On ''The O.C.,'' Marissa and Ryan do ''this'' for the first time. (Didn't they first do ''this'' two seasons ago?) Plus, Kirsten comes home, and Jimmy sails away again
The O.C., Benjamin McKenzie
Credit: Benjamin McKenzie: Matt Barnes/FOX
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”The O.C.”: Goin’ all the way

On a very special episode of The O.C., get this: Marissa and Ryan had sex. I, along with any other committed viewer with half a brain, got confused. Hadn’t they been doing it for, like, ever? I thought it happened during season 1 in the pool house, and after hearing the pair’s suggestive, semi-dirty exchange in Sandy’s car after they saved Trey from a bar brawl in Chino during season 2, I just assumed they were banging regularly.

Not so, say the show’s writers, who made Ryan ask Marissa in the heat of the moment, ”You sure you wanna do this? Because we’ve done a lot, but not this.” Ooh. What have they ”done”? What is ”this”? All that ambiguous wording was hard to work through, but I think we got it. Everyone clear on this? They had never had sex. And now they have. It’s a huge deal.

Not that I didn’t think the school-sponsored tiki-hut sleepover wasn’t awesome. There were all the elements of classic O.C. in there: Ryan hunching over Marissa like a rabid animal so that we get the impression that he’s not that much shorter than her and that he’s so much stronger, like a big bad bear. Check. Multiple burning candles, situated just so to pose the sexy threat of the whole scene lighting on fire, just like Caleb’s model home in season 1. Check. And there was even banter! Marissa actually made a surprisingly believable fake exit that implied that she didn’t want to have sex and had to leave. Wouldn’t that have been hilarious?

Just kidding. I thought the sex scene was nice, especially when flashes of Jimmy getting pounded, Kirsten staring gloomily at a bottle of absolutely Pure vodka while ignoring Sandy’s phone calls, and Sandy looking sad entered the picture. It wasn’t exactly fitting that a montage of Marissa and Ryan’s parents helped to heighten the vibe for all of their sex, but it sure was amusing.

Aside from that bright spot, the rest of the episode cast a shadow on almost every other character. The Coopers were going to move to Hawaii, but Caleb turned out to have been broke, so Julie and Marissa will have to stay. This is what I love about this show: In the big picture, life won’t end if they have to sell the giant Taco Bell and send Marissa to public school. (That’s what they’re going to do, right? Or am I missing something? Is the nearest public school in Chino?) Same with Kirsten. Her melodrama peaked this week, but only because Seven of Twelve Steps had completely brainwashed her with silly notions from outer space that her father-daughter issues were more than she could handle. They weren’t, as it turns out. Kirsten telling Sandy, ”I want to live again!” struck me as funny in that ”The O.C. is so ridiculous” type of way that I’ve grown to love.

Come to think of it, the separation of the Coopers into gold and silver tiers is also pretty funny. This week’s plot has ensured that Jimmy and Kaitlin, the second child we hear about in passing but never see, will continue to be relegated to the B-list side of the family, while the more attractive and glamorous Julie and Marissa get to splash around in the Newport sunlight and receive all the attention.

Good riddance to sleazeball Jimmy. He keeps entering and then leaving the Newport scene whenever the show wants to spice things up a little. I know Marissa begged him gently to stay away for good this time, but there’s no saying whether he will, at least not forever. It might have been more powerful if those fancy California mafia types had just put Jimmy out of his misery. I liked they way they disfigured him Mystic River-style and then just let him go back to his yacht. I almost felt sad for him when he told Marissa, ”I’m a terrible father,” but then felt even worse for her when she tried to hug him and he was all ”Hey, watch the ribs.” Ouch.

Seven of Twelve really needs to ship out, too. I was so happy to see Kirsten skip (as well as a strung-out 90-pound woman can) back into Camp Cohen’s foyer that when I thought of Seven, my desire to never see her again almost outweighed my need to find out why the hell the Cohen family’s Christmas-card photo seems to be one of her most prized possessions. I’m not too engaged in her story line, but the show could always use a whack job, so I’m sure she’ll turn up at ”the beach” very soon.

As for the horribly unrealistic but highly amusing Seth-Summer vs. Taylor-Mean Dean conflict, it’s funny for now, but something better happen to make it really ”pop.” We need some proof that the power-hungry private-school warlord is Taylor Townsend’s own personal Dean of Discipline, if you catch my drift. Right now there are hints of this, but nothing that would warrant, say, a two-month detention. Oh, and by the way, I really don’t buy the idea of Seth getting made fun of so much without Ryan around. I know the Harbor School is supposed to be snobby, but there has to be at least a third of any school that is geekier than Seth. He’s attractive, he’s funny, and he has a hot girlfriend. Some light teasing I can accept, but harassment of the wedgie caliber? As Seth pointed out to the dean, ”That’s creepy.”

What do you think? Can Jimmy ever make a comeback? Will Ryan and Marissa make it in that new school we saw in the previews? And what could possibly be the cause of the dean’s obsession with the Fab Four kids?

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