One thing I forgot to mention last week in my recap of The OC, amid all of the college talk, was to mention how we rarely ever get an episode that focuses on Summer. She has her proper recognition at the beginning of each episode, and I think we have passed the point where she is only a sidekick and a love interest. Part of the reason why there are times when The OC feels forced is that we get so many things without even a thought of setup. That being said, I can deal with episodes where shit happens out of the blue, as long as there is some pay off. And I’m sorry, but a payoff does not constitute a preview of the next week that shows something funny happening. Those types of tricks are an apology from the network saying, “we messed up, please don’t leave us, see it gets better.” To that I say, I know, we won’t, and I like what you’ve done so far. Besides, who am I kidding? As long as Chrismukkah is good, we won’t care about what it took to get there.First, I would like to say that I am going to be unapologetic about what I think is bringing this show down, and his name is Johnny. I liked Marissa’s new crew at Newport Union, but apparently they were created for no other reason other than to have an excuse for Marissa to neglect Ryan. I thought that once a car hit Johnny, he would go home, his mom would take care of him, and we wouldn’t have to be bothered by any of that. I would only be so lucky. Although the episode opens with Ryan, Marissa, and Seth(??) driving Johnny home, it’s not going to be the last of him. OK, so Chili is out of town (maybe visiting Brown or Berkeley?), but where is his mom? Well, of course she has to work. But let’s not begrudge our friends from Newport for helping out a friend. OK, I can’t do that. I have to begrudge Seth because he was riding shotgun. Don’t you always let the person who CAN’T BEND HIS KNEE sit in the seat with the most legroom?
Although Johnny’s only planned source of income has gone from “sure thing” to “good luck you poor bastard” he is pretty upbeat. He still wants to be able to buy his mom a big home where all of the rich kids. Sure his house is not a mansion, but it’s not a shack, so let’s put this thing into perspective. Seth does exactly that saying “you should have seen where Ryan grew up”. Being poor for Newport is one thing, but being poor in Chino is another thing. At least his parents graduated high school, and on top of that, they had the good sense to make Johnny the first and last child that they had. Could you imagine if Johnny had grown up with an older brother that was forcing him to steal cars? Seriously, Johnny has a tough life, and maybe his mom isn’t around as much as he’d like, but she makes enough money that he has his own bedroom and vintage truck, and he has plenty of time to surf and doesn’t have trouble meeting hot Sheryl Crow look-alikes. What’s the problem again? Oh yes, the knee.
Johnny is having trouble getting up the stairs to his house, so since Marissa has a free period, she decides to stick around and help Johnny. Once again, Seth, you’re not driving, this guy is on crutches, couldn’t you offer to take his duffle bag inside for him? Must you look away in horror? He’s not a leper. If you prick him, does he not bleed? Anyway, Marissa decides to help him, which is probably a good thing. She doesn’t want to be at school when people notice that she is wearing huge doily. I haven’t spent a lot of time commenting on Marissa, but what the hell was going on with that outfit? The thing that is wrong with America is that people get so caught up over one dark nipple exposure, but have nothing to say about an outfit like the one Marissa had on at the beginning of the show. One thing is going to be giving me nightmares, and I can tell you that I am not scared of tits.
I could have sworn I saw this dress decorating my grandmother’s couch in 1987
Marissa helps Johnny inside, and it’s not too long before his mother comes back. Apparently, the hospital was in a real hurry to get rid of Johnny, and couldn’t wait another hour for his mom to get out of work from her night shift. She does have good news, however. She was able to get an appointment with the best orthopedic surgeon in the county. This guy takes care of the Angels and the Ducks, and so Johnny is really excited to be able to get this over with and get started on his rehab, except that surgeon has a huge waiting list and it could be weeks. See, they only give special treatment to people who give money to the hospital. Well, Caleb Nichol bought a wing at one of the hospitals, it may not have this magic surgeon, but I bet it has a pretty good one, and if the name Caleb Nichol is on the wing, his step daughter might be able to have some pull and get an appointment the next day, and if that doesn’t work, do we think Kirsten would say no? But that makes too much sense, so let’s pretend I never mentioned it.
Thankfully, Ryan is not getting too worked up about Marissa, because he trusts her. It’s not a new concept, but it is one that Ryan and Marissa have a lot of problems with. But if there is anything that can get people worked up, it is Summer. I thought one of the best parts about the creation of The OC was that it introduced us to Rachel Bilson. Those big beautiful eyes, those luscious lips, Seth is neurotic and bordering on psychosis, but he sure knows how to pick his girls. Summer has always been interested in shopping and boys and making fun of how many painkillers her step-mom takes. Who would’ve known that our girl has it going on upstairs as well? That’s right, Summer got a 2300 on her SATs, which is a surprise to everybody, especially those people who still think the maximum score is 1600. For those of you now in the know, the college board added a writing portion to the test, and the max score is now 2400. She’s smart, and we all should have seen this coming. As Ryan said, she did save Chrismukkah!
