By Annie Barrett
Updated January 03, 2007 at 12:00 PM EST

Taylor Townsend (pictured) is here to blood-curdlingly let you know that Fox has officially canceled The O.C. Its last episode — the 16th of Season 4 — will air February 22.

Ah, O.C. My love, my life, my adorable but at times disobedient pet. I’m conflicted. Yes, Season 4 has been great — the humor’s back, Ryan and Taylor are doin’ it, Seth and Summer are for some reason engaged. But let’s face it: it had to end eventually, and we fans pretty much knew this was coming. Did we really want to see a senile Julie Cooper terrorize the other patients in her nursing home, which she had to live in because her 17th husband, Rich Oldman, whom she poisoned for real this time, left her only Riverside-rich? (Actually, yes.) I don’t know — I’m torn between devastation and a philosophical attitude of genuine appreciation that it ever existed at all. I like Josh Schwartz’s comment in Fox’s press release: “For a certain audience, at a certain time, The O.C. has meant something. For that we are grateful.”

And so are we. Let’s all wear our “Save Marissa” shirts, leather wristcuffs, and hoodies tomorrow in mourning. (I only own a hoodie, but whatever.) Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin…

UPDATE: This just in from the Schwartzinator himself, via e-mail: “Yeah, this season will indeed be the last. There was some speculation about a Season 5 on another network but we are having a really fun, great run and I feel like better to go out now then stay too long at the party… and after 4 seasons of the OC, I know a lot about parties…”

Drunken pool parties featuring occasional hookers? Ah, yes, I remember them well…