Farewell to “The OC”
Chris Wilson | Thursday, February 22, 2007
I can still remember the agonizing wait freshman year. The need for the warm southern California sun, transmitted via FOX28, to counter the growing cold of northern Indiana winters. The campus positively buzzed on the eve of that first Thursday, the premiere delayed by the Fall Classic until November. It seems so long ago now, “That 70’s Show” wrapping up on 24-hour lounge big screens across campus before “Previously on The OC…” carried everyone to Newport for the next hour.
Of course, by now you all know how this story ends. The second season wasn’t nearly as good as the first, and the third season killed off any of the Trey-aided momentum by adding Jeri Ryan, Newport Union, a timeslot change and a month-long hiatus just to jar everyone out of a rhythm. They tried to appeal to fans by killing Marissa in the finale, but the viewership had dwindled to an irreparable point by then.
“The OC” dies tonight, burning off the remainder of the episodes for a shortened season that returned many of the charms of the successful first run, minus the audience. They got back to some of the things that worked so well at first, including putting the Sandy and Kirsten marriage back on a pedestal and realizing Autumn Reeser’s deliciously adorable Taylor Townsend was the great supporting character so many others failed to be following Samaire Armstrong’s heart-wrenching exit from the show so many Cotillions ago.
When you think about it, it’s amazing “The OC” managed to thrive like it did. It’s not like FOX is particularly adept at marketing anything that doesn’t involve Ryan Seacrest, and so many primetime teen soaps have flopped in the years following “90210”.
However, “The OC” powered forward, churning through storylines at such a reckless pace – no story arc lasted more than a month before it was time to move on – it doomed itself. The four-season survival is even more remarkable when you consider that one of the stars, Mischa Barton, most often resembled a sulking cardboard cutout as opposed to a leading lady, lacking the ability to make anyone around her any better and generally acting as if she were the secret love child of Vinny Chase and Ellen Pompeo.
So as “The OC” airs its final episode tonight to a minimal television audience, I’d like you to reflect on the great things it’s achieved. First and foremost, without “The OC”, there would be no “Laguna Beach,” and I don’t need to remind you that with no “Laguna,” there’s no “The Hills.”
I wanted to write this to remind you that a dear old friend is on its deathbed, and tonight Phantom Planet’s “California,” the joy of so many freshman dorm parties, gets the last rites, so please turn yourself away from the beautiful hair of both Zach Braff and Patrick Dempsey to say goodbye one final time.
If you’ve chuckled at one Seth one-liner, admired Summer’s fashion sense or respected how Sandy could solve any problem in front of him with the aid of his amazing eyebrows, the show has earned your attention for the last 60 minutes of its existence.
California, rest in peace.