For those not inclined to bother, I'll sum up: Schwartz gives an "exclusive"1 interview to TV Guide's Michael Ausiello on the decision to kill off Marissa in the season finale of The O.C. Schwartz spouts a thoroughly implausible line of crap in which he denies any and all rumours of discord between actress Mischa Barton and himself, instead gassing away about how it was "a creative decision"2 that Barton "handled...professionally".
Rubbish. Marissa is both a popular and a devisive character (just as many people hate her as love her, but no one who watches the show has no opinion), as well as, along with Adam Brody, the show's most likely breakout star. Her strained relationship with her mother Julie provides some of the show's most compelling inter-character dynamics. Her lesbian storyline remains the most talked-about topic on the show's message boards more than a year after it ended. In short, there is no reason to write her character out of the show unless there is a problem with the actress. Let's face it, main characters just don't get killed off strictly for story purposes, period.
First off, Schwartz doesn't even deign to let on that Barton was, say, a little disappointed in the decision, instead claiming she "took it in stride" and "continued to do great work". Barton is a known diva who periodically turns up in the tabloids pulling do-you-know-who-I-am-type stunts all over L.A. There will be no convincing me that she wasn't furious about this.
Second, Schwartz dismisses Barton's public spoiler (she revealed to Access Hollywood that her character was dying the day before the show aired), saying he hasn't spoken to Barton about it (probably true) and he "[doesn't] really know what happened". He kind of dodges the question of whether she did it as revenge for being fired, the only time Ausiello asks anything approaching a tough (i.e., direct) question. Gee, ya think? Or does she just not know what night the show is on?
Third, Ausiello makes no mention of the subsequent rumours that the decision was financial. For those with better things to do3, the story goes that Barton demanded more money to do season four, and the producers declined. She threatened to hold out, they threatened to kill Marissa off, she called their bluff, nobody blinked. Goodnight Coop. Just like T.O. and the Eagles. How can this topic not even be broached?
By the way, I still say there's more to this than even the rumours have hinted at so far. If Barton stays famous4, wait till that tell-all biography comes out in 20-or-so years' time, then flip right to the chapter where she talks about her relationship with Schwartz. Twenty bucks says they were sleeping together.
- "Er, what I meant to say was...":
That is to say, Ausiello implies at the and of his lede and in his first few questions that his relationship with Schwartz affords him greater access than most journalists. Whether or not Schwartz is actually talking to anyone else about this, I have no idea. Worth noting in the interest of fairness, by the way, is that for whatever complaints I have about Ausiello's softball session, his first sentence is terrific. [Return]
Ausiello's words, actually; Schwartz concurs. [Return]
And if so, why are you reading this? [Return]
Honestly, I give her about a 10% shot. Which is actually pretty good odds. [Return]