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As many of you know, I love The OC. But for as much as I love the show, I can get infuriated by a number of things, including the pacing. Perhaps I am too hard on the show and should just let everybody have their campy fun, and sometimes when you are writing about a show it is too easy to think like a critic, even when you really are a big fan. Then again again, I do remember the show when it was consistently excellent, and I think it can be that way again. I thought this week’s episode was excellent, and not just because we were introduced to Newport’s newest and youngest troublemaker, Kaitlin Cooper (look I’m spelling it correctly now!). The writers were able to keep up a hectic pace among several different characters, and the way things fit together almost made sense. Now perhaps we can thank our new character for this dramatic change, and it will all fade out as the novelty wears off, but let’s just keep the dream alive for now.Although I said that the different parts of the plot worked together, that is not to say that what was coming out of their mouths wasn’t completely laughable, and we started the episode just like that. It’s just a scene with Seth and Ryan, where Seth is wondering if he’s getting a pimple, which is impossible because I am beginning to wonder if he has even been through puberty, but Seth thinks one is coming because something has to ruin the seemingly perfect situation everybody has. Seth and Summer, Ryan and Marissa, Sandy and Kirsten; everybody is so very happy. Am I nitpicking? Sure, but only because I was wondering why it mattered that any of that was verbalized. Then again, Seth and Ryan were having breakfast in the Cohen kitchen, where all proper beginning of the episode banter takes place. Plus, it all got better from there.
You see, if the OC is rockin, doom comes a knockin, and in this case doom comes with the ring of the doorbell. No it’s not the mailman with rejection letters from Brown and Berkeley (although I am sure that is going to come); it’s Kaitlin Cooper, and my how our little girl has grown up. Ryan answers the door and there is Kaitlin, complaining that there is some Persian dude (for those of you who might live outside of California, you might know them as Iranian) who can’t be her housekeeper because he is wearing Prada shoes, and can’t be her new stepdad because he is married (Julie did porn, but she would never join a harem), so she decided to head over to the place where the mail was being forwarded. That would be the Cohen’s of course, and although Kaitlin recognizes him right away, Ryan has no clue who she is, unlike Seth who recognizes right away that she has grown, especially in the breastly regions of the female anatomy.
So, I know the NSA is watching and everything, but with the plaid skirt plus the blue blazer, and that white oxford tied up in the middle…well, Kaitlin is very cute. If only I had been born in the 90s. It’s great to see Kaitlin, but it has been a running joke among fans of the OC why she has never showed up. As Sandy said, it has been two years, so why now? Seth says because now her family is a prime candidate for “Pimp My Double Wide”. But I think the Cooper trailer is a single wide, though Seth could be talking about Marissa’s head.
About this time, Marissa, Summer, and Julie come in, and Julie doesn’t want to seem like a bad mother, so she explains that she kept Kaitlin at boarding school to protect her from, well, shootings, funerals, and public school That’s great Julie, but were you trying to protect her from holidays as well? Listen, I believe Julie when she says that Kaitlin was away for mid-winter break in Paris for fashion week, but not one Thanksgiving, Christmas, pring break, or summer vacation over the last two years? You have to do better than that. I guess if this school is in Switzerland or whatever it might make a little sense though.
What doesn’t make sense for Kaitlin, is how she can go from a palace to skid row. Her mom tries to tell her about all of the great things about her new home. You know, it’s next to the beach, it’s Tiffany blue, and she doesn’t plan on being there that long, anyway. But Kaitlin can’t help but notice some of the realities of her situation. For instance, she has to sleep on the pull-out, and that’s not a sofa we are talking about, her bed pulls out of the kitchen cabinets. It doesn’t make sense until you realize that a five piece dinette set folds out of the sofa. Still, her mom wants her to look on the bright side; it’s exactly the kind of place Britney Spears is from.
So, we know how Julie is explaining Kaitlin’s absence, but what about Marissa? Sure she says that it is strange and that she his missed a good portion of Kaitlin’s life, like at least 35 episodes worth, and she does try to explain that she was never close with her sister and it was always her and Jimmy vs. Kaitlin and Julie. Hey, we all lose touch with our family members, but if you are living in the same house, I think you would bump into each other at least once a year. And wouldn’t there have been a phone call or an e-mail during that time? Maybe then you would have been more aware that your sister has gone from My LIttle Pony, to My Little 5 to 10 for lewd acts with a minor.
