TV Article

Good-bye, 'O.C.'

As Fox's teen soap ends, a devoted fan remembers the little things she'll miss the most

NEWPORT LIVING Order takeout and try to focus as hard as the Cohen men on tonight's series finale
NEWPORT LIVING Order takeout and try to focus as hard as the Cohen men on tonight's series finale

''The O.C.'': The little things I'll miss

I'm sitting here at work, chomping on Seth Cohen's favorite takeout and mine (shrimp pad thai) and listening to ''Hallelujah'' and ''Hide and Seek'' on a repeating loop, just to set the mood. The season 1 DVDs are sitting to the right of my mouse, so that every time I reach over to use it, I can see Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) on the back of the case. He's seated, hunched forward, with clasped hands and the absolute saddest Ryan Eyes in the entire worldwide database of Ryan Eyes. Why? he pleads. I don't know, Ryan, I laser-beam back to him. I miss you in that hoodie.

But you know what? I'm not devastated. The O.C. was what it was, when it was — and that's enough. It wasn't perfect, but so often, particularly with anything that involved throwaway banter, the Cohen family dynamic, or shotguns, it came close. I'm so sick of reading articles about its cancellation that want to know ''What went wrong?'' and make cute bulleted lists of every misguided plot direction or casting choice. Really? Who cares? The show ends tonight; I don't care what or who's to blame. All I ever wanted to do was enjoy it.

So if you're like me, you're being a happy wallower right now, remembering the highs and lows of your personal O.C. journey. Like that time Marissa (Mischa Barton) wore a sweatshirt. That was huge for me. Or when ''The Return of the Nana'' episode was thwarted by some stupid President Bush news conference-y thing. (Ew!) Or when I realized Marissa's brief lesbian flame Alex (Olivia Wilde) was the spitting image of a My Little Pony. Hallelujah, indeed.

In that spirit — and because you can read about the top five kisses or brawls elsewhere — I'm going to list some of the subtleties of the show that amused me the most. Go ahead and add to the list by posting your own below.

10 Little Things I'll Miss About The O.C.

Singing the theme song. Whenever two or more people are in the room, you must belt out the final ''Californ-yaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.'' And if you have better-trained lungs than your friends, and they happen to take breaths during the long note, and you're still sitting there screaming "AAAAAH!'' by yourself? Well, that's just too bad.

Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke). Everything she's ever said, in the exact way she's said it. Okay, this is so not a ''little thing.'' But over the years, I've become unnaturally obsessed with Julie's character. Like, I'm in love with her. But I'd never want to meet her. I just want her to continue to exist on my screen. Spin-off?!

How effortless school is. Harbor High was basically a glorified coffee shop, and I loved it for that. Like I need a rehash of how much homework sucks. Summer's (actually, Taylor's) mermaid poem was probably the most challenging assignment the gang ever got, and the most academic-sounding line in the series may have been when Ryan told Sandy (Peter Gallagher) and Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) he had to do a report on ''the history of agriculture in 20th-century California,'' and that was a lie. Not to mention, by the end of The O.C.: The College Semester, no one except Kaitlin was even enrolled in school. I just love the blatant disregard.

The super stylings of Marissa. I'll say it. I absolutely love staring at Mischa Barton wearing clothes. It's most fun when I'm in my jammies, looking as disgusting as possible so as to go for the ''antithesis'' thing. I used to rewind the scenes she was in, just to check out how well (or not — remember all those fashion hats?) she pulled everything off, like hell YEAH I'm gonna wear this enormous Chanel necklace at my new trashy public school! (I apparently get this bordering-on-creepy trait from my mom, who calls me every time she passes a Bebe store: ''Hey, bunny, just wanted to tell you there are new Mischa pics up in the store! I went in and walked up to all of them, even though I don't like all those outfits in there. Very skanky!'')

All that self-deprecation. There was usually at least one zinger per episode, and if you caught it, you knew you were a true fan. And I loved that there were some lines specifically for the fans. One of my faves was from Summer (Rachel Bilson), about the Bait Shop: ''The tickets are always plentiful and the bands never too loud to talk over.'' Ha! We certainly noticed as well!

Pointless parties designed to round everyone up. The launch of Newport Living? NewMatch? Taylor's birthday? Throw a gala! No, don't worry — the Cohens would totally love to host it. Bring friends and, if you've got one, a stripper, so that Julie and Hailey can end up wrestling each other into the infinity pool.

Major props. Sandy's beloved bagel slicer is my favorite prop ever (I'm trying to mention it at least 10 times this season, so someone from the show will send it to me), and I love that ''Bistro'' sign in the kitchen, which rarely is the site of any actual cooking. Remember Kiki's bottles of ''Pure'' vodka? Also: Sandy's surfboard (we never got to see him use it; I smell a spin-off called Sandy Beach), Marissa's lifeguard shack, Ryan's wristband, the Mermaid Inn...

They're such kids at heart. ...Captain Oats, Princess Sparkle, and Marissa's Share Bear. It could be that the characters just whine a lot, but this show has a childlike quality I could just lick straight off a plate. Constant 1980s pop culture references also help.

The emergence of Ryan. I wrote about this two weeks ago, but I am loving how Ryan has really come into his own (rippling muscles) this season. He is peaking, I tell you! Just in time for the ax. Sniff.

Music montages. Again, not a ''little thing,'' because music on The O.C. is all some people ever hear about. The show often gets a pass on how cheesy music montages can be, just because it picks way better tunes. You hear a song on this show and you download it — it's really that simple. In fact, it won't even matter if I like the actual tune on tonight's finale. All I'll remember, as I listen to it 200 times in a row on my iPod, is that it was the last song on The O.C.

I love you, O.C.

Don't you dare say ''Thank you.''

Originally posted Feb 21, 2007
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