Now that Gossip Girl has given us his final "XOXO" (spoiler alert: IT WAS DAN), it’s time for you to add a new addictive series to your life: specifically, The OC. This innovative “soap opera comedy” follows delinquent bad boy with a heart of gold Ryan Atwood as he crosses over from the wrong side of the tracks to move in with an affluent southern California family. The first season of The OC broke traditional television molds by understanding that compelling drama can actually be fun; I’m talking a dog wearing oversized sunglasses level of fun.
Here are 7 reasons you need to watch the first season of The OC.
7. Revenge of the Nerd
If you’re looking for a tipping point of the, “Wait, being a nerd is actually kind of cool” phenomenon, look no further than Seth Ezekiel Cohen. A lover of comics, mumbling, indie music, and miniature plastic horses named Captain Oates, Seth’s rise from bottom of the social food chain to, well, bottom of the social food chain with a hot girlfriend, helped to usher in a new era of social upheaval where uniqueness isn’t automatically associated with awkwardness (and where awkwardness is most associated with awesomeness).
6. King of the Cold Open
Most episodes of The OC begin with an early morning, quick-witted conversation about the various romantic entanglements Seth and Ryan find themselves in this week. Various friends or family members walk in and out, looking beautiful, sounding entirely too intelligent, and apparently hoarding an undiscovered cure for both bedhead AND the morning grumps as they effortlessly banter like conversational Olympians. This is an example of an early morning OC conversation:
Seth: So what's the GP, RA?
Ryan: I have no idea what you just said.
Seth: Game plan, Ryan Atwood.
Ryan: You're just using initials now?
Seth: Yeah, it saves time.
Ryan: Well, not if you have to translate.
Ryan: Game plan?
Seth: Good point.
C’mon, we’re all adults here. Actually, maybe we’re not. Quick show of hands: who’s over 18? I guess it’s not important. If personal history has taught me anything, it’s that first kisses tend to happen around the age of 25 to a girl named Sunshine who later denies the whole event, claiming she "doesnt even remember it" because she had a bad head cold and had just taken a lot of NyQuil. Thanks for getting me sick, Sunshine, and while I have you here, you have a ridiculous name.
I have been through a lot of love triangles in my day. Me/My TV/My Bed, Me/My TV/Napping, My/My TV/A Meatball Sub, but all those pale in comparison to The OC, which had 8 major love triangles in the first season. 8! Of the 8, some were ridiculous (a mom and her daughter's ex boyfriend), while others provided the viewing public with one of the most popular love triangles in television history. The first season of The OC had so much story (and such a great budding bromance) that two popular characters who found themselves on the wrong side of those love triangles were written off by season's end.
3. A Truly Original Soap Comedy
Teen dramas tend to rely heavily on comically melodramatic moments, but The OC eschewed traditional television format by taking serious subjects and making them fun. The OC’s like that cool substitute teacher who lets you call them by their first name and allows the class to watch Spider-Man 2 so everyone can learn about “science.” The OC didn’t let its characters to take themselves too seriously, which allowed viewers to relate and ultimately care about them in a more intimate way. The OC also created the best (okay maybe the second or third best) TV-constructed holiday in pop culture history: Chrismukkah.
2. Musical Moments
Nobody utilizes music to heighten the dramatic tension of a scene better than OC creator Josh Schwartz. As an ardent superfan of both music and crying, no program past or present does a better job of employing music to transform a scene from cute to memorable to butterflies-in-the-stomach-phenomenal. Have your box of tissues nearby, because whether it’s a last minute dash to spend New Year’s Eve with your significant other, a heartfelt goodbye to a friend, or a dramatic realization that you should be with your one true love, no series is better at producing emotionally compelling musical moments than The OC.
The relationship between Seth and Summer is the undisputed heart and soul of The OC. I’m not imploring you to watch this series because it’s a program I enjoyed way back in 2004 ,when dinosaurs roamed freely around the earth, I’m recommending this series because it was an ambitious, heartfelt program that will make you smile. A perfect example of The OC’s unique sentimentality is the infamous “coffee cart scene.” A moment that would have almost certainly been considered a hackneyed attempt at contrived drama if attempted by a different television series ended up as an iconic declaration of love in the steady hands of The OC.
Watch the first season of The OC now and thank me later.
Have you ever seen The OC? Do you have a gigantic crush on Seth Cohen? Is there a television show past or present that you're obsessed with, but your friends won't watch? Please tell me I'm not the only person who loved Chuck!