Season 2, Episode 2
Date of airing: November 11, 2004 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 8.08 million viewers, 5.1/8 in Households, 3.6/9 with Adults 18-49
The episode title is very much correct on all levels, and not just for the premise of this hour itself. Two episodes into the season and THE O.C. is like the first season, in which things are always about Ryan and Marissa, as well as Seth and Summer, and in-between those couplings, there is always a problem that involves Caleb, which will then come and go haunt Sandy, causing trouble in his marriage with Kirsten while Sandy somehow can get over the fact that he hates his father-in-law, yet always helps him when the crap really hits the fan. That was pretty much to go-to plot for most of the first-season episodes, and now 50 percent of the second season so far is built like that, making these few episodes of the show’s second round kind of an extension to the first season. And I’m not so sure that is such a great idea. Yes, parts of the first season were pretty great, but that’s because things were still fresh, and the couplings have never annoyed me. Except for Caleb, who always annoyed me, and yet this story is continuing. I did however mention that his legal drama made him a bit of an interesting character, but it still doesn’t mean that I will suddenly appreciate him as a character on a weekly primetime soap opera. I would still love to see him in an orange overall though.
Zach has pretty much been the only worthy new character introduced to the pool, and even he feels like he is not worthy enough for the show, and just a plot device for ye olde Seth and Summer drama. It looks like Zach is a very nice character, who happens to have friend potential for Seth, bringing in some awkwardness and real potential into the Seth/Summer saga, but this episode didn’t really do the job of giving the new kid some coloring and depth, making me believe that he is indeed Summer’s wannabe boyfriend, or is at east interested in her and seeing competition in Seth. I do have to say though, the fact that Zach started off as Seth’s friend before becoming Summer’s boyfriend is intriguing — it’s certainly one way to ship around the genre cliches from the treasure box of television tropes, and it gives the Seth/Summer story a new angle to work with.
In the meantime, DJ was super boring as the new hot love interest for the depressed teenage character who likes to get drunk during school. He is ripped, he looks freaking attractive even for my straight white male standards, he is the type of guy every rich woman likes to get laid with at night, right after his job is finished, or in the middle of the day, right in-between his sessions of cleaning the pool — that would have been enough for me, and he could have been a wonderful and hilarious soap opera cliche. But no, he has to witness Marissa and Ryan making out, and he needs to be jealous about it, and he must fight with Marissa about another guy, and all this has to look like he thinks this is a real relationship, and when you cheat, you’re a bad person. DJ, here are two things I would like to say to you: One, there is something that’s called polygamy, look it up, it’s apparently wonderful. Two, you are an asshole for playing the jealous type, when you didn’t even have grounds believing that you had Marissa and will be her boyfriend for the rest of eternity. Sorry, but you are the yard guy and she obviously made it clear that this was never really a relationship. Or maybe she did and you just didn’t notice? I don’t know, because the writers never developed you as a character, let alone focused on the relationship.
All this is bringing me to say that I don’t really like what’s going on right now, because it’s first season material being used for the second season, and that shows the kind of laziness this season might produce over the course of the next few episode, before the writers room would figure out what to do with the show during its second year. Because really, if you start the new season with the same set of problems, what exactly did go wrong during the first few meetings of the writing staff? I yawned when Marissa and DJ kissed and Ryan was there to witness it all, because it was also a super predictable moment right out of the playbook of soap operas. And Seth doing his best of by humping a hot dog stand before attempting to confess his love yet again to the same woman makes me think that he hasn’t learned anything from recent events. And so the writers didn’t either.
So, was there anything in this episode I liked? Maybe Amanda Righetti, who looked hella attractive with her strawberry blond hair, and I kind of got sad that the writers were beginning to make Hailey disappear, because apparently there can’t be THE O.C. without Jimmy being happy with another woman right now. And this after it became normal for him and Hailey to be together and dating, with no one throwing side eyes at them, especially not Kirsten. Also, I kinda got jealous that the two love birds were living on a yacht. I’d love that, too, but first I have to either win the lottery, rob a bank, or marry a rich woman who dies after a couple of months and I inherit all her money. I did get to think a lot lately that I would buy a boat, if I get my hands on a lot of money. MAIDENTRIP and the story of Laura Dekker did that — I might not have the guts to sail around the world, but living on a boat? That has been sounding awfully awesome these past few years, ever since I watched the documentary for the first time and considered it my all-time favorite documentary feature.