With Top 40 radio languishing in irrelevance and MTV all but a new Soap network, where’s a kid to find hip new music? On “The O.C.,” of course.
And The O.C. Mix 4 delivers. Whether you’re a sobby 14 year old girl fresh on her first break-up and looking to Imogen Heap’s “Goodnight and Go” for solace, or a hipster who dreams of the day when ELO’s Jeff Lynne will produce an album for the Shins and then happily stumbles upon AC Newman, we got you covered. Sure, there’s no Ryan Adams, but there is another Oasis-lovin’ Anglophile giving his best with Matt Pond PA’s cover of “Champaign Supernova.”
Whether you’re Chino or Cohen, there’s plenty on this mix to help you bag that Doe Eyed Fawn or Summer. So, put the top down and crank up the Aqueduct, it’s going to be another great season in the sun.
You know what the best job in the world has got to be? Music Supervisor. Especially for a hip TV show where the main characters love indie rock.
So I just spent 15 minutes on the phone Alexandra Patsavas, the music supervisor for “The OC.” Warner Brothers is releasing the fourth volume in its series of Music from the OC Mixes (review), and Patsavas is making the rounds talking to dorks like me so people will go out and buy the new release. She seems like a very nice person who really does love great music as much as you and I do. No surprise there, I guess, because the music choices on the show are stellar.
So you’re probably wondering how someone ends up becoming a music supervisor? I was too. So I asked her.
Patsavas: I’m from Chicago, and I started out booking clubs in Champaign during college. I eventually moved out here and got a job working for Roger Corman. [Editorial note: some of this is paraphrased due to the lack of a telephone recorder – Ed.]
GLONO: It’s obvious that music plays a huge part on the show.
Patsavas: Definitely. Music is a character on the show.
GLONO: How’d that come about?
Patsavas: Josh Schwartz is totally into indie music. And from the very beginning, there was always a big focus on the music, and on indie rock in particular.
GLONO: Have you ever had any pressure from FOX to put certain songs in episodes that maybe they own or whatever?
Patsavas: None whatsoever. There’s really been no pressure at all.
GLONO: Anyone ever offer you money to get a song on the show?
Patsavas: No, never.
Patsavas: No, they never have. Really.
GLONO: How do bands get their songs on the show?
Patsavas: We get sent around 400 to 500 cds a week.
GLONO: What are the last cds that you actually went out and bought and paid for?
Patsavas: Let me think. I just bought the Dears. Oh, and Death Cab. They’re going to be on camera in an upcoming episode…
GLONO: At the Peach Pit?
Patsavas: The Bait Shop. But I realized I didn’t have all their cds, so I went out and picked up the rest of their releases.
GLONO: Any other exciting music coming up in future episodes?
Patsavas: We’re going to have Bloc Party. And Spoon! We’re going to have the new Spoon.
GLONO: That’s cool. I just heard a thing about how “WKRP in Cincinnati” will probably never come out on DVD because they don’t have the rights to use the music anymore. That’s not going to happen to “The O.C,” is it?
Patsavas: Ha ha. No, they clear for all TV and video. The industry changed a lot with DVDs.
GLONO: Back to the OC Mixes. How come there’s only, like, 12 songs on them? There’s obviously plenty of room for more?
Patsavas: I honestly have no idea. But Warner Brothers Records has been very good to us. Sorry I don’t really know about that, but I can talk all day long about how great the new Aqueduct album is.
GLONO: What’s the deal with that Boys II Men song in that one episode? That was hilarious. And awesome.
Patsavas: That was all Josh. That’s him being inspired, and writing to the scene.
GLONO: Ha. But it really is amazing how much good music you fit into the show. Ever have any licensing problems with a song you really wanted to use?
Patsavas: That’s actually one of the things I’m proudest of: bands who never license for TV who we’ve got. Like Bright Eyes, Beck, the Beastie Boys…
GLONO: I think you expose a lot of great music to a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise hear it. You’re not going to hear it on the radio or on MTV.
