So we are back with another episode of The OC after a week’s hiatus. Last week we got a replay of the episode where everybody visited Deep, met members of the valley, and Ryan chewed out Haley for trying to make a living in the hospitality business. Deep no longer exists, and from experiences last week, there are a number of places in Hollywood still hurting. But as the weather gets nicer, I am sure things will pick up. I am not so sure if I can say that about the OC. Sure I have been hostile towards the show, and maybe I didn’t really was a little too critical now that I am trying to bring the snark every week. I’ll try and give the show a clean slate, and give my impressions from a slightly less “god this is awful” view.You may remember that Lindsay has been banished to Chicago. We aren’t quite sure why the writers decide to end all relationships with a loved one in the hinterland. Why would have been so bad if they had just broken up? Is it more painful since she is far away? It’s not like they are going to run into each other at school, since apparently the kids don’t go to school anymore. I am also not sure why they didn’t have Theresa move to Louisville or something, because a move to the midwest would have made a lot more sense in trying to cover up her PREGNANCY, or am I the only one who remembers she was knocked up?
Seth, who was really annoying when he was depressed and trying to get back together with Summer, is even more annoying now that he is happy that he and Summer are back together. He is making his jokes and stuff, but Ryan just wants to be left alone. Ryan actually raises his voice at Seth to tell him to be quiet, then starts sulking. “I have had a lot of people in my life who have just left. I thought that time was over, but I guess not”. Oh give me a break! You have known Lindsay for what, six months at most? You have been her boyfriend for perhaps half of that? Were you really going to marry her Ryan, or just stay with her after you got her pregnant? You are only 17, go chase some skirt and be over with it already. The world did not end jackass. You broke up. This is the third girlfriend you had in the last six months, so I think you can rebound
While we had to listen to Ryan complain, we did finally get an explanation about why the Cohen’s haven’t asked Ryan to sleep inside yet. You see, there are only two bedrooms in the house. He could have had Seth’s room, but they were worried about his privacy. I didn’t live in Newport, but managed to make it through my high school years with some space of my own. It was called a door lock and a novelty “Stay Out” sign I hung on my door. Seth decides to give him some space, but when he leaves, Ryan starts packing up like he is going to leave. Seth stopped at Portland, so maybe Ryan can make it all the way to Seattle? Maybe he can make it to Alaska, fake his age, and work for an oil company. There’s all sorts of possibilities when you are so good at being morose and sullen.
Although Kirsten and Sandy didn’t break up, they did have a little relationship difficulties, and they are trying to work through them. Sandy and Rebecca really didn’t do anything of substance. She kissed him, but he didn’t really like it, at least not for more than a few seconds. They make sure to say “Hey” to each other, as if she had kicked Sandy to the couch, make a few awkward movements, and then decide to try and make things better.
If you are looking for a sign that your wife doesn’t really have faith in you, seeing her without her wedding ring is a one pretty large indication. Obviously Kirsten still has trust problems with Sandy. She says she took it off when she was planting geraniums and perhaps it went down the sink, but we all know that is a lie. Sandy immediately tries to overcompensate but putting everything he has into finding that wedding ring, which means he is going to take the sink apart himself. As side stories go, this one wasn’t bad, but it was quite obvious that the ring was going to be used as a metaphor for their relationship. If somehow Sandy found it, the effort he put into the relationship would tell Kirsten that she could once again trust him.
Seth is annoying, and I think that putting him back together with Summer was an easy way for the writers to make enough viewers happy that they would overlook how pedestrian the show has become, but a happy Seth is much better to deal with. He is even slightly less self-absorbed. Now that he is back with Summer, he can concentrate on keeping the most important relationship in his life healthy, so he asks his girlfriend to help him cheer up Ryan. Now that Seth isn’t stalking her, Summer is more than happy to oblige. She decides that they won’t leave any man behind, just like the Marines.
Summer and Seth decide that they are going to take Ryan to the mall, because there is just nothing else they could think that he would be more excited about, and they needed to pick up some clothes for a homeless shelter. On his way back to see Ryan, he sees his father playing around in the sink, looking for his mom’s ring, and Caleb sitting next to him, complaining about what a big jerk he was to Lindsay. They stop to make a joke about a plumber, and they love their plumber’s cracks! Get it? That was funny because it had two meanings. Upon arriving in Ryan’s room, he sees that there is nothing but a note. After reading it, Seth gets up, runs out of the house, and grabs his keys. He already got back one love of his life, if he rushes he can get back the other.
