Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Welcome Back to the O.C. Bitch!

Like a lot of folks, I gave up on The O.C. about two episodes into last season. The show just seemed silly and boring and I couldn't bring myself to care. Of course I tuned back in to last season's finale just to watch the loathed Marissa Cooper die. (Which was aweseome.) Despite the awesomeness of Marissa's death, I hadn't really had any plans to tune back in this fall until I read a couple of good reviews, and figured, what the hell. Not like I'm already watching too much TV or anything, right? So I tuned in last night and the first few very dark minutes really got me hooked.

I think leaving their fake high school has benefitted the three youngest actors tremendously. (I'm ignoring Kaitlin, because, well . . . isn't that tradition?) Benjamin MacKenzie in particular looks like an adult (because HE IS) and not having to suspend my disbelief as a face that looks as old as mine (because IT IS and I left highschool a LONG time ago) mopes around a classroom or prepares for prom makes it easier to invest emotionally in his character.

And there's a lot to invest in right now. Everyone left in The O.C. is in a really dark place 5 months after Marissa's death, and Josh Schwartz's ability to make that dark place both compelling and emotionally real, is impressive. But perhaps even more impressive is the show's ability to retain some light moments that don't feel false. The introduction of the dopey Che, Summer's environmental guru at Brown, adds a character that can safely make you laugh because he's several steps removed from the central tragedy of Marissa's death. And Marissa's death, in the absence of Mischa Barton, DOES feel like a tragedy. And that's good. So's this season so far, and damn it all to hell, but I'll be watching.