Patsavas: I hope we’re playing that role. The whole team is extraordinarily involved in the music.
GLONO: I’m surprised how well music fits the scene. Although I’m not sure if I believe that Caleb would be playing Kings of Convenience at his cocktail party…
Patsavas: He might! But really, we choose the songs that fit the emotion of the scene.
GLONO: Oh yeah, I know. Hey, one final question.
Patsavas: Uh oh.
GLONO: Any chance you can kill off Marissa?
Patsavas: I love Marissa.
GLONO: She’s got to die.
Patsavas: No way, I love Marissa. I do.
So there you have it. The person with the best job in the world. After the interview I discovered that she also supervises the music for “Carnivale” on HBO. I love that old-time crazy shit. What a wild record party you could have at her house! Mixing it up between Death Cab and Cab Calloway. Fade from Sufjan Stevens to the Carter Family.
Yes, people change—but not on a dime. Over the past couple of weeks I was afraid the writers of the O.C. had lost their balls and caved in to the clichés of TV drama. I mean, we had the White Devil finding his inner Ward Cleaver after a heart attack and vowing to adopt his heretofore illegitimate daughter Lindsey; then we had Super Husband Sandy Cohen getting his groove on with a dime store Patty Hearst, this from the man who got all Barry White in front of all of Newport at the Bait Shop on his anniversary; the eternally love-sick Seth Cohen accepting the loss of his one true love to his comic book buddy; and of course the once Ham Fisted Chino now all bookish and sissied up and…well, that hasn’t changed.
As Travis Bickel said in Taxi Driver, “One day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets.” Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but the rain was falling in Newport and it did wash away a lot of the bullshit that’s built up over the last few episodes. It also made for a particularly fruity bit of flirtation between Cohen and Chino as neither wanted to trek the 12 feet through the rain to each other. They do what any good, rich, southern Californian teen with girl problems does: they phoned it in.
Yes, Cohen decides it is now or never. He needs to profess his undying love for Summer before she cavorts off to Italy with the shamefully nice Zach for “canolis and canoodling,” not to mention the nappy dugout. “What took so long!?!” you might ask yourself, but Cohen (and Sandy’s) inability to confront and verbalize their feelings is at the heart of the tension that’s built these past few weeks. It is their fatal character flaw. But like in so many classic dramas, who saves a fatally flawed hero? A divine heroine.
Newport’s own Bait Shop is the only rock club in America owned and operated by a legally emancipated, bisexual 18-year old. Built out of the old engine room set from “SeaQuest DSV” – Girders! Rungs! Catwalks! Steam! – and featuring a full bar that nevertheless only serves carbonated water and juice, the Bait Shop brings live music to the shores of the Pacific every night of the week. From national acts to local fathers who forgot their wives’ anniversaries, there’s always something happening at Orange County’s coolest club. The Bait Shop – It’s off the Hook!
As a weekend straw poll indicated, most viewers see Seth and Zach’s comic book project as the potentially gangbusters plot development the last few “OC”‘s have been missing. Like Chrismukkah or the comic book club itself, drawing his own book gives Seth something to be excited about on a grand level. It’s pleasantly geeky, but because he’s the artist it’s also cool. And it helps that he spent the entire summer filling a sketchbook with idealized Summer super heroines, the kind of activity that makes TV women swoon instead of filling out restraining orders. (Keep this fantasy/reality distinction in mind the next time you consider standing outside your dream woman’s apartment in an ill-fitting trench coat, holding aloft a crappy boom box from Venture and blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.) My poll of “OC” observers saw the comic book plotline as a promising way to repurpose the Seth character while creating opportunities for both conflict and resolution between himself, Zach, and Summer. Granted, of course, that Cohen allows her final boob approval.
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.
