The OC kicks off with the best single season in TV history!
I don't know if any show in television history has had as good a first season as The OC's. In addition to introducing us to Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody, it managed to throw us for almost every loop imaginable. First it was Ryan's battle with Luke for Marissa's heart, which included Marissa's near suicide attempt in TJ. Although can you blame her with the parents she had? First there was Julie and Jimmy, then Kirsten and Jimmy, followed by Julie and Caleb, then Jimmy and Hailey, followed by Julie and Luke, and wrapped up with Julie and Caleb part two. Of course Luke had a little parental problems as well with his dad coming out of the closet. Then there was Seth's crazy love triangle with Summer Roberts and Anna in which you didn't know who Seth should chose right along with him. Then trouble started happening when Oliver burst onto the scene with Marissa, quickly followed by Theresa reigniting a flame with Ryan. And after 27 episodes of this madness, everybody's perfect life was now in shambles. But at least it was fun watching everything fall apart...
Season 1 Cast:
Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen)
Sandy is really the character that keeps this show watchable. His constant cynicism regarding the rich and beautiful of Orange County keep the show in perspective. Sandy takes the viewpoint of the audience, one of an outsider who views The OC for what it is, the pinnacle of greed and vanity, but a very interesting place nonetheless. Besides being the adult on the show that all the kids can come to with their problems, he's proven himself to be a good husband, father, and friend.
Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood)
Dylan McKay... I mean, Ryan Atwood is the tough guy with the good heart. Ryan usually ends up doing more talking with his fists than his mouth, although he has been known to throw a killer glare someone's way every now and then. Ryan's adoption by the Cohen's is what The OC is really all about. His transfer from Chino turned everyone's world upside down, but at the same time also saved them from falling victim to Orange County's warped outlook on life.
Adam Brody (Seth Cohen)
Adam Brody plays, by far, the funniest character on the show. Seth is usually the person who ends up getting guys like me hooked on the show. Although he starts out a huge loser, Seth quickly comes into his own and starts being as popular with the ladies as he is with the people who watch the show. Seth likes all the stuff that we're not supposed to like but really do, like comic books, video games, and indie-rock. So while he still might be a gigantic loser, he's the gigantic loser inside all of us. So when Seth triumphs by getting a girl like Rachel Bilson, finding true friendship with Ryan, or simply getting through a day of school without having his underwear pulled over his head, it's a triumph for us all.
Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper)
Mischa Barton plays Marissa, the girl that every other girl wants to be like on the outside. But on the inside, everything in her world is quickly falling apart. So of course she turns to Ryan for support. Well, Ryan along with booze, drugs, and anger. I think the Vegas has a thing going where each episode you can make a bet on how many times Marissa will binge drink or scream at her mom, and I'm pretty sure the over/under is set at four.
Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts)
If The OC was a terrible show, which it's not, it would still deserve accolades for introducing the world to Rachel Bilson. While Mischa Barton may get all the face-time on the show's promo's, every true OC fan knows that Rachel's the true leading lady. Bilson's got it all. As far as acting goes, she's right up there with Peter Gallagher. Her comedy rivals Seth. And in the looks department, well, Rachel Bilson is second to none.
As the hands down hottest girl on a show full of hot girls, Rachel Bilson plays Summer Roberts, the object of Seth's affection. Well, at least until Anna rolls into town. Summer is probably the character that changes the most over the course of the show. When she starts out, Summer Roberts is your stereo-typical valley girl. However, as the show progresses and she falls victim to Seth's geeky charm.
Eventually, Summer becomes one of the most likeable characters on the show. In fact, she's probably my favorite character, seeing as she manages to be funny while avoiding Seth's whiny tendencies. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Rachel Bilson is ridiculously hot?
Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen)
Ok, has anybody else noticed that Kirsten is pretty much as big of an alcoholic as Marissa. It's true that she never started popping sleeping pills down in Mexico, but Kirsten has definitely shown a tendency to start hitting the sauce once things start going crazy. So why is it that Marissa desperately needs therapy, while Kirsten comes off as the most perfect wife in the world? Beats me.
Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper)
What would The OC be without Julie Cooper? Probably the 2003 version of Full House. This woman is the source of almost every catastrophe on this show. She's driven Marissa (and Kirsten) to drinking, caused more than a few problems for Ryan, and managed to seduce men in three different generations this season. I think it's safe to say that Julie Cooper is on her way to a plaque in the Hall of Legends.
Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper)
What do you call a guy who lies to his family, steals money from his friends, kisses his best bud's wife, and then proceeds to go after that wife's little sister? You call him the lovable underdog that everyone can't help but root for. You've got to love The OC.
Alan Dale (Caleb Nichol)
This man does not have a soul, which of course makes him the leading candidate to win Julie Cooper's heart. Well that, and the fact that the man pretty much owns all of Orange County. Of course all of this made it extremely satisfying to watch him get his clock cleaned in The Vegas.
Samaire Armstrong (Anna Stern)
The thing with Anna was that she was obviously the better choice for Seth, but Samaire Armstrong is not even in the same stratosphere as Rachel Bilson when it came to the looks department. The message from the OC - personality gives only temporary fulfillment, whereas looks are what really leads to satisfaction. Of course, I can't really criticize since I was rooting for Summer Roberts the whole time. Have you seen Rachel Bilson? How can you pass that up? Needless to say, it almost got a little misty in the room when Anna headed back to Pittsburgh.
Chris Carmack (Luke Ward)
I think they made a wise decision, giving Luke the boot towards the end of the season. He had served his purpose as Ryan's arch-enemy and was struggling for an identity with his "I'm the funny dumb guy, but so dumb that it's not really believable" routine. Of course Luke found his calling when he hooked up with Julie Cooper in what had to be one of the most juicy storylines of the season.
Taylor Handley (Oliver Trask)
Hands down the single most irritating person to ever appear on television. Hands down the most addicting person to watch ever on television. Oliver was like the sun - painful to look at, but at the same time you just couldn't fight the urge to see what would happen if you kept staring. Oliver got me hooked on this show, the same way that bad guys get you hooked on the WWE. You come to hate them so much, that you just tune in week after week waiting for the moment that they finally take a fall.
Amanda Righetti (Hailey Nichol)
Amanda Righetti is the only person giving Rachel Bilson a run for her money in the looks department. And that's saying something considering that The OC has more than a few females who are easy on the eyes. Still the two of them almost trade the title belt on an episode by episode basis. Needless to say, it was a sad day in OC history when Amanda Righetti opted for a larger role in FOX's flop, "The North Shore". Of course, seeing that her new show couldn't possibly be any sleezier, there's a chance that we might have a rematch on our hands pretty soon. I can see it now... Rachel Bilson - Amanda Righetti, Live on Pay Per View!
Navi Rawat (Theresa)
I looked all over the internet and couldn't find out Theresa's last name. Maybe she doesn't have one. She was basically the second coming of Anna in the "she's probably better for him, but I can't help but root for him to get with the hotter chick" department. What's interesting about this is that Mischa Barton and Navi Rawat are much closer in the looks department than Rachel Bilson and Samaire Armstrong. And then when you add on the fact that Marissa has a serious history of substance abuse and totally gave him the shaft with the whole Oliver deal, it makes me realize how incredibly shallow I can be. And so maybe The OC has done mankind a great service by holding up a mirror to us all in which we can see ourselves for who we really are. But I prefer to look at it like The OC has done mankind a great service by introducing us to Rachel Bilson and Amanda Righetti!