The White Devil is not an innocent man. But I believe him when he denies bribing those city commissioners, mostly because his line about Sanford’s crappy cooking was a classic. And that means someone’s setting Caleb up, and I’ll bet you Tate Donovan’s beard she’s got Gucci nameplates nestled between her fakies. Julie Cooper can’t stand what the Cohens have – heart – so like any villainous soap opera bitch, she’s determined to destroy them. Cue the steely-eyed glares, eavesdropped conversations, and clammy Machiavellian handshakes.
Julie’s twisted motives and general superficiality will always prevent her from connecting with Marissa, no matter how many ponies or facials she buys her. But just as her scheming mind gives Julie’s trashiness depth, Marissa’s dirty bird secrets make her coquettish jibberish and watery Sailor Moon eyes much less annoying. Episode two finds she and Chino reverting immediately to their irritating method of dating via meaningful glances and misread signals. But it’s also revealed that in addition to her boozing, Marissa’s been blasting a John Basedow-looking yard guy all summer. She’s still the show’s most irritating character. But that even doe-eyed fawn Marissa has two sides makes this season’s “OC” simmer nicely.
On the Cohen front there are flare-ups, too. The abrupt return of Seth and Ryan has put Kirsten at ease (she even looks to have gained a few LBs). But her father’s impending prosecution has moral lynchpin Sandy going nuts, and in a crucial scene he jaws at Kirsten like Andy Garcia on a three-day coke binge. Sandy later stands up to defend Caleb, as the White Devil is cuffed in front of the family and steaming pad Thai. But it’s clear that even in paradise there are juicy problems brewing. And this is before Julie’s even made a move.
Sandy and Kirsten’s scion, of course, is a walking problem factory. Dark Lord of the Seth was left in Portland in favor of neurotic comic book freak Seth, who’s determined to win Summer back. Problem is he has no new game to bring to the fight, and Summer’s right when she tells him he left her hanging. Because the “OC” is a self-aware soap, the inaugural member of Seth’s comic book club is a towheaded, comic-loving water polo player who also happens to be nice, funny, and giving the high hard one to Summer. At first it seems like a gag, like last season when a funnier guy threatened to usurp Seth’s jokeman dominance. But as he and Ryan return to the last year’s scene of the crime, season two of the “OC” takes a turn for the awesome.
Ah, the kickoff carnival. Last year it was South serenading Ryan and Marissa as they kissed on the ferris wheel; this year it’s Chino’s balls finally dropping as he refuses Marissa’s advances and pretty much tells her to fuck off. Meanwhile Seth is frantically trying to recreate his old moves, floundering on a giant hot dog as he tries to profess his love for Summer. Thankfully, she doesn’t go for it. Thankfully? Yes, because if Seth and Ryan had returned to Newport and the arms of their respective girlfriends, season two would’ve been a wash, a bid for cheap youth-baiting complacency. Instead Summer fires off a convincing speech at Cohen, telling him he’s all about the chase, and not the resolution. “You had me in a freaking Wonder Woman costume!” He and Ryan are left standing alone, for opposite reasons but the same result for us – better television. Now the show can focus on a new plotlines; can continue to saddle Marissa, its weakest character, with dimension-adding drinking, drugging, and illicit yard guy fucking; can make Seth crazy about not having Summer, and hopefully draw out his episode one dark side; and can keep its parental characters worried and mad, ’cause someone’s trying to take them all down.
It doesn’t take an architect to see what’s building.
Be sure to read all of the Glorious Noise coverage of The O.C. It’s good.