By Annie Barrett
Updated November 17, 2006 at 12:00 PM EST
Meredith has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Meredith may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.

It’s a shame no one’s watching, because The O.C.‘s getting better and better. It might be because we’re getting fewer and fewer reminders of Marissa; aside from Summer’s 5.5 stages of grief over losing her friend, practically the only reference we had to endure was the lifeguard shack (where Marissa lived on-and-off during the first three seasons) conveniently positioned behind Sandy and Ryan’s father-son moment on the beach. I choked up while staring at the shack and all it represented (sweatshirts, crying, foreplay) before all the talk of shrimp tacos snapped me out of it.

Julie Cooper, Urban Cougar (pictured) had a hot week, thanks in part to peer pressure from recurring Power MILF Taryn and some sweet, tequila-soaked moves enabled by Artem from Season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance? Marrrrrrrrrrry Murphy’s got nothing on Melinda Clarke in a tousled ponytail. I loved when she blew her cover by applying lipstick at the Cohens’ house simply because she’d just decided to sex it up hours later. Such a Julie move. And the Cooper women’s silent “I can’t believe you” bonding session post-slutty dance club delighted me to no end, mostly because Gold Medal Ribbon was involved (it’s what Kaitlin told Marissa was her favorite Baskin Robbins flavor on the boardwalk in Season 3). You can’t really read the label, but I’m confident that’s what it was. Whoops, I guess that’s another reminder of Marissa, which is weird because it has to do with food.

Seth and Summer’s relationship struggled somewhat during his weekendvisit to Brown. The gratuitouslook-how-thin-yet-somehow-studly-(?!)-Seth-is pan as he waited for herin the airport was a lot to take, but the playing of “Hello Sunshine”(remember that, from the pair’s not-so-special first time?) quicklycancelled it out. This week’s quandary: Is Summer really a hippie? Hoopearrings say no! Disgust at InTouch says yes! No! Yes! No! Thedisappointing Season 3 of The Valley on DVD! In the end: Yes, sort of.I won’t get into how obscenely fake all that student activism seemed;at least Summer and Che have switched causes from poultry rights tosolar energy. Che also cares a lot about polar bears, which we learnedduring his nude jam in front of Seth. The best part was when Checounted out “2, 3, 4…” to ensure he was on the right beat, obliviousto how he completely wasn’t.

Back in Newport, Ryan continued to brood at yet another low-levelrestaurant job, until Taylor arrived to annoy/distract/eventually charmhim with requests for favors. A few weeks from now, that Frenchdocument claiming the two of them had sex 30 times could be legit!Meanwhile, Sandy found a boy toy with whom he can play golf, drinkbeer, and show off “one of my kids” (awww), and then headed home for asexy round of Strip Scrabble with Kirsten in which the naughtiest wordswere “quixotic” and “rear.” Fine, also “hoe.”

What did you think? And why can’t Ryan do that to my nose?