But as worried as Marissa is about how she is going to fit her sister into her life, she has more important things. She is just in a new school, and wants to do well, and then there is….drum roll please….Johnny! Yes, Marissa hasn’t seen her sister in nearly two years, but what really bothers her is that she hasn’t talked to Johnny since she left Newport Union four or five days ago. Oh, she has let phone messages, but he won’t return her calls. That was the best news I had heard all episode, but Ryan had to go ruin it by caring about his girlfriend. He knows that if Marissa can’t reach Johnny, he can reach Chili, which he calls Bizarro Seth. Finally the writers acknowledge an obvious joke we’ve all been making for the last four months.
There is, of course, a good reason that Johnny didn’t call Marissa back; he is trying to make his life simpler. It’s been almost five days, and no girlfriend has dumped him, he hasn’t had to have any knee surgeries, and he hasn’t contemplated robbing any convenience stores. You couldn’t be more at peace if your name was Feng Shui. And come to think about it, it was Marissa’s life that gets complex, having to move to a trailer park and all. Johnny may not have the wide open future that Marissa has, but at least he has a house. Chili gets a call from Marissa, Johnny takes the call, and she convinces him to come and meet her sister before Johnny goes off on his tour.
After school, Marissa and Kaitlin do a little shopping and the writers give Mischa Barton a little vintage clothing joke because all of us bloggers do have a lot of fun at the expense of her wardrobe on the show. The sad part is that truth is stranger than fiction. Check this link at Go Fug Yourself. I hope WIlla Holland, the girl who plays Kaitlin, doesn’t start to take after her prime time big sister. Anyway, Chili and Johnny meet them at the diner, and the four of them sit down at a table. Marissa is going on and on about how Johnny is going on a surf tour, and it’s just so much for him that he can’t take it and runs out of the Diner, saying he forgot to lock his car. Five minutes wtih Marissa and his life is already complicated. I know, how about you NEVER SEE HER AGAIN?
Kaitlin left to use the bathroom, leaving Marissa and Chili there alone. Out of nowhere he says “Do I have to spell it out for you”, and I was thinking, well, if Johnny had returned some of her phone calls, we might not be in this situation, so just spill it Childress. He then explains to Marissa how he and Johnny had lied about the surf tour so she wouldn’t have any issues going back to Harbor. While her sister soaks all of that in, Kaitlin is on a little voyage of discovery herself. When she saw Johnny, she thought he was really hot, and she could see right away that Johnny was in love with her sister. She didn’t leave to go to the bathroom, but to tell Johnny that he can have a scoop of the mini-Cooper anytime anytime he wants.
Kaitlin and Johnny weren’t the only budding romance about to flourish in Newport. Veronica Townsend of all people shows up at the Cohen’s. She wants Kirsten to set her up with Dr. Neil Roberts, the most eligible man in Newport now that he is in the throes of divorce. Kirsten doesn’t want to do it, but Veronica basically says she’ll make Marissa’s life a living hell if she doesn’t get the date. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal, and let’s be honest, Veronica is one hot mama, but Dr. Roberts isn’t a client of the dating service, so she is going to have to call in some outside help to pull this one off. Time to ask Newport’s best professional persuader, Sandy Cohen, for a little assist. Sandy doesn’t want to negotiate with Newpsies, but when Kirsten says that she is calling in a wifely favor, Sandy decides that he will ask Neil to go along with the plan. It’s one date, and you know that if Sandy didn’t get the job done, he wouldn’t be receiving any of the wifely favors he has come to expect for 3-5 minutes two times a week.
Veronica Townsend isn’t the only strange person to visit the Cohens either. Some kid comes looking for Kaitlin, but when Ryan answers the door, he plays dumb. He goes to talk to Marissa about it, but only finds Kaitlin at her house. Kaitlin tearfully tells her story. The guy’s name is Justin and he is from Montecito. She met him at a mixer, and he won’t leave her alone; she even changed her cell phone number. Now, the most interesting part of this was when Kaitlin said he is from Montecito, which is in Santa Barbara County. If this kid had been bothering Kaitlin at school, it means that her boarding school was less than a four hour drive from her house, and not the eighteen hour flight I was imagining. But I promise, that will be the last time I mention how retarded the writers have been for ignoring her character for the last year and a half.
