This weekend has been a stormy one in Asheville, so Jordan and I were forced to resort to frozen pizza and marathoning TV shows.
...okay, well, the truth is that Jordan spent a lot of time in his woodshop and only watched two or three episodes with me. But that is because he's a productive, non-vegetable.
So we watched a few episodes of season 2 of Fargo (which, by the way, is one of the greatest TV shows that has been in on modern history) before he retreated to table-making, leaving me in the rainy weather having just watched a bunch of people shoot each other. At which point I needed something a little lighter.
I surfed around on Hulu a little bit before making a fabulous discovery: all four seasons of The O.C. are there.
By the way, didn't it seem like there were more than four seasons?? I thought so, too. But it's true. Only four.
So I went for it. And you guys. It's as good as I remember.
Sure, it's no Fargo or Breaking Bad or Mad Men. But I'd argue that it's some of the best of what it is: a melodrama geared at teenagers that doesn't totally suck.
Let's run it down.
1. Seth Cohen.
As characters go, it doesn't get much better than Seth. Razor-sharp wit, sarcastic, self-deprecating, and adorable, Adam Brody's portrayal of this complete and unlikely teen heart-throb is pitch perfect. Who didn't have a crush on him?? He was the perfect antidote to all the melodrama on this show - and there was plenty of it - and really served as the audience's voice cutting through the nonsense. Also the perfect pair to Ryan, who was almost always brooding and brow-furrowed. Laugh out loud funny and generally the best. And the fact that Seth Cohen grew up to eventually marry Blair Waldorf? Well, that's just too good.
2. The music.
Music on this show was crucial. In fact, the creator was quoted at some point or another as saying that he wanted music to feature so prominently that it was a character in the series. Mission: accomplished. How many of us heard Death Cab for the first time on The O.C.? (Oh, everyone else knew about them? I was just behind? Cool.) You can't think about Trey getting shot without playing Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek over and over in your head. You can't think about Seth sailing away in the S1 finale without hearing Hallelujah. I remember getting on iTunes (okay, Kazaa, because I was a little 15-year-old thief) and searching every song on the soundtrack at the end of each season. It was beautifully crafted and made such an impact that the show and its soundtrack are almost inextricable.
3. Sandy and Kirsten
Come. ONNNNNNNNN. It doesn't get any better than these two. It just doesn't. As with most great shows, it's the B-couples that are way better than the A-couples. Give me Jack and Karen any day over Will and Grace. Give me Chandler and Monica over Ross and Rachel. Give me Seth and Summer over Ryan and Marissa. But maybe, over anyone, give me SANDY AND KIRSTEN. An honest picture of the ups and downs of marriage, complete with romance, struggle, addiction, forgiveness, and triumph. Get outta here with that. Heart melting. I don't even mind that Peter Gallagher is so much shorter than I thought he was.
4. The fabulous early-oughts fashion.
Please don't miss the fact that on-trend Summer has bejeweled her belly button in that bikini photo. Priceless.
Watching the costume on this show takes me immediately back to throwing watch parties at my house every week in high school. It really encapsulates the horrible choices we were all making: layering necklaces, unfortunate hats, wearing polo shirts on top of other polo shirts, tube dresses, etc. And let's not forget that poor Mischa Barton was doomed to thousands of pairs of flats since she already towers over Ben McKenzie (one of my biggest pet peeves of that show. I can barely take him carrying her out of the car fire seriously because she's SO MUCH TALLER THAN HE IS). It's like stepping in a time machine to watch this show, and I love every minute of it.
There are about a hundred more reasons why this show is fantastic - its self-awareness, its refusal to treat its viewers like stupid teenagers - but I know I have some fellow fans out there. What do you love about it?