This past Thursday marked the return of The OC from a month-long hiatus, but it seems even longer than that. I would have to say that I am pretty excited to have the Newport kids grace our screen once again. At times, you might even call my enthusiasm embarrassing and yes, pathetic. But hey, I’m a blogger, so what was I waiting for? Fame and riches? We all can’t be Nick Denton. Anyway, I was at this Halloween party and met these two girls, and I knew right away we were on the same wavelength because they hated Laguna. They were kind enough to feign interest when I told them that I blogged, and we discussed The OC. I went outside for some, uh, fresh air, and by the time I realized that I should have been flirting, they were gone. Maybe it was the Nixon mask, maybe it was that Golden Lobster I had for dinner, but the point (and there is a point, really!) is that I know there are at least three people in the country who have been anticipating the return of The OC, and so without too much more rambling, let’s get on with the recap.Things are starting to get at least a little bit more routine in the Cohen household. Caleb is dead, and while it may be a little disrespectful to say so, his presence, or lack thereof, really means a lot less random shit to worry about for the Cohens. And since he left Julie no money, she is no longer in any position to be a really big bother. We just have to settle back into the old routines and everything will be back just like it used to be.
OK, so things will never be like they used to be, because, well for starters, Kirsten is cooking. Normally, putting her in control of any sort of kitchen utensil would be like putting the government in charge of, well, anything. Your best wish is that when they are all done with what they have to do, there will be enough to salvage later on. Things won’t change overnight, but that doesn’t mean that Kirsten can’t give it the old college try, and from the early returns, it looks like she is doing OK. She has made a full breakfast for the boys that includes Eggs Benedict and Jell-O with fruit.
This is all very beautiful, but we all know that breakfast is sacrosanct in the Cohen household, and anything besides coffee and a bagel is quite the strange occurrence. When Sandy walks in looking for his bagel and a schmear, he welcomes the smell, which he calls fancy, but he had stopped himself before he said what was really on his mind, but notices that Ryan and Seth are kind of looking at their breakfasts like they weren’t sure if they were supposed to eat it or sit on it or paint a picture. I also have to say, for somebody so PC, Sandy Cohen lets his family waste on awful lot of food, don’t you think? They are always ordering food, and I never see them eat leftovers. Any meal they don’t have at home, they have at the diner. My only guess is that their maid Rosa, who we never see but we know is around or used to be, takes the food home to her kids or something.
The Cohens aren’t the only people getting used to a morning routine. At Summer’s house, she and Marissa are crowding around her mirror trying to apply makeup. Again, I have to wonder what these people in the OC are doing with all of their extra bedrooms. I’m not an architect, but the Cohen’s house looks like it should have at least four bedrooms, and Summer’s house looks like it should have at least six. OK, so Ryan gets the pool house, I get that. There is no reason for Marissa to be sharing a room with Summer. Summer has a boyfriend, and the only times we have seen them having sex is in full view of Princess Sparkle, so I know they are good friends and all, but Summer isn’t going to go without sex just so Marissa can stay in her room, right? Sharing a bathroom, OK, that might make some sense, but I refuse to believe they are shoved together in one bedroom, or that Summer’s house doesn’t have its own pool house for Marissa to shack up in.
While jockeying for position, Marissa gets a call from her Mom. Julie hasn’t been exactly truthful with her daughter about their situation. Julie masquerades like she is enjoying the view from her new beachfront property, when in fact, the only body of water nearby is the dirty pool of her motel. Julie is going to have to find something to do soon, because while she argues that she’s not destitute, she hasn’t been able to find a job, and she continuously lies about how much money she has saved away. Her best friend is Kirsten, but Julie is too proud to take a handout from her. Still, Julie says that she will take a look at some condos that Kirsten knows are opening up.
Just as Julie was leaving, Charlotte did a pop in on Kirsten. She was in the neighborhood, and when Julie leaves, Kirsten fills her in on a little bit of what happened to Julie. Charlotte is concerned, but she also has a desperate person very close to the Cohens who she could use in her little scam, all she needs to do is find a way to get Julie on her side. During one of Julie’s visits to see a condo, Charlotte walks in on her and the realtor. Julie decided to sell her ring to get cash for the down payment, but when she gets there, the realtor said that she was told that the four bedroom condo with a view was a little beyond her means.
