Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah

Well, I might have promised last week that I wouldn’t be late, and if that’s the case, I apologize. But I did get to watch the episode Thursday night thanks to a little something called the Chrismukkah Miracle.

See, I’m from South Carolina, and we were one of the unfortunate states hit by a rough ice storm last week. Tons of people without power, but luckily, from what I can gather, only a few deaths. Anyway, my house was without power starting Thursday morning. That had me worried, though I figured that things would be up and running by that night. By mid-afternoon, I was worried. Not so much about my religion final the next morning, though I probably should been, but about the fact that I might miss the episode. So I started to panic. My grandmother was without cable, too, so no luck there. I could have gone on campus and watched it, but things were messed up there, too.

Then, I realized someone I’d forgotten. My aunt had power. And cable. Yes, the perfect combination. So my brother, sister, and I packed up and headed across town to my aunt’s house to watch this episode of The O.C.. Granted, it wasn’t the same as watching it at home – would you believe that one reason I’m living at home in college is so that I can watch television the way that I’m accustomed to – but it was still fully working. No meteorology interruptions, no fuzzy reception, nothing. It was perfect.

That, my friends, is a Chrismukkah miracle.

Now that my power is up and running (and has been for a few days, actually, but I just haven’t felt like sitting down and writing), let’s discuss the episode.

Okay, so it wasn’t perfect. Johnny and Marissa are still brutal to watch, there wasn’t enough mention of Chrismukkah, and FOX ruined the ending as usual.

But you know what? I freaking loved it. I absolutely adored it in almost every conceivable way. I felt downright giddy after watching it. It was just a terrific holiday episode and even though it wasn’t the best episode of the season, it’s clearly my favorite.

FOX showed too much of the ending, but they spun the commercial well enough that I didn’t predict that Johnny was going to attempt to rob a store. We got real Summer angst as Josh developed her character. We saw a cool flashback ala many famous Friends episodes. We saw Julie’s thong. It’s just, I don’t know, I just absolutely loved it.

It’s difficult to break down the storylines this week in terms of characters because there was a lot of overlap, a few things ignored for a week, a few things brought up, so let’s see what we can make of it.

The love triangle which dare not speak its name…

I’m going to go ahead and try to knock this out early. I’ll try to do it quickly.

Look, this is a stupid storyline. The entire notion of Johnny coming into the storyline was ridiculous. The writers could have thought of a thousand different ways to create tension between Ryan and Marissa without actually bringing in this moronic character. The spin of having Johnny not want to be in love with Marissa was kind of nice, but overall, it was nonsensical since it all came out in the most clichéd of clichés: a drug-induced declaration.

And honestly, how many times can Ryan see something that he mistakes for something else? Haven’t they already done that storyline this season? Ryan walks up, sees Johnny acting wooden to the wooden skeleton, storms off, and then accepts an apology after moping for a little bit. C’mon, it’s stupid. The fact that Marissa continues to put herself in these situations – no one is stupid enough not to realize that they are doing it – shows that she doesn’t value this relationship at all. The fact that the writers continue to put this show at the forefront shows that they really value this relationship. So putting all their energy into characters that are written to not get along in some odd attempt to make fans want them together, it just doesn’t add up. This isn’t the will they/won’t they that made Ross and Rachel, Dawson/Pacey and Joey, or even Nathan and Haley such endearing couples. This is just like, “What the hell? How stupid are they?”

But again, I don’t blame Ryan for anything. Despite the fact that no rational human would act like him and accept Marissa’s consistent idiocy, she somehow has managed to convince him that he can’t do any better. He’s pretty insecure as it is, and I honestly see Marissa playing on that. I just don’t any kind of connection that would bring Ryan back so often.

It was nice to see that they didn’t play up the suicide angle with Johnny – don’t worry, I’m still president of the Johnny Should Kill Himself club (a club with at least four members), but it seemed so obvious by the previews – but man, what exactly did he expect to accomplish by robbing a store? I know that gas stations make good money, but did he really think there’d be enough in the register to pay for a surgery? What kind of surgery would that pay for? A kitchen knife and a shot of whiskey to numb the pain?

The biggest flaw about this storyline was the way it ended so quickly. Johnny’s about to rob the store and then we have this exchange:

Ryan: Don’t do it.
Johnny: I have to!
Ryan: Um, don’t.
Johnny: Oh, okay.

At least, though, Ryan has a promising career as a counselor if the architecture doesn’t work out. He’s talked Oliver out of suicide and Johnny out of robbery. What’s next? Seth out of comics? Perish the thought!


