I have been wondering all week how the writers of The OC were going to try and convince us that this latest breakup between Ryan and Marissa is like, for reals this time. So far, whenever the writers try and pair Ryan with somebody other than Marissa, the viewers really start to complain. This time around, the writers made the relationship between Ryan and Marissa so painful that the readers were practically begging to end it once and for all. Frankly, both Ryan and Marissa are so uninteresting, they don’t deserve that much screen time, especially when there are other things working on the show right now. It was Ryan’s birthday episode this week, but if the readers had one wish, it would be to have everybody move on. Even if the next story line sucks, at least we won’t be complaining about the same thing all the time.When we start the episode, the Cohens are very excited to be talking about Ryan turning eighteen and becoming a man. You could say that him having a Bar Mitzvah already made him into a man, but the eighteenth birthday may be even more symbolic. You can vote, you can smoke, and you can sign up for the military. And with Ryan’s family history, he is probably also aware that if he gets in trouble with the law, he could go to an actual jail instead of just juvie. It also means that should he decide to pout about how awful his life is in Newport, nobody can stop him from taking jobs in construction or on fishing boats.
Everybody wants to throw Ryan party to celebrate his milestone, but he is uninterested. He doesn’t have fond memories of birthdays because his mom stopped taking him to the zoo and baking cakes and spent the time she saved getting drunk. The Cohens promise that it won’t be a big to-do, which is sort of obvious because Ryan doesn’t have a lot of friends, which is kind of surprising because he just seems to light up a room whenever he enters. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with somebody who is telling you what to do all the time and making you feel bad for acting your age?
At school, Summer is really worried about Marissa. Marissa hasn’t been taking the breakup very well, and she has had trouble sleeping. Summer was also bothered by the fact that Marissa wasn’t eating a lot, although I am not really sure how she was able to tell. And let’s be honest, Summer isn’t exactly asked to do the truffle shuffle (well, I hope not, but you never know with a dirty mind like Seth’s) so her complaints that Marissa has eaten only four peanuts and a banana over the last couple of days don’t seem that relevant. If Summer was so worried about Marissa eating properly why not set a good example and perhaps use that coffee she buys every morning to wash down a bran muffin or a granola bar?
Marissa is distracted the whole time this conversation is going on, because she is still scanning the halls to make sure that Ryan isn’t nearby. Oh the irony. When she wanted to be close to Ryan, they were in different schools, but now that the two of them need space, they have to see each other every day. Summer notices Marissa ducks out when she sees Ryan, so Summer decides to step to Ryan herself and tells him that they can’t avoid each other forever. It’s too bad that the writers of the program couldn’t give Ryan some lessons on avoidance. Perhaps if they work in a story line about how somebody on The Valley just found out their pregnant ex-girlfriend lied to them about a miscarriage we can all laugh at the self aware they are!
After school, Ryan decides to visit Sadie at Johnny’s old house, perhaps to check on what Gwen Harper is doing with that money Ryan fought so hard for. When he gets there, we discover that Gwen has decided to sell the house and move to Ashland. I guess there are just too many memories in the old house, and when you have a chance to move so close to Southern Oregon University, how can you pass up a chance like that? I have to say, it’s funny that Ryan got his ass kicked for no reason, but if Gwen is selling the house, why in the hell is Sadie knocking down walls in order to put a bar in the kitchen? I know that Sadie is poor, and therefore knows how to sand and grout with the best of them, but if you want to sell your house; you tend to avoid making such drastic changes. But of course Ryan knows construction, and is practically an architect, so everything will be OK now.
I don’t know about you, but when I knock down a wall, I take out the cabinets first.
The next day, Seth comes into the pool house to let Ryan know that there was a little problem with keeping the party small. It was probably a little bit of overkill to rent out the entire Bait Shop since Ryan’s entire invite list could have fit into one booth at IHOP, and although Seth is supposedly smart enough to get into Brown, he couldn’t find an alternate way to print out invitations in quantities of less than 100. The bigger issue is if he should give one of those 95 extra invites to Marissa or not. You know, he doesn’t want to invite her and have her think that he is still interested, but at the same time wants to avoid not inviting her and having her believe he is just a jerk who doesn’t want to be friends.
