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Title: The O.C. S2.E02 “The Way We Were”
The O.C. S2.E03 “The New Kids On The Block”
Released: 2004
Series:  The O.C.

Drinks Taken: 25

Last week, on The O.C.

Welcome back to The O.C. Rewatch Project, where we are now firmly ensconced in Season Two. Last week, Britt asked me two questions: how do I feel about bearded Jimmy Cooper? I AM FOR IT. Beach Bum Jimmy is my kinda Jimmy. And how much did I love/hate Marissa’s patio furniture tantrum? I loved it so much! It’s seriously an O.C. high point for me. It’s the most O.C. thing that has ever happened.

Let’s drink to skinny rich white girls throwing their patio furniture in the pool in a fit of rage!

The O.C. Drinking Game

Drink once every time:

The ladies have a convo while primping in front of a mirror
Seth makes a nerdy reference
Someone says “Chino”
Anyone plays a video game
Summer says “ew”
Anyone eats a bagel
Anyone references The Valley

Drink twice every time: 

Someone says “Newpsie”
Fisticuffs occur (three times for pool fights!)
Someone grabs a cup of coffee
Ryan and Seth read comic books
Someone reminds us that Kaitlin Cooper exists

Onto the episodes!

2.2 “The Way We Were”

It’s the first day of school, and Ryan and Seth are both nervous about meeting up with the respective women they abandoned at the end of last season. Seth’s right to be afraid, because Summer is PISSED – and after giving him what’s for she stalks off, telling him she has to meet her new boyfriend. He’s crushed, and fears becoming a loser like he once was in the days Before Summer, so he establishes a comic club to make new friends. Enter sweet, affable, handsome Zach, the adorable Michael Cassidy, who totally knows his comic stuff and is excited to join even though he’s already a member of the water polo team. Also he reads several newspapers every morning and his dad’s a senator. We learn that stuff later, but I want to say upfront: Zach rules. Seth loves him – until he discovers that Zach is Summer’s new boyfriend. “He’s the WASP version of me,” Seth realizes – “the conventionally attractive, athletic, confident, completely non-neurotic…version of me.” Watching Summer trade up isn’t sitting too hot with our obsessive little friend.

Seth, being the clueless idiot he is, decides another Grand Gesture is in order to win Summer back, so he plans something nebulous for the Kick-off Carnival. Summer very quickly disabuses him of that notion with a speech that is both heartbreaking and totally fist-pumping in its truthiness. 

Summer: “It has nothing to do with me. It’s about you and it is always about you. What you need and what you want.”

She leaves with Zach and Seth looks after her, completely gutted.

Ryan’s luck is a little better with Marissa, who instantly wants to get back together, to his delight, until he finds her making out with her yard guy, DJ, a secret she’s been keeping all summer. The DJ plot is so dumb because we’re supposed to believe that it’s somehow scandalous, or a sign of Marissa’s impending descent, that she’s hooking up with her yard guy, who happens to be a handsome, intelligent, sensitive, gainfully employed and age-appropriate young man. At first DJ sees Marissa making out with Ryan, and then Ryan sees Marissa making out with DJ, so now neither guy wants to make out with her. Ryan tells her they should just be friends, and she scoffs that they’ve never been friends, a statement which is both harsh and not entirely true. The whole dumb DJ plot is worth it, by the way, for how impressed Summer is when she learns that Marissa’s been hitting that.

But Ryan’s got much more interesting, non-girl related stuff going on this week! The guidance counselor calls him into her office to tell him that his grades and test scores are really impressive, and he should start thinking about college. He says he can’t afford it and won’t let the Cohens pay for him, and she makes it clear that he should be a shoo-in for a scholarship if he can just decide what he wants to do. She tells him to write a paper on what his interests are, but he’s too busy schooling Kirsten and Sandy’s architect on how to improve their construction plans. When the counselor stumbles on Ryan’s blueprints, it becomes clear what he’s meant to do: become an architect! She signs him up for some advanced math and science classes, and he seems so happy and proud. I love this so much!

