- How many times does Schwartz need to resort to unexpected death as a cheap plot device? Caleb was fine, whatever, grandparents die, it happens. Plus it brought Kirsten's long-simmering alcoholism to the surface in all its slackjawed glory; again, fine. Adults dealing with adult problems, something I'd always liked1 as a sideshow to the real meat of The O.C.: teenage problems. But twice in one season? Desperate much?
- Plus we don't even get teenage problems anymore! Shootings, robberies, multiple peer deaths... what teen can identify with this stuff? And privileged ones, no less? It's an age-old truism in the TV business that when the male and female leads finally give in to that ever-present attraction and fall into each other's arms, the show is effectively over2. At first I thought The O.C. had effectively avoided that problem by getting Ryan & Marissa and Seth & Summer together early on, setting up a show in which the focus would be the relationship, rather than the mating dance. Wrong, sort of. The show's glory days remain Seth's pursuit of Summer (remember them sharing the motel room on the way to "TJ"? sigh...) and Summer's subsequent pursuit of Seth during the Anna triangle, a plotline that allowed Summer's character to evolve from cold, snooty bitch to adorable flake. Best plotlines since: Summer and Zach, Marissa and Alex... see a pattern? What I'm trying to say is that the best moments of this season, or only good moments, really, were anything involving...
- Taylor Townsend. T to the T. As in Too little, Too late. Terrific character arc (remarkably similar to Summer's, now that I think about it...), responsible for all of the season's rare goosebump moments during her futile pursuit of Seth. Who can forget "candle wax, tube socks, and the new Fiona Apple CD"? My advice to Schwartz: spinoff. Taylor at the Sorbonne, flirting awkwardly with hot French dudes, getting homesick for the old gang, "Dear Diary"-type voiceovers... I'd watch it. Could succeed in every way that stupid Jennifer Love Hewitt Po5-spinoff failed.
- Seth smoking pot: bottomless comic potential, utterly squandered. Has Adam Brody ever been stoned before? Did love Summer's been-there-done-that revelation, though. Still, it's all played very after-school-special-y, nothing but bad decisions and harsh consequences. Where are the good times? Don't people smoke pot bacause it's fun? I understand there's network pressure not to show any of the positive aspects of drug use (and let's face it, they do exist), but it seems pretty incongruous when compared to the prevalence of alarmingly casual teen drinking that goes on without so much as a disapproving scowl.
- Look, I admire Sandy's altruistic side as much as the next guy, but I don't give a rat's rear end about the hospital or the corrupt head-of-the-board guy. What a snoozer. And on a show that tends to run through six-week storylines in about two episodes, this one seemed to just drag on forever. Getting Sandy back in the D.A.'s office is a great move.
- Mischa Barton must have seriously, seriously pissed off Schwartz, enough so that I wonder whether or not their relationship may have been anything more than professional, nudge nudge, wink wink. I mean, they set up this whole ridiculous storyline about her sailing to Greece on her dad's boat, a perfect way to get rid of her while leaving a return window a la Dylan McKay's motorcycle odyssey, then turn around and kill her! Are you kidding me?!? And something tells me there will be no Pamela's dream if she wants to come back.
- Side effect of Marissa's death: golden opportunity for a Tate Donovan sighting. Make it happen, Schwartz.
- Tangents & Clarifications:
Interestingly enough, this was something I never liked about My So-Called Life, and a big part of the reason I never got into that show. I just didn't care about the parents. I wanted more screen time for Angela acting all googley-eyed around Jordan Catalano. Maybe I just didn't like the parent characters. I remember finding the mother especially annoying, whereas Kirsten Cohen I'd like to take out to dinner (something fattening, preferably). I've liked the parents on The O.C. since week one; how could you not like Peter Gallagher? Seriously, look at those eyebrows! Where was I? Ah yes... [Return]
David and Maddie, Sam and Diane... see, I don't even need to name the shows and you know exactly who I'm talking about. [Return]