Thursday, January 04, 2007

Culture Kills says Goodbye to The O.C.

I originally watched the pilot of the O.C. for a simple reason: I had seen the previews of the show and they showed the scene of the troubled Ryan Atwood being driven away from the O.C. and passing a girl standing by the side of the road... and I just had to know if that girl happened to be Mischa Barton, who I had enjoyed in the movies Lawn Dogs and Lost and Delirious.

And it was. But once I had confirmed that, well, I got ensnared in the show that was a little too hip for its own good. It was a teen drama that I watched for the mature actors and their story lines... Peter Gallagher, Melinda Clarke, Alan Dale and Kelly Rowan. It was one of those moment that I realized that I had indeed made the transition from being a teenager to an adult. And of course the writers and producers knew what it was, and they played with every convention of the genre. It wasn't groundbreaking stuff to be sure, but it have definitely have style, and for television drama trying to create a buzz, well, that is an ingredient more important than originality or high quality writing. Of course, if you happened to watch first 7 episodes of that first season in quick succession, you can basically see the writers cleaning up the town. The first few episodes it is teenaged Babylon, with nearly every young character drinking to excess, being promiscuous and/or doing drugs... but by episode 8, well, the town is pretty clean. Maybe the writers knew what was coming in the months ahead with Marissa so they wanted to make the contrast between her behavior and that of her peers that much more defined.

Whatever the case may be that first long season was magically both in terms of the storylines and the ratings, and like all television phenomena, it could only go down from there. By that second season, the writers were a little too willing to try to play into their success with a knowing wink to the audience through a Seth Cohen off-the-cuff joke or Sandy Cohen line and because so much had happened in the first 27 episodes, well, there were fewer and fewer places for the show to go and it jumped the shark before that fateful gunshot. But I still wasn't ready to leave the warm embrace of that Newport Beach-Chino corridor just yet.

No, what really did in the O.C. for me was scheduling. Last season I had a choice between watching the quickly declining Fox drama and another failing series, I chose the latter and watched Alias slide down towards an ending, so I am to put it mildly, out of the loop at to the things that are happening in Newport Beach. But from a former fan of the show, I can only imagine how far it has gone down hill from where it once was. So when I heard the series was ending on February 22nd, well, I was not really surprised.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye Cohens, Coopers and the rest of the gang in Orange County. We'll always have "Welcome to the O.C., Bitch!"... though it may be better used now like the ubiquitous "jumped the shark"-- to describe a show that starts off very fast and hot but ends up a shattered wreck in the end. I am sure that we all know of a few shows that are on now that this particular phrase will also apply to.


Mayren said...

Thank the Gods you have come to your sens..... *cough**cough*

I mean : Hey! I heard you stopped watching "The OC". Sweet. So Whatcha watchin now?


MC said...

It is all about the CSI experience now... and if that wasn't on, NBC would probably have me. ;)

Tracey said...

I slowly became somewhat of an OC tragic...Sandy's hair and Ryan's brooding was too good to resist!

MC said...

Of course, for every Ryan, there was an Oliver.