Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Perfect Storm

I will break my vow of silence to let you know that it is "The O.C." (Thursday, FOX, 8 p.m.) I'm giving the silent treatment to. I have nothing new to say about the cliched characters (the evil dean, Summer's bratty rival, Kirsten's crazy friend)… - TV Gal,

A friend of mine looked at me in class Thursday morning and said, “The O.C. comes back tonight!” I looked back and said, “I know, I’m really excited. And I’m dreading it.”

And that’s the truth. I was dreading this episode far more than I was looking forward to it because let’s face it – the show hasn’t been that great so far. I know that when we last saw the show, everyone was drooling over it, and I was pretty pleased as well, but in all honesty, it wasn’t a great episode. And “Forever Young” really wasn’t that great of a song.

I appreciate the optimism of some members of the fan base, but we can’t just settle for anything. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s what we were doing.

So as I watched the return of One Tree Hill and saw that it was a show that has only improved with age, that gets better nearly every week, and whose characters I’m actually fascinated by in terms of depth and as I watched reruns of the waning seasons of 90210 and saw that even in its latter seasons it maintained a pretty wicked sense of drama and that its storylines, no matter how cheesy, were almost always somewhat entertaining, I began to wonder if Josh Schwartz’s baby was really the show for me.

And you know what? It still is.

Welcome back folks to another insightful week of, um, insight as we pick apart this show, see what’s working, what isn’t, what could be, and what should be.

I’ve missed you guys dearly, but the break was much needed, that’s for sure. It was nice to have weekends without the stress of the review – not that I don’t enjoy writing, but if I’m going to write, I want to put out the best review possible – and just concentrate on doing homework, watching football, and sleeping.

So I don’t think any of you would doubt after reading the introduction that I was pleased with last night’s episode. Okay, so it wasn’t a great episode, but it was really good, a step in the right direction.

Sandy and Kirsten…

I forgive Sandy for the Rebecca debacle after watching him last night. Sandy spent a large portion of last season as an overbearing father and a non-caring husband, and the show, not coincidentally, suffered during that time. But he’s back. And last night, he was simply amazing. I think first of all I need to address one of my favorite moments of the series so far and, if you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know what it is:

“Unless you have a court-ordered injunction against my son…”

You don’t even have to finish the sentence. This emphasis on the Sandy/Ryan father/son relationship this season is a real bright spot, and the way that Sandy stuck his neck out for Ryan was great. Of course, Ryan didn’t listen, but it really doesn’t matter to me.

And I appreciate Sandy’s effort to try to get Ryan to stay. Part of me believes that Sandy would have let Ryan go anyway, even if he were going to drop out of school because Sandy understands it. I know he would never want Ryan to throw away his future, but I do think he’s raising his kids to be free thinkers and risk takers. And I think that’s why Sandy finally buckled at the end and didn’t try to stop him. You have to allow people to make mistakes before they make the right choices.

Sandy’s very random tofu comments at the dinner table were a definite highlight of the show. To-bagel with cream to-cheese truly was “a valiant effort.”

And the way he handled the Dean. Just great. I harp a lot on the Ryan/Sandy relationship and I don’t want to overlook the Seth/Sandy connection, one of the best chemistries on television. I feel like they actually give the impression that they are a father and son with enough sarcasm and similarity to handle the tension that comes from being a parent and child. So watching Sandy step up and handle the situation with the dean and to do so in a way that was so subtle and smart, that’s excellent parenting. And I think it’s a nice touch that Sandy didn’t reveal it was all a scheme. He just let Hess continue to think what he wants. Wonderful.

As for the marriage itself, it’s great to see the two back together, working together, bickering and bantering together, and just loving each other. They really work best when they’re a tag team and despite being the most ridiculously good looking parents, they carry such a sense of responsibility and love with them. Watching them work together to try to sort things out with Ryan was wonderful and I’m glad that there aren’t any Rebecca wrenches looming in the darkness. We’ve had enough of those twists, that’s for sure.