You know, when Jimmy was kicked out of his own house, he found that nice little apartment, so why doesn’t she just live in something like that? Anyway, the realtor said that she would show her something on the garden level, which is a codeword for “basement.” I remember when I went to interview for a job, I asked about my office. I am a type that loves natural sunlight, so if I can have an office with a window, it makes me very happy. The HR person said that I would have a window, and my office was on the “terrace level,” which is another codeword for “basement.” My window provided me a view of the window well outside the building, and I could barely see the sunlight coming through the grate at the top, because right outside the window well was an air conditioning unit. In other words, the garden or terrace levels suck.
It was Charlotte that called the realtor and not Kirsten, because she is able to show up and Julie recognizes her from their brief meeting. Charlotte makes an excuse about why she wants to buy a condo, and Julie leaves embarrassed again. The next night when she is drinking her problems away, Charlotte knocks on her door at the motel and says that she wants Julie to stay in her condo. In fact, Charlotte purchased it in Julie’s name. She says that she knows how it’s like to be in that position and it moved her. She only asks that she can stay in the guest bedroom whenever she is in town. It sounds too good to be true, and Julie knows that there is no such thing as a free condo or a free lunch, but the offer is also too good to refuse. Happy with her work, Charlotte calls her boyfriend and lets him know that the next phase of their evil plan to suck Kirsten Cohen dry can begin. So does anybody else wonder why they don’t just use all of this money they have been putting towards scamming Kristen and invest it or something? I mean, buying a condo for somebody? Even if they did some sort of fraud with that, these people are smart and this con is getting to be a pain in the ass. What’s the deal?
Last episode, Ryan was acting a little shallow vagina-ish over Marissa and her new friends, but it looks like he is trying to mend fences. He decides to join Marissa when she is having lunch with Johnny, Casey, and Chili. I can see why Ryan would want to meet his girlfriend, but what kind of boyfriend is he if he visits the school and make her eat the same crap that she does everyday? We know she likes In And Out, so why not treat her to a double-double? Ryan felt almost threatened by Johnny last time they met, but it turns out that they have a lot more in common than he realizes, going all the way back to when Johnny’s team beat up on Ryan’s team in Pee Wee football. (I’m pretty sure Ben McKenzie played football in high school, BTW.) Casey makes an excuse to give Ryan and Johnny some alone time to get acquainted, believing that it would benefit both of them if their boyfriends were friendly. She even made Chili come along with them, which had to be tough on him. Since he is the Bizarro Seth, you know that he has had a man-crush on Johnny for a long time, much like Seth had wanted to ask Ryan to be his heterosexual life mate until he found Summer. Keeping Chili away from Johnny and Ryan is cruel and unusual punishment.
As an aside, a girl I met at the same Halloween party said that she knew Erin Foster, who plays the girl who was picking on Marissa in her new high school before Casey saved her. She said Erin would love to see her name mentioned in a recap, so here it is. Word is that we may see “Heather” in a few more episodes. Maybe she’ll team up with Taylor Townsend.
OK, back to the story. It’s a good thing that Summer and Seth have found each other because each other is all that either of them have when trying to get through the day at school. In fact, Summer is slowly going crazy watching Taylor Townsend gaining more and more power by the day. As she watches Taylor texting, she is barely able to keep herself from putting down her latté, walking over to Taylor, and punching her in the face. She knows that the Dean protects Taylor, and she knows that protection is largely a result of Taylor giving the full GFE to Dean Hess. Summer saw everything with her own eyes, but that isn’t enough to get Seth to believe her. He suggests that her US Weekly fetish might have been clouding her judgment and making her see things that aren’t happening. Take the Nick and Jessica breakup. What is the over/under on how many more magazine covers that story will provide before actual divorce papers are filed? I will conservatively say 8.5.
