Welcome to the O.C., Bitch

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Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood
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Marissa Cooper and Summer Roberts
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Summer Roberts, Seth Cohen, Marissa Cooper, and Ryan Atwood
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Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen
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Summer Roberts
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Ryan Atwood and Seth Cohen
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Benjamin McKenzie, Mischa Barton, and Adam Brody
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Seth Cohen
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper
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Marissa Cooper
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Seth Cohen
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Benjamin McKenzie, Peter Gallagher, and Adam Brody
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Ryan Atwood, Marissa Cooper, Summer Roberts, and Seth Cohen
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Marissa Cooper
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Sandy and Kirsten Cohen
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper
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Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper
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Seth Cohen
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Anna Stern, Summer Roberts, and Seth Cohen
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Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody, and Mischa Barton
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood
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Ryan Atwood and Seth Cohen
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Benjamin McKenzie, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, and Adam Brody
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Luke Ward and Marissa Cooper
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Marissa Cooper
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Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen
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Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood
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Marissa Cooper, Ryan Atwood, Summer Roberts, and Seth Cohen
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Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen
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Ryan Atwood
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Seth Cohen and Ryan Atwood
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Ryan Atwood and Seth, Kirsten, and Sandy Cohen
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Marissa Cooper
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Marissa Cooper and Luke Ward
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Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen
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Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood
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Marissa Cooper, Summer Roberts, Seth Cohen, and Ryan Atwood
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper
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Ryan Atwood and Sandy Cohen
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Ryan Atwood and Seth Cohen
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Sandy Cohen and Jimmy Cooper
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts
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Seth Cohen, Summer Roberts, Marissa Cooper, and Ryan Atwood
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Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen
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Summer Roberts, Marissa Cooper, Seth Cohen, and Ryan Atwood
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Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper

While predictably full of implausible adventures for its too-old actors, The O.C., a Y2K edition of the addictive primetime soap (following in the footsteps of Beverly Hills, 90210, Dynasty, etc), was so much more than a tv show! It became a bible for mid-aughts teens, changing the way we—and adults, apparently—communicated, the music we listened to, even gaining the support of real-life intellectuals like Bill Simmons and Ira Glass. And, as much as it pains us to admit, it’s been a decade since Ryan Atwood first became whoever you wanted him to be.

What The O.C. had that other shows didn’t—beside an amazing opening song (Californiaaaaaaaaaaa)—was four seasons of a “relatable” cast of characters. Whether you were a depressed rich girl, a nebbish, comic-book-loving nerd, a misunderstood bad boy, a ditzy but lovable best friend, or one half of the most perfect parental unit in history, The O.C. had a character for you. And the show tackled issues: depression (Marissa), drugs (Marissa), suicidal tendencies (debatably, Marissa and definitely Oliver), money-laundering fathers (Marissa’s), alcoholism (Marissa, Kirsten, much of Newport Beach), infidelity (Kirsten and Sandy!!!!!!), sex (all of them!), absentee parents (Ryan and Marissa), shootings (stupid Donnie and, again, Marissa), general teen angst (all of them), runaway children (Seth!), unplanned pregnancies (the terrible Theresa), and so much more. Looking back at that list, it really is no wonder that Marissa ended the way she did (too soon?). Girl had it rough. The beautiful and the damned… R.I.P. Marissa Cooper.

But more than entertaining us with a crew of unnervingly attractive teenagers with more money and freedom than they knew what to do with (what did you think would happen in TJ, come on, Jimmy and Julie!), we owe The O.C. for introducing us to many an indie-rock musician. Obviously many of the spotlighted bands pre-dated the series—everyone knows the lyrics to at least one Oasis song—but it was show creator Josh Schwartz, his on-screen avatar Seth Cohen, and those Music from The O.C.: Mixes 1-6 that drove the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, The Shins (ok, Garden State helped too…), Rooney, Modest Mouse, and certainly Phantom Planet to commercial success. After the summer of 2003, being indie, emo, or alt (even if everyone else was jumping on that same bandwagon) was cool. We all wanted to be Seth or Marissa (especially when she schooled her next-door neighbor with musical knowledge in the second episode), even if, deep down, most of us are more like Luke at the Rooney concert.

