Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The OC Season 2 Episode 4 - Stop disgruntling me, Josh Schwartz

Previously: Season 2 Episode 3

This is the new era of The OC and I'm not sure if I'm too happy.

Cohen is the virus and Zach is the cure. Zach is the anti-Cohen
- Summer on Zach, the WASP version of Seth

(click here to continue)

I usually do an OC post within 24 hours of every new episode, but (1) I got lazy, and (2) my girlfriend prefers that I spend time with her instead of sitting in front of the computer and writing for no one in particular (I'm getting quite fond of spending quality time with her though - I wonder if this is a strain of the Stockholm Syndrome. But I digress).

This is also usually where I post an episode recap but I'm going to spend the next couple of paragraphs bitchin' and moanin'. Consider yourself warned.

Well, let's get the rundown out of the way - the four principals, Ryan, Seth take their dates/OC newbies to a Killers concert/product placement featuring The Killers, and exchange heys with Summer with her newbie, Zach, and Marissa, who will later rendezvous with a newbie of her own. Caleb is keeping secrets from Sandy -I wonder if he knows about this revolutionary attorney-client confidentiality thing- while Julie is crap as The Newport Group's puppet CEO, so she throws a party at the Cohens' against Kirsten's will. Jimmy smiles a lot. The end.

Now, I enjoy watching a trainwreck as much as the next man. But this season's OC isn't a trainwreck; the writers are pushing the train off the track while telling us "Look, the train is going off the tracks! Isn't this awesome?" No, Josh Schwartz, it's not awesome.

Well, here is my litany of complaints:
  1. I like the Killers. I really do. But damn if the camerawork during the performance was down right junior high AV club-ish. The catwalk POV does not work one bit, unless the intent was to make me dizzy and nauseous.

  2. Where are the fights? Julie Cooper hosted a party at the Cohens' and not a punch was thrown. What the fuck? How does Kirsten not deck Julie at any single point in the episode? Thankfully, the preview for next week's episode does indicate a well deserved punch from Zach landing on Seth's noggin. Which gets us to our next point

  3. Who is this babbling, annoying idiot stalking Summer who won't shut up, and when is the real Seth Cohen coming back? We loved Seth last season. He was insecure, but he still had his charms and he had a worthy goal, so we supported him. Even when he was balancing two girls, he never came off as smarmy. He honestly couldn't figure out how to handle both Anna and Summer. He was funny. He dropped genuinely cool references (i.e. the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay parallel)
    This year, it's Summer this, Summer that, my life is over, I'm getting over with my life blah blah blah. I wish you'd just go back to Portland and shack up with Luke.

  4. DJ - out of all the new characters, the lawn boy is the least interesting. He's basically an Abercrombie & Fitch poster, complete with glistening pecs peaking out of his $60 unbuttoned button-down, but without the personality or the second dimension. In a sense, I guess he's perfect guy to trim Marissa's hedges - maybe they can talk about how little personality they have between the two of them. Well, maybe in real life, but we care very little about Marissa to begin with, but when the two walking personality voids are together, we, as a TV character, Marissa registers a big fat zero on the Give-a-shit-o-meter.
    He's apparently not even a good lawn boy because he doesn't carry a single piece of landscaping equipment in his big shiny late model pick up truck (even lawnboys are rich in Orange County, apparently) and his clothes are alwasy sparkling clean - never a stain, grass, sweat, grease or otherwise.

  5. Speaking of clothes, what the hell happened to The OC fashion? There used to be something cool about it, sort of Fifth Avenue meets East Village thing, but just look at what their wearing this episode.

    First, Marissa. Someone tell me - is this newspaper boy, chimney sweep or shoe shiner. Call me elitist, but I never found any of the above professions all that sexy.
    Summer's cool with me. She's rocking a North Carolina t-shirt which not at all ironic, I'm certain.
    Ryan - he doesn't look bad, but what happened to the wife beater? Or the Urban Outfitter leather wrist band? We liked him because the badass from Chino. Now he's just an AP-taking, straigh-A's-getting college-bound preppy nerd living in Newport Beach. When was the last time he kicked anyone's ass?
    Like Ryan, Lindsay is from the wrong side from the tracks, far from the Harbor High runway crowd... yet she's dressed in her Office Barbie pink pantsuit. Does her financial aid include a fashion stipend? Seriously.

    Nah, I realize that The OC fashion can be over the top sometime, but at least they were usually true to the characters. Now, they're just playing dress up.

Of course, you might be wondering why I watch continue to watch The OC if I hate it so much. No, I still enjoy it. I'm just a little frustrated that the writing is not nearly as smart as it was last season, and the action-to-melodrama ratio seems to have dropped dramatically. And last season had its slow moments, but things seemed to go in 3 or 4-episode cycles, while this season has yet to deliver a really good episode. Only the episode before Thanksgiving has come close.

But we'll see. It took me a few episodes to hook me last season and this year might just be the same - I just had higher expectations coming in (though I knew that it could just as easily jump a shark or two). We'll just have to wait till Thursday, and then we'll start talking about switching our Thursday night TV alleigance to Joey

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