What can I say? It was yet another flawless performance this season by Rachel Bilson. With almost every other character falling to pieces, Summer Roberts and Ryan Atwood were the only two keeping The OC off of life support. It's really a shame that man-law prevents
Ryan from ever making a move, because I for one would much prefer to see the on-screen combo of Rachel Bilson and Benjamin McKenzie, than watch as Seth Cohen messes up for the fifty-sixth time. But since that's obviously never going to happen, I'll just have to enjoy the Summer Roberts experience despite her awful taste in men.
Ready for a little controversy? And a little surprise? When The OC began with the promo's that "One of these characters wont' make it through the night..." I really thought that it should be Summer who was getting the axe. That's right, I thought the best way to improve the show was to kill of my favorite character. Here's why...
The OC is obviously in jeopardy, and might not be around for Season 5. Rachel Bilson's the superstar whose character is carrying the whole show. By killing Summer off, you force all the other characters to take it up three notches, or the show's done. Is it risky? Yeah. But at this point, is the show getting cancelled any worse than having The OC drag on at this dismal level?
In the beginning, Summer was the stuck-up valley girl and Seth was the good guy. Now that's all changed, and Summer's become the one that's too good for Seth Cohen and his antics. That's not really a positive thing, since Seth's more of a main character and the show works best when we're rooting for him, not against him. Cohen's messed up so many times, that it's nearly impossible for him to return to "good guy" status with Summer.So by killing her off, you would have forced Cohen to actually act like a respectable male if he ever wanted female companionship again. That would hopefully have lead to some Ryan-esque character progression, which would start the ball rolling in the right direction. Plus, it would have removed the predictability factor, as Seth would no longer be guaranteed to end up with his new woman. The way things stand currently, when Seth and Summer break up, you know it's just a matter of time before they're back together again. That really takes away any emotional impact their romantic struggles may have. Not that's I'm emotionally involved in this show or anything - I'm just saying...
...Wow this is awkward...
...Anyway, thank you Rachel Bilson, for not mailing it in this season like the rest of the cast. You have my Emmy vote.
Kirsten used to be one of my favorite characters. There was nothing really flashy or funny about her. She was just a good person and I liked her. After the beating her and Sandy's marriage took in Season 2, I was hoping for one of two things. Either a return to Season 1 happiness, or a major break-up.
Like I said with my thoughts on having Summer die, it's better to have things completely fall apart than to fade into mediocrity. At least when things blow up, there's the angle of having them come back together.
The blandness of Sandy and Kirsten's marriage this year, mirrored the this season's. Dramas need progression, and these two are stuck in a major rut. Let's hope that one of the big changes come the fourth installment of The OC. I want unbridled passion or a divorce attorney.
They were the unholy trinity of The OC: Luke Ward, Caleb Nichol, and Julie Cooper. Season 1 sent Luke off the Portland. Season 2 sent Caleb to the great beyond. And Season 3 turned Julie into a bonafide good guy.
In case you were scoring at home, that left no villains for Ryan, Marissa, Seth, and Summer to combat. Well unless you count "The Dean of Discipline". And since there was no antagonist antagonizing the fab four, they were forced to create their own controversy. This lead to storyline gems like Seth's Brown interview fiasco.
It also opened the door for some D-list enemies like that blonde chick who hooked up with Trey and the dirty doctor who was finagling Sandy's hospital deal to bore us with their performances.
Yes folks, the neutering of Julie Cooper was perhaps the biggest reason that Season 3 was such a flop. Without a true force of evil for most of the season, it left, there just wasn't many places for the storylines to go. Of course if Julie's bribing Trey to lie to the police in Episode 1 is any indications of where things would have gone, we probably didn't miss much anyway.
I honestly don't even know if I can write this section on Taylor Townsend. She is by far the most unrealistic character to ever appear on the show. Plain and simple - there is absolutely no way a human being would ever act the way she does. She's officially the Jar Jar Binks of The OC.
