The O.C. (“The New Kids on the Block”)

Season 2, Episode 3
Date of airing: November 18, 2004 (FOX)
Nielsen ratings information: 7.42 million viewers, 4.9/8 in Households, 3.2/9 with Adults 18-49

Finally, an episode that felt like a season premiere. Two new characters have been introduced, a new set has been established for the characters to hang out in, a new job has been fished out of the water for one of the adult characters while another has lost their job, and there was a sense of change in this episode, with Ryan and Lindsay somehow finding a connection at the very end (albeit the change coming out of nowhere), and Seth and Marissa sobbing side-by-side in their pain and sorrow. I was wondering if the writers thought about bringing Seth and Marissa together for a little fling here, because seeing them sitting together and having the same emotional crisis should normally bring two people together forever and always, and they should have all the beautiful children and die as old people together in the same bed, holding hands. Because really, Marissa’s story can’t just be all about Ryan, while Seth’s story can’t just be all about Summer, right? That would make this show boring. This is still a weekly primetime soap opera, so people better be dating all the other people and never stay single. There should always be sex for everyone, with everybody.

They hate each other now, but in five episodes they will break each other’s hearts.

It was a solid episode. Lindsay might have been a bit of a cliched character, and her thoughts of dumb and stupid Ryan, the guy she hasn’t even met yet, were coming from the book of television tropes, but I remember again why I loved Shannon Lucio so much back in the day, and why not even someone like Olivia Wilde (who looked very punk-ish in this episode, which was also kind of cool) could make me change my mind. She is the pure outsider here, not giving any flying craps about who does what in this rich school of even richer kids, but at least having the smarts to back up her pissed-off attitude, although maybe she thought a little too much that she could rule her stay at Harbor by doing everything alone, not even thinking about the possibility that teamwork is also a thing during advanced classes. I mean, right after Ryan went up to the teacher and told him that Ryan didn’t attribute anything to the report, wouldn’t that be the first sign of “Don’t think of Ryan as stupid?” Wouldn’t that be a big clue of how Ryan isn’t like all the other rich water polo players with an infinity pool (I didn’t even know they were called infinity pools until now). She is the Andrea-type character in THE O.C., the one who comes from far away to study at the best high school to have a change at an ivy league college, and like Andrea back in BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, she kind of hangs out and maybe crushes a little bit on the central main character of the show. And besides all that, Lucio is very charming and cute here. No wonder I was crushing on her back in the day. Olivia who?

Seth’s story might have been a bit dumb and troped-up as well, but I guess the writers needed to make clear for good now that him and Summer aren’t happening for at least a good few episodes, which I’m glad about. Summer can deal with someone else than “her” Cohen, and Seth can be given a different storyline, until he decides to go back to Summer and fight for her love, because it would be nice if those two central characters would get to do something else in the show than just be the story anchor for each other. It kind of started in a good way during this episode, as Seth was actually asking for help from Marissa — seeing those two together could start things up, and I don’t particularly mean it in a romance-kinda way. The two have never shared moments that could make them friends, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them being friends, while Ryan and Seth are unable to be “just friends” with their ex-girlfriends. Let Marissa nerd it out with Seth for once. Who knows, maybe she will have fun. Sex for everyone, I said!

Look who’s in the world force now!

Meanwhile, there was an adult storyline going on as well, and I barely cared. Again, as it’s always the case with the adult storylines full of crime and rich white dudes. For a moment I did care just a little though, as Sandy quit his job (so, he’ll be going back to becoming a public defender?) and Kirsten was threatening to quit, making them both unemployed, creating an opportunity for some money problems in this show full of pretty people with money. But Sandy didn’t even care that he didn’t have a job, and Kirsten ended up with a better one. Ugh, such lucky people. On the other side of town, there was this interesting conversation between Jimmy and Julie. Interesting because it wasn’t filled with loathsomeness, and instead with appreciation and respect and understanding. Finally, the two stopped hating each other, and it’s almost like they were about to start falling in love with each other again. Besides all that, Julie deserved to be going through the same crap she went through less than a year ago with Jimmy — if you marry for money, then you gotta live through the consequences of when the money isn’t there any longer. But what did my eyes catch here? Julie got an executive job? She is actually gonna work now? Color me shocked.

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