Julie Cooper-Nichol…

C’mon, she deserves to have her last names in there. It’s who she is.

The close shot of Julie’s face while she sunbathed led to what I expected it to, but it was still a hilarious, yet sad, twist. Watching cops haul someone off as Julie sat there trying to maintain some dignity was extremely cruel as you see that Julie just doesn’t want to let go of what she had, but she really has no choice. She’s thrust into a different world, and she’s handling it like only Julie Cooper-Nichol can and would.

As for throwing her in the Charlotte mix, I’m a little torn because it can go one of two ways, though I’m not sure what way I want it to go.

I think it’d be very awesome to see Julie return back to her bitchiest and completely immerse herself in Charlotte’s scheme. Lord knows that I’ve been praying for a consistent villain on the show since Caleb died, someone in the mold of Valerie Malone or Dan Scott. I think it’s what the show needs – someone who will turn with the snap of a finger. So watching Julie do whatever it takes to regain her power, in the disguise of doing whatever it takes for her family, would instantly add drama to the family especially since she’d be burning Kirsten in the process.

But there’s also the possibility that she’ll call Charlotte on her bluff and we’ll be able to see Julie using her powers for good. She’s definitely too smart to fall for Charlotte’s crap. This game that Charlotte is playing is something that Julie knows, and she’ll be able to recognize it, I believe. And when she lets Kirsten know what’s going on, we’ll see Julie show how she can remain powerful and good.

It’s interesting because they both provide Julie a chance to shine and they both provide excellent character possibilities, but we have to see what benefits the show more. Is it better to have Julie return to how she was, or is it better to have Julie move forward? I don’t know. We’ll see what the show has in store. Whatever that is, it better be something good. Melinda Clarke is gold, and she deserves the best.

Ryan and Marissa…

Is it any secret that I really don’t care much for these two together? Is it also a secret that I, against my will, have started to warm up to them? No, on both accounts.

That’s not to say that they’re great now, but this week’s fight really felt real. It didn’t feel like two people fighting about a relationship, but it felt like two people fighting about their relationship, and that’s such a welcome change of pace. There was a sense that these two care about each other, and that they just aren’t thrown together because there’s no one else around. The fight wasn’t about outside forces like DJ or Theresa, but it was about how these two relate to each other.

Sure, the idea that Ryan wanted to leave was ridiculously stupid, but at least a legitimate fight came from it. The nice twist with Marissa running to Ryan only to not apologize was pretty fun, as well. Again, not everything ends up happy.

Until next week, when it appears Marissa suddenly falls for Johnny. The previews have Marissa saying that Johnny just “gets her.” What the hell is there to get about Marissa Cooper? She’s the most wooden, least complex character in the history of television. We’re talking up there with Lisa Turtle.

Looking at the dean storyline, I have to applaud the writing of this story. I didn’t care much for Hess overall – I didn’t mind him at first, but time is good for perspective – but the writers handled everything very delicately.

See, this show is known for a short, choppy storytelling structure. Things happen, then more things happen, then some more things happen, and even though things connect, it’s not as if there’s any real emotional fallout or anything. They connect in story but not in anything greater.

But this one did.

We saw how Ryan felt about the suspension. It brought out his biggest insecurities, it drudged up his past, and elicited the feelings that he’d worked so hard to forget. As he said, it made him realize he’s not an Atwood, but he’s not a Cohen, either. He’s changed, but he’s still hanging on to that past, and despite his outward change, he still feels conflicted inside. I don’t see how Ryan would react so snappily to Sandy normally, but when he did, it felt normal because we could clearly see his emotional problems, where’d they’d come from, and why they were there.

Bravo to the writers for this one.

Seth and Summer…

Rachel Bilson is carrying the show at the moment. Peter Gallagher is a close second, but Bilson is the one on top; there is no doubt about that. She’s handling this role with such a wonderful middle school maturity that’s extremely reflective of actual high school experience. Okay, so there really aren’t people to the extreme of Taylor in regular high schools, but the drama that she brings isn’t too far exaggerated.

