The original foursome reunite on ''The O.C.'': Locked after-hours in a shopping center with Summer and Seth, Ryan and Marissa flirt hard; plus, Kirsten is tempted by the dark side

By Paul Katz
Updated March 11, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Benjamin McKenzie
Credit: Benjamin McKenzie: Art Streiber/FOX
  • TV Show
  • Fox

”The O.C.”: The original foursome reunite

In one of those weird life-imitating-art moments, your regular O.C. gal, Annie Barrett, has jetted off to Europe. Is she sampling the aromatherapy baths, à la Julie Cooper-Nichol? I dunno. But happily she should be back next week, and even more happily, I think she’s picking me up a giant tube of Toblerone from duty free. Man, are those tasty.

T minus 55 minutes to Star Wars!

This episode starts off by picking up the pieces of Lindsay’s departure and Sandy’s engaging in lust in his heart. Kirsten isn’t wearing her wedding ring. Ryan is snapping at Seth. Even the world’s most lipstick of lesbians, Marissa and Alex, are bickering over laundry duties. Only Seth and Summer seem happy. And how long is that going to last? Those two ping-pong back and forth between love and hate so often they need their own spin-off. Let’s call it The O.C.D.

At last, after endless months featuring Zach’s no-go romance with Summer and Ryan’s pseudo-incestuous Chinatown-esque relationship with Lindsay, we finally get just our original foursome back doing what they do best: shopping, quipping, and engaging in serious eye flirting.

The quartet prove that helping the less fortunate can never lead to any good by getting trapped in a mall while picking up clothes for the needy. It’s so very nice to see Ryan back as his mopey, monosyllabic, monotone self. He was starting to get a little too Newport (you’ve come a long way, baby!) and just not enough Chino.

T minus 36 minutes to Star Wars!!

The genius of using the mall as a prison wasn’t just that it allowed the show to engage in some ESPN camera moves for the most intense hockey game since Slap Shot. Nope, it also helped start the not so subtle transformation of Marissa from a card-carrying member of GLAAD back into a dude-lovin’ imp. Yep, she still loves Ryan. It’s official. Wait a moment — isn’t Ryan a man? He sure is. Marissa tells Summer she still gets gooey for Ryan. Julie tells Alex, ”Marissa’s only been in love once, and he looked a whole lot different in a wife beater.” (It’s a touch harsh to call Alex this week’s Yard Guy. Ouch.) Even Ryan overhears that Marissa is moving from being a blue state to a red one. Hell, we knew it the whole time. But is it cynical to believe that pulling some girl on girl action had a lot to do with sweeps? Nah. Let’s just wait and see how long it takes before Alex decides to manage a Bait Shop franchise in Fresno and disappears. They need some excuse to get her out of the picture so the Ryan and Marissa love angst can start for real. As long as someone is throwing a chaise longue into the pool, I’ll be happy.

T minus 22 minutes to Star Wars!!!

Now, if Josh Schwartz had really been looking for some big sweeps numbers, he should’ve thrown in the Julie-as-porn-star twist a bit earlier. The O.C. never takes itself too seriously (I’m still hoping for The Valley to come out on DVD), and blackmailing Julie for her youthful XXX indiscretion of ”performing” in an adult video is just too perfect. (The scenario of the pizza guy seducing the girl with amnesia — that’s exactly the kind of laughable fantasy that Skinemax tries to pass of as if it could actually happen. The only thing missing was the ”bwah-de-nah-nawh” ’70s porno soundtrack. Um, not that I would know.) Julie also wins the Best Line of the Night award for her response when creepy first boyfriend but now blackmailer Johnny Messner says he’s got something for her. ”Last time you gave me something I drank cranberry juice for a week.” (Guys, educate yourself and ask a girlfriend or sister). Runner up: ”Marissa and happy parted ways about her 16th birthday. But have you meet her new friends, Sullen and Vindictive?”

Half a million bucks is a nice chunk of change, but just how exactly did Messner arrive at that figure? Did that include domestic, international, and Internet rights if he sold the tape? I wonder if Rick Solomon is a creative consultant on upcoming episodes. And how is it that Caleb would notice 500 large missing but not 50,000? That’s still a decent amount to vanish from the take-a-penny, leave-a-penny tray at the Cooper-Nichol household.

T minus 8 minutes to Star Wars!!!!

Since Marissa’s Yard Guy had a strong moral sense and therefore had to go, and Messenger has that puffy Peter DeLuise thing going, The O.C. had to ratchet up the hunk factor with Billy Campbell. Seems he’s guest-starring in order to make goo-goo eyes at Kirsten and point out that she’s not wearing her ring. In a leap of Freudian genius, Billy thinks that could mean something about how she feels about her marriage. Sometimes a cigar is just a wedding ring. Don’t know yet if Billy is going to be nice Billy (circa The Rocketeer) or evil Billy (circa Enough). Considering how he and Kirsten were swilling down the pinot grigio, it might not be a bad idea for her to bone up on the Krav Maga just in case. Better yet, I hope he and Sandy have a karaoke sing-off for Kirsten’s affection. The producers better get moving on that plot arc, because if there’s another episode with Sandy and Caleb bonding at the carnival, I might hurl like after riding the tilt-a-whirl.

Oh, and the soundtrack debuted Beck’s Beckish music from the album Guero. If you love Beck, you’ll still love Beck. If you hate Beck, you still won’t understand all the hubbub about music named after an imported beer.

Star Wars is here!!!!!

That little summer indie you might have heard about? Well, the theatrical trailer for Revenge of the Sith is unveiled. A nice nod to The O.C. for not just tossing the clip out at the end of the show but letting Adam Brody work his comic-geek magic and introduce it. As for the preview itself: I counted a Wookie, C-3PO, light-saber fights, and the Emperor doing that Lauren Bacall thing with his voice. That sound you hear is millions of people stampeding to download the preview from the Internet and nitpick every frame. Now, excuse me. I’m going to pull a Ryan and Marissa and camp out in front of the movieplex to wait for my Star Wars tickets.

What did you think? Is Marissalex doomed? Would that surprise you? Are you rooting for Ryan and Marissa? And do you think Kirsten will pay Sandy back for all that extramarital flirting?

The O.C.

  • TV Show
  • In Season
  • Fox