Isabelle Aron | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Why You Need To Re-watch All Of The OC

The Debrief: Californiaaaaaaa. Here we coooome.

February is boring and cold, which is why you need to commit yourself to your sofa and revisit The OC to get some sun and scandal in your life. Binge-watch the whole thing and don't come out until at least mid-February.

The OC hit our screens in 2003, conveniently filling the teen-angst void just as Dawson’s Creek aired its final season. The trailer promised to make Dawson and his creek (not a euphemism) look like Songs of Praise by comparison.

For those not familiar, here's a quick summary: Ryan 'wrong-side-of-the-tracks' Atwood is in trouble with the law after his brother convinces him to steal a car. Enter Sandy Cohen, public defender and all round great guy, who gets him out of trouble and takes him home with him to Orange County after Ryan’s Mum abandons him.

Sandy’s wife, Kirsten, is not overly enthused about the whole bringing a criminal home thing, but their son Seth is happy to have someone to hang out with as none of the OC rich kids really ‘get’ him. Speaking of which, Ryan quickly comes face to face with resident Abercrombie douchebag Luke, who has a habit of wearing seashell necklaces and 'welcomes' Ryan to his new home with a punch in the face and the infamous line: 'Welcome to The OC, bitch.'

Here's why you should revisit The OC. Californiaaaaaa. Here we coooome.

Ryan and Seth had the ultimate bromance
Being an only child and having approximately zero friends in his town, Seth is pretty darn pleased when Ryan ends up moving in with the Cohens. Seth wears graphic t-shirts and loves comic books and Ryan wears wife beaters and steals cars. But you know where this is going...they become the BEST of friends. Seth helps Ryan get his new life together and Ryan stops people from punching Seth. When they're not getting beaten up, they're most likely to be found playing video games and saying things like: 'Alright, come on buddy. Get ready for some old-fashioned Seth/Ryan Time.' And unlike other teen shows, Seth and Ryan (Sryan? Reth?) never fought over a girl - apart from a minor misunderstanding when Ryan first moves in and Seth thinks he’s cracking onto Summer, his long time crush.


So many love triangles
Oh god the drama. It's stressful just thinking about it. Throughout the show, both Seth and Ryan had on/off relationships with Summer and Marissa respectively. Ryan and Marissa obvs had a bit of a thing for each other from episode one, and they ended up getting together and breaking up a lot. Factors include: Ryan's possibly pregnant ex-girlfriend Theresa, Marissa's brief stint in a lesbian relationship, and the slightly unhinged Oliver who Marissa meets in therapy.

Meanwhile Seth and Summer were more of a will they/won't they/why the hell won't they just get it together situation. Summer initially responds to Seth's advances with a resounding 'ew', but she eventually falls in love with him - even dressing up as Wonder Woman (making comic books sexy and looking super hot doing so). Along the way there was also Anna, who bonds with Seth over a shared love of comic books, and Zach, who Seth described as 'a completely non-neurotic WASP version of me'. But you were always rooting for Seth and Summer - basically they were the noughties' answer to Ross and Rachel (bold claim but I’m sticking with it).

It created Chrismukkah
What other shows can say it started its own holiday? Ok apparently Seinfield had Festivus but Chrismukkah has a way better ring to it. With a Jewish dad and a Christian mum, Seth came up with the hybrid holiday, Chrismukkah, which he described as 'eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents'. Although apparently it was nearly called the much less catchy Hannamas. Aside from all the presents, it involved sitting around eating Chinese takeaway and watching films like It’s A Wonderful Life and Seth claimed it was the 'greatest superholiday known to mankind.'

Things got kind of meta
Everyone knows that teen dramas often star actors who look way older than they should (I’m looking at you, Michelle Williams in Dawson’s Creek). But The OC addressed this by taking the piss out of itself through its onscreen parody, The Valley, which was basically The OC set in LA. Benjamin McKenzie, who played Ryan, was often criticised for looking way older then a teenager. In one episode, Ryan and Seth are watching The Valley, and Ryan sees the guy who plays his equivalent and says: 'How does that guy play a high schooler?' And Seth is all: 'ugh Hollywood.'

Also, without The OC, we’d have never had the gloriously trashy reality show Laguna Beach, which lest we forget had the tag line: the real Orange County. Which means we'd never have been able to live our teen years vicariously through the much more glam lives of LC, Kristen and the rest of their rich kid gang. And don't forget the spin off from the spin off, The Hills. If there was no OC, we'd never have been able to watch Speidi’s shambles of a relationship unfold. In fact you should probably add The Hills to your list of shows to binge-watch once you’re done with The OC.

Their parents had shit going on too
It wasn’t all teen angst and awkward sex. The parents’ storylines were actually interesting too - Kirsten was an alcoholic who ended up in rehab, Jimmy bankrupted his family after stealing money from half of Newport, and Sandy nearly had an affair (sob). And let’s not forget when Marissa’s Juicy-Couture-wearing-tracksuit mum had a cheeky affair with her ex-boyf, Luke. Stay classy, Julie.

Sandy Cohen’s wise words (and eyebrows)
Although most of the parents didn't really have their lives together, Sandy Cohen was the best kind of TV Dad. When he wasn't offering pearls of wisdom such as: 'foreplay huh? The appetisier is as good as the main course', he was teaching Seth and Ryan how to smear bagels like a pro - an important art in the Cohen household and general life skill. His face is also home to one of the strongest pairs of brows ever to grace our TV screens.


Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Retro Boxsets: Why You Need To Rewatch Gilmore Girls

Retro Boxsets: Why You Need To Rewatch The Gloriously Awful Rich Girls

Retro Boxsets: Why You Need To Rewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Follow Izzy on Twitter @IzzyAron

Tags: Nostalgia