However, unlike George Lucas, who realized he missed the boat with Jar Jar and faded him into obscurity, the producers of The OC have signed Taylor Townsend up as a major player
in Season 4. Needless to say, this does not bode well for the future of this series. Taylor's going to need a major overhaul if she's going to make it work. You seriously think that Ryan or Seth would go anywhere near her romantically? Where does she fit into the big picture? Where is she going to take the show? I just don't get it. I never have.
Remind me again why Marissa fell for Johnny and stabbed Ryan in the back? Was it the bad hair? The moodiness? The suicidal tendencies?
At any rate, Johnny still brought a decent amount to the table. Despite the ridiculousness of the whole love triangle, he at least added a little bit of uncertainty to the equation. I honestly didn't know who Marissa would ultimately choose. And when he plummeted off the cliff, I wasn't sure if he was going to end up in critical condition or wind up dead.
Hey, Johnny Harper certainly won't be receiving a post-mortum induction into The OC Hall of Fame any time soon. But at least he managed to keep me guessing in a season full of predicability.
First off, what's the chances that Cam Gigandet's actual name is Cam Gigandet? I was floored when I looked this one up. It seems about as contrived as the name Kevin Volchok.
Volchok is basically the reincarnation of Luke Ward. By seducing Marissa and brawling with Ryan, he managed to bring back a particular taste of Season 1 that we'd been missing for two years.
Of course, this being Season 3 and all, there were a couple of flaws with his character. Despite his being the lone bad
for the second half of the season, Volchok was almost too bad. Luke always had that shred of decency that made it believable that Marissa could be duped into dating him. Volchok's completely lacking that. This dude is pure evil. Once again, an example of going "over the top" Nevertheless, he still managed to pull off a solid B+ performance.
(Dr. Neil Roberts)
I have to say, I'm a big fan of Dr. Neil Roberts. Although I feel they missed a huge opportunity to create the new gruesome twosome, by having him turn heel with Julie, Dr. Roberts at least provided the strong male leadership this show was so desperately lacking with the downfall of Sandy.
Where the writers plan on going with the Julie/Neil relationship, I don't know. The smart thing would be to create
some trouble in paradise. But seeing as Ms. Cooper-Nichol already has a rock on her finger, it looks highly unlikely.
It's hard to remember since he only had a few scenes in the first few episodes, but Jimmy Cooper was part of The OC's Season 3. Of course, the lack of screen time didn't prevent the writers from completely destroying one of the shows most endearing characters.
When Season 2 ended, Jimmy and Julie had reunited and were waiting to cash in on Caleb Nichol's fortune. It seemed like an interesting angle to go from. Sandy and Kirsten had always been
Newport's power couple. With the Cohen's marriage on the rocks, having Jimmy and Julie assume that place would be an unexpected role reversal. Instead, Caleb ended up being bankrupt and Jimmy was sent packing. But not before the writers completely mangled his character by turning him into a gold-digging dirt bag.
Willa Holland's Kaitlin Cooper is supposedly the new face of The OC in Season 4. If her performance in Season 3 is any indication, the show is in for some major problems.
In all honesty, Kaitlin was a fairly decent addition to the show. Her major downfall was the cast of secondary characters that she brought along with her. Seriously, all
of Kaitlin's friends looked like rejects from a 7th Heaven casting call. They just polluted the show. It was terrible. Let's hope they upgrade to to the castoffs from Smallville next year.
Sadie was the lone addition to Season 3 that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about her. After the rollercoaster rides that Marissa and Theresa had taken Ryan on, it was nice to see him with a girl who had no drawbacks. Basically, she was the equivalent of Season 2's Lindsay, except far less annoying and far hotter.
Of course since Sadie was the third best edition to the cast ever, trailing only Olivia Wilde's Alex and Amanda Righetti's Hailey, it made perfect sense to write her off the show after a handful of episodes. Why would you ever want to keep a great character around when you could sign Taylor Townsend on for 25 episodes?
