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Qualler Visits The Classics: The Best Television of the '00s: A Non-Ironic Tribute to The OC

Back in 2007, when The OC went off the air for good, Chris and I went off on a half tongue-in-cheek, half sincere tribute to the series, highlighting the highs and lows of its four year run. In 2007, irony was still quite vital and not quite as dead as it is today, so our tribute was ripe with contradiction: yeah, we liked The OC, but, heh, it was kinda dumb that we watched it, too, and, heh, it's not a prestigious show so it kinda deserved to be cancelled.

Looking back at my attitude about the show and having re-watched portions of the first two seasons recently, I can say with certainty that The OC is a a show that defines the '00s more than the prestigious Mad Mens of the world do. Perhaps this show defined our generation because we saw ourselves in the world they lived in -- sure, hyper-real, but defined by our love of music, pop culture, melodrama, relationships, and witty banter between friends.

Rather than waxing intellectual on the merits of The OC (Daniel Fienberg does a much better job of it at HitFix, not to mention Alan Sepinwall's book Stop Being a Hater and Learn to Love The OC (a great idea for a Christmas gift to Qualler if you haven't shopped for me yet!)), I simply present to you clips of the series that immediately spring to mind to demonstrate the inherent watchability of the series. Yes, that even includes the "shark-jumping" third season and never-really-watched fourth season.

In the below clip, from the first season, our heroes see the band Rooney play live. In 2004, we lived in a world where fictional worlds demonstrated Rooney playing to a sold-out, totally hyped up audience.

Later, in the second season, Seth Cohen somehow wrangled a dinner with George Lucas, via his graphic novel, in which Lucas discussed with Seth why it is important to go to prom, because it is a "great American tradition". Also he mentioned how he used to draw Ewoks in class in high school. I think we all know that's a total lie.

Hey, this is random and weird, but did you know people have made "AU" versions of what happens in The OC, and "AU" stands for Alternate Universe? Kinda like fan fiction but via video editing. Be prepared to be creeped out.

This plotline, the aforementioned graphic novel plotline, is, in retrospect, a lot more entertaining and clever than I gave it credit for. Besides the meta references to the show's own standing in its fans eyes, it's full of clever insider stuff in the entertainment industry. Favorite line, regarding the proposed TV show based on the graphic novel "Atomic City"

Soulless TV exec: This time next year, why not, "Atomic County", TV show?
Seth: Ooh, that's not so bad. Are you talking about, like, animation, or, like, live action?
Soulless TV exec: Why not a hybrid?

Who can forget the season two finale where Marisa shot Ryan's brother Trey? Pretty effing dramatic, and pretty wonderful for popularizing the heartstring-pulling song "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap, spawning one of Saturday Night Live's better Digital Shorts, and indirectly influencing the song "What You Say" by Jason Derulo?

Finally, did anybody actually watch the series finale besides me? Because, in retrospect, it's probably one of the best series finales of the decade. And yes, the final few moments also made me cry a little.

In the end, prestigious shows like Mad Men get all the hype at the end of an arbitrary time period like this one (granted, the hype is extremely warranted), but shows like The OC will be forever more comforting and more easily watchable. Whether the whole attitude of the series will be as hopelessly dated as a show like Beverly Hills 90210 is to us now (the original version, kids, not the crappy CW version) is moot: The OC is us, and we are The OC.

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  1. Blogger Knep-Star | 1:15 PM |  

    Thank you so much. I have so many fond memories of watching this show...from couches in East Lansing during my Summer of Fun, eating cookie dough with Dave Ryan, and drumming to California w/ Dan Metz and in spite of Pat Hayden.

    You failed to mention the utterly divine moment when Seth first saw Summer's boobs and a song came on starting with "Helllloooooo Sunshine!"

  2. Blogger qualler | 1:27 PM |  

    Haha nice, I do not remember that. Brigitte and I started re-watching the entire series in order last night, starting with the first three eps. Whoa what a slam-bang first few episodes! Summer was a total bee-otch at the beginning, too.

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