As Summer explains it, Dr. Kim, our favorite Asian on the show (the competition is light, but still), says that each year there are a few people who do much better on their SATs than their grades would indicate. I am not going to discuss how well the SAT does as an indicator of aptitude in general, but Summer’s score proves that she does have aptitude, and if she studies hard enough in school, she may be able to bring her grades up enough to be considered at some elite schools. Maybe even Brown! I sound excited, and Summer is excited, because now she doesn’t have to bear the indignity of living almost 15 minutes away from Seth by going to Providence, RISD, or URI. The one person not excited about this is Seth. Being smart and quirky took a lifetime of work. Summer can’t just come in at the last minute and be smarter than him. He reads Kierkegaard, you know, the father of existentialism, and even though it now looks like Summer may be able to understand old Soren better than he can.
The Newport Group is having a big meeting to discuss its new low-income housing project. I am sure the term is relative and means people earning below $50,000 a year who can’t afford the median home price of just over a million dollars. At thirty years and a 6% interest rate (if you can get it), that’s a $6000 a month mortgage. So while $50,000 would put you solidly middle class in the vast majority of America, you couldn’t even think to buy a house in Newport. That doesn’t mean that Sandy’s idea isn’t controversial. Even Julie is not in favor of low-income housing, and she lives in a trailer park! Her reasoning is that if you make being poor too comfortable, what is the incentive to get rich? Sexy, sassy, sort of kinky, with a nice Libertarian streak. Are there any more Julie Coopers hanging out in Riverside?
Sandy and Matt are going over models, and Ryan, ever watchful with the eye, gives a few suggestions for improvements. Hey, he’s worked construction long enough; he has had to pick up some ideas. Matt sees that he has an interest, and says that Ryan should take an internship at the Newport Group. If you want to distinguish yourself from other students, working for a premier development company when you are still in high school is a great idea. Matt just can’t get enough of the Cohens even though he called them so perfect they are sickening to be around. See, Matt moved from Chicago to get this job at the Newport Group, and he left his girlfriend. Don’t worry, he didn’t find Lindsay in Chicago and decide to bring her back, at least I don’t think he did. But whatever, he loves the Cohens so much, why not have another one of them around, even if he is only an adopted Cohen.
It looks like Marissa is going to be spending a lot of time with Johnny. She asks Summer to drive her over to his house, and then pick her up there after school. The night before, the same thing happened, and Johnny confessed to Summer that Marissa is being too nice, and he’s starting to enjoy it a little too much. He doesn’t want Marissa to leave, but he can’t have her around, because it’s killing him because he can’t have her. As you may have remembered, Summer called this so long ago, but Johnny swears her to secrecy. Summer says that she will talk to her dad about getting Johnny an appointment since Dr. Roberts is a plastic surgeon at the same hospital as the doctor Johnny wants to see. Besides, she can’t fight Marissa, because she has her own fight approaching.
Like I said earlier, Seth thought that he was the brains in the relationship, and it’s taking him some time to get used to the idea that his girlfriend could be his academic equal, and he is not the only one. Summer and Seth go to an even that Brown is having at Harbor, and they see Ashley and Madison, who remark that they never expected to see Summer there. Although Summer is not worrying about her presence there, Seth is and suggests that they leave. It’s at this time that Summer picks up on how little excitement Seth has shown at her newfound aptitude. Seth says that Summer doesn’t have to be there for him, thinking that she just wants to go to Brown to be close to him, but that is not the case.
Summer has always been known as the cute girl, the fun girl, the girl who can plan a party and pick out shoes and a bag to match a skirt and top for any occasion. She never considered those important, and resigned herself to the idea that she would never do anything important. Her SAT score made her realize that she can accomplish more, like being the first woman to go into space or win a “Noble” prize. Seth corrects her, saying that women have been in space for years, and Marie Curie won the No-bel prize for discovering radium over 100 years ago. In other words, she may have aptitude, but that doesn’t mean that she’s smart. Complicating all of this is the fact that Brown only takes on average, one student from Harbor a year. It’s going to take good grades, high SAT scores, and some sort of hook to get in.
