Ten years ago (yes – we are that old), FOX introduced a television show to the world that would change the lives of 16 year olds everywhere. A show about being in high school. A show about having crushes. A show about friends. A show about family. A show about… rich people… and the poor kid they adopted. We could all relate! Okay, no we couldn’t — but we totally wished we could.
The show followed the lives of four very different teens, their families, and some other randoms. Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen from Chino, is adopted by the very wealthy Sandy and Kirsten ‘KiKi‘ Cohen of Newport Beach. He moves into their bagel-loving Jewish home and becomes friends with their son, the witty and awkward social outcast that is (the love of my life) Seth Cohen. Seth never had any friends before Ryan (like, no one even went to his Bar Mitzvah), so his newfound desire to leave the house on weekends makes his parents (well, mostly Kirsten) a bit nervous at first — but eventually, Kirsten comes around and Ryan becomes part of the family. Ryan’s love interest throughout the series is the one and only Marissa Cooper (better known as Coop) — the rich fashionista who conveniently lives next door. They are an on and off item until she dies. Marissa’s best friend is the super awesome Summer Roberts (my idol) who is, like, soooo popular and such a valley girl. Seth has been in love with her forever, but she has no idea who he is until he confesses his love for her by reading a poem she wrote in the 3rd grade (I wish I was a mermaid). After this, they starting date on and off for… ever.
Marissa caught her popular water polo playing BF Luke cheating on her in Mexico (Tijuana to be exact) with her ex-friend Holly (what a betch) and passed out in an alleyway to the scariest music ever.
Luke got what he had coming, though, when he found his dad cheating on his mom… with a man. Marissa’s dad lost all his money, forcing her to be poor (what’s that?) and her mom Julie to divorce him. Marissa befriended the worst person ever – Oliver – in therapy. I fucking hated Oliver. He was straight up NUTZ. Remember his girlfriend Natalie? SHE. DIDN’T. EXIST. Ryan’s ex Theresa got pregnant with his baby, so he and Marissa broke up and Ryan moved in with her and away from Newport at the end of season one (side note: Theresa was like 30… I mean they all looked 20-something, but T looked 30). Summer at first wanted to keep her affection for Cohen a secret, but got jealous of his annoying girlfriend Anna (as did everyone, including Captain Oats)… so she publicly declared her love for Cohen at the kissing booth and was shunned by 98% of Harbor. It was okay, though, because this made Anna move across the country. YAY! Oh and after Julie’s brief affair with her daughter’s ex, Luke, she ended up marrying Caleb Nichol and became Kirsten’s step-mother.
Other notable things: Chrismukkah. Bagels. Jimmy and Kirsten’s kiss. Ryan hooking up with Caleb’s 24 year old girlfriend. Hailey and Jimmy. Hailey’s stripper career. Princess Sparkle. Bagels. Marissa stealing shit. Rooney. Luke’s drunken car crash. Brooooooding. Summer’s Christmas costume. Bagels. The Nana (so Jewish, love her).
Seth’s brief stint living with Luke and his gay dad ended when Sandy’s suave parenting skills came to the rescue. Theresa realized that Ryan didn’t want to be with her so she told him she lost the baby (she totes didn’t!)… and Ryan went back to the Cohen’s too. Seth worked (his first job!) at The Bait Shop where he met bi-sexual Alex, who dated both him and Marissa for a few minutes. Marissa only dated Alex to rebel against her mom though. While Seth was off chillin’ with Luke, Summer moved on and started dating the Anti-Cohen AKA Zach. He was super hot and smart and rich and OMG, so totally cute. He obv didn’t stand a chance against Cohen, though — except on Valentine’s Day when the two pitched their comic and stayed in that hotel… he was soo the definition of a third wheel — But when Summer saw mini Cohen playing with mini Captain Oats at the airport, it was over. Upside down spider man kiss (IN THE RAIN!!!!) COMMENCE!
Ryan had the weirdest love interest story by far this season. He dated the super boring, annoying Lindsay who just so happened to be Caleb’s illegitimate daughter (how convenient). She eventually went away though, which led Marissa back to Ryan. We obv can’t forget about the time Marissa got raped by Trey after he returned from jail. The event fucked her up so much that at the very end of the season — after her mom killed Caleb — she shot Trey (to save Ryan, duh!). Like mother, like daughter. Oh, and after Kirsten falls for another man, finds Sandy with an old flame, and finds out her dad died, Kirsten becomes a serious alc. Like, serious. Hello rehab.
Other notable things: Julie’s sex tape. Marissa & the pool boy. Jimmy’s & Julie’s brief affair. Rebecca Bloom. Marissa screaming at the top of her lungs by the pool when Julie asks how she is. THE MALLPISODE (this was, like, sooo random). Carter. Summer’s awk dinner with Zach’s family. Caleb taking care of lesbian Marissa while Julie’s gone. Coked-out Jess. Spring Break at the nana’s and the whipped cream contest.