And that, my friends, is exactly why this show is in trouble. You can only go round and round with Seth, Summer, Ryan, and Marissa for so long before things start to go stale. But whenever this show has had a really great secondary character, they've always written them off after a few episodes. You're telling me this season wouldn't have been ten times better with Olivia Wilde in the mix? And now that they've finally realized the need to expand things a bit, they're adding Autumn Reezer... Man, even Sadie's managed to make me negative!
Hey, I know what will really get the 14-24 demographic excited about our show! Jeri Ryan!
You really think that FOX would have learned after the way the addition of Ms. Ryan took the hit "Boston Public" from must-see-TV to "Friday Nights at 9" obscurity.
Here's the best analogy I can make regarding Jeri's time on The OC: You know when you've eaten something funky, and you get that first little feeling like your stomach isn't right. But you blow it off, figuring it's just some
indigestion. Then two hours later you're running to the bathroom, unsure whether to put your face or your butt near the toilet, because it's coming out both of them? That's Jeri Ryan on The OC. It was a terrible storyline, that just didn't sit quite right. But I blew it off, thinking it was just a bad batch of writing. But in reality, it was the first warning that a disaster was on the horizon.
You know what? I'm not even going to start this discussion, because I don't feel like writing five paragraphs.
Let's just say that Eric Mabius is very available, after his brief run on The OC.
Worst. Character. Ever.
There was one point during Season 3 where I actually thought the show might be able to redeem itself. And that was the time when Anna and Theresa finally made their way back into the Orange County spotlight. If just for a moment, their returns brought back the magic that had made Season 1 so special.
Here's hoping that we'll see a lot more of Anna at Brown next season. And here's also
hoping that they don't make her look like an anorexic transvestite anymore either. This is national television? You can't spring for some decent extensions? It was like somebody chopped the tail off a horse and glued it to the back of Samaire Armstrong's head!
She has a last name! Theresa has a last name! For those of you unfamiliar with my Season 1 review, I spent like twenty minutes trying to figure out Theresa's last name. (Yes, I realize that's pathetic.) I finally gave up and figured that she just didn't have one. However, thanks to Wikipedia, this mystery has been solved. Diaz. I never would have guessed...
So ever since the start of Season 2 where Theresa lied to Ryan about having a miscarriage, I've been dying for her to reappear. I always
imagined that an episode would be going along normally and then right at the end, boom! Ryan would bump into Theresa and her kid. Screen goes black, credits roll, and we'd all just be sitting there in shock. That, my friends, is how you tie up the biggest loose end of your series with style.
Instead, we get the surprise completely ruined by FOX promo-ing it in the previews for the upcoming week. "Next time on The OC... You won't believe who's back in Orange County..."
Uh, yeah. We will. Cause you just spoiled it for us!
I really shouldn't get this angry about stuff like that, should I?
Ah, who am I kidding. I was waiting over a year for that moment, and they killed it!
(Dennis "Chili" Childress)
I was going to end on a high note with the return of Anna and Theresa, and implore the creators of this show to keep them on as regulars. But instead, I'm going to wrap things up with "Chili".
Why Chili? Well basically
because he embodies everything that was wrong with this season. You see, you can write mindless drivel. As long as you put it in the hands of a good actor, they'll be able to do something with it. Take Rachel Bilson, for example. But when you put that kind of material in front of somebody like Johnny Lewis, who literally is a castoff from Smallville, things are just going to go down in flames.
Marissa is dead. Julie Cooper is applying for sainthood. Taylor Townsend is becoming a regular. Yes, Season 4 of The OC is already starting behind 0-2 in the count. And the only thing that's going to keep it from getting that third strike are some actors who can actually act. I would like to think that out of the thousands of wanna-be's who flock to Southern California each year, you'd be able to fill in a couple of roles here in there with some real talent. But if that's truly not the case, I'm willing to do my duty as an OC fan and offer myself up for a story arch or two.
Seriously, if somebody who's at all involved in the production of The OC is reading this, shoot me an email. It's at the bottom of the page. We'll work something out.
Here's my resume': I've gotten more than one standing ovation for my acting in the past. I'm pretty easy on the eyes. I'll work for cheap. I can guarantee you better screening reviews than Johnny Lewis gave you. And I'm available.