The O.C. (“The Strip”)

Season 1, Episode 26
Date of airing: April 28, 2004 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 10.52 million viewers, 6.6/10 in Households, 4.7/12 with Adults 18-49

Next time when Seth decides to make out with a girl in Las Vegas, he should expect to pay up before inviting her to his penthouse suite. It was pretty much predictable that Jen would turn out to be a prostitute, as soon as Seth decided to ask her up to the penthouse, and my suspicions were correct, when she was stunned that she was able to get into the penthouse and take her girlfriends with. Because penthouse guests mean money. Seriously, it was a plot so predictable, I’m stunned that neither Seth nor Ryan realized what they were getting into here, but I guess they were too deep into the Vegas magic of it all, let alone old enough to even expect prostitutes trying to get some money from unsuspecting rich folks from the West coast. Also, Jen was too hot a woman to be considered a prostitute. Whenever I will be in Las Vegas (well, the correct word is “if,” because I’m sure I will never go to Vegas), I shall remember that there will always be a prostitute trying to rip me off. Lesson learned, thank you THE O.C.

The episode was okay. I liked that Caleb had a sinister agenda when it comes to buying out Jimmy and Sandy, and I liked that the guy happened to be turning into a bona fide villain this late in the season, begging the question if his future wedding with Julie might be in danger, or if she is turning into a villain next season as well, partnering up with her new man of and partner in crime. I wouldn’t mind the latter at all, because a) Julie was already a good villain way before Caleb was established as one, and b) the writers’ efforts to turn Julie into a likable character after she became part of the main character pool have been fruitless so far. So why not going all in and make Julie evil, have her build a few bombs and then blow up a house or an apartment complex or something in that regard? And if it sounds like I really want to watch MELROSE PLACE, I kind of want to, but the size of the show scares me away a little. I can accept seven-season shows, but when I start watching MELROSE PLACE, I know I will be with that show for longer than a year most likely, and I don’t know if I want to make that commitment just yet. Especially since I will also have to watch BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, since consistency is my thing.

What happens in Vegas is usually transmitted via phone.

But I was talking about THE O.C., which only has four seasons, binding me to the show for three to four months only, if I were lucky enough to have so much time to watch one episode a day of a show. The trip to Vegas could have been filled with a little more awesomeness, but I guess Seth and Ryan needed to be on an adventure, and Jimmy and Sandy had to hold themselves back, since they only had one interest. I’m wondering if the two fathers actually had any knowledge of what the kids were doing, because really, having four prostitutes and two or three pimps hanging out and bowl for a few hours is kind of noticeable. I guess none of the adults in the story actually went up to the penthouse during those hours and wondered what’s up? Also, $250 for Jen for an hour? Okay, she sold herself for an entire night, and the boys didn’t know they were paying, but the rate seems kind of cheap for the quality of the girls and where they were working. Looks like THE O.C. wanted to be realistic about the price rates for prostitutes in this soap opera drama, because really, Jen’s pimp could have upped the price. Hell, he was pimping in the penthouse. He could have asked for a grand per hour per girl plus whatever charges he could come up with.

I do like that the whole Vegas adventure wasn’t filled with tropes though. The pimps didn’t swing fists or showed pistols, the trucker hat guy didn’t beat up Ryan for taking away his money, and even Jen was nice, when she donated another buy-in for Ryan, although that was helped along by the fact that Jen recognized Ryan’s scheming ways and found herself in front of a friend for a second. At the end of the day, the boys (and Summer) had an easy happy end here — a little too easy for my taste, because they came out of the Vegas experience quite happy, in contrast to the adults who came with him, as Caleb got a nose job, Jimmy learned that he practically lost his daughter and Sandy decided to go to war with his father-in-law.

Jimmy finally throws a real punch for once.

Meanwhile back in Newport Beach, Julie was actually thinking about paying a stripper for sex. You see, she was in Vegas before, she knew what was going on when she gets propositioned like that. The cat fight with Hailey might have been a little too much for me, but it looks like their always has to be a fight in the Cohen backyard now, including a fall into the pool, since THE O.C. is like me and also adores consistency, and bringing a consistent running joke into the show of people smashing each other during a Newport Beach party is only logical. Ryan has put his stamp onto the community, and now everyone is swinging fists.

And then there is the story that was almost forgettable, because it barely got any notable screentime. Theresa’s pregnancy didn’t come out of nowhere, because it was already teased upon the audience when she walked out of the bathroom in the beginning, looking like she just puked. At least the secret wasn’t kept in the closet for a long time — the next moment Theresa revealed the pregnancy test, and half an episode later Marissa already knew. Well, there you have your season finale premise, ladies and gentlemen. A pregnancy, a couple about to break up again, a few adults scheming against another, and a wedding. This is like a soap opera.

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