally figure out where he stands, and doesn’t he deserve to know at least that much?
Ryan meets Marissa at the coffee shop, and tells her that he wants to know about Johnny. As far as little Ryan Atwood temper tantrums go, this was a pretty mild one, and he made a little bit of sense. He says that perhaps it is partly his fault. You know, maybe she thought she couldn’t talk to him, or that he wasn’t listening. Still, he wanted her to figure it out, and until then, he didn’t want to see her.
Ryan and Marissa are now on thin ice, and Seth is soon going to find himself on some thin ice. Summer has been noticing him acting strangely, and follows him after he leaves the counselor’s office. She hears a nice surprise when the counselor tells her that Shelley was a big fan of hers, but then gets a not-so-nice surprise when she learns that Seth missed his interview and was going to reschedule. Summer could take him when he was just a gangly mop head who barely had an ass and watched too many movies that required subtitles, but she didn’t want to deal with a liar.
Sandy is also dealing with a little bit of a moral dilemma in building the hospital. Sure, this Merriam guy gave the Newport Group the contract, but the board of physicians still needed to vote on things, which meant that they might require some more dirty tactics to win some votes, and there is only so much that you can do to convince these people to see your point of view. They are too smart, so you can’t just send them off for a week in Thailand and some free antibiotics, and Sandy is getting weary of doing business when his assets are not his word or the quality of his work, but rather the amount of liquor and sexual favors they are able to get for people.
Sandy may not have the stomach for this type of business but Matt does. Although Sandy told him not to, Matt gets to work on getting the board of physicians on his side. The daughter of the president of the board, Maya Griffin, used to have a thing for Matt, and so he decides to take her out. Sandy sees him while he and Kirsten are enjoying a dinner at the yacht club. Now I know Matt has a girlfriend, but you could do worse than Maya Griffin, played by the gorgeous Morena Baccarin, who all of us Whedon geeks know as Inara, the “companion” from Firefly and Serenity. I don’t see what Sandy’s big problem is. After all, she is an up and coming Newpsie, so she can’t be completely harmless. Matt has shown a lack of judgment before, so maybe she is using him.
Personally, I don’t really get why Sandy has such a huge problem with all of this. As he’s said before, this is a hospital for poor people. Don’t the ends justify the means? For whatever problems his conscience is having with him right now, won’t it all be different when he sees the project helps so many people? It turns out that Sandy had a little bit of a personal issue with the way Matt was treating Maya Griffin. When Kirsten was working at the Newport Group, he would see lots of guys try and use Kirsten in order to get to her father. He didn’t appreciate that, but when he was talking to Kirsten about it, she said that nothing should hold Sandy back. The reason why she loved him and what made him who he is, is that ability to know when somebody crosses from ambition to sleaze when trying to get your way. With that, Sandy relents, but you can see that he is still not behind these methods 100%.
After her talk with Ryan, Marissa decides that she is going to have to go straight to Johnny. For any of us who were suspecting that perhaps Johnny would come to his senses and not bother with Marissa, we were sadly mistaken. Chili started getting into Johnny’s head that he should tell Marissa how he truly feels. Chili has never been with another woman, but hasn’t needed anything as bad as Johnny needs Marissa. He can’t give up after all they have been through, and so when Marissa comes to see Johnny, Johnny lays it all out, saying that he loves Marissa, and meaning it more than a virgin trying to get laid on Valentine’s Day. He sees that she is kind of shocked, but tells Marissa that she should think about it.
Summer had also been confronted with a surprising truth. This time, instead of giving Seth a chance to wiggle out of it, she goes directly to his house while everybody is having their morning breakfast. She takes Seth to his room, and decides to jump all over him, but not in the “we can’t my parents are downstairs” type of way. She knows that Seth is lying, and she doesn’t want him to become an old man that hides lots of money and porn. Seth said that a) hiding porn and money was awesome and b) it could be worse, and finally decides to be honest. He finally comes clean, and tells her that he was scared, and he was embarrassed that he couldn’t do it. Summer may not know that Mr. Marijuana sinisterly facilitated all this, but Seth is sincere.
