In real life, girls’ nights and guys’ nights out are mutually sanctioned, non-merging events that maintain a strict internal code of silence. On the “OC” they’re locomotives piloted by a sexually curious drunkard and two confused comic book geeks, hurling from opposite ends of the same track and destined to smash together in a twisted metal wreck of bickering and awkward walk-ins, not to mention a heavy-duty alt.lifestyle subtext that could give new meaning to single gender activities. That’s right: the “OC” makes real life its bitch.
Seth’s annoyingly fragile heart is once again cracked by arrival of Alex’s “ex”, a slinky brunette named Jody. Dating pro that he is, Cohen already can’t handle it that his whiskey-for-breakfast sort-of girlfriend – the one running a casting call for Drugstore Cowboy out of her apartment – might have just a little bit of baggage hidden behind her makeup drawer. But when he discovers Jody’s non-male status, it’s time for huffing and puffing and ridiculous confrontation, guys’ night out be damned. “There’s only one thing to do”, Seth says. “What, hook up with a guy?” Zach wonders cheekily, maybe not knowing how right he is. Sure, everyone loves a lesbian subplot; it’s not even that taboo anymore. (Shades of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.) But as the “OC”‘s pretty young relationships continue tumbling toward disfunction, would it be that much of a stretch for Schwartz, et al to start rocking the boy kiss? Future soundtrack pick: Scissor Sisters, “Lovers in the Backseat”.
With Summer’s freaking out over her six-month anniversary with Zach and Lindsay all intimidated by the Doe Eyed Fawn’s coquettish beauty, Marissa decides it’s time for a girls’ night out. You know, like when she and Summer were little girls, only with flasks of vodka instead of “Full House” marathons. “Oh, hello Lindsay”, Marissa whispers, her voice a multi-tracked amalgam of every scary child actor ever named Caulkin or Fanning. “Welcome to my pretty dream house. But please, don’t stare directly at the garish, bejeweled dressing table I’m sitting at. The refracted beams of light that its beveled glass panels give off will soon coalesce to form a flaming prism of pure evil that will hover above the mirror like a three-sided hell buzzard with a shiv clenched between its razor-sharp teeth. I looked at that prism once without my welding mask, and it sucked me into a life of trophy mothers having sex with my ex-boyfriend and Latin lawn guys taking payoffs just to get the fuck away from my flimsy emotional state and batshit crazy brain. Oh, look though, this secret panel holds a bottle of Sauza he left behind. Want a drink?”
The girls’ night out party soon moves to the Bait Shop, which happens to be filming a promotional appearance by a scruffy, promising young Irish group called the Thrills. As the Fawn and the Firecracker bond like barflies, Summer gets sorted by one of Zach’s water polo buddies, and the tension in Alex and Jody’s relationship is made clear for the cheap seats. Meanwhile, the competing guys’ night out – even if it was only going to be video games and comic books – is just a sad, sad memory as Seth, Zach, and an exasperated Chino head to the Shop themselves to find their ladies and promptly say the wrong thing.
And so the wrong things are said, and Ryan screams and yells and blames the Doe Eyed Fawn for dragging Lindsay into her den of drunken inequity, and even gets off a line about his mother’s alcoholism that was nice background but a little out of place considering his mother hasn’t been mentioned since, like, the middle of last season. Still, all of the screaming was a great setup for what most “OC” viewing parties across the nation have been waiting for since the previews first hinted it, and that’s the Marissa/Alex tryst. This article being so late to publish, we’ll likely only have to wait a day for the, ahem, money shot. But the initial situation was 100% pure and uncut “OC” self-awareness. Marissa’s back at Alex’s apartment, the ex, Jody, asleep in the back. Seth’s been sent home with a pat on the head and a peck on the cheek; Chino’s apologized for his mean streak. All that’s left is Alex and Marissa, watching an old horror movie on the comfy couch. And Alex likey the stranger. “Oh, are you cold? Let me stretch my lithe frame across yours and draw the blanket over us…there, that’s better.” Now, a quick sidelong glance from the Fawn, but just a look of surety in the eyes of Alex – she’s been here before. Fade out. What is this, Erotic Obsessions 4? It couldn’t have been more clichéd if they’d spilled wine on each other’s T shirts, and Jody suddenly appeared with a hankering for a chocolate sauce shower. Which would have been fine, of course. But if any of that happens next week, someone might be trying on a bro soon enough.