tek's rating:

The O.C., on FOX
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Caution: Spoilers!

Season One
"O.C." stands for "Orange County." Okay, it's a soap opera. Mostly a teen soap, but plenty of stuff going on with the adults, too. There will be heavy spoilers in the following paragraphs, unless I decide to delete it all and just have a really brief entry, or something. But even with all the spoilers, I'll still be leaving out a great deal of stuff that happens. Anyway, I feel the need to mention a lot of characters, at least in passing, and obviously I can't do that without a bit of explanation. But the main four characters will be Ryan (Ben Mckenzie), Marissa (Mischa Barton), Seth (Adam Brody), and Summer (Rachel Bilson). So... Ryan Atwood is this guy from Chino, who gets busted when he and his brother Trey steal a car. His brother goes to jail, but Ryan's public defender gets Ryan off the hook. Of course, his dad is also in jail, and his mom kicks him out, so Ryan ends up staying with the attorney, Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher), whose wife Kirsten is a rich real estate developer. They have a teenage son of their own, Seth. Seth is the most interesting character on the show, a lover of comic books and cool indie music (the show became famous for its music, even putting out a series of "O.C. Mixes"), quick-witted, sarcastic, inventor of the uber-holiday Chrismukkah, and something of an outcast. Seth has always had a crush on a girl named Summer Roberts, who barely knew he existed, let alone cared. I personally didn't care for her at first, but she grew on me somewhat over time. Eventually, Seth got a new friend, Anna Stern, and bizarrely enough, Anna and Summer started fighting over Seth.

Anyway, I digress. The main point of the show is that Ryan had to adapt to life in the affluent community of Newport Beach, and meanwhile developed a friendship with the girl next door, Marissa Cooper, who already had a jealous boyfriend named Luke. Later she broke up with him and started seeing Ryan. But she has emotional problems and a drinking problem and trouble at home. Her father, Jimmy (Tate Donovan), is a stock broker who embezzled clients' money and lost his job, and his wife, Julie, left him and started dating Kirsten's father, Caleb Nichol (Alan Dale), for whose company, the Newport Group, Kirsten works. I should also mention that Jimmy went out with Kirsten years ago, before she was with Sandy. And Sandy started working at a law firm with a woman named Rachel, who seemed to be interested in him. And Kirsten has a little sister named Hailey, who eventually started seeing Jimmy. And for awhile Luke was having an affair with Julie. And there was a psycho named Oliver who became friends with Marissa for awhile. And Ryan had an old girlfriend named Theresa, who was now engaged to an old friend of Ryan's named Eddie, who's very jealous, which wasn't helped when Ryan and Marissa were broken up briefly and Ryan got back together with Theresa, briefly. And at the end of the first season it turned out Theresa's pregnant. Ryan went back to stay with her in Chino. Caleb married Julie, making her Julie Cooper-Nichol (or as I like to call her, Julie Cupro-Nickel). Marissa already couldn't stand her mother, and this marriage only made things worse between them. Seth was dating Anna for awhile, but she eventually left, and he was seeing Summer, but they broke up and Seth sailed away. Not sure what else to say about season one, except at some point Luke and his father had moved to Portland.

Season Two
It turns out Seth has been staying with Luke and his father, but he returns to Newport, after awhile. Theresa tells Ryan she lost the baby, and he moves back to Newport, too. Caleb came under investigation by the D.A.'s office, and Sandy (with whom he's never gotten along) had to try to defend him. Summer is seeing a guy named Zach, who's a lot like Seth, and the two become friends, though the friendship is strained by Seth's continuing obsession with Summer (despite his attempts to get over her). Seth briefly dates a girl named Alex Kelly, who runs a night club called the Bait Shop. Hailey takes a job somewhere and leaves, and then Jimmy goes elsewhere, himself. Marissa had been seeing this guy named D.J., but that didn't last. Ryan started seeing this girl named Lindsay Gardner, but she turns out to be- gasp!- Caleb's illegitimate daughter! Also, a woman from Sandy's past shows up, Rebecca Bloom, who's been in hiding for 20 years because of some crime she was involved in. Her father was Sandy's old law professor and friend, who wanted Sandy to try to clear her name so she could stop running from the law. This puts a strain on Sandy and Kirsten's marriage. Oh, and Alex and Marissa start dating. But that wouldn't last too long. Anyway, eventually Summer and Seth end up back together. And Caleb dies. Oh, and Trey gets out of jail, but there'll be a lot of trouble between him and Ryan. And eventually Marissa nearly kills Trey.

Season Three
Marissa is forced to leave Harbor High, and attend a public school, where she makes some new friends, including a surfer named Johnny, who falls for her hard, though she just wants to be friends. Meanwhile, there's a girl at Harbor named Taylor Townsend (Autumn Reeser), who apparently had a rivalry with Marissa at school and now wanted to take her chance to gain greater social status, which Summer tried to prevent. But she ended up having a bit of a crush on Seth, or something, though that eventually ended and she went from being a sort of enemy of the group to one of their friends, though the group was a bit reluctant for awhile. Sandy started running the Newport Group, which had been on the brink of ruin before Caleb died. There would be more legal (and not-so-legal) troubles with that. Also, Marissa got onto a self-destructive path, which aside from the usual for her, included dating a bad boy surfer named Volchok. Julie starts dating Summer's father. Marissa's little sister Kaitlin shows up, taking a break from her boarding school. We've rarely seen her before, and now she's played by a new actress (Willa Holland). And she makes some trouble. But eventually she goes back to school. Meanwhile, the gang tries to get Marissa accepted back at Harbor, and later everyone makes preparations for college. Seth has a bit of a pot-smoking problem for awhile, and blows his chance to get into Brown, where Summer will be going. But he lies to everyone about that for quite awhile, and breaks up with Summer. However, Anna makes a return to the show and helps him get into an art school near Brown I guess, and helps him get back together with Summer. Oh, and Johnny dies, did I forget to mention that? And at the end of the season, Marissa dies. Oh, and I guess Sandy left the Newport Group, and maybe went back to his old law practice, or something.

Season Four
Season four... was cut a bit short, but still a fair amount happened. What to say? Summer started college, where she become something of an environmentalist, along with her new friend Che. Seth didn't start college, instead taking a job at a comic shop. Kaitlin returned from boarding school to attend Harbor. Taylor returned, after having briefly married a Frenchman, but soon she starts dating Ryan. And Ryan's biological father, Frank, shows up, hoping to become involved in his son's life. Julie starts a dating service with Kirsten, though that becomes something... not so much legal, a fact which she hides from Kirsten. She also starts a relationship with a Texan businessman named Gordon Bullit, though she never seems entirely like she wants to be with him. I never cared that much for him myself, though I did like the sort of fatherly/buddy kind of relationship he developed with Kaitlin. Complicating matters was the fact that Julie also got involved with Frank Atwood.... Anyway, eventually Kirsten gets pregnant, and there's an earthquake, and in the end we see a bit of the future for all the characters, which was cool. I'm no doubt leaving out important things, but of course I always end up leaving updates to my reviews til long after shows end, so I forget. Anyway, it was a decent season. The show as a whole was pretty cool. Most of the time.... And that's all I can think to say.

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