Kirsten and Julie spent a lot of time thinking about their new business. Kirsten was thinking of the dowdy, like a bookstore, and Julie was thinking of the racy, like nude maids. Give the people what they want after all, even if that’s a stripper doing their laundry. They eventually decide that they will do party planning, which seems like a great idea. They’ve thrown plenty of parties before, so they know the vendors as well as the people who would need party planners. They are working the details over lunch, and although Julie is excited to be getting away from ramen, she manages to find a new client. At first it looked like he just wanted to flirt and buy them a drink, but instead he hires them for a party that weekend and is paying a cool $5000. Not bad for a first day of work.
Things are little bit more high pressure at the Newport Group. Sandy just discovered that there is discussion of zoning legislation, so he wants numbers for both scenarios for the presentation the next day. Matt is going to be working on it with help from Ryan. It may take an all-nighter, but Matt is ready, he just needs to focus a little bit first. Matt’s focus, however, is not so much on the business as it is strippers. Ryan joins Matt on what he thinks will be a coffee run, but instead finds himself at Bare Elegance, the local “gentlemen’s club”. If that is not strange enough, apparently Matt knows the bouncer so well, that the guy doesn’t even bother checking Ryan’s ID. Almost immediately, Matt finds his favorite stripper, and heads to the champagne room. To keep Ryan out of trouble, he buys the kid a lap dance from Sipowitz, who in Josh Schwartz’s fantasy is a 5’2″ blonde stripper wearing a police uniform. Finally, I am happy to say I agree with how delusional the writers are.
The problem with Bare Elegance is not that Ryan is scared of naked women, although I am still wondering why he only wants to have sex with Marissa once every few months when the tides are perfect and moon is aligned with Jupiter, because most guys his age want to have sex as much as possible. I’m 26, but things haven’t changed THAT much since high school, have they? I know college is a big deal, but are high school seniors really interested more in internships than they are in intercourse? I hope not, because if there is no porn industry, all those folks in the Valley will head up over the hill and start looking for real jobs, and we can’t have that, can we? What were we talking about? Oh yes, Ryan and the strip club. The problem is not he is scared of naked women, it’s that he promised Marissa he would hang out with her at Johnny’s. He doesn’t have time to waste at Bare Elegance and help Matt. If he doesn’t get over there, something crazy might happen, like Marissa spending the night!
That’s of course exactly what happened. Marissa called Ryan, but Sipowitz decided she would take out the thing moving around in Ryan’s pants (the cell phone you perverts!), but his phone goes to voicemail before she picks up. Ryan calls her, but she is watching a boring movie with Johnny and they both have fallen asleep on the couch. The next day Marissa comes home, and has to explain herself to Summer. When she gets there, it is Summer that has some explaining to do, because she is digging around in her closet and comes out with a tuba. Yes, a tuba. When summer was younger, she told her friends that she was going to beauty camp, but she was really going to band camp. She needs a hook to get into Brown, so she decides to join the band.
Seth also wanted to find a hook, and so he tried a different route. He bought a pirate costume, which of course brought the “You didn’t say you needed a Captain Hook!” type of joke from Sandy. Seth is going to try and be a harbor Mascot, because he heard the Brown Bear is going to be graduating. He soon finds out from Madison that you can’t just become the mascot in the middle of senior year, just like Summer is learning from Ashley that she just can’t start playing her tuba in the middle of band practice and act like she’s been playing for years. Finally, Summer makes her feelings known. She wants to know why Seth always has to be better than her at everything. Seth doesn’t agree with her, and says that he wasn’t better than her at everything, just one thing. This makes Summer realize what Seth is going through. As much as she may have trouble believing she is smart, Seth is having a hard time too. Now, I think that if Seth’s ego can’t stand the fact that his intelligence might be more of a obsession with obscure details nobody pays attention to rather than some profound insight, he should get over it. If he’s good enough to get into Brown, he’s good enough to get into almost any school in the country, plenty of them liberal, have sweater weather, and located miles away from Newport.
As you can imagine, Matt’s night on the town didn’t do much for his presentation. What’s worse is that rather than tell Sandy the truth that he messed up, he goes into the meeting with only half of the work done. The investors are pissed, and to show how upset they are, they throw the presentation away, and it smashes into the model of the very development they were going to build, and the fallen buildings symbolize not only a failed meeting, but of dreams destroyed. OK, actually, the presentation sort of landed softly on the model, but there were still dreams destroyed! I promise!
Kirsten and Julie aren’t having such great luck with their business either. They spend all of this time preparing, but when they get to the client’s house, they found out he had only paid them all that money as an excuse to see Julie for the evening. It might have been great if it sprouted a budding romance, but they had no chemistry, and although he paid in full, if you don’t have chemistry, what do you have? Why, a great idea for a new business. If men want to spend $5000 on being with a woman for one night, why not give people what they want? High-class escorts? No, high class dating! I still like the party planning thing, but maybe these two will be on to something.
