The O.C. S2.E15 “The Mallpisode”
Drinks Taken: 18
Welcome back to The O.C. Rewatch Project! I love these two episodes so much. Last week, Britt asked me if I feel like Caleb’s request for a paternity test was a dick move, and I kind of…don’t? It’s practical, but of course he goes about it in the dickiest way possible. She also asked how happy I am about Rebecca Bloom going away but GAH SHE’S BACK ALREADY. She’s like a bad penny, that one.
Let’s drink to Spider-Man kisses!
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
Ryan wears a white tank top
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!
2.14 “The Rainy Day Women”
It’s pouring in The O.C.! That happens rarely enough that it’s got all of our characters in a tizzy, not least because they live in Southern California and therefore do not own umbrellas, so they all spend most of the episode wet. This is a comely lot of folks, so it’s not a bad directorial choice. The episode begins with one of the series’ all-time cold opens: Ryan in the poolhouse, looking out the window at the torrential rain, as Seth looks out from the main house, and they both silently argue about who should face the rain to visit whom. It’s the cutest, and this episode just gets cuter. Seth says, and Ryan concurs, that the rain is “very reflective of my current emotional state.” They’re not alone – here’s how all of our characters are handling the deluge:
Ryan’s feeling awkward about Lindsay, because they haven’t spoken since she stormed out of her paternity test party. Ryan goes over to her house and finds her packing. Her mom wants to move to Chicago, and she’s considering moving with her – depending on the results of Caleb’s paternity test. Ryan, obviously, really doesn’t want her to go, and he does some pretty good convincing by making out with her while looking gorgeous while drenching wet. (He looks better wet because it smoothes back his dorky hair.) The results come back and it turns out Caleb is Lindsay’s father. He’s overjoyed, but she realizes she doesn’t particularly want to be this guy’s daughter anyway. She decides to move to Chicago with her mom, the one person who’s always been there for her. Ryan’s gutted, but understands, and they share a very sad, tearful goodbye. Bye, Lindsay! I’ll miss you except I’m also pretty excited to have the Awesome Foursome back, so bye!
Kirsten’s bedridden from Sandy’s betrayal, and from the fact that he’s somehow blaming her for his betrayal, and Sandy’s still acting like a total wank. Rebecca calls and he, RIGHT IN FRONT OF KIRSTEN, takes the call all urgently and begs Rebecca to return so he can clear her name, blah blah blah. Yes. She’s back. UGH. Having Rebecca return for one more episode when everyone thought she was gone was a really bad move, O.C. writers. Like, no one has patience for this shit anymore. He leaves his heartbroken wife and flees to Rebecca’s side to talk about her case. Then, as they’re heading home, the (somehow only) road is closed thanks to the rain, and they have to stay in a hotel. A convenient scenario that (SPOILER) Kirsten will soon find herself in, as well. Rebecca tries to seduce Sandy because that is ALL SHE DOES, and he seems tempted for a hot second before coming to his senses, calling Kirsten and promising to get home no matter what it takes. “What it takes” is accidentally driving his car into a ditch, and before the police can arrive on the scene of the accident, Rebecca flees again, this time for good (I’m pretty sure, gah). Sandy takes the bus home and Kirsten asks him, stonily, “Is it over?” to which he replies in earnest, “I promise you, it never started.” Except it totally did. You kissed Rebecca and emotionally cheated, for sure, but I’m as happy as you are to pretend that it never happened so let’s just move on, shall we?
It’s the last episode featuring a healthy, happy relationship between Marissa and Alex! They’re in the cutest, flirtiest place, including this very cute scene in the kitchen of Caleb and Julie’s mansion, right behind Julie:
Marissa, invigorated by her success in telling Summer last week, kind of throws the news in Julie’s face triumphantly, leading to the best sound cue The O.C. has ever had (“Alex is my girlfriend.” *THUNDERCLAP*) Julie is actually so totally cool and calm about this. She mentions, multiple times, that she used to “experiment” back in the day – though her experimentation involved “a little Motley Crue and a lot of Jäger.” JULIE ILU. Marissa, disappointed that her rebellion isn’t making the waves she intended, then decides to move in with Alex, which is THE DUMBEST DECISION EVER. Maybe enjoy your casual high school relationship for a week before you move in with one another! As soon as the closet space is gone, Marissa already seems to be regretting her decision – which is well-timed when, after walking Alex to work at the Bait Shop, Marissa sees Ryan standing in the rain morosely, staring over the pier onto the water and brooding about the loss of Lindsay. It’s a tiny moment, but I love it: Marissa walks over to him, holds her umbrella over him and then puts an arm around his shoulder. She never asks what’s wrong; she can just tell he needs a friend, so she’s a friend.
