22nd February 2014

From the Vault: The O.C.

California, here we come! Rebecca Williams sings the praises of one of the Noughties’ best TV shows

For the past week, my housemates and I have been babysitting an extensive DVD collection. (Friends were having a party and wanted to remove anything valuable – namely, their beloved box sets − from the house.) The constant hung-over re-runs of Friends have been great, but gradually, even Chandler’s jokes were beginning to lose their sparkle. Just in time, I discovered the holy grail: the complete box set of The O.C. For the next few days, I was transported back to a time when the lives of Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa were just about the most important things, ever.

Hindsight is a fine thing, and re-watching The O.C. is quite hilarious. Remember how much you loved Marissa’s clothes? In the most recent episode I watched, ‘Coop’ wears a waistcoat, a t-shirt with short, puffy sleeves, and a green beret with a pink bow on the back. For all the nineties and early noughties fashion you see on the Oxford Road, I think that golden oldie might be a step too far for even a Manchester student.

I thought I remembered most of the show’s storylines, but it’s been long enough for some twists in the plot to be genuinely surprising. A friend and I spent about an hour trying to remember – did Teresa really did have Ryan’s baby? Or did she have a miscarriage? Was it a fake miscarriage? And wait − wasn’t it Trey’s baby anyway?! It still has the comfort factor of watching a familiar show, but makes a refreshing change from being able to recite every line of every Friends episode ever.

Perhaps most importantly, The O.C. was responsible for creating the best TV couple of all time. Ryan and Marissa were okay, but they frowned too much. The romance everyone was really rooting for was that of Summer and Seth. From Seth naming his boat Summer Breeze (subtle), to their matching toy plastic horses (Captain Oats and Princess Sparkle, of course), to that Spiderman upside-down kiss in the rain, the Seth/Summer relationship − on and off-screen − would have teenage boys failing to live up to girls’ expectations for years to come. And while Marissa’s clothes may now be laughable, Seth remains just as fanciable.

This is a show to laugh at, as well as with. Seth (can you guess my favourite character yet?) has all the best lines, and is genuinely witty in his shy, nerdy way. Meanwhile, it’s quite enjoyable to see the character of Ryan, supposedly seventeen years old, being played by an actor who’s pushing thirty. Maintaining the trashy-witty balance is a fine art, but The O.C. manages it.

So the next time you get to escape the confines of the library, or can’t think what to watch on a hungover morning, pop the kettle on and dig out one of your old The O.C. DVDs. Let the sound of Phantom Planet’s “California” fill the room with nostalgia, and leave behind the grey rainclouds of Manchester for the infinity pools of the Orange County.

The O.C.‘s best moments


Marissa: “I love you.”

Ryan: “Thank you.”


Ryan: “You know what I like about rich kids?” [Punches Luke] “Nothing!”


“I can’t even pick out my shoes in the morning, let alone plan the rest of my life.” Summer Roberts


Seth: [Encouraging Sandy to sing karaoke] “Do it, Dad. Travolta’s your bitch.”

Sandy: “Oh, thank you, son.”


Seth: “What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.”

Ryan: “What happens in Mexico?”

Seth: “I don’t know, because it stays there. That’s why we must go!”

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