I was thinking that Ryan was going to run away. Where, I am not sure. He was complaining about all of the people that just left during his life, maybe he was going to go and see the girl that he walked out on. You know, Theresa, the one who had a miscarriage with your baby, or at least what we thought was your baby. Ryan is more sensible than that though, he is simply at the bus station, ready to make the trip to Chicago and surprise Lindsay.
First off. Southwest flies between Orange County and Chicago, why not just take that flight? It saves you like, two days worth of travel. Second, you are seventeen and live in Newport Beach. Act your age and be shallow for a little bit. Tap some 16 year-olds in bikinis while you can. In another year that will land you in prison. Lindsay will still be around then. All of that love you built over your three month relationship isn’t just going to disappear right? With some persuasing, Seth gets Ryan to follow him to the mall. All is happy. Cut to the Marines entering camera left and cue Seth with joke about how he just finished “Saving Private Ryan”. Still, that joke was only mildly obvious. Bravo OC writers!
No outing with Seth, Summer, and Ryan would be complete without Marissa right? Too bad she is so happy now with Alex and doesn’t hang out with her friends. Well, not quite. Joining the long list of OC relationships that fall apart (they always come in threes), there is some trouble with Marissa and Alex. Marissa might be fun as a girlfriend, but she is worthless as a roommate. She doesn’t know how to do laundry (witness pink laundry), and she isn’t helping out at all with the rent. The funniest part of this whole sequence was when Alex got mad at Marissa for not getting an after school job. I mean, you have to be kidding me. When was the last episode when any of them were in school? Secondly, what did Alex thing Marissa would accomplish at school? Get good grades, get a scholarship from the United Lesbian College Fund (a mind is a terrible thing to waste), become an OB-GYN and move into a condo?
Marissa is upset because she can’t spend as much time as she wants to with Alex, who has to work in order to make money. They are late on their rent, so when Summer drops in and asks if Marissa wants to go to the mall, she is more than eager. I know Marissa kind of wants to escape her problems, but I think she could actually make this relationship work. She shouldn’t let money get in the way of things, and they could probably save two or three hundred dollars a week if they just stopped drinking all the time. And if that is too much for them, why doesn’t she pile some of those empties into her Mustang and cash in some of those bottles?
Finally, it’s the way it should be. Seth and Summer, Ryan and Marissa. If your show isn’t doing well, just put some of the fan favorites in relationships together – that gave Friends another two or three seasons at least. All of them make it to the mall, and they begin the difficult work of stacking old clothes in preparation for their fundraiser. Somehow, while all of that was happening, six or seven hours transpired and it was night time. The store clerk mentioned the store was closing early, and it looked like all of them were stuck inside the back storeroom, and nobody even had a single bar of cell service.
Before we continue on with the kids, we need to give you a little update on what is happening with the adults. Kirsten is so pissed at Sandy, she prefers to spend her weekend discussing the Newport Living magazine with Julie Cooper-Nichol. Julie is not a publisher, and so she is objecting to meeting this guy Carter about being editor. Which reminds me, I kind have been wondering about this whole thing about people in this show working on the weekends. Why does it happen so much. First, the entire comic book company was working Saturday and Sunday, and no the Newport Group has a secretary working on a Saturday. Oh, that’s believable.
When Carter, played by Billy Campbell, arrives, he is fairly no nonsense. He knows that they don’t want anything to do with him and he tells them that he doesn’t want to do anything to do with them. But he does end the meeting on a note that everybody can understand “How about a cocktail”. This guy is obviously well read on Kirsten Cohen.
Sandy looks like he found a new best friend. At first he was just there to listen to Caleb talk about how bad of a parent he was, but then Caleb became more and more interested in finding Kirsten’s ring. Since he hurt one of his daughters, it might make him feel better if he helps make another one happy. I thought to myself “Hmm, Haley seemed happy last time we heard from her”, but we are talking about the bastard daughter. Still Caleb, you do have a third daughter. Maybe you remember her from the time she was having sex with your wife’s ex-husband?
When Sandy can’t find the ring, he remembers how the first ring he gave Kirsten came from an arcade. He saved up to buy her a real one, but she wore the plastic thing for two years. Maybe it’s the thought that counts, right Sandy? Right. Let’s go to the pier and try and snag us a ring! Let’s hope she believes it is the thought that counts.
Now, everybody knows that our four teenagers get stuck in the mall. They were relieved when they were able to get out of the storeroom, with much thanks to Seth Cohen getting all Mission Impossible with the heating ducts. He found his way out, or more accurately, fell through a hole, and let everybody out of the storeroom. Time to get home and call our loved ones before people miss us, right? Please. They are young and reckless, why not just stay overnight in the mall and get some McMuffins and shamrock shakes in the morning? Summer even mentions that it was just like an episode of the Valley when two people got locked in bank vault. No, actually this whole thing is just like when the kids of Saved By the Bell, were stuck in the mall. I am also predicting that Seth and Summer get locked in a boiler room during the junior prom.