Even without support from her boyfriend, Summer is determined to get some evidence, so she decides to track Taylor Townsend through school, Mission: Impossible style. Summer isn’t exactly GI Jane, so her recon and target acquisition targets leave a little to be desired, and Taylor notices her snooping and confronts her about it. Taylor comments that the Single White Female stalking thing is so mid-nineties, which is a great joke for the writers to bring up considering they have been doing it all season with Charlotte and Kirsten, and I even mentioned it in a recap a few months ago. Or maybe that was yet another self-referential joke. I get it now. They are making fun of themselves, which makes it ironic and edgy. Oooh, we’re so impressed.
Summer might not have book smarts, as evidenced when she called the upcoming college fair a college circus. And what do you think exactly would make a college fair a college circus? Clowns? A trapeze? More cowbell? The absence of the spinning teacups? There are a lot of situations where she can hold her own, like trying to talk her way out of trouble. Trying to come up with an excuse while she was following Taylor, Summer said that she wanted to let Taylor know something about Dean Hess and the volleyball coach, Ms. Applebaum. Knowing that the best way to expose the unholy union of Taylor/Hess, she thinks that stirring up some jealousy may cause things to move on their own.
Did I just say college fair a little while ago? Why yes I did. Harbor was hosting the college fair for Newport, so it was open to everybody, meaning Ryan couldn’t be kept out of it. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is nothing for him to worry about. Dr. Kim had called that morning to say that the Dean of Discipline himself had put a note in Ryan’s transcript that he was a bad seed, which is enough to prevent any reputable college from accepting him. I want to interject here a moment. Ryan admits that he will be the first of his family to go to college, and one of the few to graduate high school. I don’t want to say that it is a bad idea for a kid to dream big, but is it so bad to spend a few years at Orange Coast Community College before transferring to some place like UC Irvine? Is it really the end of the world if he doesn’t get into the Ivy League? Many hundreds of thousands of kids deal with not getting in each year, so am I supposed to feel sympathy for this kid because he doesn’t go to a top ten or twenty school? Last time I checked, it was better than working construction and living in your baby momma’s house.
But whatever, let’s pretend that this is the most important thing to happen EVER in Ryan’s life. Although the event is open to all, Marissa decides that she has homework to do and she has a trig test coming up and is not thinking of college anyway. Summer protests, saying that she is a high school senior and needs to think about college. Marissa tells her to slow down, and I have to agree. If you are still trying to figure out what a cosine is in 12th grade, perhaps you should have other things on your mind. Then again, she may have to come up with some sort of plan to make money because A) it doesn’t look like she’s going to inherit anything and B) Ryan may not go to Yale and so she might have to supplement his income. Then again, her sister hasn’t been kicked out of her private school (maybe the Coopers paid for the tuition in advance?), so maybe she can just hold out until Kaitlin goes to Yale, marries a lawyer, and moves back with him to Orange County. Yes, it worked for Hailey, but it may take another ten years for that scenario.
Despite the encouragement from her best friend, Marissa stays home during the college fair. Summer does go, and although Seth is looking at plenty of colleges, she seems to be preoccupied with other things. I mean, she is concerned about college, but her biggest worry is that Seth will go somewhere in the Northeast and freeze his bony ass off. The other thing on her mind is Taylor Townsend and Dean Hess, who she sees outside arguing. Once again, Seth plays the skeptic, saying that perhaps Dean Hess is giving her advice on college, like maybe she has a better chance of getting into Cornell than Dartmouth. Woo hoo! Dartmouth mention! I should normally also insert a joke here about hotel and restaurant management, but having spent a good number of my younger years in and around Ithaca, I’ll hold off. Anyway, Taylor and Dean Hess were in an argument, and Summer hopes it’s a sign that there is a vulnerable place for her to strike Taylor later.
Surveying the colleges that have a presence, Ryan is bombarded by all sorts of questions that he is not yet ready to handle, like “what do you plan to study?” No, seriously, he hasn’t thought about it, but you can’t expect people to be prepared for that when they haven’t even applied to any colleges, right? Sandy pushed Ryan to go to the Berkeley booth, and if there were ever a time when they could have snuck in another Asian onto the set, you would have thought it would have been at the Berkeley recruiting booth, but alas, the assumed presence of Dr. Kim on the other end of the telephone will have to do. When Dean Hess sees that Ryan is here, he threatens to kick him out. Sandy is there to defend him, but Hess tells him that there is nothing Sandy can do to keep his special note out of Ryan’s file, and with that no reputable school will ever take him. Ryan overhears this, and with his hopes dashed yet again, he decides he must run away.
