When thinking of my favorite old TV shows, the first one that comes to mind is The OC. I remember watching the first episode in seventh grade, the very last episode in tears seeing Cohen & Summer get hitched and every episode in between. If you have not watched this show before, it is a MUST. Every episode is on Hulu, so use that account or get yourself a free trial.
The show has a simple premise. The show focuses on a wealthy family living in Newport Beach. The dad, Sandy “Eyebrows” Cohen, is a public defender and the mom, Kirsten “Not a Newpsy” Cohen, works for her father’s real estate company. They have one kid together, the best teenager character of modern television, Sethula Cohen. Sandy brings home his work, literally, one night with Ryan Atwood spending the night in the Cohen’s pool house. From there, you can already hear, “We’ve been on the run, drivin in the sun…”
Ryan obviously stays and becomes a member of Cohen clan; even making his way into the Chrismukkah photo. There’s the girl next door, Marissa Cooper and her best friend, Summer Roberts, to play the love interests. The show has typical rich kid problems, but the characters are so great they don’t feel overplayed. The story lines, up until season 4, feel natural and well written for a teen soap opera.
The show has natural enemies we have all despised and still despise. I dare you to ask anyone who is a fan of the show if Oliver was their favorite…good luck.
Marissa’s first boyfriend, Luke, was not our favorite guy at first, I mean he shaves his chest and says “Welcome to the OC, bitch!” on a regular basis. Oliver is by far the worst. He has some mental problems, but he continually screws over Ryan and makes him look bad to Marissa, so it’s hard to feel bad for him. Volchok is awful from day one, but his storyline goes in a direction none of us saw coming. It’s hard to even discuss how much we don’t like him.
The teenagers, we all learned to love as the fab four (thanks Taylor?), were great, but the real stars of the show are the parents.
Sandy and Kirsten are the very example of couple goals. Their relationship was real, honest and extremely relatable. My parents were obsessed with the show, mostly due to the Cohens. They had their problems, big (Rebecca) and small (Sandy gifting Kirsten Victoria’s Secret Pink underwear, instead of real lingerie).
Jimmy and Julie, the couple who shouldn’t, were not the best parents, but made for great TV. I never really understood Jimmy because he seemed to get to a good place and then he’d just slide down into trouble. (Do you think for a minute his mom’s meatloaf was really better than the Nana’s?) Jimmy had good intentions and just wanted to take care of his family and their pony, but always seemed to take the wrong paths. Julie was the absolute worst sometimes (she really thought Juju was a good nickname), but she did end up being a pretty good mom. Maybe just too late.
A few characters deserve a shout out…Dr. Roberts, although we met him briefly in the start of the show, he did become a staple the last seasons and he won over our hearts. He was witty and put up with Julie, but his relationship with Summer was really great. Chili!!! Chili was great (RIP Johnny Lewis). He made the Johnny scenes bearable. Che was the best part of season four to me. A young Chris Pratt was hilarious and similar and opposite of our fast-paced, pop culture enthusiast, Cohen. The show within a show, The Valley, is not a character, but it is a little bit. The fact that The OC was able to make fun of itself was great. The Valley had its own reality spin off within The OC as well, Sherman Oaks: The Real Valley. How is that not hilarious? Anna deserves a special shout out! The Female Cohen was funny, sharp and had better taste in fashion than the Male Cohen.
The OC is only 4 seasons and the fourth season is actually only 16 episodes because it was cancelled in 2007. If you have a Hulu account, it definitely is worth a binge watch. I quote the show on a daily basis and it’s been 10 years since it ended. It may be a teen soap opera, but it did leave an impact on me.