Every generation (of girls at least) has their show – the one that is gossiped about in the classroom, that makes heartthrobs of the stars, and induces widespread envy if some smartarse managed to stream it first from America. Beverley Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl – like the fizzes of airhead fluff they are, they temporarily soar up the TV ratings and crash back down again with a hurried and usually nonsensical finale.
My show growing up was The OC – and it wasn’t much different to the others to be honest. Running from 2003 to 2007, the plotlines were ludicrous, the characters two-dimensional and the ill-advised (ten-year-old spoiler alert) death of Marissa Cooper put paid to the longevity of the show, so it was cancelled after the subsequent fourth season. But The OC, set around California’s obscenely picturesque Newport Beach, was still the biggest and brightest of the tween dramas to hit the early twenty-first century, and after a solid weekend of back to back consumption I can nostalgically declare we should all take a trip back to Orange County. Here’s why.
1. The Music
Even if you’re too young or too old to have been on this particular bandwagon, The OC pioneered the tastemaker TV soundtrack formula. Featuring (amongst many others) The Dandy Warhols, Rufus Wainwright, Joseph Arthur, Gorillaz, Death Cab for Cutie and The Futureheads, getting airplay – or even better, a live appearance – on the OC was a big deal for early noughties band. It’s worth another watch just for the indiepop soundtrack.
2. The Clothes
Or lack thereof. Welcome to the age of denim miniskirts, kitten heels, halternecks, butterfly clips, bags too small to actually use and baker boy caps. Consider it aversion therapy. Observe and remember: never again.
3. The Characters
I defy you to not get hooked again immediately. I know who ends up with who but the convoluted routes to true love are just so damn entertaining. The misunderstandings! The half-overheard conversations! The affairs! Not to mention, the character you thought was hot the first time round, is still hot. I was always a Ryan gal. My housemate was a Seth. Her boyfriend was a Summer guy. Psh.
4. The Humour
Unlike many of its contemporaries (looking at you, surly One Tree Hill), The OC is genuinely hilarious. People make actual jokes, mainly Seth’s dad, and I actually laugh. Except from Mischa Barton, who is invariably drunk and/or miserable.
5. The Cliff-hangers
If there’s one thing The OC knows how to do well, it’s a cliff-hanger. Thankfully as it’s been off the air now for nearly ten years, you’ve just can buy the box set. Unless you’re a sucker for delayed gratification and want to ration yourself to an episode a week. Whatever floats your Newport Bay Yacht Club boat.
So it’s hardly Breaking Bad, I know. But next time there’s a rainy weekend and you’re a bit bored, all you need is a bit of light relief, some West Coast sunshine, and the first few bars of this song.