In other romance news, Jimmy and Hailey are still lying around having tons of sex and drinking endless mimosas on his boat, and dammit, I want that life. But Hailey’s kinda over it, and when she gets an amazing opportunity to work in fashion sales in Japan for her best friend, she takes it. Jimmy proposes, hoping to deter her, but that doesn’t do the trick, and she takes off. Then Kirsten gently reminds Jimmy that drinking mimosas on a boat isn’t exactly a life. I mean, I’d take it, but I see her point.

Finally, Caleb’s being indicted, so Sandy takes him out for lunch where Caleb quickly becomes hammered. He takes Caleb home to tell Julie what happened, and then Caleb bows out, leaving Sandy to do the dirty work. Julie, as one might expect, is SO MAD, especially when she learns that the indictment was in motion before the wedding and Caleb kept it from her, effectively putting her in the same position twice when it comes to swindling husbands. She threatens Sandy that if Caleb’s going down, Kirsten’s going down with him, and then she takes off for a $3000 spa weekend. Everyone’s a bit on edge – Sandy loses his temper at Kirsten about all the construction, and she thinks it’s because she was such a hardass over the summer – but eventually Kirsten and Sandy welcome a grateful Caleb into their home. They’re all eating moo shu on the living room floor when the police arrive to arrest him.

How many times did I have to drink? 

17

Best Seth Cohen line

Best Ryan Atwood line

After positing that Summer may have moved on and then receiving the full force of Seth’s neuroses, he mutters, “I’m gonna brood silently. Over here.”

Best pop culture reference/truest thing anyone said this week

Seth, telling Ryan that comic fans are now the mainstream, “Spider-Man 2 – do you know how much money that made at the box office?”

Well, hellooooo, DJ

I mean, the guy can’t act, but he sure knows how to stand.

Best double entendre

Summer, drooling over DJ as Marissa rails (like a real asshole) that his truck is blocking in her car, “He can park his truck in my driveway any day.”

Trainwreck Marissa

She spikes her morning latte. AT SCHOOL. HIGH SCHOOL. Summer gives her a true come-to-Jesus look about this.

Summer’s worst outfit

I haaaate early S2 Summer’s wardrobe. She dresses like a rich, trampy mom – like Julie Cooper, in other words. It works on Julie Cooper, but not on a 16-year-old girl. White linen wide-legged cargo pants with hideous white slingback heels, and then she turns out around and you realize that shirt has a keyhole cut-out?! 

Ugh and that bag. With the ensemb and the giant hair, they’re really aging up her look for the first half of this season.

2.3 “The New Kids On The Block”

Meet the new kids on the block, the hot “teens” making up Season Two’s B-cast. First we have DJ and Zach, whom we met in “The Way We Were.” Now, let’s meet the ladies!

On the right we have Alex, played by a brutally hot Olivia Wilde. She’s the manager at The Bait Shop, the out-of-nowhere and completely excellent music club in Newport that will be the set of many upcoming dramas and kickass concerts. She’s 17 but looks and acts much older, she’s tough, she’s been kicked out of about a dozen schools and out of her parents’ house, so now she lives alone and takes care of herself. She’s awesome. 

Next we have Lindsay, played by Shannon Lucio. She’s a new scholarship student at Harbor School with a car covered in liberal bumper stickers and a giant chip on her shoulder. She’s incredibly intelligent, super prickly, quite independent and pretty ornery. She is also awesome. 

Now, back to the old kids on the block. Seth is being the worst. The very worst. Literally the worst Seth has ever been or will ever be. Summer calls him selfish and he goes down one of his shitty obsessive spirals, but this one is extra-shitty because the revelation that he’s selfish just makes him MORE selfish.

Seth: “Please, dude. I just need to talk about me for, like, several more hours, at least.”

He talks all over poor Ryan even more than usual, and he keeps forgetting that his family is in turmoil over Caleb’s arrest – like, he actually forgets his grandfather was arrested – and he comes up with this stinky ploy to convince Summer that he’s selfless and just wants to be friends. The Walkmen are playing at The Bait Shop, and Summer loves The Walkmen, so Seth gets a job there, under Alex’s employ, in order to earn the tickets to give to Summer and Zach. Alex, being wise and cool (and also bossy, a quality I appreciate as a bossy lady, myself), tells Seth that Summer’s going to see right through this scheme, but she doesn’t. She’s so optimistic about New Seth that Zach can tell she’s hoping Seth changes so they can get back together, and Zach, being wise and mature, tells her to take some time to see how she feels about Seth, and he’ll understand if their time together is over.