I would think that Marissa would automatically get an invite. She is Summer’s best friend, so it’s not like the party is going to be a secret and she won’t feel bad. And even though Marissa has the date circled on her calendar, Ryan can’t be so sure that Marissa would even go. The safe thing is to give her the invitation. Inviting her and then ignoring her is a stronger statement than the nonvite is anyway, don’t you think?
Ryan isn’t the only person worried about keeping things secret from Marissa. Summer said that she wouldn’t be able to do it, even though she has kept Marissa in the dark for a long time about their parents’ new relationship. Julie and Dr. Roberts want to say something, but they are still in the “having fun” stage, and who wants to tell their teenager that their relationship is nothing more than late nights in the back seat of a Maserati and a nooner three or four days of the week? Summer can barely stand the thought of her dad doing the bone dance, as if wearing Kirsten’s underwear is so much easier to get over, but she has decided that her dad is happy enough to start whistling, who is he to stop him?
Just how serious are Neil and Julie? I think that Julie really wants to move forward, but she isn’t quite sure about what to say to Neil. Summer intercepted a package that was addressed to her dad, but opened it anyway. Much to her surprise, the package contained two tickets for a romantic cruise to Cabo, which really scared Summer because her dad has made it a habit of proposing whenever he is on a cruise. Both Summer’s mom and her step mom had the question popped while on a cruise, and although Julie said that they are nowhere near to getting married, it doesn’t really help calm Summer down at all.
One of the best parts of having a girlfriend is being able to read Cosmo in peace
So Ryan has this big birthday bash, but the only person he really wants to invite is Sadie. OK, I make fun of him a lot, but I do have to say that if you can find a woman who actually enjoys using power tools, she’s a keeper, just as long as all of that work with the belt sander doesn’t leave her with so many calluses that it causes problems when she holds your equipment. I thought that inviting a girl to your birthday party to see if she liked you stopped when you turned twelve, but that is the sort of anxiety Ryan is going through. He asks Sadie to the party, but she is going to be driving up to Los Angeles. I guess all of those suggestions for games of strip poker were nothing but a tease.
Ryan may have been rejected, but it does give Sadie an opportunity to give him some advice. Sadie had a boyfriend once (I know, hard to believe). They really liked each other, but somehow it didn’t work. Luckily for Sadie, Johnny’s death was the perfect excuse to leave him and get some space. What kind of advice is that? If you are having relationship problems, just wait for a family member to die and leave town? I think that’s only a temporary fix. You can leave town, but ask Scott Peterson, they’ll find you again.
All week Seth had been promising Ryan a surprise that would make his head explode, hopefully with less pain than that scene from The Story of Riki, but it was Sandy who was really going to blow his mind. Kirsten thought it would be nice to find Ryan’s mom. You know, it would mean a lot to him to have the parent who apparently hasn’t tried to contact him in almost two years, show up at his birthday party. I could see how Kirsten thought it was a good idea after hearing Ryan hear how much he couldn’t bear the memory of his mom laying drunk on the couch during so many of his other birthdays. Anyway, Sandy found Ryan’s mom in New Mexico and decides to fly there to see if he can convince her to come back to surprise Ryan.
It was no surprise to us to learn that Ryan’s mom was in jail, this time for passing bad checks. Sandy wonders why Dawn didn’t call them for help in the first place, but he is going to see if he can pull some strings. It’s the weekend, he’s never practiced law in New Mexico, but I am sure that he can pull enough strings to get her out of jail so she can go to a birthday party. Hey, while he’s at it, why not hold a trial? He can cure cancer during the lunch recess.
The legal system is working overtime back in Newport as well. Detective Warner finished the investigation on Johnny’s death, and since Sandy was Marissa’s lawyer, he left the papers at the Newport Group. Since Sandy wasn’t there, it was up to Matt Ramsey to become surrogate parent for Marissa since Julie had her hands full playing daddy with Dr. Roberts. Matt finds Marissa along the pier, which I guess was just a lucky guess, and it’s lucky for her, because that means that Matt can step in when Volchok won’t leave Marissa alone. That’s right, Volchok. Earlier, he dropped a package off at Marissa’s house and sped away on his motorcycle, even though I thought he drove a van (you know, for all of the surfboards). This time, he just showed up on the pier, and I thought he was going to fight Matt, but a police officer showed up and noticing that Volchok might go to public school, started harassing him for identification.