Ah, Rachel Bilson, the goddess of this show. She’s the queen of Newport and tonight was her crowning ceremony. I absolutely adored her.

This was such a beautiful episode for her because the writers finally fleshed her out. As I’ve stated before, she’s always seemed one of the most complex characters on the show, but she’s always been stiffed in terms of character development. It’s almost as if we could feel that the writers wanted to do more but didn’t know how to. So I’m glad to see her get her own story, and I’m glad that we got to find out about her mother.

We’ve always heard about the “step-monster” so it was nice to hear a little bit more. It’s sad to know that she’s leaving, even sadder to know that Summer’s mom just up-and-left. The scene where she was speaking with her dad was extremely poignant, as they have an excellent little chemistry going. The way that he seemed to put his work in front of Summer showed that he used it as a mask for reality. He seems incredibly vulnerable. Maybe it’s the milkshakes he’s been drinking since his first appearance in the first season (c’mon, like I wasn’t going to make a cheap weight joke).

Anyway, I thought it was very cool to know that Summer had originally planned to go to Seth’s bar mitzvah, even if she would have rather been at Luke’s party. I had this image of this adorable pre-teen Summer reluctantly walking to up young Seth, begrudgingly saying hey, and then Seth passing out. You have to wonder, what if she had come? She wasn’t the only kid to RSVP, but no one else showed up, but apparently she would have. It’s these small moments that really deepen the connection between Seth and Summer, make me love them more, and make me hate Ryan and Marissa more for their shallow connection.

So Summer didn’t save Chrismukkah this year, big deal. The extreme vulnerability, the character depth, and the connection between her and her father are more than enough reasons for me to give her a huge thumbs up.


If they aren’t going to give Julie something meaningful to do, then this was almost as good. Watching her slowly deteriorate into pure white trash is beautiful. The fact that she’s immersed herself in this lifestyle is pretty funny. I highly doubt that just because you live in a trailer you have to start dipping and watching NASCAR, but I suppose it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Now, as for the possible relationship between her and Neil Roberts, I’m all for it. I don’t see it happening as rumblings have a long-term love interest for Julie coming on to the show, but everything is subject to change. There is a definite chemistry between the actors, and there is a definite connection between the two. They’re both incredibly lonely, both trying to rebuild their lives. There is a wonderful opportunity to make these two a serious item. Can the writers do it? I don’t know, but I’d sure love to see it happen. If they actually got married, that’s too much because I can’t handle any more connections between characters. Marissa and Summer as sisters is only cool in a metaphorical sense.

Alas, at least we had the shot of the thong. That’s great enough for me.

Bar Mitzvahs and all that fun stuff…

It’s a good thing that Josh anticipated the backlash that this storyline would get by writing in Sandy’s reaction to the idea of a Bar Mitz-vahkkah. That took care of the political side of it, and that’s probably a good idea because, in a lot of ways, it was a pretty offensive storyline. I know the idea of doing it for charity made it a little better, but still, this is a sacred tradition from what I can gather. I always hated that I wasn’t Jewish because I wanted to have one. It seemed like such a cool thing. But I guess saying that doesn’t make me any better.

I digress, though. This storyline had loads of potential but only achieved some of it. The worst part of the story was that it wasn’t Ryan-centered as it should have been. It was focused on Johnny. This should have been about Ryan becoming a part of the family –when I heard this story was coming up, I imagined some grand declaration between the family and Ryan – but it was about Johnny’s surgery. And that’s stupid. The fans prefer to see storylines focused on the main characters. If the stories are focused on recurring characters, Josh could at least put the focus on good characters. That’s why people loved Luke’s story about his dad. Sure Luke wasn’t one of the fab four, but he was someone that we had an interest in. I know very few people who care about Johnny. Maybe if the episodes weren’t filmed so far ahead of time, the writers could respond better. I’m still in awe that the writers felt he was a good idea. I can’t stop harping on that. Whatever, though.

It was terrific to see young Seth. Talk about a touching moment. How incredibly sad it was. Both Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan played the scene so well, and the child had such a terrific vulnerability. He seemed so sad. Most importantly, he seemed like a real kid. Well, a real kid Seth, at least. Still young but smart enough to be aware at what was going on. Kudos to the little kid and to the writers for being able to develop such a poignant scene. And how wonderful was it to see Adam Brody’s reactions? His gasps and the terrified look on his face made me feel as if he were actually watching himself. Home movies are embarrassing enough without being reminded what a loser you were. And, maybe, in Seth’s case, what a loser you still kind of are (yeah, he’s got a hot girlfriend, so he’s better than most people, but I don’t think anyone’s going to mistake him for Harbor’s elite).