Actually, Ryan didn’t run away. We were all expecting him to, but when Seth is investigating the pool house he sees that Ryan has not left, he had just showered. While Seth is disappointed that Ryan is modest and is wearing a towel around his waist instead of walking around naked and giving Seth something to think about when he is closing his eyes with Summer, he is happy that Ryan hasn’t left. Ryan does have other news for him, namely that he decided to drop out and fire his tutor. This of course means that his life is over! How could he ever live life after firing his tutor? Well, what high school was he planning on graduating from with his current tutor? From what I gathered, the tutor was hired by the Cohens and was not working for the school. Even if the tutor were accredited, he wouldn’t have received a Harbor diploma. He’s such a genius, he can get his GED, enroll in community college in the winter, and do so well that he gets accepted to a better school for next fall.
My point is that Ryan has tons of options and the means to pursue any of them, so again, I cannot get all weepy over this situation of his. That doesn’t mean that plenty of people aren’t discussing it, including Marissa, who tells Johnny. And since Johnny is such good friends with Ryan, he goes to speak with him as well, but instead of saying that quitting school is not the right choice, Johnny tells him that he can get a job on his uncle’s fishing boat, assuming that none of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in California won’t do the job for less. But with Ryan gone, it does mean that Johnny will get a chance to move in on Marissa himself.
Ryan comes back to the Cohen house where everybody is very happy to see him. They were so worried that he was never coming back, but the news that he dropped out and is going to work on a fishing boat is not much better. Sandy tries to convince him not to throw his life away. “YOU HAVE TO KEEP TRYING,” he yells as he slams the table, but Ryan says that he needs to make his own decisions, and he wants to the Cohens to let him go. Myself, I have a few questions as well. What makes Ryan think that this decision of his is any better than any other decision he has made? All of his schemes backfire, so does he really think he is going to get through with this? And my other question is the same, but directed at the Cohens. Just because Ryan is going to leave doesn’t mean that he is actually going to get anywhere. Let him do what he wants and come crawling back like every other time.
With Ryan about to leave, it is becoming crunch time for Summer and her nefarious plan. She needs to expose Taylor Townsend, NOW! She is in the midst of writing a love letter using inspiration from the Valley, but Seth has a better idea. Hey! Paris Hilton had her Sidekick hacked, Lindsay Lohan had her Sidekick hacked, why not fake a Sidekick message to get Taylor to come the Mermaid Hotel? If they send a fake message from Dean Hess and Taylor shows up, they will have some leverage. The Mermaid Hotel is the perfect place, as Summer says, it’s where Ryan may or may not have conceived Theresa’s baby (see, there are more people convinced he’s not the father besides me) and where Luke and Julie got it on.
They send the text message and agree to meet Taylor the next day, but first, they have to go to the goodbye dinner the Cohens are throwing for Ryan. This farewell was a family affair and Kirsten made pad thai. It’s not often that Summer joins for dinner at the Cohens, so this is really a special occasion. Then again, when they usually throw impromptu parties like this, they usually find space for dozens of people and multimedia presentations perfect for launching a magazine or exposing a long-forgotten porn career. The dinner is very awkward because Marissa felt upset that Ryan decided to leave without telling her, but this is all in his nature. He tries to do things to make life easier for people around him, but in reality, the decisions all draw attention back to him. After an awkward joke about seafood dinners, and tofu, a brief pause while Marissa makes fun of the captain of Ryan’s ship, and then an awkward joke from Summer before the evening completely dies.
