''The O.C.'': Deadly party games
Whew! Tonight's episode was pretty steamy, but that could just be the ecstasy talking. While Julie got hammered and swayed to Poison in a dark, dirty bar, the Cooper-Nichol stucco nightmare turned into The O.C.'s own Delta House, complete with the series' trademark pandering-to-the-audience close-ups of bumping and grinding. Steamy. Told ya.
It seems almost everyone's crushin' on someone new. Trey clearly likes Marissa, who showed her dirty-hippie side by giving him a lava lamp. Zach and Seth like Reed, the androgynously named vice president of development at a graphic-novel publishing company, who showed her totally lame side by showing up at a high school party. Julie likes Lance, even though he showed all of her sides to a rapt audience of Newport elite. And much to Kirsten's dismay, Carter likes Sandy's surf buddy Erin, who showed, um, her bikini.
As usual, not much happened during the first half hour. There's a big surfing theme, what with Sandy's surfboard coffee table and Ryan's inexplicable surf sticker in his locker. It was kind of funny, because they had to put something in his locker and he really doesn't have any hobbies, interests, or skills of any kind beyond that advanced physics class we had to witness about 70 times. I guess a surfing sticker beat out the ''F = M x A'' cheat sheet (sorry, that's as advanced as I get) and the ''Greetings from Chino!'' postcard. Good thing. Also, Sandy and Carter were shown after they had surfed, and I for one was extremely disappointed that we didn't get to see Peter Gallagher hanging ten. I mean, come on. Let's make that happen at some point. It's such a tease.
Other than that, both Atwood brothers offered Marissa some water (which she turned down too caloric) and basically moped around acting sullen. It runs in the family. Zach and Seth met Reed, and my heart sank a little because just last fall Reed was the English teacher on ABC's doomed series Life As We Know It, which, ironically, ran during the same time slot as The O.C. I'm pretty sure I was the only one who loved that show. Also ironically, her character slept with a high school student, so I'm guessing that Josh Schwartz masterminded the whole thing and the canceled series was just a pawn in his cutesy, foreshadowy, self-referential pop-culture empire. I mean, maybe. Zach and Seth can't believe they've found a female who likes comic books. Hi, Seth? I found one, too. Her name's Anna, and you two used to date. Grrrrr.
Julie Cooper had her Best Supporting Actress Emmy clip tonight. Not really, but it's too bad there's no category for Best Character Ever, because she'd have that one locked up. Her whole near-killing scene was all very Dynasty, with the overacted gun handling and drama-queen speech. (The '80s association was reinforced by the outfits she wore in the bar and, obviously, in The Porn Identity.) After not too much buildup, Julie pulled the trigger on Lance. Oops, no bullet. I have to hand it to Julie: Her ''I wanted you to feel like your life was being taken away'' line was hilarious and a great save. But I'm guessing she definitely thought that thing was loaded. She's nuts. And does she really think Marissa doesn't know about the porno? I know the kiddies were all otherwise engaged the night of the big reveal, but I'd assume gossip would travel relatively fast to the Harbor School's illustrious social chair.
Marissa is so illustrious, in fact, that everyone and his brother (get it? get it?) wants to come to her Animal House for a high school rager. Aww, remember those? Threesomes in your bed, skanked-out honeys floating unconsciously in your massive pool? Yeah, me neither. Happy birthday, Trey! Cue the white-bread trash extras for some good times and great drugs, courtesy of the birthday boy. Trey, we want to like you sooo much, but you keep starting fights, liking Marissa, helping homeless guys in dark alleys (yeah, right), and offering ecstasy to girls you just had sex with. Most of these actions are simply unnecessary! The Bad Trey/Good Trey turnarounds are getting a little annoying. Even so, I'd like to see him stick around, if only to grace us with a few more deep character-developing lines like ''Nice tat.'' Ha. That girl was all, ''Wow, thanks! You had me at [punch, punch, whack]. Nice mullet, you bad, bad prison boy. Let's go do it on top of a Care Bear.''
That poor purple bear whose name, appropriately, is Share Bear shared its bed space with a generous smattering of the in-crowd. The threesome in the bed was kind of clichéd the real shocker came when Ryan and Marissa immediately flopped onto the same bed after kicking them out. Where are Summer and her trademark ''ew'' when you need them? Anyway, the Chino Kid [Correction: This should read ''Kid Chino.'' Thanks, La!] and Cosmo Girl had yet another ''so close!'' moment tonight, as their painfully slow lean-in was rudely interrupted by that pesky tattoo chick, who didn't get the intra-party memo that you're supposed to OD after the main characters suck face. Duh.
I personally think the second near kiss in a row suggests that fate might not be on Ryan and Marissa's side this year. I know, I know, you all want them to get back together, but consider what Ryan said to Seth: ''People who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. I've learned.'' It didn't seem like that lesson had really sunk in tonight concerning his relationship with Marissa, but give it time. He's an AP student, remember? And think about how much more high drama could come out of a Trey-Marissa hookup. Atwood is the new Atwood. It's just a theory. . . .
What do you think? Did Julie know the gun wasn't loaded? What kind of publishing vice president gets drunk with high schoolers? And will the teen queen choose Badwood or Goodwood next week?