Her character’s wants and desires – to have power and to make others go through hell to get it – seem pretty reasonable, and most of the people who try to achieve success through these means end up acting like they’re only eighth graders. Hell, most kids in high school are horribly immature. So it’s nice to see someone act with the maturity of an actual high school kid instead of, I don’t know, going to join a commercial fishing boat.

I started to worry when Seth wouldn’t believe Summer’s claims because I remember the last time that Seth wouldn’t believe one of his friends – remember something called the Oliver storyline of ’04? Yeah, it could have gotten really ugly really quickly. But then things got a little better when Seth, rather suddenly actually, joined up forces and agreed to fight the evils of Taylor and Hess. I would have liked to have seen them dress up in superhero costumes, actually, but I guess that’s just wishful thinking.

And it was nice to see them actually win this battle, even though I believe the war is far from over. Hess is gone, but I think Taylor’s just as strong as ever. But watching her stand on her own and try to go one-on-one with Summer is likely to be a lot of fun. And if not, at least they’re both hot.

And, as I said, Adam seemed to finally want to be there. Maybe it was just that the material was better or maybe he was on the good weed, I don’t know, but whatever it was, he had far more life. His list of things that Ryan could be doing was great, as was his list of things that Ryan could do with his life.

Okay, so looking at this, the Taylor/Summer/Seth stuff is a little thin, but I’m enjoying it, so who cares? I’ll stick with thin if it means it’s enjoyable. And it’s got potential to be scathingly good fun. Just as long as Taylor doesn’t steal Seth. Ugh.

Odds and Ends…

Summer’s parrot impression was so great that I want to mail a parrot to Rachel Bilson just to thank her. But I have a feeling that’s either animal cruelty or stalking, so I better refrain.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Johnny was just trying to help Ryan and not push Ryan and Marissa apart?

Since when do schools allow strangers to have lunch?

Since when does going to public school equal not being able to get into college? I went to public school and I’m getting raped by a good college both academically and financially at this point.

How many clothes did Ryan bring on the boat?

Who else noticed that Ryan’s hair was wet out of the shower and that it was completely dry when he sat down on his bed?

Can you believe that the show actually referenced past events? Seth and Summer brought up both Theresa and the Luke/Julie storyline. How amazing! Could this be to foreshadow the return of our favorite 36 year old Chino girl and our favorite muscle-bound water polo player? All we needed was a mention of Anna to bring everything together. I guess you can’t have it all.

I can’t say that I’m upset about the World Series being over. It was nice to have FOX return with all of their shows.

Speaking of FOX shows, who else thought Reunion basically ruled the entire world last night? It was a very slow start, but the end was some of the best cliffhanging television I’ve seen in a long time. Excellent, excellent, excellent. People, if you haven’t watched this show, then do it! Get online, read some recaps, and catch up. It’s well worth it.

FOX sucks, though, don’t get me wrong. Again, they completely ruined a compelling moment by showing us Ryan’s “future” speech. Ah well. That’s life, I suppose.

So folks, thanks for reading. It’s good to be back. You can, as always, find me at Editorial Newport and OC Trailers and I hope that you’ll check both sites out as they continue to offer great content.

You can reach me at with all your questions, comments, complaints, well wishes, generally merriment, but NO SPOILERS.

See you guys in seven.



At 8:49 PM, Blogger Rodrigo said...

I love your reviews, and i totally remembered them when Sandy called Ryan his son on The Perfect Storm. I hope Josh dont hook up Taylor and Seth cause i think she should stay the whole season and i hope the 4th too.
I think she will try to vreak up Seth and Summer just to bug her. but i hope he keeps them together cause i love them.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Just wandering the blogosphere and happened on your blog. I like the way how you have put it all together. I'll be coming back again.


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