The OC: It’s Hip to be Square

There's so much news!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!

That corruption of Seth stemmed from his having stayed over at Alex’s to “prep the oven”. Summer noticed his walk of shame rumple at school the next day, realized Seth was putting in work before she and huge-headed Zach, and promptly freaked out. But finding a seat at the horizontal cocktail lounge isn’t her only problem. Evidently Zach’s mom, dad, and sister are blue state intellectuals of the highest order, building houses with Jimmy Carter and preferring the plight of Kashmir to the plush of cashmere. Summer, of course, likes the latter a little bit more. But it only took one awkward lunch with the mom and self-satisfied trust fund hippie sister for our girl to start obsessing over Kofi Annan and Kuala Lumpur. As she says to a bemused Marissa, “There’s so much news!” I’m not sure about this plot line – it’s too simple to make Summer the empty-skulled rich girl, especially since she’s proven time and again that she’s smarter than you might think (last season classic: “I’m gonna out-Jew YOU.”). Plus, the news fixation is very last-season-of-“Seinfeld”, when the characters’ quirks were exploded into caricature. The Summer-Zach relationship has potential, but right now it’s running on the fumes of her last season character. Quick, give these two something to do besides argue about Seth or have hokey “I love you just the way you are” speeches. With dialogue like that, Summer’ll end up wearing a leg brace with a cast over it and falling in love with Michael Ontkean.

There’s no doubt about Sandy’s great dad status, but he still forgot about his twentieth wedding anniversary. He wants to get away with Kirsten for the weekend, but damn it if Seth’s not suddenly a ladykiller looking to be labeled as a freak and get loose on the streets of the city, only to get caught climbing out a window by Sandy. Not to mention Chino, who’s in the pool house making out with Lindsay to Journey’s “Open Arms”, cueing the inevitable awkward walk-in by his would-be mother and her half-sister. Wayward sons growing up too fast, adopted corner-brooders canoodling with unknown siblings, and an anniversary gaffe that has his wife grumbling in anger – somebody get Alan Thicke on the horn, ’cause this TV dad needs some advice!

At this point in the episode, if Alf, Martin Lawrence and a precocious redheaded boy had appeared in the Cohen foyer with a tie-up solution (“let’s have a car wash!”, or “the baby cougar was in the terrarium the entire time!”) and a very special lesson (Dudley’s dad: “You got it?” Dudley: “Yeah”. Dudley’s dad: “Good. Because if you don’t got it, you’re gonna get it, got it?”), the “OC” would be treading dangerously into “What’s Happening Now?” territory. But “hey hey hey!”, as usual, the show figured out a way to be melodramatic, cheesily predictable, and totally fucking awesome all at once.

In a move applauded at the TV dad retirement home, Sandy figures out the perfect way to make up with Kirsten, keep an eye on Seth and Ryan, engulf Alex in the Cohen family’s ever-increasing warm fuzzy aura, officially recognize Chino’s romance with the Firecracker, get Skippy a date, tune Uncle Jesse’s guitar, pimp out the den as a bitchin’ bachelor pad, and issue the first two seasons of “The Equalizer” on DVD – he sings. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Sandy Cohen & the News. Backed by a jumble of guys who missed a few lessons at Pretend You’re Playing an Instrument acting school, Sandy rolls into a Billy Very & the Beaters-ish blue-eyed soul number that gets the principal cast members to link arms and sway in one of the goofiest moments on the “OC” yet. The show really should have ended with Sandy telling a joke from the stage and the cast caught in freeze frame laughter. Maybe next week, when Stephen J. Cannell guest stars as Zach’s dad.


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

15 thoughts on “The OC: It’s Hip to be Square”

  1. But “hey hey hey!”, as usual, the show figured out a way to be melodramatic, cheesily predictable, and totally fucking awesome all at once.

    Exactly. EXACTLY. That episode made me call my little sister (because my Token O.C. Friend canceled) and have a conversation that consisted of back and forth “omigod”s for the first three minutes. And you didn’t mention the fact that the first song that Sandy sang was sniff HIS AND KIRSTEN’S SONG!

    “Don’t Give Up On Me!” Solomon Burke! They totally played it when they were by the pool that one time in Season One! For real.

  2. I do in fact take offense to the remark that the “OC” is cheesily predictable. The last time I was so confused and surprised by an ending was in ’88 when Kevin Costner was in fact “YURI”. Thanks JLO

  3. With this third article on the OC, you’ve offically lost me a site visitor. I’m not sure how rock and roll changing my life turned into this. I’ll be getting part of my music writing fix somewhere else. Good luck and goodbye.

  4. I find it rather funny that some people are so offended by these articles and others get so angry when there aren’t any new ones. My stance…another superb job JTL. I missed about 3/4 of this episode and now I’m back up to speed. Damn those O.C. kids know how to cause a ruckus.

  5. Battlestar Gallactica does kick some ass. It will replace the North Shore in my TV rotation.

    Also that last scene with everybody swaying to the music was too stupid for words. I realize time has to be compressesd in soap operas, but that was not enuf time for everyone to get a party set up, much less to gel as a family.

  6. WTF with all the OC hateration?? I mean, as cool as Loftus’s Cliff Notes to teen melodrama have been (I actually do read them), I still haven’t been inspired to watch the show. But the fact that every other article is an OC update DOESN’T turn me off any less to GloNo. And neither should it turn off anyone else; the rock music quotient is still a big part of the site, and why pigeonhole a website into one tiny little box when it can be more things to more people?

    If posters Eric and Clodius are indeed serious about their departure from GloNo just because of the OC updates, good riddance. Maybe P-fork(ed) will welcome their snooty asses with open arms.

  7. I was extermely disappointed when Lindsey came sludging back like the useless bookworm she is…I was really looking forward to about 2 episodes without her…maybe she will go into a coma from nearly drowning Thursday *cross fingers*

  8. Did I miss the Alex/Marissa action that was hinted at in the Holiday previews? It’s been three weeks and I ain’t seen no Girl-Girl scenes!

  9. Did I miss the Alex/Marissa action that was hinted at in the Holiday previews? It’s been three weeks and I ain’t seen no Girl-Girl scenes!

  10. Rumorville has it that Robert B. Parker is acting as a silent writer for the “OC” this season, and Avery Brooks will be Lindsay’s new love interest. Robby Benson will make a comeback in his music career with a soulful edition to next season’s soundtrack.

    JTL is the truth

Leave a Reply