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''The O.C.'': Summer strikes back

On ”The O.C.,” Summer and Seth outwit the mean dean and save Ryan’s future, thanks to a product placement; meanwhile, bad Charlotte targets Julie

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Rachel Bilson
Rachel Bilson: Matt Barnes/FOX

”The O.C.”: Summer strikes back

I’m from Chicago, so I can’t really complain about The O.C.‘s month-long hiatus due to baseball coverage. Hmm. I just realized how ridiculous that sounded, because I don’t care about baseball and all I did last month was complain about no O.C. What was I even going for? Appearing cool because I’m from the Midwest? Unlikely.

I can legitimately complain about Fox’s choice to broadcast Maid in Manhattan during The O.C.‘s slot last week. Was that for real? Apparently. No matter. Tonight’s episode-cum-infomercial was worth the wait. The Seth-Summer-Sandy-Sidekick scam was awesome! Sidekicks are available at a technology store near you. Mention tonight’s episode of The O.C. and get the guy behind the counter to roll his eyes!

Tonight was all about deceit. There were also season 1 references (Theresa and the baby, Luke, and Newport’s own den of sin, the Mermaid Motel), gads of delectable Summer and Cohizzle dialogue, and the introduction of tobagels with cream tocheese (”Too much?”) to our O.C. vernacular. Also, Sidekicks. But it was mostly about deceit.

I’ll start with the deceiver no one likes: Charlotte, a.k.a. Seven of Twelve Steps. She and her skeezy flower-delivery-guy boyfriend gave up on scamming Kirsten for money and moved on to a much better mark, Julie Cooper-Nichol. I’m only happy about this because it’ll make for more scenes in which the currently destitute, beer-slugging Julie gets to act like a bitch again. She had some great lines this week, especially ”A long time ago I learned that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Or condo.” It’s unclear where Seven got the money for Julie’s new beachfront condo, or why she would call her beau on a cell phone that wasn’t a Sidekick about 15 feet from Julie just to tell him, ”She’s in.” At least the move will get Julie’s huge blue hat and designer shades into a more appropriately posh setting, and get Marissa out of Summer’s bedroom. Speaking of which, Marissa should go hunting through any of the other 150 rooms in that palace — something tells me there’d be an available mirror in there for all of her eye-lining needs.

Next deceiver is someone I’m still not sure if I like: Johnny the surfer. After Marissa more or less begged him (with her eyes) to persuade Ryan to stay in school, Johnny found Ryan in the Nameless Diner and told him about a fishing job with his uncle’s company that would require Ryan to be at sea for weeks at a time. I saw a Discovery Channel show about crabbing once, and those guys really do make a crapload of money. But Ryan’s just a baby (and possibly a baby daddy) who, Sandy says, has a very promising career in architecture. He can’t just hop on a boat and never look back. He’s not Seth! By the way, because I just decided I don’t like Johnny (or his annoying name), I’ll point out that his friend Chili looked a lot better in a wet suit than he did. Who knew? Not Marissa.

Then there’s Ryan, who got his family, his girlfriend, and Summer the parrot imitator (that was hilarious) all worried thinking that he was going to go find himself on a fishing boat. Too bad he didn’t convince any of us viewers. I’m kind of sick of Ryan packing his bags and then returning. We get it — he’s a lost soul who only likes cereal and Mischa Barton. New plot, please. I almost would have preferred that he actually leave for three weeks. Why not? The O.C. world is magical enough that he could be back in two episodes, just in time to miraculously charge his brooding way through a month’s worth of missed classes. It was disappointing that Ryan wouldn’t tell Marissa about the job until the night before he left, and Marissa’s tear-stricken scene in which she was supposed to tell him how she really felt about his potential and how much she cares about him ended up being basically just her yelling at him. No fun.

Off the topic of deceit, did anyone else notice that Marissa looked eerily like some sort of ancient Greek goddess in that strange toga-riffic getup of hers? Were they going for a Dido motif here? Is Ryan Aeneas, leaving Carthage to fulfill his destiny at sea? Who knows? Will my editor cut this paragraph? Most certainly.

Now for the obvious and most fun web of deceit: the Sidekick affair! This was product placement at its best. It wasn’t as obnoxious as Donald Trump screaming lines from cue cards about Domino’s pizza. It was crafty and treacherous, and it involved three of the show’s most beloved characters. In short: Seth and Summer texted Taylor Trash from their new, pink, bedazzled Sidekick, and she believed that it was her partner in gross, Dean Hess, inviting her to the Mermaid Motel. Once she arrived, the couple told her she was toast and also ”a block of ice” (according to Seth, writhing around in disgust).

Meanwhile, Sandy adorably fumbled with his own new Sidekick in the Mean Dean’s office, claiming he had photos of Taylor and the M.D. from the dance. Of course, this marked the point where things got unrealistic, because a dean that mean would obviously demand proof, and I’m guessing Sandy wouldn’t even know how to turn the thing on. But guess what? It’s TV, and Sandy Cohen equals God. So he won. Ryan gets to go back to Harbor. Mean Dean is history. The Fab Four are kind of together again. Yes! See you next week. Go buy a Sidekick.

What do you think? Would the evil Julie Cooper we know and love really not suspect anything about Seven? Will Johnny make a move on Marissa? And will Seth really pursue an East Coast college even though Summer is afraid of winter?