The OC: Nobody Puts Julie Cooper in a Corner

...her hotness hilariously hidden behind straight hair and tortoise shell eyeglasses...The procrastinating writer’s new character recap:

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 “OC” at mid-season:

When Glorious Noise last left the “OC”, Cal was in cuffs, Seth had been rightly re-dumped, Chino was better than before but still not talking enough, and Sandy was trying desperately to defend his hated father-in-law (he lost his job at the law firm to do it) AND keep his wife from the wit’s end skids. Sanford was also chasing Cal around town, trying to identify the Woman in the Nondescript Sedan who Handed the Package Surreptitiously to Cal. (Cue the stock long shots from an episode of “Hunter”.)

Since then Cal, in his infinitely Cal-lous White Devil wisdom, has installed Julie Cooper-Cohen as the company’s managing agent, causing Kirsten to blow her Corn Flakes all over the nearest bystander. Sandy’s eyebrows haven’t been able to contort fast enough, trying to comprehend how a real estate magnate with an entire city after him wouldn’t allow the help of his defense lawyer son. And whether because of the impending indictments or the general trophy malaise of their marriage, the White Devil hasn’t noticed Julie’s return to the arms of Sonny Crockett – I mean Jimmy Cooper, her estranged, boat-living husband. (Seriously, where’s Elvis the alligator? And while we’re on the subject of Jimmy Cooper, since when does a grudge-holdin’ town like Newport let a disgraced investment banker chaperone the SnO.C. dance?)

In related “Holy shit, really?!” news, Julie discovered Marissa getting some lunchtime trimming service of her own from D.J., the totally Basedow yard guy. It’s great that the Doe Eyed Fawn is choosing to blast the blue collar beefcake over, er, the blue collar beefcake, since it’s so much more fun watching the “OC”‘s two most wooden characters trying to sell a scene, instead of Chino caving and taking Marissa back.

(Aside to Schwartz #3:)

EXTERIOR: a winding road outside Newport proper, a beat-up lawn truck travels up the road. Inside the cab, D.J. and Marissa ride in silence to Caleb’s mansion. Suddenly Marissa, angry about D.J.’s tryst with her high school principal, grabs the wheel in a Darvocet fit of wronged rage. The truck shudders and veers as the two struggle, eventually skidding harmlessly into a rest area full of Moonies, who invite the star-crossed duo to join their impending trek to the hinterlands of the Gobi Desert…

Ryan hasn’t taken Marissa back; in fact, he’s been great about them trying to be friends. And as the “OC”‘ reaches mid-season, one of its best features is the re-establishment of the Seth/Ryan/Summer/and, yes, Marissa group, this time as frustrated exes/pals. This was most evident in the penultimate “Chrismukkah” episode, when the four pals got caught in the middle of a hundred plots exploding.

The “Chrismukkah” episode unfolded in classic Schwartz fashion. Acknowledging both the hit status of his show and last season’s mainstreaming of Chrismukkah as slang (witness this), the episode began with Seth launching a campaign to take his holiday to the streets. From hiring noted Seth favorite Death Cab for Cutie to sing the (Seth-penned) theme song, to getting notable local Newport Jews on board for the celebration, nothing was too difficult for this High School Hebrew Hammer to handle. Of course, more difficult was the kitchen scene that saw the White Devil confessing to his Lindsay-siring ways in front of not only his daughter Kirsten, but Sandy, Seth, Summer, the Doe Eyed Fawn, Chino, Lindsay the Lovely Firecracker (and budding love interest of Ryan), AND Lindsay’s mother herself, Renee Wheeler, who was about to spill the beans to Kirsten about she and the White Devil’s long-hidden tryst before Cal appeared to do it in his own incredibly dismissive, selfish way. (“Many years ago, I made an error in judgement…”). What kind of shit is that, Cal? Your mistress is standing before your daughter and lovechild, and all you can claim is an error in judgement?! The White Devil is the real bastard here.

In the aftermath of the kitchen scene, the characters scattered to pick the melodramatic shrapnel from their hides. Julie to Jimmy’s boat, Kirsten crying and screaming to her closet, and Ryan to Lindsay and Renee’s doorstep, where the Lovely Firecracker tells him to keep his psycho family away from her. Despite Seth’s big dreams, Chrismukkah seemingly lay broken and tattered like so many unused yarmuclaus tchotchkes, and not even a cameo appearance from Captain Oats could make the frowns disappear. That is until Summer gets a big idea. Turns out it wasn’t too late for a little holiday cheer after all, as the pals transform the Wheeler’s house into a wonderland of Christmas trees and menorah ice sculptures. It’s a Chrismukkah miracle! The Cohens are there to greet the flabbergasted Firecracker, and as she’s hugging her half-sister Kirsten, Lindsay gets off the best line of the show. “This is really weird.” But as Chino had so sagely pointed out earlier, the Cohen family’s great at accepting new members.

With Renee Wheeler agreeing to testify about the siphoned money Cal was bringing her, it looks like the White Devil Scandal plot line is just about played. Which means the “OC”‘s second half will have plenty of time to focus on the fun stuff, like Alex ditching Seth to get her lesbian on with the Doe Eyed Fawn, Kim Delaney showing up as an old flame of Sandy’s, and Julie and Jimmy still swabbing the decks of the love boat. The Bait Shop is sure to feature more promotional appearances, likely from Modest Mouse and probably – if the year-end buzz is worth anything – the Arcade Fire. Less pitching, more catching!


Photo courtesy of The OC Files. Be sure to catch up on all of the previous Glorious Noise OC coverage.

5 thoughts on “The OC: Nobody Puts Julie Cooper in a Corner”

  1. Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!!

    Love love loved it. And the Asides to Josh Schwartz? Hilarious! I spit my coffee out all over the monitor while reading the last one.

  2. “The Bait Shop is sure feature more promotional appearances[…] probably – if the year-end buzz is worth anything – the Arcade Fire.”

    Seriously? Seriously? Can someone confirm this, or was it just being snarky? Because…it’s like the best of both worlds. And actually I am only half-convinced of that even as I utter it.

  3. while i wholeheartedly agree that summer puts the ohmy in the o.c., i take issue with loftus rating lindsay ahead of marissa. i don’t think the latest half-cohen is even top five material, if you consider that kiki, julie, the admittedly weepy but pretty eldest cooper and the feisty new alex round out pulchritudinous pentagram.

    as for the arcade fire, don’t you think ‘ neighbourhood #1 (tunnels)’ would nicely accompany the pained look on seth’s face when he finds out his amour is getting all poolboy-like with marissa?

  4. My bizzoy JTL is on track. I would like to present the comparison of the O.C to Spenser For Hire (the most unappreciated drama of the 80’S)Cal and Hawk are clearly from the same school, while Alex and Spenser’s squeeze Susan are hauntingly possessive. The message is the same, and sadly the outcome must be as well. Name…Address… Run it!

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