Remember The OC?

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think that they make TV series like they used to do.

Sure you have the seriousness of Breaking Bad, True Detective and Vampire Diaries and Orange is the New Black but in my humble opinion the TV gold of the early noughties cannot be rivalled.

In 2003 Josh Shwartz and the sunshine state of California brought to our screens The OC: an account of the trials and tribulations of a bunch of privileged kids from Orange County, CA following the unexpected arrival of Ryan Atwood, a troubled “teen” from a broken home and the wrong side of the tracks (is it me or do “teens” in TV shows always look about 10 years older than they should do?). Ryan’s arrival to the champagne sipping and gala holding town of Newport Beach has the residents up in arms when he moves in with the ultimate power couple “THE COHENS”.  Ryan takes their ridiculously nerdy but adorable son Seth Cohen under his muscley and masculine wing and proceeds to woo the beautiful and wealthy (yet doomed) Marissa Cooper. Over 4 seasons we were treated to a veritable roller coaster of emotions and offered us a complete guide to the complexity of human relationships and how quickly they can change. From crying tears of laughter to sobbing bat cave snot bubble inducing tears, The OC gang certainly kept us on the edge of our emotionally charged seats.

When the show was cancelled in the fourth series following a MONUMENTAL event at the end of season 3, the show began to lose it’s way somewhat (like, I actually refuse to believe in what happened in season 4 in the same way that I refuse to believe that the second Sex and the City movie happened) and as the viewing figures plummeted the cast received their P45’s in 2007 (or the equivalent in the US) and The OC was no more. Sob.  Despite the massive decline in figures, over 700,000 fans signed an online petition to bring back the hit show (the hit show in its heyday, I like to think).

With all that in mind, lets take a look back at some of the best bits from The OC and why it’s so missed:

The BEST theme tune. You know a TV show is going to be addictive when you find yourself actually singing along to theme tune and not fast forwarding all the boring credits gumf to get to the good stuff. I forget how many times I’ve screeched out the nasally CALIFORNNNNIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA to The O.C by Phantom Planet and then blagged my way through the subsequent lines. An absolute gem of a piece of music that I fully intend to add to a Spotify playlist. In fact, its not just the theme tune, the entire soundtrack to The OC is a mish mash of wonderful obscure songs that they happened to make multiple OST CD’s from.


The flame haired Julie Cooper, mother of Marissa, sister of Hayley (and wife of every man and his dog) had eyes like a Preying Mantis and a sexual appetite to match.  Julie was the original Housewife of the Orange County and is the Californian Queen of Sass.  Her wit and reputation as a man eating gold digger who wasn’t exactly mum of the year (remember when she slept with her daughters boyfriend?) only helped to fast track Julie Cooper Nichol onto my list of favourite characters of all time.


Love.  Relationships.  Longing.  Heartbreak.  It’s all jam packed in there like a suitcase that’s way over its weight limit and is bulging at the seams.  But there’s no relationship that warms your cockles more than the relationship between Seth and Summer.  When the show first began I’ll put myself out on a limb when I say that the majority of people ultimately wanted to dislike spoilt and seemingly vacuous Summer Roberts after she snubbed poor Seth, but as the storylines and characters evolve there’s no relationship you’re rooting more for than Seth and Summers.  Well, Captain Oates and Princess Sparkle come a close second.


In the time before geeks were seen as “cool” or god forbid, “sexy”, comic book reading and toy horse owning Seth Cohen was the epitome of an awkward but brilliantly witty character.  Although the token nerdy guy in a teen show wasn’t exactly a groundbreaker, it was rare that he’d take on such a central role and… bag the town hottie.  Remember Chrismukkah?  Seth was king of the cutting insult, the quippy one liners and was always the voice of reason amongst the gang.  Never has a TV show honoured the “geek” so highly than the moment when Summer and Seth and recreated the upside down Spiderman kiss in the pouring rain.


No teen drama is complete without a good old love triangle and whether it was Seth having to choose between his lifelong crush Summer Roberts and the uber geek chic Anna, Ryan having to choose between the ever destructive Marissa and childhood sweetheart Theresa, Marissa having to choose between the mysterious newboy Ryan and her current water polo playing beau or Kirsten having to choose between a bottle of vodka and her husband, The OC was not short of a 3 sided acute or isosceles shaped love triangle.


I miss Sandy Cohen’s eyebrows more than life itself.  The little blighters had a life of their own and they only enhanced Sandy as a character.  As well as being the reason The OC came about (he brought Ryan back when he was getting his lawyer on and representing him, d’uh), I think the person who came up with the term DILF must have been watching an episode of The OC and subsequently fallen in love with tough talking but loveable SC.


In so many teen focused TV series we tend to lose sight of the “oldies” (aka, the parents) and they’re generally seen as being “party poopers”.  In The OC the adults mattered and their storylines remained as prominent throughout the entire series as that of the teens, especially the relationship between Sandy and Kirsten Cohen aka “the most in love couple ever”.  Even when Kirsten turned to the bottle, the obvious love, mutual respect and *barfs* sexual chemistry between the two gave me major relationship goals.


The storylines were far fetched but at the same time, so like, totally relate able.  Sure, you might not be OD’ing in Tijuana (like Marissa) or witnessing a guy who’s in love with blow his brains out (like Marissa) or have your boyfriends brother try to rape you (like Marissa) or have to shoot your brothers boyfriend (like Marissa) or, y’know, DIE (like Marissa, hang on, is there a pattern emerging) but you’ll have found yourself at some point during the series resonating with one of the characters or storylines.  Except with a lot less money and probably in a far less warm and glamorous location.

  • Sarah Campbell

    You have NO idea how much I loved this post! I was a huge OC fan back in the day, working my way through the box sets until 4am on a ‘school night’ and crying every-time Hallelujah started playing! I STILL listen to the OC soundtracks which, IMO are some of the best compilation albums ever!

    I loved the OC but dropped it around the early days of S3 – I was WAY behind and accidentally clicked a YouTube link that RUINED everything – I didn’t know she was going to die!! I couldn’t watch after that, knowing what was coming and S4? Didn’t happen for me!

    I keep saying I’ll go back and watch it now it’s all on Netflix but I’m worried it won’t be as great as I remember!

    Sarah :)

    Saloca in Wonderland

  • I loved the oc, but lost track after the second series. I think the actor who played Ryan actually was 30.

  • I used to love The OC! Might have to dig out the boxset again after reading this…

  • legomyjgo

    Love this! I co-host a podcast all about The OC! Check it out if you are feeling inclined:

  • I had a major crush on Seth! I think I only watched the first 2 seasons because it all started to be a bit too ridiculous !

  • Michelle Louise Love

    That’s because “teens” in american tv are hardly ever teens in real life. The actor who plays Teddy in 90210 was 31 playing an 18 year old! And the girls in pretty little liars are all in their mid twenties. It’s crazy