So she goes to the concert alone, and Seth sits with her and congratulates himself for being so thoughtful, and she thanks him sweetly and he RUINS IT BY KISSING HER BECAUSE SETH IS THE WORST. She runs outside, crying, and he says the worst possible thing: “Maybe I can’t be just friends with you.” Summer, disappointed and angry, responds, “Then I guess maybe this is it for us.” She walks off, and because Seth is THE WORST, he decides this means he should go back to being selfish, because being selfless didn’t work out for him. UHM NO, SON. You never even tried being selfless. Anyway, he’s still not done ruining everything, so he goes to the club to interrupt Summer’s lunch with her dad and Zach, like he thinks that isn’t the most terrible idea he’s ever had. But there, he sees Summer’s dad being completely charmed by the perfect Zach, and Summer smiling and holding his hand, and he just leaves, despondent, the way he deserves. 

Meanwhile, Ryan’s having his own trouble with Lindsay – he runs into her at the Harbor’s coffee shop (so weird that this high school has a coffee shop) and spills coffee all over her and knocks her bag over, and then accidentally punches her in the nose, and then when he’s trying to help her clean up the mess, he starts gathering several of her tampons and mortifies her. He apologizes a whole bunch, but she’s really uncool about it, and later when they discover that they’re physics partners, she assumes he’s an idiot and does the assignment by herself so he doesn’t bring down her grade. Ryan’s a badass who has recently made school his #1 priority, so he doesn’t go for that, and eventually she learns that he’s a pretty smart cookie – and also that he’s not some rich water polo player, but actually a lot like her. Sparks fly, just in time for Marissa, who’s arrived to attempt a reconciliation with Ryan, to see, and she takes off sadly and then sits with an equally sad Seth on a bench. She deserves it less than Seth, however. 

Caleb’s out of prison on bail, but his arrest is still causing a lot of tumult for the elder Cohens. Sandy’s fired from his job for working with Caleb, though he’s pretty jovial about it. But poor Kirsten. Julie arrives home from her spa weekend determined to help Caleb and make their marriage work, and when she realizes that he doesn’t take her seriously, she throws her weight around until he’s announced her as the acting CEO of the Newport Group – a job that belongs to Kirsten. She’s furious and hurt, and wants to quit – until Caleb tells her he just did it to save his marriage, and he’s made Kirsten CFO because “we all know whoever controls the money controls the company.” It remains to be seen if Julie knows that, a point Kirsten makes, but she got a raise so she’ll allow it.

How many times did I have to drink? 

8. 

Best Ryan Atwood line

As Seth obsesses, “I’m like a monster, dude, I’m all I think about. And not in the good way,” Ryan responds, “There’s a good way?”

Most recognizable song

The Walkmen play “Little House of Savages” to open their set at The Bait Shop.

Best Julie Cooper bitchery

Oh man, her supreme smugness when Caleb announces her as CEO is so good. 

Julie: “Who needs more champagne?”

Most meta moment

Summer, hearing a knock on her bedroom door while she watches The Valley (drink!), “It’s Thursday night. No knocking until 9pm!” The O.C., of course, aired Thursdays at 8pm.

Best Summer burn

Seth tells her he has something for her, and she replies, “Well, unless it’s a plutonium-fueled car to take me back to last year so I can never date you, I’m not interested.”

Best Jimmy burn

He and Julie share a nice moment where she confides in him about Caleb, saying, “I don’t know how this is happening again,” and he teases, “Maybe because you keep marrying for money?” She tells him she didn’t marry him for money, or because she was pregnant, but because she was in love with him, and uh-oh, is that chemistry?

Lindsay’s backwards flirt

When she’s still being a jerk and telling Ryan that he must be dumb, she says, “God doesn’t give with both hands,” which means she’s acknowledging that he’s very, very hot. I like that even when she hates him, she’s attracted to him.

The truest and least true thing anybody said this week

Seth: “Yeah, that’s my niche. Pathetic and sweet.”

Well you’re half right, Cohen. 


That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you: how do you feel about the new castmates? Pros and cons? And also please commiserate with me over Seth’s general awfulness in this episode. 

Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers “The New Era” and “The SnO.C.”

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Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.