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Watch and learn from “The O.C.”

Observer Scene | Monday, November 1, 2004

I will admit it. I love “The O.C.” I know it’s trashy. I know that I really should be doing something to further my education for that hour, like reading existential philosophy or attending a lecture on modern poetry, but somehow, I feel like “The O.C.” has given me a different kind of education. The show rolls up more of the action, intrigue, back-stabbing and deception than you would find in any soap opera, romance novel and Shakespearean drama combined. So, in order to justify the hour that have spent each week watching Seth, Summer, Marissa, Ryan and company, I would like to list the things that I have learned from watching “The O.C.”1. Fighting solves everything, especially cat fighting.Julie and Hailie get in a catfight at Julie’s bachlorette party, Caleb and Sandy fight at a fancy restaurant in Las Vegas and that’s just in one episode. “The O.C.” is rife with examples of how violence is the answer to a myriad of usual problems, which, luckily, most of us don’t have to face. 2. Midlife crises can have a lot of manifestations, including sleeping with your daughter’s ex-boyfriendJulie has an affair with Luke, Marissa’s ex-boyfriend. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well. 3. High school kids have a lot of problems, not limited to alcoholism, pregnancy, stalkers, affairs, abandonment and accidentally hiring strippers.My high school experience wasn’t quite like that of the students on “The O.C.,” but maybe I just hung out with the wrong crowd. 4. Nerds can get the girl.Seth gives hope to nerds everywhere by actually dating hot-girl Summer, but lets them all down when they break up at the end of the season. 5. Paris Hilton will hit on anything, including high school students.In “The L.A.” Paris hits on Seth, but are any of us really surprised by anything that Hilton does anymore?6. Be careful who you marry, because they might not be as rich as you think they are.Julie marries Caleb, quite possibly more for money than for love. Only we, the audience, can only anticipate what her reaction will be when she finds out that he’s bankrupt next season. 7. Family politics can get complicated, especially when your foster son’s girlfriend’s mother is marrying your father and her ex-husband is dating your sister.The population of Orange County is disproportionally represented by the seeming need of Kirsten’s friends and family to intermarry.8. While we won’t know until the new season starts, it may just be possible to sail from California to Tahiti.Seth, following his break-up with Summer and Ryan deciding to leave, renews his attempt to sail his catamaran to Tahiti. Isn’t that what we’d all like to do when things aren’t going our way?9. You don’t have to choose between Christmas or Chanakka because you can have Christmukka.The Cohens manage their family with creative solutions at all times, even at the holidays. 10. When you start hanging out with a guy, make sure that he isn’t a crazy, obsessive stalker who will try to kill you and himself when you try to cool things off. In “The Rivals” and “The Truth,” Marissa’s “friend” Oliver slowly takes over her life, leaving it up to Ryan to come and save her. While to those of us watching it was quite obvious that he was deranged, Marissa is not exactly a Rhodes scholar. Maybe these aren’t things that you would learn in the classroom, but at the very least, watching “The O.C.” will, regardless of how hectic your life is, make you feel normal. Plus, it is quite possibly the best excuse to take a study break that has come along for a long, long time.