AND FINALLY. Summer is preparing for her trip to Italy with Zach, and of course Seth is wigging and trying to plan some dumb, giant romantic gesture to get her to stay rather than just being honest and telling her how he feels. She obviously WANTS him to stop her – she has no interest in going to Italy with Zach’s pretentious family, and she hates the idea of being the bridesmaid to his bitchy sister, and also she’s totally in love with Cohen and kind of bored by poor, sweet Zach. There’s a lot of back and forth, but here’s where it gets interesting: in the grand tradition of toy horsey metaphors for Summer and Seth, she refuses to leave for Italy without Princess Sparkle, and while she’s being annoyed by Zach’s family, she takes a break to listen to a really sweet, honest, totally un-Cohen like voicemail from Seth telling her to have a good trip in Italy, and happens to see a little mop-headed boy playing with a Captain Oats-style toy horse at the airport. She tells Zach she has to go, and poor, sweet Zach tells her, “Truth be told, I didn’t think you’d make it past security.” What a mensch!
Summer hauls butt to Seth’s house. Here’s what’s been happening at Seth’s house! He’s been wearing a Spider-Man mask as protective rain gear, since he doesn’t own any other, and he’s up on his roof trying to fix his broken satellite in order to watch some well-earned guilty pleasure TV.
He’s on the roof, and he slides, and he’s hanging upside down by a wire, in the rain, in a Spider-Man mask…do I need to say more? Spider-Man 2 happens, and it’s EVEN HOTTER than in Spider-Man 2. I LOVE THIS SCENE!!!!!
Now let’s watch it again, in gifs:
AUGHHH SO GOOD AND HOT AND GREAT AND NICE.
How many times did I have to drink?
Most recognizable song of the episode
So many! The terrific cold open set to Blind Melon’s “No Rain” is my favorite, but when Seth and Summer are mooning over each other, they each listen to Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” (Seth: “I can think of no sadder song in the whole world”), and of course the Spidey kiss is set to Matt Pond’s cover of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova,” marking the second time that The O.C. has made great use of an Oasis cover.
Seth Cohen’s total glee
Oh man, this boy is delighted to discover that, as he happily puts it to an equally delighted Ryan, “Marissa and Alex? No longer welcome in the red states.” These silly dudes are very, very happy to learn that their “exes are dating each other.”
To be honest: Seth and Ryan’s straight boy obsession with girls doin’ it is kinda lame, but it’s also a thousand times better than knee-jerk judgment, weirdness or aggression. For straight high school boys in the mid-2000s, this reaction is practically enlightened.
The best Julie Cooper
Julie trying to be cool to impress Marissa’s punk “friend” Alex is just my favorite thing ever.
Most meta moment
The show Seth is hoping to marathon when his satellite goes out is “Sherman Oaks,” the reality show version of “The Valley” that’s obviously meant to be Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Excellent Josh Schwartz burn here via Seth (The O.C. creator Schwartz actually wrote this episode): “You know, why watch the angst of fictional characters when you can watch real people in contrived situations?”
The baddest broads
Julie and Kirsten, drinking Caleb’s scotch and smoking Caleb’s cigars, bitching about Caleb, Marissa and Sandy together.
And by the way, thank you, Julie, for telling Kirsten when she suggests that she and Sandy might not survive this Rebecca conflict: “No, Kirsten. Seriously, you have to work it out. I mean, I couldn’t handle it if you didn’t. You two are like the moral center of the universe. You’re…you’re Sandy and Kirsten.” EXACTLY. GET IT TOGETHER.
