TV Article

California Dreaming

Is ''The O.C.'' the new ''90210''? With fewer life lessons (and shorter sideburns), Fox takes aim at depicting modern teen life

The O.C. | HOT IN HERRE ''The O.C.'' gets spicy without moralizing
HOT IN HERRE ''The O.C.'' gets spicy without moralizing

Move ''Beverly Hills, 90210'' 50 miles south and what do you get? The Fox network is hoping the answer is ''The O.C.,'' its glitzy new drama that chronicles the lives of a group of frisky, photogenic teens and their well-preserved parents (debuting Aug. 5, 9 p.m.).

Like ''90210,'' the Newport Beach-set ''O.C.'' (local slang for Orange County) shows its privileged -- and sometimes raunchy -- world through the eyes of a teen outsider. Newcomer Benjamin McKenzie, a hunky Russell Crowe look-alike, plays Ryan, a car thief who comes to live in the O.C. after his generous-to-a-fault public defender (Peter Gallagher) takes him home. (No, Ryan doesn't have Luke Perry's, er, Dylan's lengthy sideburns.)

Ryan soon befriends Seth (Adam Brody), the son of Gallagher's public defender and a wiseass social outcast. ''It's like a buddy show,'' says Brody, who's best known as Lane's boyfriend on ''Gilmore Girls.'' Adds 26-year-old ''O.C.'' creator Josh Schwartz: ''The idea of two outsiders who are brought together is interesting to me. You don't normally get to see stories of friendships -- it's always two guys fighting over the same girl.''

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