Orange crush, anyone? TV fans smitten with the stars of Fox's newest teen soap sensation, The O.C., called the cover of our issue about the 25 Breakout Stars of 2003 a California dream (#741, Dec. 12). ''The O.C. is by far the best show of the season. The sharp dialogue and looping plot themes are two of the reasons it caught my eye,'' explains Marra Gutierrez of Beaverton, Ore. ''But mainly, all four characters are gorgeous, and their on-screen sex appeal is undeniable. Thank you, EW.'' Less appreciative responses came in from Idol worshippers who were surprised to see a certain redhead missing from the list. ''How could you not include Clay Aiken?'' asks Dianne Brasuell from Marietta, Ga. ''Here is a guy who went from average Joe to sexy double-platinum recording star in less than a year. He has millions of fans and a bright future in the music industry. Clay is the definition of a breakout star!'' We agree. And that's why he climbed to No. 2 on our Entertainers of the Year list!
A Clean Breakout
Thank God my mailbox is right outside my front door, so I could fall right back inside my house, catch my breath, and drool over the cast of my new favorite TV show, The O.C.! If only I could've been the photographer's assistant that day! Kudos, EW, you did it again! MIKE KUEPER firstname.lastname@example.org Indianapolis
The O.C. is not just for teens! I am a fortysomething adult who has watched the show every week and am impressed with the character development of the adults in it as well. To focus only on the young people is to miss what rounds out The O.C. Each show has a story line that is fresh and provocative and deals with contemporary issues -- truly the best show on TV this season. SUE MAZZONE email@example.com Albuquerque
Thanks for acknowledging The O.C.'s success and the appeal of cute but dorky Adam Brody, who plays Seth Cohen. For some of us, nerdy boys are even sexier than bad boys! CORTNEY DUEWEKE DelSol80@aol.com Clinton Township, Mich.
Seeing the beautiful cast of The O.C. on the cover put a smile on my face. The only fault was the absence of Samaire Armstrong! I can't even pronounce her name, but she is by far my favorite character!! MEGAN HURTAIN firstname.lastname@example.org Brooklyn
How sad that Ken Tucker has fallen for the notion that The Reagans is unfair because Ronald Reagan ''cannot defend himself'' (''Playing Politics,'' News & Notes). What about critical examination of other historical figures? Also off-limits? Or does this new sensitivity apply only to American Presidents? If so, I shall look forward to EW's condemnation of the next JFK biopic, which will likely bring unwarranted pain to his family and friends, but will nevertheless be shown on network TV. JIM MORAVA email@example.com Littleton, Colo.
I am perplexed by your B grade for the crapfest known as The Simple Life (Television). I was duped into believing this ''reality'' show might be different. Rich girls in skimpy clothing out of their element? It can't miss. But it turned out to be one group mocking another for the enjoyment of a dumbed-down American public. And Fox reaps the benefits from a nation that loves to laugh at the hillbillies and ogle the babes. When you give passing grades to sludge like The Simple Life, it provides networks with the ammunition to produce more shows at a cheaper rate than one quality show. JIM TAYLOR firstname.lastname@example.org Wyandotte, Mich.