2.15 “The Mallpisode”
Another all-timer ep, this time written by Schwartz’s co-creator and writing partner Stephanie Savage. It’s easy to tell that The Powers That Be knew audiences weren’t happy with the new directions The O.C. Season 2 was headed, so Schwartz and Savage took a beat to steer the ship back on course.
It opens with Seth cajoling a devastated Ryan out of bed. Ryan’s incapacitated by Lindsay’s departure, and he snaps at a pancake-offering Seth and tells him that this loss is different. “Different as in not solved by pancakes.” Too many people have abandoned him or whatever – this speech would mean more if it didn’t seem like Ryan was totally over Lindsay by the end of this episode, which I think is okay with probably everyone except Lindsay. He decides to run away and visit Lindsay in Chicago, which is the dumbest idea for several reasons that a suddenly wise Seth enumerates when he finds Ryan at the bus stop and brings him home.
Seth and Summer, however, are BACK ON and cuter than ever. So damn cute, omg. To nearly everything Summer says, Seth replies, “That’s so cute,” but also it’s just really cute stuff she’s saying, like “Semper Fi” when she tells Seth that they’re like the Marines when it comes to Ryan – “no man left behind.” She contrives of a plan to reunite the Awesome Foursome, though she just means in a friendly way – Seth wants Marissa and Ryan to get back together, but Summer thinks that’s a bad idea. Anyway, they’re all headed to the mall to pick up clothes for a charity drive, and they’re allowed to be there after hours, which Summer cheerfully describes as “a backstage pass TO THE MALL.” (Seth: ” ‘A backstage pass to the mall,’ Summer, come here, that’s so cute.”)
Marissa, meanwhile, is wigging at the introduction of Real Life – rent, and laundry, and cleaning, all of which she’s really bad at. To be honest, Alex isn’t being very patient – she keeps snapping at Marissa and acting like a stern den mother, an unfair position that Marissa has put her in, but also, Alex, this is Marissa’s first foray into adulthood! Be gentle! Anyway, everything there is kind of messy and stressful, so when Marissa gets Summer’s mall invitation, she eagerly accepts – and when the mall escapade turns into an all-night affair, she throws over her plans with Alex and flakes on her all night to hang out with her old friends. Poor Alex. She goes looking for Marissa at Julie’s house and Julie tells her, with sympathy and not even a little smugness, “You’re this week’s yard guy. Marissa’s latest drama, her weapon of torture to inflict against me.” Alex looks heartbroken, but tries to convince herself that’s not true.
But it is true, because here’s what’s happening at the mall: the Awesome Foursome get locked in, because it’s a TV show, and everyone’s very cute and happy at the prospect. Summer has the best plan, because being trapped in a department store is her “ultimate fantasy” (mine too, now): “Come on, guys, what could be cooler? Go to sleep in a wall and wake up in a mall! It’s like being awake but still dreaming. The mall doesn’t open until, what, 10am, and we’ll be out before then. We could get McMuffins!” BEST IDEA. So this is how it shakes out, because TV!
Nooooo…they’re gonna play sports!
Yes, they play hockey, they eat gift baskets, they fake-camp, and of course there’s some smoking hot Marissa-and-Ryan chemistry that involves him overhearing her tell Summer that she doesn’t feel about Alex the way she felt with Ryan, and that she misses him “every day.” It’s all very cute and fun and flirty, and the below is my favorite scene of the episode and one of my favorites of the entire series. It’s so very John Hughes! I love the shoes, and the excuses, and especially Seth’s non-excuse.
And of course security shows up, and the Awesome Foursome have to make tracks, and they create a Home Alone-style fake party diversion so they can escape, and the whole thing is such an adorable caper! They end up at the diner on the pier for cheeseburgers and chili fries, and it’s all just THE CUTEST. Especially when Ryan makes this hilarious callback to the pilot, proving his immensely appealing ability to make fun of himself (and The O.C.‘s immensely appealing ability to make fun of itself):
Instead of a cigarette, it’s a french fry! ADORABLE! (This is as good a time as any to shout out The Snark Squad, whose gifs I use in every post because I have no idea how to make my own gifs, unlike the very talented Britt.)