Lisa Rinna vows to get arrested in New Mexico after learning about the complimentary collagen injections in prison
Well, it’s Ryan’s birthday, and Sandy managed to get his mom out of jail. He made a few phone calls, and even though she has a record in other states and is obviously a flight risk, the judge lets her go as long as she promises to go into rehab, which I am sure Sandy will pay for. Dawn was excited to get out, but meeting her son was another matter. Instead, she snuck away while Sandy was gone, leaving nothing but a note for Ryan. Hey, at least now he doesn’t have to find out that she was in jail!
Julie and Neil were having lunch, and although Julie wasn’t supposed to know, she couldn’t help but talk about how excited she was to hear about the Cabo cruise. She had bumped into Summer, who told her about what was going on, and that her dad usually proposed at these things. After hearing that, there was no point in her keeping it from Marissa, so after having some pancakes for breakfast, she ate lunch with Neil. By the look on Neil’s face, it seemed like he wasn’t quite as excited as Julie was to have their love out in the open. He’s having fun, but maybe there was another person that he was having sex with and wanted to go on the cruise with? Whatever the case, he didn’t want to tell Julie that they weren’t leaving for Cabo, especially since their boat leaves that evening.
One thing the OC loves to do is present story lines in parallel, each representing one side of an argument. This whole time we had used the invitation as some sort of metaphor for what Ryan and Marissa could expect in the future. On Saturday night, while Marissa was at the pier, Ryan had walked up to her house and was going to leave a message, but decided not to. In the morning, he went to Sadie’s house to tell her that he didn’t invite Marissa, which I guess was his sort of way to let her know that he was available. Apparently, Sadie doesn’t like people who don’t know how to use a reciprocating saw, so Seth couldn’t pass her a note.
Sadie eventually told Ryan that Marissa not being there didn’t matter. The person she was seeing in LA was the guy who she had previously been involved with. He wants to talk things over, and she was going to have to make a choice. Despite all of this bad news, I still thought that Ryan had a pretty good chance. As thanks for helping her renovate, Sadie bought Ryan a hammer, which I guess is her way of telling him that she wants to be nailed! Not a bad hammer pun, if I don’t say so myself. The writers went with “Now you can think of me every time you pound something”, which I feels contains much less nuance, but maybe that’s just me.
Ryan goes to Marissa’s house to leave the invitation, and by I have to say, if he is interested in insulting Marissa, leaving an invitation for a party that starts in six hours is a great way to demonstrate how little you think of them. Marissa wasn’t at her house, however, she decided that she needed to find Volchok. Maybe there was something about him that she hadn’t noticed before, like his hip flask full of whiskey. Volchok also works construction, and when Marissa goes to his construction site to apologize for being so unreceptive to all of his creepy advances, she notices the house seems familiar. Yes, it’s the model house that they used to hide Ryan when we first wondered if he would ever stay in Newport. He slept there, he fought there with Luke, he burned it to the ground, and now 30 months later, they are just getting around to renovating it.
Hey, I know the Newport group had some problems, but I think they could have finished this house in less than two years. It takes people less time to build an entire Target store than one model home? Give me a break. When she gets inside, Marissa starts to flashback to when her and Ryan first met. She was so happy back then, and not just because she drank whenever she wanted to. She’s also not the only one who is remembering the good old days, as Ryan found a mix CD that she was making for him. How she was making it, I don’t know because she didn’t seem to have a cd-burner or a computer to make it, but the CD contained the same songs as a CD she made for Ryan when he was living in the model home.
