In two or so months of writing bitter columns, I have slighted the likes of the shoddy GW administration, P. Diddy, Lyndon LaRouche, old people, fickle Red Sox fans, player-haters, SJT, the overseers of Greek-letter life, the GW Hippo, Dick Cheney, the shoddy GW administration, and myself. Oh, and now add your mother to that list. Snap!
However, as I sit to write this column, I truly believe that I will offend the greatest number of readers. Last Thursday, I undertook my virginal screening of The O.C. And I didn’t have to wait until the morning after to feel sore and violated. At the behest of my friend Bobby, a guy mind you, I lost an hour of my life watching the absurd Fox melodrama.
While The Hatchet wouldn’t let me include Bobby’s phone number in this article, I will tell you ladies out there that he is a sweet, sensitive, supple guy, and more importantly, an avid O.C. watcher. He even tapes the O.C. in case an instance arises where he or a friend misses even a second of its coy saccharine content.
Before watching, Bobby gave me a quick rundown of the story line from season one. The structure sounded eerily familiar. The tragically cool teenage guy – Ryan or ‘Chino’ if you will – from the wrong side of the tracks gets into trouble and is sent to live with his privileged, distant family and must adapt to their way of life in the elite recesses of high society. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air anyone?
Ryan finds instant popularity in his new high school surroundings, of course, and takes his well-intentioned, socially inept cousin Seth – or perhaps Carlton would be more appropriate – under his wing and teaches him how to be cool and charm girls into wanting to have babies with him and stuff. Along the way, everybody has sex, shops and learns a lot about life. Aww.
Upon listening to all the hype surrounding this show, I thought it could be a breath of fresh air from all of the hackneyed conventions and typecasts for television high school drama. So naturally when characters such as the spurned runaway rich kid, the negligent affluent father with criminal ties, the inaccessible alcoholic mother and the unwed pregnant religious girl all reared their heads before the second commercial break, I knew that my next hour of life was doomed.
From there, it only got worse. The episode managed to include at least five silent asides, in which the character of focus would stare pensively out into space while mulling over the catastrophic circumstances that yielded these rich and attractive people such a burdensome adolescent experience. The tragic element was heightened by the use of obscure pop music to set the mood and expose the mainstream to quality music, which in turn would be ruined once receiving the label of “that song from the O.C.”
The episode teemed with dramatic peaks. At one point, the alcoholic mother confronts her daughter while she suntans by the pool. As the fight progresses, not only does the mother ground her daughter, but she also takes away her iPod! The daughter, in turn, brays shrilly in disgust and throws a chair into the pool. You go girl.
Later, Ryan’s girlfriend feigns a miscarriage to ultimately let Ryan go – even a layman saw that coming. Seth and Ryan, after leaving, both decide to return to Newport. After all, Seth’s school in Portland didn’t have a water polo team. Boo hoo. Thus all the emotions expended on the plights of the jilted lovers, which the episode spent most of the hour harping on, go to waste. The episode, and my misery, ends with Ryan and Seth plotting how to make their homecoming saga sound even more impressive for their minions at school. I never thought I’d say this, but I want Will Smith back on television.
-The writer, a senior majoring in Middle East studies, is a Hatchet humor columnist.