Friday, January 26, 2007

The O.C.: Where's Ned Ryerson when you need him?

Spoilers for "The O.C." just as soon as I figure out what holidays would have been left for Josh to write about in season five (Purim?)...

An attempt to make peace with cancellation. On the one hand, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there are only four episodes left. In my head I understand the vagaries of ratings and the TV business, but the show is so creatively vibrant right now, which almost never happens in a final season. (Or, if it does, it's with a show like "Seinfeld" or "Cheers" where the stars don't want to keep going.)

On the other hand, I can see some wisdom in letting things wind down. Since the Marissa shiva ended, the season's been long on character and short on plot. There have been some significant events (Summer kicked out of Brown, the arrival of Ryan's father), but overall things happen largely as an excuse to give certain characters more to do, or to generate some phony conflict, like the pointless ups and downs of Ryan and Taylor's relationship.

Taylor's funny and Chatty Ryan is interesting, so a faux-arc can be entertaining on a short-term basis, but I don't know that there's another year's worth of stories to tell about these characters.

In a way, in fact, this episode felt like it could have been the finale. Kirsten's pregnant, Ryan and Taylor are back together, Che has found happiness with Groundhog Girl, and Julie has tentatively agreed to marry The Bullet. Obviously, there's more to come with her and Frank, and with Seth and Summer, but there's nothing that has me on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. So in that way, it feels like the right time. Hell, they even brought in Showkiller Allison La Placa to play Taylor's therapist. Will Jason Gedrick be popping up in the finale?

Some other episode specifics: Peter Gallagher hasn't had a lot to do this year, but his reaction to the baby news was beautiful. I'm surprised Che didn't try to turn their night on the rooftop into something amorous; it was amusing to see him try to reconcile his heterosexuality with his belief in the validity of spirit visions. I was also expecting more wacky mistaken identity hijinks with both Summer and Taylor in the groundhog suits, and I can't decide whether I'm happy they didn't go there. And Chatty Ryan feels like a completely different character, but not in a bad way.

What did everybody think of this episode? And have you made your peace yet?


Anonymous said...

I was loving this season up until the last 3 episodes and honestly think last night's episode might be one of the worst in the show's history.

First of all, I could not agree more about the show being long on character and short on plot. Absolutely nothing has happened in the last few episodes. The ups and downs in Ryan & Taylor's relationship feel completely contrived and have already become boring. I understand giving a couple obstacles, but these 2 haven't had a single episode as a happy couple. The stand-alone stories about vision quests and groundhogs are ridiculous, over-the-top, and not the least bit interesting.

And Che was amusing at first, but he's a character who only works in small doses. And the way they've been forcing him into all the episodes not set at Brown feels totally artificial. I'm hoping that this week is the last we ever see of him.

And as much as I love Julie Cooper, I can't believe we're expected to buy that she's got 2 men proposing to her already. She's literally been married to someone new every single season. Then again...I think I kinda like that.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought it was fun, funny and light. THis time last year we were bitching about all the angst and drama. And maybe a balance is better - like the first 8 episodes or so - but I'd rather the OC stick to the funny then the drama.

and clifton smalls - i think it's BANG!

Anonymous said...

I liked last night's episode! And I'm still seriously depressed that the show is ending. Alan, can you please tell us one thing? With regard to the ratings, all we ever see is the “Live + Same Day” data. I still have never seen a figure on the Live + Seven for any episode of The OC. Since The OC is the “second most DVR’d show”, how can that not make a difference in the ratings?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anonymous, Clifton's right: It's absolutely, 100% BING!

Anonymous said...

it's bang. ring in the new year with a bang! bing makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, don't you tell me you don't remember me 'cause I sure as heckfire remember you.

Anonymous said...

Bing vs. Bang - hilarious! Anyone who has never seen Groundhog Day must do so immediately. It's actually showing up in the "Free Movies On Demand" channel as part of my DVR cable service.

I've made my peace with the end of the OC...I have enjoyed the creative high this season, and especially love Taylor (never a big fan of Marissa). I like it when shows go out while they're still on top, before I lose interest. I have faith that it will all wrap up in a satisfying way.

Also, Thursday nights are just too crowded. I've made the OC #1 because I've enjoyed it so much this season. Even though I technically have the capability to watch Grey's and Scrubs as well, I don't like doing it. I'll be glad when the OC is over so that I can watch the other two shows at my leisure instead of using my second TV to watch one show live. Grey's has disappointed me lately, but that's another story.

dark tyler said...

Sorry for posting this in an O.C. thread, but since there's nothing on Grey's yet: For anyone who watched Grey's, what would you say that this means for Isiah Washington? Now it'd be really awkward if ABC fired him. I think this confirms the belief many of us had, that Shonda cares about the story more than anything.

Anonymous said...

I guess you're right about the show being short on plot - there isn't anything I'm desparately waiting to see in the next ep, unlike previous seasons. I am, however, enjoying the interaction between Caitlin and Bullet. He would make a very sweet step-father to her. Even if Julie chooses Frank over Bullet, I hope that Bullet and Caitlin could still remain close.

Oy, I'm talking about them almost as if they're real.... Or as if the show is continuing past February :S

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the show's got 4 more. For some reason I thought 13 was the final number.

Honestly, the OC is going out properly. It's not trying to tell any major story, then again, neither were Seinfeld or Friends.

The OC is going out in a way that appeals to the people who were there from the beginning.

As far as ratings go. For those who don't understand how Nielsens work, 5000 people across America decide for 118 million who's watching what.

Moreover, a lot of these people are white trash, poor minorities, etc. because it requires people who want $50 a week to use a special Nielsen box and remote, and to write down in a little notebook during sweeps, what they're watching.

So to recap, a show like The OC could in fact still have 10-15 million people watching it. They're just unaccounted for.

There was a plan to try to overthrow the Neilsens a while ago, implement something more accurate (digital cable numbers for instance are pretty accurate, HBO's numbers are pretty accurate). But alas, Neilsens are making too much feeding the public lies about what they're watcihng and unless they know better, it's not going to change.