Meanwhile, in not-nearly-as-fun Adult Land, Kirsten and Sandy are still suffering from the consequences of his mistakes, and they’re both trying so hard but it’s so awkward and awful. Kirsten isn’t wearing her ring, and she tells Sandy she thinks she lost it down the sink – so he spends an entire day dismantling the sink, trying to find it in a really obvious metaphor. Caleb comes over, still upset over the loss of Lindsay, and the two bond all day as Sandy confides in Caleb about Rebecca and Caleb confides in Sandy about Lindsay. They don’t find the ring in the sink, and then Caleb remembers how, for two years, Kirsten wore the plastic ring Sandy gave her when he first proposed because they were once THE BEST COUPLE EVER. They go to a claw machine and spend a bunch of quarters finding a plastic ring just like it, which Sandy gives to Kirsten. She’s touched, and then, when he’s in the other room, she brings her real ring out of her bedside table drawer – she’d never lost it, she’d just lost the will to wear it. Sad, but it ends well, and it’s a great Caleb and Sandy bonding subplot.
UGH NOW. Newport Living Magazine has a new design editor – Carter Buckley, some hotshot liberal indie mag whatever person who immediately starts putting the wry, sensitive moves on Kirsten, and of course Kirsten certainly doesn’t mind the attention after Sandy emotionally strayed. I think we’re supposed to like Carter but I do not. GET IT TOGETHER, SANDY AND KIRSTEN. Moral center, remember?
And poor Julie: some beefy guy’s been sniffing around her office, and she obviously recognizes him with dread. When she finally confronts him, we learn his name is Lance Baldwin, he used to date Julie back in her wild days, he gave her a UTI (this is a throwaway tidbit, but one I find worth repeating) and also he produced a porn starring Julie when she was broke and trying to support her sick mother and pregnant sister. Now, of course, he’s extorting her to the tune of $500,000. Poor Julie, gah. This plotline, especially when we hear Julie’s motivations, is so sad, but it’s totally worth it when we get to see a few minutes of the ’80s amnesia porn:
GIRL YES. Work that head bandage.
How many times did I have to drink?
Most recognizable song
When Summer heads over to Marissa and Alex’s pigsty apartment, Le Tigre’s “TKO” is playing, because Marissa is a lesbian now and lesbians like Le Tigre. (So do I.)
Best Julie burn
When Lance sleazily reminds Julie that he was her first and says, “They say a girl never forgets,” she replies icily, “Yeah, well maybe she had so much Southern Comfort she never remembered in the first place.”
Awesome Alex line
When she heads to Julie’s to look for Marissa, she interrupts Julie watching her own porn. Julie hastily shuts it off and Alex, not realizing Julie was starring in the porn, replies breezily, “It’s cool, a little porn on a Saturday night. My lips are sealed.”
Carter Buckley is played by Billy Campbell, an actor whose entire career consists of playing characters I think I’m supposed to like but I never do.
Best pop culture reference
As Seth and Ryan elbow-crawl their way through the air ducts, trying to find an escape route at the mall, Seth says of their adventure, “It’s like Goonies meets Die Hard by way of Mission Impossible…with, I think, a slight hint of National Treasure thrown in.” Don’t forget The Breakfast Club, you airduct-crawling cuties! That movie’s DNA is all over this episode.
The truest thing anybody said this week
Summer and Seth are fighting already over a post card Zach sent from Italy, but when they see Marissa and Ryan being all cute and normal, Summer gasps, “Oh my god, we cannot be more annoying than Ryan and Marissa. We’re monsters!” They make up quickly.
That’s it for this week! Britt, I have a question for you: how do you feel about Lindsay’s departure? I know you’re not crazy about Marissa and Ryan together, and sometimes I’m not, either, but in episodes like “The Mallpisode,” I can’t help but love them – and I don’t feel like he and Lindsay ever had chemistry like that. And how do you feel about the abrupt decline of Marissa and Alex?
Meet Britt here next Wednesday morning as she covers “The Blaze of Glory” and “The Brothers Grim.”