If you’ve been paying attention to Glorious Noise over the years, you already know that we’ve had a pretty unhealthy obsession with “The OC.” For those of us who grew up on “90210,” “Melrose” and “The Real World,” this West Coast pretty people drama had our self-referential demographic in its sites from its very inception. And we stuck by it for three seasons even as the storylines got progressively sillier, the music got less and less interesting, and the characters lost more and more weight (and depth).
So, for what might be the last time, we’re pulling GLONO co-founder Johnny Loftus away from his new job as Music Editor of Detroit’s Metro Times to give some quick thoughts on the season finale of “The OC.” -Ed.
Not since Bodhi and the Dead Presidents have we seen a more heroic ruffian brought to the screen than LoJack, Chino’s final nemesis. Ne’er-do-wells nationwide must dream of leading his charmed thug life. From his earliest appearance as a sort of Ryan Atwood for the Doe-Eyed Fawn’s Bizarro Harper High world, Lo was likeably leering, a villainous goldmine of dirty surf moves and glinting blue eyes. Fuck, he even ran an all-night hoodlums-only narco party, AND drove a cool van. What budding Middle American burnout wouldn’t want to emulate him? Alas, the chink in his tough guy armor was none other than the Fawn herself, Marissa, the one-woman pain train who blew up Tijuana, shot Chino’s brother, killed Johnny with her mind, and ultimately met LoJack in Melrose Place-ian sideswipe of fated love. Yes, Marissa finally died, a casualty of bore that had to go so that we may finally see what damage her rainbow party hostess sister can wreak on Newport. And remember, LoJack took a liking to Caitlin, too. How long before we see her wearing one of his faded Priest T’s? Stay tuned.
As for the rest of the cast, there’s no question Schwartz is skipping on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” pavement. As a supporting storyline to Caitlin’s barely legal fiefdom, Schwartz should shift the focus back to Seth and Summer – by far the only characters worth a damn this past season. If he doesn’t emphasize the couple’s East Coast college adventures, Cohen the Younger is looking at becoming the ever-harried, Woody Allen-channeling principal of his old high school, Dustin Diamond-stizz.
And Chino? Well, who knows. It’s been three years and he still can’t act, so maybe he should die too. That would leave the Cohen house as an empty nest, and a perfect opportunity to capitalize on Sandy’s revitalized career as a public defender. Sanford remains the Moral Center of “The OC,” and one of the best scenes in last night’s finale was his visit to his old office. Make it happen Schwartz, and then write a story arc where Sandy visits Seth and Summer in Boston and runs into Alan Shore, who invites him to join Crane Poole & Schmidt. At least then Chino could hook up with Shore’s spunky blonde secretary Melissa.
So it’s over. Season Three’s final episode ended with Imogen Heap’s ghostly “Hallelujah” explicitly referencing Season One’s finale that used Jeff Buckley’s version of the same song in its closing moments. Could creator Josh Schwartz possibly have sent us a clearer signal that this is the end? That’s a classic series finale move, but that didn’t keep them from promising us a Season Four. Will we watch it? I can’t say for certain, but right now I’m doubting it.
Even though we’ve wished death upon Marissa in this space before, now that it’s finally happened we’re left feeling it a little empty. It was a fantastic death scene, no question about that. Marissa’s skin was so pale and spooky, and the blood in her hair was thick and creepy, just like Lara Flynn Boyle in Wild at Heart. And Ryan was actually acting. So that was great. But there was just too much annoying bullshit this season to expect next season to be even remotely watchable.
The problem, of course, was Seth’s “drug problem” which was so inane that even Summer made fun of him for how wimpy and unproblematic it was. But when he accidentally burned down his dad’s office in a drug-induced stupor, the show crossed a line. Anyone who’s ever smoked grass will tell you how ridiculous that whole scenario was. And here are a few reasons why.
1. You’re not going to get high in your dad’s office. Even if you’re really mad at him for putting his job before his family. You’re still not going to do that.
2. And you wouldn’t leave a roach on the desk, much less the half a jay that Seth left. That’s a waste of weed. People don’t do that. Sure, stoners have been known to misplace their stash once in a while, but never a joint that they’re in the middle of smoking.
3. So don’t tell me he was too blasted to realize what he was doing. He barely smoked half a joint that was not very fat to begin with. Unless ODB’s dealer is now supplying Orange County, he wouldn’t have been high enough to leave a joint on his dad’s desk.
4. Because weed makes you paranoid.
5. And besides, joints have a tendency to extinguish themselves. That’s why you’re always going at it with the lighter. If grass really burned like it does on “The OC” Bic would be out of business by now.
Pass the ludes! We’re going to need them for Season Four.
Music from the Season Three finale:
• “Friends” by Chris Holmes (myspace)
• “Breaking the Ice” by Mojave 3 from Puzzles Like You
• “Speeding Cards” by Imogen Heap (WM)
• “Bossy” by Kelis from Puppeteer
• “Chapters” by Commuter (myspace)