I’m sort of sick of talking about Johnny, but they spent a lot of time on him, so I must as well. You know, Johnny is a surfer and rides huge waves with he help of his two legs and a great sense of balance. You would think that if he has to get from point A to point B and the ground is not moving below him, the balance in one leg might be enough to accomplish the task, but that’s not true. He slips, falls, twists his knee again, forcing him to take pain killers and putting him in a doped up enough state that he tells Marissa that he LIKES her likes her, and that he may be in love with her. Oh man, Summer really did see this coming, and although Marissa blames it on the vicodin (she knows how they can mess with your head), she decides that she is going to have to spend a little time apart from Johnny, and I think he knows that will probably be best as well.
I guess I may have been a little harsh on Seth and his worrying about Summer. When he goes into talk to Ryan about how his job is going and such (he really just wanted an excuse to talk about his issues), Seth makes his fears clear. It’s not that he is intimidated by Summer, he can live with that. He’s just worried that her being smart may change their dynamic, which I guess is the same as intimidation, but whatever. Seth believes his intelligence is the one thing that Summer looked up to, and that it almost (almost!) made him appear to be a man in her eyes. Summer is even starting to get funnier. All Seth has is obscure Asian cinema and graphic novels, which makes me think, maybe Summer should be going to brown, and Seth can harness his creative skills at RISD, and not the other way around.
Ryan then asked Seth for a rid to the Newport Group, to which Seth finally asks, “Why don’t we have cars?” Ha Ha! I knew they would have to address that issue some day. If they finally explain what has happened to Kaitlin Cooper these last three years, I can probably stop bitching so much about the show, or at least I’ll bitch about it less.
Why did Ryan want to go to Sandy’s office? Well, he wants to apologize to Sandy for not being honest about where Matt was before. Sandy had found Matt soon after the spoiled meeting and fired him. Ryan wants to let Sandy know that Matt broke up with his girlfriend and it has been tough on him. That’s all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t bring the investors back. Why would Matt blow this off when he set up the meeting? Luckily at that moment, Matt’s favorite stripper comes in to speak on his behalf. She’s actually an old friend from college. See, she only strips so she can pay her way through law school, which I believe because that is what Chastity from Scores tells me. (Cheyenne, Devon, McKenna, Serenity, and Skyler tell me it’s for the fun, the money, and to meet interesting guys like me. Although I think they’ll say anything to get me to donate to Toys for Ta-Tas). Matt visits her to talk, and the job means the world to him. Furthermore, she was the one who put Matt in touch with those investors in the first place, and she can probably get another meeting. It’s enough for Sandy to re-hire Matt, with a warning not to pull that kind of shit ever again.
Although we aren’t sure how often Seth listens to others’ advice, one thing that Ryan said resonates with him. Summer doesn’t want to be Seth, she wants to be with Seth; noble prizes, space flights, and cures for cancer can wait. Seth heads over there to apologize, and the two of them quickly make up. Seth lets a little bit of his ego go, and they decide that maybe they shouldn’t just compete, but instead help each other both get into Brown. They work on their applications together, and they decide that if one of them gets in, and the other doesn’t they both must pursue their dream. And who knows, maybe Brown takes two kids from Harbor this year.
The show ends with Ryan and Marissa searching for each other. She goes to his house, he goes to hers. They call each other up and do the thing they should have been doing all along in the first place. No, having sex all the time would be the second thing on the list. They simply talk, and listen, to each other. Marissa lays the truth about what Johnny told her to Ryan, and although there is no punching bag in Summer’s house for him to beat up on, maybe just sitting there and hearing how Marissa is spending time with Johnny will be enough to make him realizing what he is missing.
I really enjoyed this episode, well, besides the Johnny stuff, but that’s not the point. I like how Matt Ramsey is not an altar boy, and I think Ryan’s internship actually makes a little bit of sense. Maybe he’ll do enough work that Sandy will buy him a car. The Julie and Kirsten business looks like it has a lot of potential, and I like how they were able to talk about colleges in a way that made sense, although I think we all see that Madison and Ashley are probably going to get into Brown, leaving Summer and Seth to fall on plan B, which is not Brown, but Neptune College or Cal State Laguna or something. Chrismukkah is next week, and I could have sworn somebody told me they hare having a bar mitzvah for Ryan, maybe it was in the comments, but for the life of me I can’t remember.
What did you think of this episode? Will both Seth and Summer get into Brown? Does anybody care that Johnny exists? Do you think Marissa and Julie will succeed at their business?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 31, Season – 194