People let me tell you about him he’s so much fun, whether we’re talking man to man or whether we’re talking son to son – yes, it’s Sandy Cohen, the “OC”‘s anchor and alrightnik, and an empathetic superhero to attractive blonde girls burdened by back stories bought wholesale from Big Lots. Seriously, was Alex’s absentee dad and rough upbringing really a revelation? That was like finding out about Dalton’s philosophy degree from NYU (“pain don’t hurt”), or that bipolar crime lord Mel Profitt was making the beast with two backs with his very own sister – in other words, not surprising. Still, it was a great concept tweak to have Sandy confront Alex about the corrupting of Seth Ezekiel, only to ask for her advice and then her help in setting him straight. Yes, it’s Sandy Cohen – a guaranteed first ballot inductee to the TV Dad Hall of Fame. Take that, Conrad Bain!
You knew Marissa would be booking passage back to Drunkskankistan the second she and her lawn guy boy toy caught Jimmy Cooper giving Julie a thorough oral exam. Yes, in what might have been this season’s most cohesive “OC”, Jimmy Cooper announced his departure, the Fawn climbed back inside the bottle (Julie, with an awkward eye at DJ: “Let me guess, Tequila” – snap!), Seth and Chino switched identities, the Firecracker made out with her “nephew” while lunching with her “sister”, and Summer dressed up like Hand Sown Home Grown-era Linda Ronstadt. Awkward walk-ins, angry walk-offs, shocking confrontations, and puke on Modest Mouse’s merch table – it could have been a storyline on “The Valley”.
Lindsay Wheeler – Still settling into Newport’s realization of a brain growing in Chino, Ryan is partnered with the bookish transfer for his AP lab. She’s feisty, having taken an earlier coffee spillage incident with Atwood in stride. But from the moment she arrives it’s clear how much she’s hiding. Her feelings for shag-carpet-haircut’d Chino, yes. But also her hotness, which in a classic bait and switch has been hilariously hidden behind straight hair and tortoise shell eyeglasses. That she and Ryan would do more than lab experiments was unquestioned from the beginning; that the mousy hair and glasses would be replaced by an Herbal Essences transformation wasn’t, either. There are a lot of great things about Lindsay the Lovely Firecracker’s arrival, not the least of which is the reveal of her being Kirsten Cohen’s half-sister (!; more on that later). Best? That she isn’t an unsure, coquettish gamine that relies on scared eyes and implied actions to say what she means. (Aside to executive director Josh Schwartz: Marissa + a blow ‘n’ Darvocet cocktail death will end our collective pain.)
Alex, the Beguiling Tough Girl – Reacting to Summer’s (goddamn right) re-dumping of his bitch ass, Seth starts emitting a holographic Woody Allen changeling, who follows him everywhere a la Al from “Quantum Leap”. Okay, not really. But it seems like it, as Cohen the Younger reverts manically to hand-wringing and self-flagellation in his attempt – or, er, not attempt, because you know, he doesn’t want her back – to get Summer back. Eh, I mean be friends with him. Wait, does being friends with the cutest brunette in Newport mean seeing her naked again (cue the Super Furry Animals)? It doesn’t’? DAMN! In any event, Seth’s idiotic friends with benefits politicking is transparent to both Sum-Sum and ol’ towheaded Zach, who still seems like he’s channeling the character of that guy who plays Superman on “Smallville”. But Cohen’s bumbling DOES lead him to the Bait Shop (Seth: “Newport’s CBGB…”), where he encounters Alex. Channeling Gina Gershon and obscuring her good looks behind a shoulder chip larger than a Macy’s parade float, shape of the Peach Pit After Dark. (Aside #2 to Schwartz: Natch on naming the Bait Shop owner Nat.) Alex establishes herself well in her initial scenes, despite the TV hair stylist’s version of a “rock girl” haircut. And her mentioning of her apartment in Newport’s “numbered streets” was a nice real-life allusion. That she and Seth would hook up was a given, but that it took an awkward and hilarious “group hang” set piece during a promotional spot by the Walkmen was genius. The set piece, I mean, not the Walkmen.
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.