Kaitlin is desperate not to let other people find out about the whole thing. She says that she doesn’t want Marissa to think that she is some kind of stalker magnet and start worrying. First of all, we all know that Marissa is the stalker magnet, and if there is anybody who should be worried in the house, shouldn’t it be the person who has to sleep on a bed that rolls out of her kitchen next to a girl who was a few steps away from being tried for assault with a deadly weapon? What would Marissa be worried about? That Kaitlin finds out where she hides her peach schnapps? Hearing all of this, Ryan decides to confront this Justin kid, but Justin tells a different story. He says that Kaitlin took $1500 from a party his brother’s fraternity was throwing at UC Santa Barbara. Justin was trying to help Kaitlin before his brother decides to collect on his own.
Taylor Townsend is very excited. Sandy was successful in getting Dr. Roberts to go out with Veronica, and Taylor has translated that first date to equal matrimony for her mom and a new stepsister for her. That new stepsister would be Summer, and she heads over to the Roberts house to pick out her new room. Seth and Summer make fun of her, saying that she is like a puppy that has been abused and gravitates tot he only people be nice to her, and I would tend to agree. The problem with Seth and Summer complaining is that while they were originally nice to her just out of sympathy, they pretended to be her friend later on to get Marissa back in school. If Seth and Summer hadn’t used her, maybe she wouldn’t be so clingy. Perhaps I am showing my Taylor bias, and those pigtails she wore at the beginning of the episode didn’t help my cause, but Taylor hasn’t asked them for anything in exchange for friendship. Since Seth was a huge loser not so long ago, you would think he would have a little more sympathy, because he was the wounded puppy dog until he found Ryan.
As for her mom, we were all imagining that Dr. Roberts would go out with Veronica on one date and then be off. He even made a joke about how she used to be an A-cup, and I have to say that Dr, Roberts does do good work. He had a few momentary sparks with Julie, but that seems like it is all in the past. Veronica may be a bitch, but she is hot and smart, and good at what she does, whether it be her job as an agent or seducing men. He’s having a good time, but unfortunately, Julie Cooper sees him having a good time when she and Kaitlin come in to have dinner. Julie never said anything to Dr. Roberts, but it’s still hard to watch somebody you have feelings for with another person, especially when you never got a chance to tell that person how you truly feel.
With all of this Kaitlin excitement, I forgot to mention the greatest news of the episode! Johnny finally told Marissa that he doesn’t want her in his life. He is going to have to figure out a way to live without the surf tour, and he doesn’t need Marissa’s help. This is great news to us, but Marissa is a little devastated, especially when she later finds out that Ryan was in on it. He does give her good advice though, saying that Johnny is in an awkward position, and maybe he just needs more time.
While he was at the Cooper residence, Ryan was helping Marissa look for a jacket, and stumbled upon a duffle bag that Justin said he saw Kaitlin use to take the money. The duffle bag had nothing inside it, but it was enough that Ryan wanted to ask some more questions the next day. This time Kaitlin admits to stealing the money, but she says she did it because Justin’s brother got a friend of hers pregnant and she needed money for an abortion. Ryan decides that he finally has to tell Marissa, but they aren’t sure of what to do. The last thing she wants to do is accuse her sister of lying just as she was starting to trust everybody. Yeah Ryan, remember when you didn’t trust your brother, and then he tried to kill you a little while later? Marissa doesn’t want that happening to her.
Now, I’ve been really impressed that the writers were able to juggle all of these story lines, and the bring them all together, we go for another OC staple – the party at the Cohen’s. This time, it is a launch party for Kirsten and Julie’s new company. It’s a great time, but not everybody is happy, including Julie. The irony of this whole dating service is that she is not only the president, but also a client, or at least should be. Her big problem is that Neil Roberts decided to take Veronica Townsend to the launch party. You would think that after his last marriage, Dr. Roberts might be a little more careful and question his taste in women, because a lot of other people are doing exactly that. It was supposed to be one date to save Marissa, but now Summer, Seth, Kirsten and Sandy are all trying to figure out a way to get Veronica to dump Dr. Roberts other than having to spread rumors about him like he has genital warts.