The next day, Marissa decides that she has to take one more chance to save Ryan, but she doesn’t know where he is. She knows that Johnny was the one who got the job for Ryan, so she goes to find him at the beach where he is surfing with Chili. You know, if Chili actually surfs and does it for reasons other than watching Johnny getting in and out of his wetsuit, then he is seriously going to go beyond his sidekick role. He may even get a girlfriend and fall out of love with Johnny, who knows? When Chili sees Marissa wants to talk with Johnny, he gets out of the way. Marissa sort of gets upset with Johnny for convincing her boyfriend to leave, and saying she never got a chance to say goodbye, but Johnny knows where to find his uncle’s boat, so he tells Marissa.
You know, I haven’t really taken the time to comment on too many of the things that Marissa has been wearing this year, but the outfit she had on during this part of the episode is simply baffling. The color scheme, the fit, the way it flowed, the only thing I could think of was that they created a new Blanche Devereaux collection at Nordstrom’s and she got the first things off the rack. Marissa was sporting what I guess was supposed to be some loungewear that looked like it had been made by somebody who was sewing together lingerie, but was also working on the wardrobe for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, but got confused and Marissa’s outfit was the result of the marriage. If I had to give it a name, I would call it “Seduction on the Lanai” and pull Rue McClanahan out of retirement just for authenticity. And really, seeing Mischa’s boobs dance around underneath the thin material is not enough of an incentive to ever want to see this thing again. Take a look for yourself:
Coming to NBC’s fall schedule in 2050: Return of the Empty Nest
Judging by Marissa’s outfit, it wasn’t very cold by the docks, and she found Ryan just as he was about to ship off. She says that she wanted to tell him how she really felt, but instead of crying and saying how much she was going to miss him, she called him a coward and told him that he can run away from his problems all he wants, but it never worked for her dad, and that he was becoming just as big of a coward as she was. Never run away from your problems, take that from the alcoholic whose best-known methods of dealing with problems are downing enough sleeping pills to kill you or to throw innocent lawn furniture into a pool. Still, the lesson seemed to sink in, and Ryan at least thought about what his choice was going to mean.
Summer and Seth still had work to do however. Taylor took the bait, and when she knocked on the door of the Mermaid Motel looking for Dean Hess, she found Seth and Summer, who blackmailed her into ending her relationship by saying that they would tell everybody about it. But they needed more help, and that is where Sandy came in. He went to Dean Hess’s office and confronts him about his relationship with Taylor. Dean Hess says that Taylor was aggressive and forced herself on him, and that any pictures Sandy found on the Sidekick he had in his hands were fakes. When Sandy tells him that Taylor is looking to save her own skin and is saying that she was the one being seduced, the look on the Dean’s face changes. Sandy says that he should get himself on craigslist and find himself a job on the east coast, and should never come back. See, now that craigslist mention was much more natural than the A9.com’ed thing they tried to use last year. A few more mentions of blogs and myspace, and people may even believe the writers are tech savvy.
Now the whole thing from Sandy was a bluff, but it worked. The note was taken out of Ryan’s transcript, and when he left, there was nobody around to protest Ryan’s presence at school. This is great news, because Ryan can go back to Harbor and get his life together, but he is going to be on a fishing boat for the next three weeks, right? Well, of course not. As Marissa joins Seth and Summer and they talk about everything that happened (sorry Marissa, we couldn’t get you into Harbor, maybe next time), Ryan miraculously appears. You mean he didn’t go on the fishing expedition? I am so SHOCKED! The writers really had me convinced for a moment there. Or not.
So, one small victory for the kids of Newport Beach. You just never know what might come up next. Seth even suggests that Ryan Atwood become a fluffer. It was the oddest joke I could imagine on The OC. I mean, Seth was probably familiar with porn before he met Summer, but why would he suggest that Ryan suck cocks to get them stiff before sex scenes? Does he often imagine that Ryan sucks cock? Does he secretly wish that Ryan was sucking his? I don’t think I’ll want to answer that.
This episode was OK, but fell back into the predictability we have seen from the writers before. I was hoping for a few more episodes with Dean Hess and Taylor, and why oh why did they bother with this Ryan goes fishing plot? They are still doing a good job keeping us guessing about Charlotte, Julie, and Kirsten, but everything else looks like it will be more of the same old.
What did you think of the episode? Do you want more Taylor Townsend? What is Charlotte’s plan?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 20, Season – 88.