The Worst Kept Secret
"SPOILER" ALEERT--The O.C.
I had to put the word spoiler in quotes above, because it seems to me that even those who conscientiously avoid spoilers, like me, knew Marissa Cooper would be no more after last night's "The O.C."
A few weeks ago, a number of press outlets had printed rumors that Mischa Barton wouldn't be on "The O.C." next year. At the time I thought it just meant that Marisa wouldn't be going to college like everyone else and would be written off of the show. Then earlier this week I saw the previews for "The O.C." which promised that "one of these people will die," while flashing shots of the main characters. At that point, I was able to use my Jessica Fletcher-worthy deductive reasoning skills to realize that Marissa was going to kick it.
Then I read Gawker yesterday, and its story lambasted Access Hollywood for sending an e-mail with a subject line that said Mischa Barton would be on yesterday's show confirming that Marissa Cooper dies in the finale. How can this be? Don't Josh Schwartz and the other producers of "The O.C." require their actors to sign confidentiality agreements or otherwise keep major plot points under wraps? But who knows--maybe Shwartz et al. decided that they wanted Barton to spoil the ending of the show, thinking lapsed viewers would turn in to see the reviled Marissa Cooper bite the big one.
As for the episode: the graduation scenes were a little much, with all of the photos being taken to remind us of how wonderful graduation is. I remember my high school graduation. It was fine. You lined up, you got a diploma, you took about three pictures outside, you went home and got ready for a party at someone's house where there would be a keg and you would eventually end up in a pool with your clothes on. The big part was the party, not the graduation. And that had to be more true for kids who go to a school like Harbor, where graduating high school is expected, not necessarily a huge accomplishment. The "Veronica Mars" graduation scene, with everyone just leaving in their cars afterward, was much more realistic.
I was actually surprised that I genuinely laughed out loud once during the episode, something that hasn't happened this entire season, when Sandy told Seth they had both screwed up and Seth said "And usually we're so awesome." It was a well-delivered line.
As for Marissa's death: First, I am glad that Mischa Barton is gone. This show is dying, and needs to change something. It has revolved around Barton since the first episode, and every storyline putting Marissa in trouble and sending Ryan to her rescue has been done to death. I think it's a good idea to wipe the slate clean. No idea if it will work, but at least it has some potential. Plus, we are finally rid of Barton's boring, dead-voiced line delivery! I was a little sad that Barton didn't have her gross, ratty extensions in (why can no one in young Hollywood get decent extensions?!--see photo for a pictoral description)--seeing those on her head before Marissa died would have somehow made it more satisfying.
I was surprised that the death was just a simple car accident. I expected Marissa to do something stupid, like O.D., or else take a bullet for Ryan or something. But I actually thought it worked.
Rumor has it that the next season is going to pick up when the fall semester of college is starting. I really hope this isn't the case--I think that the best part of killing Marissa off is that we get to see the fallout and how everyone copes. It would be good to see the show pick up the day of, or the day after, Marissa's death. Otherwise, why kill off Marissa at all? She could have sailed to Greece with Jimmy for all it matters if we don't get to see the impact of her death on those who cared about her. Although sending her sailing around the world wouldn't have been as good for ratings.
Finally, how overused has "Halelujah" become as a season-ending song when something tragic happens? I first remember hearing it on "The West Wing" years ago, when Bartlett gives an okay to murder some leader who is doing evil (oh, sorry, Bartlett didn't use words like "evil"). It was really well-done there. Since then I have heard it a few times on other shows, including "Scrubs." And then last night, as sung by Imogen Heap. I didn't enjoy it. Muscial advisors need to put the song away--it's been done. It's a great song, but...enough. Find something else depressing.