Seth and Summer think they have the answer, but they are going to need a little assist from Taylor. In the meantime, guess who would show up at the door but a bunch of pissed off Gauchos? That’s right, Justin, his brother, and some of his friends from UCSB show up at the Cohen’s door looking for Kaitlin and the money. They even threaten to call the cops, and really, wouldn’t you have called their bluff?
Think about it. Kaitlin gets accused of stealing money. She is a minor with no record, and there are much worse crimes out there, for example shooting somebody and sending them into a coma for weeks. I am pretty sure that Sandy would be able to get her out of whatever trouble she was getting herself into. Meanwhile, on the other side, you have a bunch of college boys who are adults. Not only were they probably illegally charging money for their party, there were likely plenty of people under the age of 21 there. And you know that if Kaitlin had made it in telling people she was only 16, there had to be plenty of other minors there. Any adult in the house would be an idiot to actually call the police to get that money back. Then again, this is The OC, and that is what we have come to expect.
When Ryan and Marissa go to search for Kaitlin, she has left. They find her at the trailer park packing up her things about to runaway. Finally, we get the truth. Kaitlin did steal the money, and not for an abortion for her friend. In fact, Kaitlin knew all about the trailer park, as her friend’s dad owns the property. The information was passed around school, and she was ashamed, and she wanted to go home, and the money was to see if Marissa and Julie needed help. That’s a pretty good explanation, up until the help Julie and Marissa part. Think about it. You have $1500. Your mom lives in a trailer park, your dad lives in Hawaii. What would you do with that money?
Kaitlin gives Ryan the money, who then gives it to Justin. Earlier in the episode, Kaitlin said that Justin was after her because she was going to ruin his chances at Princeton, but I have to wonder if Justin is that smart. Justin thinks that Kaitlin might still have feelings for him. Listen, I can understand how a guy could mistake a younger girl for one much older. Just ask Holly Hunter and Nina Myers how tough it is to raise a girl like that. But is he that stupid to think that girl would come back to him after he chased her down and told his revenge-seeking brother where to find her? Wasn’t the new cell phone number enough? Justin leaves us by telling Ryan to watch out for Kaitlin, because, well, “she’s amazing”. Hmm, I wonder if there is a video with her and a popsicle out there somewher.
With his job done, the only thing left to do is to break up Neil and Veronica. Taylor knows a very shameful thing about her dad that will get any sane Newport woman to break up with him. Hmm, what could it be? An extra nipple? He drives an American car? Whatever it was, as soon as Taylor tells her mother, Veronica looks like she wants to get out of there right away. Summer thinks it’s all because Seth told Taylor that her dad voted for John Kerry, which I guess is embarrassing, but not half as bad as that haircut Dr. Roberts has. What do they call a man-perm anyway? A merm? But Seth didn’t want to take his chances with such a small problem, so he went with his original answer, genital warts. And hey, if the rumor is traced to Seth, it’s not like Dr. Roberts can dislike him any more than he already does. Good job Cohen! Now I believe that the only thing that would scare women away from Dr. Roberts is if his wallet had HPV, but it is enough for him to realize that maybe he made a mistake with Veronica. He goes over to talk with Julie, and they decide to have dinner.
Again, I thought this was a really good episode. So far, I think I like Kaitlin’s character, although you can tell she is really new to acting. Bonus points though on finding somebody who has a decent resemblance to Melinda Clarke. I thought it was a little cheesy at the end with the whole bit at the end asking herself if you really ever can come home. Poor Johnny, the Cooper girl he’s interested in is taken, and the other one is barely legal. She’s acting like she invented drinking and hanging out with older guys, but really she is not that much different that we remember a lot of the kids were like in the first season when the show was, you know, fun. The OC has had trouble sustaining new characters, but have done a better job this year, which is why I have been enjoying the show more in general. Hopefully, they can keep all of this crazy excitement up.
What did you think of the episode? Do you love or hate Kaitlin? What are the chances Julie adds another hyphen on her name?
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 30, Season – 284