Fox was typically overzealous in its promotion of the “OC”‘s second season. Besides running two nearly identical, hour-long promotional cockteases (singular revelation: The Cohen pool is fake) and shelling MLB postseason play with breathless spots about the upcoming premiere, game four of the ALCS saw Summer spelling Bill Mueller at the hot corner. The frenzied buzz puts pressure on the show to deliver consistently on quality during its sophomore outing. But its return is still welcome, because the “Baywatch Nights” plot rehashes on “North Shore” weren’t exactly anchoring the network’s dramatic output. The “OC”‘s move to an earlier time slot suggests a courting of the youth vote. And this season’s addition of a Peach Pit-style hangout (sort of predicted here) should unleash a hilariously blatant torrent of Franz Ferdanistic and Killersian guest shots. But since that’s the way it’s gonna be, I hope Le Tigre’s Universal contract stipulates a makeout session between Kathleen Hannah and Julie Cooper Nichol.
Update: If you’re looking for the Season 3 Finale (2006), you can find it here: The Final OC Finale (Finally). If you’re looking for the Season 2 Finale (2005), you can find it here: The OC Finale: Human Chinome Project.
It was Cinco de Mayo, clear and pleasant. All day, inboxes had crackled with speculation, and shout-outs to fave characters. “I hope Oliver comes back!” one pal wrote. “Are we supposed to believe Chino is the father of that baby?” another had demanded to know. Now, a warm evening in the neighborhood found families walking dogs and babies. The college girls were jogging in just their shorts and sports bras. And goatee’d ad reps chatted languidly on porches, discussing the ethical mettle of Sandy Cohen over Sierra Nevadas and cheese. The windows were open at my house, and the ambient drone of a neighbor’s lawn mower shared an aural channel with Seacrest’s sculpted yap. It was difficult to tell if he was speaking English – the vowels seemed right, but the noise was a just a jumble of platitudes and clackering whitestrip teeth. His herd of contestants smiled into the lights of the firing squad as the Black & Decker buzzed in my neighbor’s front yard. “Idol” was ending, and as the faint smell of fertilizer wafted through my window, I realized summer was just beginning. Somewhere, GI Jacque saluted.
“Penthouse suite? My girlfriends and I have always wanted to…”
In a recent straw poll, a majority of men agreed: besides Anse Lazio beach and philly cheese steak pizza from Domino’s, there’s little in this world more beautiful than the above phrase. Seth was the star of last night’s “OC,” since he heard that statement, in “the Vegas,” while staying at the top of the Hard Rock. If that’s my life, I’m ordering in some Domino’s and hanging my hat. But in the usual “OC” fashion, it turned out to be bullshit. The friendly local lovely was actually a lady of questionable virtue, mistaking Seth and Ryan for Texas hold ’em high rollers, and the entire bit turned into A Lesson Learned when her greasy daddy showed up. Does Wayne Brady need to choke a bitch? But Summer showed up in the Vegas too, helping to assuage the situation. She also quickly made up with Seth, evidently quite happy to choose the Hebrew Homeboy over the objections of her father. It’s weird that Summer’s dad was such a maniac about Cohen. I mean, he supported Alex’s dreams of being a ballerina all those years ago in the steel mill. Whatever – Seth was also the man at the onset of last night’s show, since he got the final word when confronting Summer about her silent treatment. And just like booking the penthouse at the Hard Rock, that almost NEVER happens in real life.
Derek Phillips fills in for Johnny Loftus who is busy hanging with Sebadoh in Detroit and forgot to set his VCR, so unfortunately he couldn’t stay up all night watching it and writing his weekly wrap-up. Let’s chip in and buy the dude a TiVo.
Two-timing, three-timing, tortured looks, and Machiavellian scheming are the talking points of any soap opera. “The OC” acknowledges this – its broad story arcs have nothing on the teen-eat-teen world and war paint of “The Tribe.” However, since its inception, “The OC” has dutifully defined and deepened its characters with a clever combination of understated grace, real world cynicism, and pop culture relevancy. Throwaway moments – eating bagels around the kitchen island, listening to Journey while driving – become opportunities to subtly develop backstories and motivations, often with a wry, knowing humor that’s largely absent from TV land. “Tonight! Richard Moll guest stars on a very special episode of ‘Overweight, Insensitive Guy Is Harangued by Hot, Exasperated Wife’!”