Lacoste lover Taylor Townsend (she was the only reason I wore Lacoste polos in high school) was having an affair with the dean only to keep Marissa and Ryan from Harbor, but eventually fell for Seth’s awkward charm and helped to get Ryan back in — but not Marissa because she almost killed a dude… and she couldn’t exactly afford it anyway. Marissa not only had to deal with her mom moving in to a trailer park (couldn’t she just rent like an apartment?), but she also had to attend public school (oh, THE HORROR). There, she met the second most worst person ever (first was Oliver), Johnny. Johnny was a possessive, annoying surfer who looooved Marissa. But when he found out he couldn’t surf anymore due to an accident (kind of brought on by Ryan), and then realized he couldn’t have Marissa, he killed himself. That was sad, but he was still a whiny little bitch. After he died, Marissa had a brief thing with Johnny’s nemesis Volchok. Marissa and Ryan both got in in to UC Berkeley, but badass Volchok-dating Marissa didn’t want to go and later decided to spend the next year with her dad. Seth and Summer both applied to Brown, and Summer got in (yes – she was actually very smart!)… But Seth went to his college interview high and didn’t.
After graduation, Volchuk, who inevitably lost Marissa to Ryan, ran the meant-to-be-lovers off the road and the began the saddest moments on television ever. After an extremely quiet couple of minutes filled with Ryan taking Marissa out of the burning car, she died in his arms to the tune of Halle-fucking-lujah. Are you kidding? I actually cried for six weeks straight after this happened. These people were my friends. My best friends. When I watch this scene on YouTube, which I often do, I cry. Every time. It’s just so fucking sad.
Other notable things: Crazy Charlotte from rehab. Julie engagement to Mr. Roberts. Kirsten and Julie’s company NewMatch. Taylor’s Korean pop-star prom date. Kaitlin’s return. Julie eating trailer park food. Gus. Ryan and Sadie (Nikki Reed!). Seth’s Brown run-in with (ughhhh) Anna.
No one watched.
Just kidding, people did. But I will admit – I didn’t watch until three years later. No, it wasn’t the same without Mischa Barton‘s horrible acting skills, but it was still good. Or as good as such a show can be.
Ryan joined the fight club after Marissa died, but Sandy obv got him to come back to Newport (this is a recurring theme) and get over his dead on-and-off-ex-GF. After helping Taylor Townsend get a divorce from her French ex-husband, they started dating. It was random and very soon after Marissa’s death, but it worked… Although, Ryan did break up with her for a few minutes after hearing about her life in Paris from her French ex-husband Henri-Michel.
In order to forget about Marissa, Summer turned into a huge hippie at Brown, befriended a freaky dude, Che, who loved activism and not showering, and stopped talking to Seth.
Even after she realized she was being ridic and should obv be with Seth, materialistic Summer never came back (sad face). Soon enough, her activism got her suspended from Brown, forcing Seth to suspend his college plans at RISD for another semester. During the rest of the season, everyone lived at Mr. Robert’s house (Julie, Kaitlin, Taylor, Summer, basically Seth, basically Taylor, basically Bullit, and eventually the Cohens). Seth and Summer got engaged for a few minutes. Ryan’s dad made an appearance pretending to have cancer. Kirsten got preggers. Oh, and a giant earthquake rocked Newport, damaging the Cohen’s home for good.
This lead the Cohens to move back to the house in Berkeley that they had Seth in and raise their new daughter Sophie Rose. And all the kids go their separate ways – Ryan went with the Cohens to Berkeley, Taylor left for school in Paris, Seth left for RISD, Summer went away on some environmentalist program called GEORGE (what kind of name is that) where she became a big deal.
Other notable things: Ryan’s Volchok beat down. Marissa’s note to Ryan (bitch is dead and she’s still breaking up with you!). Ryan’s dad pretending to have cancer. Ryan’s dad and Julie Cooper. Julie Cooper and Bullit. Kaitlin always wanting boots.
In the final OC moments, we see Julie graduate from college, Sandy teaching law at Berkeley, and Seth and Summer getting married. At the wedding, Ryan and Taylor are best man and maid of honor (that smile they shared makes me think they were still dating) and little Sophie is the flower girl. The last scene is the most cliche one of all, where Ryan who is obv an architect (yay success) sees a young boy (who had a striking resemblance to him) alone and asks him if he needs help — just like Sandy asked him many years ago. AWW.
Lessons learned from the OC: If you let a poor, troubled teen in to your home, he will end up a very successful young man — and he will never take anything from you (although his brother might). Too much wine leads to rehab. Many rich people don’t actually have any money. They also probably have many ridiculous issues. Materialistic people are smart, too. Do not befriend someone you meet at therapy or rehab. Do not go to an interview high. And don’t steal — you will get caught.
Words cannot describe how much I miss the OC. When it was on, I considered the core four my best friends. I even went as far to put Seth’s name in the bottom of my AIM profile with a ‘<3’ next to it. I was delusional. But it was okay. Wake me up when a show as good as the OC is back on TV… or just stop time because the fact it first aired 10 years ago is NOT okay.