The writers did have a little dose of reality with the first activity everybody used to pass the time. If you are in a store with a bunch of sporting, goods, who wouldn’t strap some equipment on and play ball? I would have done football or baseball, but our OC kids chose hockey. Conveniently, everybody wore goalie masks, obscuring their faces. Would Mischa, Rachel, Adam, and Ben call in stunt doubles? I do wonder. They played a game to find out who would sleep in the mattress section and who would camp out in the sporting goods. Forgetting for a minute that I haven’t seen a department store with only one mattress on display, this seemed like a fair proposition.
I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but the whole time I was thinking “Where is the security?”. We are supposed to believe that this store doesn’t have any motion sensors or video cameras? Not only that, we are supposed to believe that Ryan, having lived one year in Newport, has completely forgotten his street savvy, and is suddenly unaware that the place might have some theft deterrents? The writers did work in a motion detector at the bottom of the escalator, and it was set off when the floor hockey ball they were using rolled down the escalator. Again, it is fine for us to suspend disbelief, but even a convenience store has better surveillance than this place.
Still, the teenagers are acting like teenagers, so I can’t complain that much. We did actually learn a few things about everybody during this whole mall trip. When the guys were off in the heating ducts trying to rescue everybody, the Summer and Marissa were alone, and talking about their new loves. Marissa obviously sounded like she wasn’t so sure about her relationship with Alex, and although Summer made it sound like she was absolutely sure things were right in the world, I thought I heard just a fraction of doubt. She aloud she wanted things to be like they were, and you were wondering if she said it so she would believe it herself.
This whole discussion wouldn’t have been that surprising, but Ryan had listened to the whole thing. He was coming back after Seth fell, and listened to the whole thing, including the part where Marissa had never felt better than when she was with Ryan. Ryan, who had been mourning Lindsay, seems to think about that for a moment. “If I get her pregnant, she’ll have to break up with her girlfiend”. You don’t know how much joy I get in writing that sentence.
We also got what I consider a slightly disturbing profile of Seth. I know that everybody is going to disagree with me and say that Seth and Summer are meant to be together, but he really is so possessive it is scary. I do understand why he is broken when she is not around, and it is more believable than what we had with Ryan and Lindsay. Seth noticed that Summer had been keeping a postcard kind of hidden from him for awhile. Since it features the leaning tower of Pisa, he is afraid that it is from Zach, and that maybe Summer isn’t telling him something. He tricks Summer into leaving to find some more fake logs for their fake campfire. Summer leaves, but of course comes back in time to see that Seth has rifled through her person and started reading her mail. It’s enough to piss anybody off.
During the time they decided to make a night of it in the department store, they all made calls to their loved ones. Summer called and made another drug reference to her stepmom, while Seth was completely honest with his dad. Marissa, as is her practice, lied to Alex about her whereabouts. They were going through a tough time. Marissa seemed to love the idea of being emancipated, but in practice, she is just another spoiled girl who can’t follow through on anything. She takes the easy way out of most things, and that includes her new found lesbianism. Although she made a promise to Alex to have some takeout and spend some time by the ocean, she went to the mall. And faced with the prospect of telling the truth to somebody who has taken her through a difficult time of her life, she can’t do it. She makes the excuse that she was doing laundry at her mom’s house.
For Alex, being with Marissa is not a joke, not a phase, and she has invested a lot in it. She was hesitant at first because she wasn’t sure if she would be hurt, and she’s not just going to let Marissa go. She goes over to the Cooper-Nichol household, and runs into Julie, who is watching a very interesting video.
This week, the writers introduced us to Lance, a guy from Julie’s past. I have not personally met a person named Lance who was anything but trouble. Actually it was only one kid from my high school, and after a night drinking with some friends, I reluctantly told him I would drive him home. My poor Integra was cursing me, especially after lance threw up all over the passenger’s seat. I cleaned it out but it sucked having to leave a window open during November in the New York. Damn you Lance. DAMN YOU.
Julie’s Lance started showing up this episode, and Julie was trying as hard as possible to avoid any sort of confrontation with him. When Julie is trying to avoid confrontation, you know something is wrong. He comes to her office, and she hides, but when she bumps into him later that evening at the restaurant she was going to eat with Carter and Kirsten, she decides to face him. They obviously have a history, and it isn’t good. He is making demands, and you wonder what kind of leverage he has on her to make her seem so nervous. He hands her a paper bag and leaves. We aren’t sure what was in it, but it caused Julie such worry that she left dinner immediately.
