By Annie Barrett
Updated February 09, 2007 at 12:00 PM EST

Join me in listening to “Part of Your World” while you read this post or skip it entirely. Unfortunately, there’s not much of a physical or thematic resemblance between Ryan and Prince Eric (PE, pictured, was verbose yet dullsville, and clearly never ran in black muscle tanks along the water), but did that stop us? Of course not.

Can I just get a collective holler, or maybe a subtle head-tilt or some darting eyes, for Ryan Atwood? The boy has hit his stride. He’s totally the star of this show — which should have always been the case, but wasn’t. It was the Seth Show for three seasons, and nothing against him, but look at how much they could have done this whole time with RyGuy?! He’s now multi-dimensional, emotional, FUNNY, better than ever with the timing — do they have a Team Ryan on the show devoted to only the perfection of his character? Not to mention the recent hotness. He is at his hottest right now. He is PEAKING I tell you! I LOVE RYAN!

Please forgive the random, uncharacteristic crush-gush. I never, everdo that. You usually can’t get me to admit that I find anyone on anyscreen remotely cute, even though I often do. I just feel weird aboutit for some reason, which is maybe another post entirely. But this hadto be done. Moving on.

addCredit(“Prince Eric: Everett Collection”)

Whoa, you guys. Up where they walk, run, and stay all day in the sun, wandering free — there was an earthquake.The are only 88 more minutes EVER of potential self-referrential popculture moments, Julie Cooper one-liners, and lingering shots of thebagel slicer… and we got an earthquake. Hey whatever. Naturaldisasters intrigue me, especially when they could kill Frank, Oliver(wherever he is), that Newpsie yotch Kiki had to befriend at dinner (whowas totally Stacey McGill from the Baby-Sitters Club movie), and theMean Dean who grabbed Marissa’s arm that one time at the carnival. Howcool would it be if everyone we wanted to send to O.C. Hellconveniently got buried alive inside a fault plane between tectonicplates? That last sentence required Wikipedia!

Anyway, the few seconds of ‘quake footage were a long time comingand very exciting, though I wish at least one of the Californiaborn-and-breds had exhibited any sort of clue about what to do in thecase of an earthquake. I grew up in Chicago and I’m well aware thatwhen a tornado is on its way, you MUST race over to your old elementaryschool — wherever it is! — and kneel down in front of a row ofchest-high lockers. It’s just what is done. THINK, people!

But before that, a lot went down. Seth made a movie about his pooland now must become a film critic. Keeks joined a yoga class with Hollyand other pregnant teenagers who want to induce birth at eight monthsto avoid weight gain, DISGUSTING. Kaitlin ruled. Frank: child abuser,clown porn, eh, same diff. And as perfect as her cute little face isand as much as my sister and I adored tracing the outline of her hairduring a random pause… for me, Taylor gets more intolerable with eachep. You don’t make someone tell him he loves you, especially after onlya few months! I know we’re running out of time, but did they have to go with the three-magic-words dilemma at this point? Really? Ugh.

Oh, and my sister thinks I’m a weirdo for even bringing this up, butsince that’s nothing new: Did anyone else notice the row of pears behind Ryan’s head in this scene? It’s no longer A Season for Peaches, people. There’s a whole ‘nother fruit taking over. So what if Taylor is annoying? Team Ryan!

Okay, speculation time: What will happen post-quake? Will they alldie, spend the last two eps in a fun purgatory in which theyrevisit/make fun of everything on the show ever, and ultimately end uplike these prehistoric skeletons found locked in an embrace (though my roommate suggests maybe they were strangling each other)? Post your predictions below…