Ryan seemed to be OK with the memories, but Marissa wasn’t so lucky. After Volchok tried again to charm her with his gentlemanly ways, she started having more flashbacks, and eventually fainted. This scene would have been funny enough at that, but we had the added humor of Marissa falling down the stairs. It might seem cruel to laugh at her, but after all of the bad stuff that happened to Johnny because of her, it’s good to see that Karma has a sense of humor, besides she only fell down about a dozen steps. That poor stuntwoman, she probably had to quit eating for months to be able to pass herself off as Marissa crashing down the stairs.
Marissa’s injury finally gets Volchok to let down his guard a little bit. He takes her to the hospital, and she is really appreciative that he looked after her. We finally got an insight into what is troubling Volchok and the relationship he had with Johnny, not that any of us really care. Marissa and Volchok can’t be any worse than Marissa and Johnny, right? Volchok gives Marissa his number and leaves, but Marissa finds Ryan’s invitation, and decides to head to his party.
And how about Ryan’s party? Why did people let Seth plan this thing anyway? Didn’t they see the mess he made of his graphic novel? I was half-suspecting that they would have him get stoned and blow the whole thing off, but instead, he was able to pull through. The theme was the future, and all the possibilities it held for Ryan, like fireman Ryan, cowboy Ryan, boxer Ryan, and scientist Ryan. There was nothing he couldn’t do if he put his mind to it, and to demonstrate such, Seth made little cardboard cut outs (I call them little because they were actual size) of Ryan in all of the different places his future could take him.
Seth was really able to pack in the Bait Shop, and even though not many of them were friends of Ryan, everybody was having a good time. Neil even showed up, which was strange because I thought he was leaving with Julie, but I guess he just wanted to stop in and talk to Summer. What happened with the tickets is that he was going to use it as one last chance to get back together with his second wife. He was going to propose to her all over again, hoping that if he used a real ring instead of one from the pawnshop, things would go better the second time around. Here’s a hint Neil, if you are going on a cruise to save your marriage, might you try and schedule it closer to the time you are having problems, and not, you know, three months later? Anyway, despite all of this, Dr. Roberts thought it might be a sign, and decided he would go on the cruise anyway, although he hasn’t decided if he is going to ask her to marry him.
Seeing that it wasn’t enough that Ryan was depressed because he was having a birthday party and the people there were more likely to be homeless than be a friend of his, Sandy decides to let Ryan know he went to see his mom, and of course hands him what is sure to be a depressing letter. When he goes outside to read it, we see Marissa is starting to arrive. The whole episode was about choices and I thought it would strange that Marissa would go back to the guy after memories of him just caused her to pass out and fall down the steps. Luckily, Marissa came to her senses as well, and as one chapter of Ryan’s life looks like it is closed for good, another one is just beginning. Sadie shows up, says that she made a choice, and Ryan is so happy, he takes her inside to meet Sandy and Kirsten.
As for Marissa, another chapter of her life is starting as well. With nobody else to turn to, she heads for the lifeguard tower and calls up Volchok. I don’t know if these two will be interesting at all, but I do know that Marissa is drinking again, so there will be at least one more car accident or coma to look forward to this year.
What’s that? Head explosions? Oh! I almost forgot! That thing that was going to make Ryan’s head explode? Seth couldn’t get the real Journey, but he got a Journey cover band. OK, so they were a “tribute” band, but what’s the difference? Besides, they were playing Foreigner, not because Seth couldn’t find anybody else, but because Seth thinks Foreigner is better. I guess he decided he needed a reward after working so hard on the party.
Overall, not a bad episode. I thought Ryan’s party was funny, but the best part of the episode was that Ryan and Marissa broke up. To tell you the truth, I don’t care if they are a couple or not, I just want the writers to decide what they want to do. This show desperately needs something new, and I wouldn’t complain if they just threw everybody out and started “The OC: The New Class” in the fall. The show has to be more than teenagers breaking up and getting back together every two months. It was speculated that they wanted to make a spin-off show starring Kaitlin Cooper, but maybe they just bring back Willa Holland and let the other kids float in and out as needed, like when their lives are actually sort of interesting. As for the rest of the year, I don’t know if these story lines are going to be interesting, but I think they may at least be enjoyable.
“Hey!” Count: Episode – 19, Season – 374