Other things for which we can't thank The O.C. enough: the popularity of swoop bangs, Lacoste, the never-popular-enough leather cuffs on men look, at least two songs that can bring us to tears at the drop of a hat, a new way of saying “Ew,” Adam Brody, and memories that hold such a special place in our heart, even the terrible seasons three and four can’t undo what joy season one brought us. If we can’t go back to the Cohens' pool house, a trip down memory lane will suffice. Welcome (back) to the O.C., bitch.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Charlotte

    I love the OC, but hate my eternal crush Seth Cohen. I blame him for my high standards and expectations.

  • nicolecontrol

    Let us not forget the gift of Chrismukkah!

  • mressentialist

    Trip down memory lane!

  • Kasey Michelle

    Loved this post. I was obsessed with The OC and can't believe it's been a decade! Feeling old...
    pleinvanity.wordpress.com

  • Lindsay Sue

    When I saw Marissa Cooper wear Uggs in like, the first episode, I went straight to Nordstrom and bought Uggs.

    In addition to that, I got bangs like hers. During my Freshman year of college (the year this show aired) a guy hit on me and said I looked like Marissa Cooper because of my bangs. I, of course, swooned.

    sigh...

  • http://www.loveandbellinis.com/ Jaclyn Larisa

    I was so obsessed with the OC. and I totally agree, the music was one of the best parts! I still own season 1...I may have to pop it into the dvd player today.

  • Ellie

    Way to make me cry at work!

  • Lydia Kim

    Gonna go home and watch from ep. 1 all over again!

    • Adeola Naomi Aderemi

      I am doing the same thing at the moment!!!

  • Julia Sweeney

    Let's discuss the leather rope (choker?) that Ryan wore around his neck ...

    • Jess

      Hahaha I'm amazed by how many of the "fashions" have dated!

  • cat butt

    I adored this show. (Until "Coop" died, after that I couldn't watch it anymore.) everyone who knew me knew not to call me during the show, and I literally bawled when Ryan was carrying Marissa away from the car wreck, and it flashed to all the other times he'd carried her away from some other awful thing, and oh god it was so sad!!!!

    Also, Peter Gallagher's eyebrows. Swoon.

  • KT

    I completely forgot about Anna...a bit rude considering she was my hair inspiration for all of highschool!

  • maria

    seth and summer!!!!!!

  • ChristineStorch

    Loved this show so much!! IT was so much fun!!

  • http://LuxeLifeAspirations.blogspot.ie/ Michelle

    I loved The OC... although now I feel really old!

  • Alison Bell

    "...even the terrible seasons three and four can't undo what joy season one brought us." I agree completely! I was thirteen years old when The O.C. premiered over here in the UK, and it became a huge part of my life in a way that no TV show had before or has since. I can quote the first season 'til I'm blue in the face.

    Alison Bell

    P.S. While Seth Cohen was obviously always the more adorable/witty one, I feel that Ryan Atwood/Ben McKenzie's arms also deserve a mention. They were like their own character...

  • http://www.downtownhautefashion.blogspot.com/ Leslie

    I was so completely obsessed with this show as a teen. It definitely inspired me to wear some questionable fashions. haha!

  • Nadia Perlepes

    what O.C had, compared with gossip girl and other recent imitations, is PLOT.

  • Kim

    Marissa Cooper was definitely an inspiration style wise when it came to TV characters!

    http://www.buddhachicandbuttercream.com

  • NatSeesStyle

    That damn clip from the end of season 1 gets me every time! The combination of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah and Kirsten sobbing uncontrollably makes me just lose it!

  • Cristina

    Hah! I feel so nastalgic. Ahh 2003, The OC (season one only) was the best. Remember when Mischa Barton was gorgeous?

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