Thursday, November 16, 2006

The O.C.: It is time to stop all your sobbing

Spoilers for "The O.C." just as soon as I put the new season of "The Valley" in my Netflix queue...

And the funny is back! Sure, it was back in small doses in episodes one through three, but you can only get so many yuks when your characters are tearing themselves apart to mourn the death of The Most Perfect Girl Ever. And with the shiva arc essentially over (Josh says she'll be a major topic come Chrismukkah), we get an hour of full-on, unbridled wackiness. I am happy.

Plenty o' highlights, from Summer and her rage issues going through the five stages of grief in record times (with a few replays of Anger, natch) to Naked Che to Taylor asking Ryan about his cage-fighting career.

I especially liked the Seth/Summer/Che non-triangle. And Josh has said, for the record, that Che "is not a romantic foil" for the other two, which is smart, because they've played that card so many times already that it's become yet another meta topic. (Hence Ryan's "No one believes that" when Seth worries that Summer's going to dump him.) There are interesting things the writers can do with these two without the constant break-ups and make-ups, and I like seeing them disconnected (by distance, by her new friends, and by Marissa's death) without automatic doom and gloom on the horizon. Plus, Chris Pratt is damn funny. I look forward to him getting a good role come pilot season.

The inevitable pairing of Ryan and Taylor could seem a little lazy -- "Let's put him together with our only available, age-appropriate female regular!" -- but I'm in favor of it for two reasons. First, Taylor is, in fact, awesome, and any storyline that's going to give her more face time is more than welcome. Second, I like stories that allow Ben McKenzie to crack a smile, and it would be a nice change of pace, if nothing else, for Ryan to be involved with a woman who isn't in constant need of rescuing -- or, at least, whose rescues can be of the silly variety.

Sandy's bro-mance with Jason Spitz (played by the ubiquitous Jose Zuniga, and if anyone can go read his blog post on the subject and come up with the suitable formula, you'd make him a relatively non-unhappy man) felt a little filler-y (it also, as Fienberg points out in yet another Zuniga-related blog post, not as good as the recent "HIMYM" bro-mance subplot). I'd much rather see this than Sandy and Kirsten deal with infidelity, substance abuse, and all the other sturm und drang of seasons two and three, but coming up with interesting storylines for either or both of them has become increasingly difficult, and I think we're a sweeps period away from them moving to the Far East to hang with Jim and Cindy Walsh.

Still, these first four episodes have gotten so much else right that I can abide a few adrift characters. It's a damn shame five people are watching, but between the bad memories of last season and Fox's complete apathy towards promoting the show, what did we expect? Now the only hope is that they get to stay on the air for all sixteen episodes. Four down, twelve to go.

What did everybody else think? And, seriously, go help Fienberg out on that first link. He put a lot of work into it.


Anonymous said...

UN-believable! I absolutely loved tonight's episode. I like where Seth and Summer are, and I must say that I didn't think I'd go for the Ryan/Taylor hookup, but the way it was written was ... awesome. I am so excited about this pairing now and can't wait to see what happens next!

Anonymous said...

I always thought that Ryan and Marissa were soul mates. Turns out as I look back more of a star crossed lover sort of thing. Ryan and Taylor has the Sandy/Kirsten sort of romance to it and I really like it. Hopefully some old fans come back to see that it still is great before Fox pulls the plug.

Anonymous said...

Such a great episode. This has become quite frankly one of the top 3 best shows on television. Unfortunately tonight it was up against 2 of the others (Greys and Office.) How can FOX have so much crap just let tv gold like this go to waste and not even try? Not even try????!

Alan - why is FOX throwing in the towel? Why did they before the season even started. I didn't even know the show premiered until I heard about bad the premiere ratings were!!!

Grimoald said...

I thought this was the best episode of the OC in a very long time, I agree with many of you points, especially how awesome Taylor Townsend/Autumn Reeser is.

One thing though, the '(b)romance' thing was done first, and much better than either this or HIMYM in 'The Boyfriend' episode of Seinfeld.

I am sure this is the final year of the show given the terrible numbers, if it can sustain this quality for the year, without falling ass-backwards to season 3 level mediocrity, then it should get a fitting conclusion.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, Seinfeld definitely did it first, but Dan's point was that HIMYM had done it very recently, and it was both fresh in the mind and funnier than The O.C. version.

Daniel said...

Are you saying that it's odd that I dedicated two blog posts this week to Jose Zuniga?

And while we all know the *real* reason I didn't reference the Seinfeld bromance, I can only say that that would have been from a different zeitgeist altogether.

But yes... Somebody come and give me a VORG methodology!


Alan Sepinwall said...

Though given Josh's oft-stated love of Seinfeld, I wouldn't be stunned if he was inspired in some way by Jerry and Keith Hernandez.

After all, before Taye Diggs was Taye Diggs, Keith Hernandez was Keith Hernandez.

Anonymous said...

I missed the first half of the episode due to the extended Office, but what I saw was surprisingly entertaining.