March 31, 2004
Besides its often hilarious pacing issues – Newport gets more done in the ten minutes before school than you do all day – “The OC” has been dominated by sudden or awkward Walk-Ins. This is when the one character who must never discover the indiscretions/secrets of another just happens to bring over Chinese food at exactly the wrong moment, letting herself in the front door. But last night’s “OC” flipped that MO with a series of satisfying Walk-Aways. You know the Walk-Away. That’s when, instead of dealing with a bombshell revelation rationally and directly, a character becomes steely-eyed – “You’re dead to me!” – turns on her heel, and stalks for the door. All of a sudden, chains of melodramatic pacing bind the confessing character. “______, wait!” he squeaks, but his mouth is soon clapped shut by an iron plate labeled “next week”, or, in the case of Fox, “two weeks,” “a month,” or whenever “American Idol” finally, mercifully ends.
Escape once again from actionable intelligence, pointing fingers, and political stammering with another installment of Glorious Noise’s “OC” post-game. The clunkiest melodrama is magically transformed into compelling television – it’s the world’s best fantasy league.
Whether by Tivo™ or wily marketing, Fox has figured out a way to wean us off weekly episodic television. Various hopefuls from the latest “American Idol” were chosen, dropped, and resurrected in a vicious cycle of bait and switch reality programming between the time Chino sacked Eddie with a patented double-leg takedown and last night, when the “OC” finally returned to the airwaves. Finally not because my scalp’s been sweating underneath this Adam Brody Novelty Wig for nearly a month, but because a TV show in good standing should not be dangled like limp linguini over a network scheduling grid. Still, Fox is to be applauded for cleverly getting us to accept such a tactic. I can’t even remember why Jack Bauer was in Mexico, let alone what Kim thinks of Chase’s babydaddy status, or which swarthy European of indiscriminant accent is now in control of The Virus. But that doesn’t mean I’m not waking up at night to check in on Fox‘s “24” Final Nine Episodes countdown ticker. Damn you network executives! You’ve got me all bugaboo!
Fantasy worlds have really been quite popular lately. It makes sense – the next few months will be nightmarish no matter what you think about anything, so why not live like the dungeon masters? You’d darn your frayed tunic, and inexplicably start attaching “Mr.” to your friends’ first names. If however you’re like me, and an elitist streak makes you at the very best lawful evil, then you’ll never make it in the land of magic missles and dexterity. You might instead take as your fantasy refuge the gleaming Cali artifice that is the TV Orange County, Newport, “The OC.” Now is the time, cynical Race of Man! To help with your quest, Glorious Noise will provide a running interpretation of events in “The OC.” It won’t be an episode summary; it won’t be objective. It probably won’t even be politically correct, to use a phrase from a different fantasmical era. But it will revel weekly in the frivolous escapism of a TV show about cool teenagers and boobs, and the conflicted, sarcastic parents who love them. The teenagers, that is. So dive in to this well-bred fantasy, because it’s better than that escape hatch to Bangkok idea you’ve been planning for November. One night in Newport will make a hard man humble.
There was a point, probably around 1996, when “Party of Five” and “Melrose Place” were the glimmer twins of prime time twentysomething trash TV. From dorm rooms to boardrooms and all the bedrooms in between, 18 to 35 year olds were yattering and worrying in equal amounts about the murky familial sweetness of the former and the sleazy chum of the brazen, backstabbing latter. Of course “Beverly Hills 90210” was still doddering along with veteran tenacity. But perhaps because we’d largely grown up with its cast, “Beverly Hills” seemed like a weird plastic Coppertone spin on our own lives, amp’d with bling, boob jobs, and Dylan McKay. There was escapism there, but it wasn’t satisfying like the protein shake of heartwarming melodrama and shit eating base desire that “Party” and “Melrose” proffered. Culture has accelerated in the time and seasons since, and everyone has less patience. The boardroom corporate fat cats won’t wait for their dorm room target audience to glom on to a show, and the scant few promising offerings (“Freaks and Geeks”; “Undeclared”) are canned in favor of low concept, high yield reality programming. Some of these have their charms. But with all this 21st century television hateration and holleration, what we really need is some melodrama in our lives. And to that end, Fox has done it again. Welcome to “The OC,” bitches.