Despite all of his bravado, Seth is still basically the kid that got picked on and beat up only a few years back. The biggest difference is that he now has Summer. He is afraid that he’ll be nothing but the nerdy boyfriend when they get to Brown together, and he wants to be more than that. It’s understandable that Seth is feeling a little hesitant, but he is not the only one with insecurities. Summer is just as worried that she’ll get to Brown, and she’ll be the kind of slow girlfriend that doesn’t know how to say Proust. Seth tells Summer that he rescheduled, and that their life together in Providence is in no danger, and that there is absolutely nothing at all that he is now hiding from her, except, of course, that he has started smoking pot. I can understand why Seth would try to hide it from his parents. Even though they are very laid back, it’s very rare that a parent is going to let his kid smoke as much pot as he wants, especially while they are still in high school. Hiding it from one’s girlfriend is an entirely different matter. If she isn’t visiting you enough to notice you are smoking pot, you have bigger problems in the relationship, don’t you think?
Kirsten’s plan of getting Dr. Roberts to date Newport women because he was sure to hate them later on wasn’t exactly working as she planned. In fact, Julie was furious that she was going to be setting him up with lots of gorgeous women who he has probably already seen naked. From now on, she is going to have to handle this herself, and the first step in this process is to spy on Dr. Roberts while he is on his dates. That’s exactly the kind of woman that guys are looking for these days; the ones that stalk you and don’t know the difference between an honest physical attraction you may have for them and accidentally getting caught looking at your boobs when it’s cold outside. But hey, Julie’s plan was working, at least until Taryn Baker, our favorite Newpsie played by Kimberly Oja, star of Son of the Beach, noticed Julie hiding behind her veil and sunglasses, looking sort of like Audrey Hepburn going to a funeral in Greece. Taryn might be great to talk to before cardiobar, but she is the last person Julie wants to see at the moment, and she totally blew her cover.
Julie was completely embarrassed, and any hope she though of making up an excuse was lost when Dr. Roberts wondered aloud if she was spying on him. She left the scene, probably thinking that she had as good of a chance of dating Dr. Roberts as I do dating Tyra Banks; barring some miracle, it was never going to happen. Julie did get her miracle though. While she was sitting at home sulking about her bad luck, and trying to drown her sorrow with the flaky crust of a Hot Pocket (I guess she had run out of the grits she had been making earlier), none other than Dr. Neil Roberts showed up at her door, and he said exactly what she wanted to hear. She may have faults, but when Julie is not around, Dr. Roberts is thinking about her and misses her. It looks like Julie is about to cry, and the only thing that saves her from being overcome by emotion is her realization that she should try and be a good host. She invites Neil in to see if he wants to take a bite of some Hot Pocket. At this point, I would normally make a joke about how when you bite into a Hot Pocket, the filling always comes flying out and burns your tongue, and then say that Julie should make sure that before she puts anything into her mouth, she should blow on it a little, but I think I am above such juvenile humor by now.
During the time Dr. Roberts visited Julie, neither Kaitlin or Marissa were around, but where could they be? They were dealing with Johnny. After a little bit of thrift store shopping, Marissa and Kaitlin come back to the subject of Johnny, and why Marissa can’t let go. Kaitlin busts out the Baskin Robbins analogy, which is the third most popular analogy used to describe a situation right after sports terminologies and “straight or Clay Aiken.” Marissa would always go there, take a long time to choose, and when she picked one, never liked the one she chose. In other words, Marissa was never one to trust her instincts, and it’s the reason why she’s having such trouble right now. Kaitlin, on the other hand, always picked her favorite flavor, saying that if she loved it, why should she question it?
Finally!! It is the moment we have all been waiting for. Marissa makes up her mind. She leaves Johnny a note, and since most people don’t write a note and walk away when it says “I love you! Let’s have some babies,” it means that Johnny is getting the boot. Marissa visits Ryan and finally comes clean. She is not interested in Johnny and she is sorry that she ever made Ryan wonder if that was the case. Her real problem stemmed from the fact that it was hard for her to talk with Ryan about Trey, and she knows that she let it get past the point where they can just be back together and have everything the same. She does want to get started again, even if it is just dinner at first.
Dinner in the Cohen house is always take out or delivery, so they get Chinese, and it looks like Seth is smoking up again because he ate all of the dumplings. When Ryan caught up with Seth at the pier, Seth admitted that he woke up early to try and score (as in weed, not with Summer), apparently scared of Kaitlin or something, but said he would stop after he and Ryan had their little heart to heart about lying to Summer. Well, Seth lied, AGAIN; he started smoking. He is still using the towel in front of the door to block the smoke, but I wonder how effective that is. His dad went to Berkeley, so I am sure that he can smell pot from miles away. And when he smokes, it just goes out the window. For as much as he has smoked, you would be able to smell it wafting around from most of the rooms on that side of the house, but I guess that’s not important.