Quite obviously this guy wasn’t giving her money, and the package wasn’t shaped like it had a bunch of incriminating 8x10s inside, so you could only surmise one thing – porn. Indeed, it was true. There are on the screen was Julie Cooper (and Melinda Clarke looks hot in her head band, and I am sure she was wearing legwarmers. good stuff), and there was Lance to deliver her a pizza. The movie, the Porn Identity is a great name. Ironically, a simple google search shows that an actual video with the same name was released this week from our favorite boys in Chatsworth, Hustler Video. I wonder if Hustler will sue the OC and Fox for using the name in the movie?
Well, as I said a few paragraphs ago, Alex walks in on Julie watching the movie, and Julie fumbles for the remote to turn it off, but of course has trouble and Alex sees a little more than she wants to. Ah yes, just like those nights I would stay up late to watch Cinemax. It seemed like anytime I was just at the good parts of “Hard Vice” or “Full Exposure”, my mom would decide she needs a drink of water. I would always try to flip it back to ESPN, but I’m not sure if I was always quick enough.
Alex asks Julie where Marissa is, and when she finds out Marissa is not there, you can see how hurt she is. Julie is not trying to be a bitch, but she does tell Alex that what she is experiencing is in Marissa’s nature. It’s only a matter of time before you meet Marissa’s friends “sullen and vindictive”. Alex says she has only seen “scared and overwhelmed”. They are both cousins of two OC writers, we know them as “repetitive and boring”.
Some may say it is repetitive to see Kirsten get drunk all of the time, but I still laugh every time she goes for the bottle. The OC writers are trying to show their “Sideways” solidarity, because Kirsten orders a Pinot instead of her normal Merlot while at Dinner with Carter, who happens to be a recovering, divorced alcoholic. If there was anybody that would be perfect for Kirsten looking to get a little on the side, I am sure it is him.
We know Kirsten can get mad at Sandy, and she may have trust issues, but they do always work things out. When she gets home, she sees that Sandy hasn’t found her ring, but he has a gesture that is even more important. He spent all evening (and a whole lot of quarters) trying to get her that special plastic ring that was so elusive, and that symbolized the time they fell in love, and love was literally all they had. Sandy gives her the ring, and she just melts. Easily my favorite scene of the whole show. When Sandy is in the shower, Kirsten makes her way over to the night stand (I love Ms. Rowan, but she really didn’t fill that camisole very much. I think she needs a PowerBar or some beef jerky or something). She never lost the ring, she just lost her confidence in Sandy. He showed her he remembered what they were about, and you can see how relieved she was when she felt it as she slipped it back on. Like I said, a metaphor for the relationship.
Back at the mall, Seth and Summer were arguing about the postcard, and Ryan and Marissa were talking about the past, but there was more important things about to happen. Summer heard a noise, and she saw some flashlights. It took a little while, but the mall security/police finally made it. Now although everybody had already been caught on video, they all decided to make a break for it. They leave the mall, make it to the Range Rover (Ryan driving of course), and bouced up out of there, as DMX would say. Now although I don’t make $8.50 an hour watching security monitors, I probably would have noticed the only car in the mall parking lot, and maybe have asked some questions about it. I also wouldn’t have been so easily fooled by the mannequins they used as a decoy to make their escape. But nobody connected the dots, so everybody was safe, at least until they review the security tapes.
There is nothing like evading the law to bring people together, and the same was true in this case. Summer and Seth eventually made up, and they watched as Ryan and Marissa started to get pretty cozy in the booth of a diner (you have to get food after you escape from the police). It looks like everything is going to be OK in the the OC.
Not so fast. There is that little thing about Julie’s porn video. She calls Lance, who tries to blackmail her for half a million dollars – money she can’t come up with without people knowing. If this came out, it would ruin her marriage, and the relationship with her kids (she does have two). It also makes you wonder just a little more about the early courtship between her and Jimmy Cooper. As twists go, this one has some potential, although the producers could have introduced Lance many episodes ago to give a little more suspense.
Alex and Marissa weren’t great, but I think it was cut off too short. It looks like it was a sideshow, almost as if they were trying to phase her out completely. It looks like Mischa isn’t going to leave, because it seems she is back into the fold. And while it pains me to think they dragged this season out so long just to get back to the point where they were last season at this time, perhaps refocusing will upgrade what happens on screen. If there was any strength to this episode, it was that the adult story lines flowed very well within the story. Everything happening looked like it was part of one concept from the beginning, and not just throw together at the end.
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 7, Season Total – 165