The ending scene could have been too much, but the fact that Seth commented on how lame the group dancing was made it a perfect moment. It was self-referential, much like many of the great moments in the show are. It made the moment incredibly fun. Okay, Johnny shouldn’t have been included in the dance (or the episode for that matter), but I can forgive it because it was a pretty sweet moment. Julie telling Ryan she came in peace and Neil Roberts and Seth having a moment were the highlights for me. And the song, I just have to say that I love the song. Is it really a bar mitzvah song? I suppose it makes sense. I also think there was something cool in the fact that Seth wanted to dance in the circle and then realized it was lame. It was as if he finally realized that he’d done okay for himself. He’d struggled socially, but it’s not like he missed out on anything. Maybe mainstream isn’t always the way to go.

Random Thoughts…

So it’s time for Kaitlin to make her return? And she’s going to flirt with Johnny? Raise your hand if that makes you want to come back and watch the episode. Okay, I’m all for Kaitlin’s return – not only did her appearance give me a “oh, sweet statutory!” moment, but it also gave us the bad girl that the show has needed – but not if it’s just going to give us more Johnny. But you can read more about that in my next editorial, due next week only at www.editorialnewport.com.

So how about the “what the hell” moment when Caleb’s voice came on screen, and it clearly wasn’t Caleb? That just floored me. Nice try, though. Definitely got my attention. “Shalom!” I’ve been walking around saying it in that faux-Caleb voice all week. Wasn’t the Nana’s voice the real Nan? If not, they did a much better job with her than with Caleb. I guess there’s always the chance it actually was Alan Dale, but it sure didn’t sound like him.

Seriously, how much money did Johnny think he’d get from a cash register? I guess with gas prices where they are – does oil rise on television, too? – there could be a nice amount in there waiting to be taken.

Another episode without Taylor? How is it that the writers miss the mark so badly? Johnny gets entire episodes devoted to him and his boo-boo, but Taylor, the one that almost everyone loves, is written off for two episodes. She’s going to have a bigger part coming up, I know, but still, there’s no way that she should have been treated so badly. I have a feeling that some how they’ll bastardize her. We’ll discuss that more in the next editorial at www.editorialnewport.com.

Has anyone celebrated that this year’s Chrismukkah celebrates the two year anniversary of meeting Oliver? It really doesn’t seem that long since we had to sit through Marissa’s first episode of acting completely retarded. Yeah, actually, she was pretty decent until then.

In the middle of writing this review, it was announced that the show is moving to 9:00 on Thursdays. I’ll discuss that move later, but know that it has both positive and negative consequences.

So now FOX has pulled Reunion for good, probably to keep another station from picking it up. It’s sad when such an amazing show goes away without an ending. I swear, FOX does some awesome things sometimes, but I don’t exactly think this is one of them. The show was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The writers polished their scripts, and the story got more complicated and exciting every week. Shocking twists constantly.

So yeah, that’s going to do it for me this week. This review ran longer than normal, so I guess it’s okay that I kept you waiting. It was actually nice that I had several people e-mail me asking where it was. God knows that I love attention.

And since I’ve plugged it enough, next week is a mid-season (well, kind of mid-season) review that we’ll be up exclusively at www.editorialnewport.com. I love all the sites that I post at, my own blog excluded, but Editorial Newport has really established itself as one of the strongest, most innovative sites out there, so I want anyone and everyone to visit, even if it’s just to read what I write. Hopefully you’ll run across some other things that you like. That said, people who read at OC Trailers and The O.C. Community should continue to support both of those excellent sites as well.

I hope everyone has a very merry Chrismukkah. Let me know if you have any great holiday experiences. And let me know what you thought of both the episode and the review.

Have a great one.

- Drew


At 5:49 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Drew I have been a die hard fan since TVtome of your editorials...but I have to say that I am disappointed this week about one tiny thing...Perhaps since you watched it at your aunts you couldn't Tivo and watch again but go back to the part where The four are sitting around the pool and Summer calls Johnny Tiny Tim...notice what shirt she is wearing? I recently saw these fore sale in the back of my US Weekly...it says "Donna Martin Graduates" That is just too awesome not to mention...Especially since the previews seem to be Marissa Cooper Graduates... Until then! mjanocha@gmail.com

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Atwood said...

In a few episodes, Johnny does indeed die. Too bad it won't be suicide. Just thought you might want to know.

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