What is important is that Summer caught Seth smoking, although at first she didn’t know what it was. Seth has been using the air freshener and convinced her that the smell she was noticing was because he had some farts during yoga. Now, what Seth really has to do is buy some of those American Spirit herbal cigarettes. The corn silk smells just like a certain wacky herb when burned, and most people can’t tell the difference. Not that I would know anything about that, but I’m just saying, you know, in case. Whatever the case, it all seems to be going fine. Summer brought over her selection of movies, including Save the Last Dance and She’s All That (starring SMG before she was cool enough to be credited). She doesn’t know if Seth would like them, but she had her fill of underground Hong Kong cinema, and if you’re looking for some existential meeting in your films, is Julia Stiles doing ballet any worse than One Armed Boxer?
Summer is almost convinced that Seth liked the movies because for some reason, he is not making nearly as many sarcastic comments about Julia Stiles and her journey to Julliard with the help of that guy who hid under Kathryn’s bed in Cruel Intentions. When Seth is just as enthralled with the television blue screen as he was with the movie, Summer starts to investigate. She goes up to his room, searches around, and finds what she was looking for. She can’t conjure up much more than an “Ew!”, but you know Seth is going to have to pay in the next episode.
Somewhere between Freddie Prinze Jr. complaining about going to Dartmouth (after marrying SMG, my next biggest grudge about him, besides the no-talent, not-funny thing) and Rachel Leigh Cook learning not to be embarrassed that Kevin Pollock is her dad and he cleans pools, Ryan and Marissa head off to the pool house. They have needed this alone time. You know, we always joke that what they needed was some sex, and while you can’t say that having sex will necessarily bring two people together, for a couple that have feelings for each other like Ryan and Marissa do, it can be a reminder of what you used to have and what you mean to each other. They are just about to jog their memories when Marissa gets a call on her phone. Even though it is Kaitlin, and she can’t stand her, Marissa decides to answer instead of, I don’t know, turning her phone off.
Why would Kaitlin call Marissa? Well, it’s Johnny. He didn’t take Marissa’s note too well. He drove over to pick up Kaitlin, and at first it sounded like it would be fun because all he wanted to do was get drunk and start a bonfire. Again, this is a subtle code among high school kids that roughly translates into “I want to get into your pants” and with the tequila, you can add “very quickly” at the end of it. Kaitlin was excited, and eagerly agreed, grabbing some of her mom’s stash. When they started drinking, however, it soon became clear that Johnny was just trying to get Marissa out of his mind and his method used alcohol more than any attempts at getting to second base.
Kaitlin was very bored, but then Johnny made things interesting. Now, I would still think that if you were drunk, and you were trying to get a girl out of your mind, human nature still says that you would try and hump anything with a pulse before you would start rock climbing, but Johnny did the latter, despite Kaitlin’s protest. Kaitlin called Marissa, and by the time she got there with Ryan, Johnny was at the top and there were only a few possible ways that this could end. Would Ryan save Johnny just in time, or would Johnny fall to his death? The last time somebody was so distraught about breaking up with a Cooper and decided to get drunk, Luke crashed his truck and eventually moved to Portland.
Johnny was not so lucky.
As he was dancing around at the top of the cliff Johnny lost his balance. Ryan tried to save him, but his arm grabbed air. Johnny had fallen to the sand below, and put himself and a lot of viewers out of their misery.
Although I was really happy to see Johnny die, I couldn’t say that I liked this episode very much. The after-school special handling of Seth’s drug problem is getting annoying, and is straight out of the old “this is your brain on drugs” commercials we saw in the 80s. I give it even odds that Summer breaks out a frying pan and some eggs to demonstrate this to Seth next week. If they start saying Seth’s marijuana use will be a “stepping stone” or “gateway” to harder drugs, I’m going to find my D.A.R.E. shirt and strangle it. The last five minutes with Johnny climbing up the cliff were barely watchable. At least make the death goofy, like he dies while trying to surf drunk or something. Considering all of the characters who just fade away never to be seen again, you wonder why the writers decided this one had to die. The feeling of “desperate ratings stunt” was all over this one. My biggest fear, however, is that Marissa blames herself and goes back to drinking, which I guess in retrospect isn’t that bad. At least the adults seem halfway interesting.
What did you think of the episode? Is there a future for Julie Cooper and Dr. Roberts? Will Summer put the smack down on Seth’s drug use? How long before somebody tries to break up Marissa and Ryan again?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 12, Season – 323