A Slice of Fried Gold

The Parabolic Effect of Ryan Atwood

Sunday, February 17, 2008
Three and a half years ago, I never really watched television. I watched sports, I watched various things from time to time, but I was mostly a movie guy and wasn't that interested in watching anything on it. My Mom of course went on and on about how great the OC was and about how much fun the happenings in this teen drama were, but I paid no real attention to it until she gave me her first season on DVD to watch down at school.

Two and a half years ago, I'm sitting over at Kim and Lorna's place with friends Sobo and Todd, and we're impatiently waiting (frothing at the mouth in anticipation is likely a more accurate description) for the premiere of the third season of the OC. I was now an addict of television, and the OC was one of the flagships of my fleet of television shows. I went from no TV watching to basing my nightly schedule around what is going on in prime time television that night. Lost, Smallville, Arrested Development, Scrubs - I was hooked.

One and a half years ago, the OC's fourth and final season premiere airs and I am nowhere near a television. Well, I may have been watching TV, just not Fox. I've now moved onto bigger and better things - I'm watching Battlestar Galactica now...Lost...Veronica Mars...Entourage. I've moved onto a higher class of television viewing, and overwrought teen soap operas are not something I need to be wasting my time with.

Half a year ago, hanging out at my place one Sunday morning.

Me: "Man. I'm really hungover."
Amy: "No kidding...what do you want to do?"
Me: "Let's watch a movie or something."
She goes in and wanders through the mess that is my DVD collection.
Amy: "Oh my god! You have the OC? Let's watch it!"
Me: "Oh god...I guess."

That was the day I realized what was old and tired was new and fresh again. "Welcome to the OC, bitch" indeed. In recent weeks, this show has been granted new life, with Amy, Lacey, myself, and various other parties joining in on the viewing party, growing enthralled once again with Ryan Atwood, the Cohen family, and their various friends, enemies, and occasional psychopathic drug addicts/family members. How did this come to be?

This is where I introduce the title, and what I call the parabolic effect of Ryan Atwood. On a ten point scale, the OC probably maxed out in my liking of it at about an 8.5 out of 10. When it maxed out with the ridiculous cheesiness and overwrought drama of season 3 and sunk to new levels, the show was down to a 3. Now that I am back rewatching the series, it is back to an 8.5 out of 10 series - but it isn't the same at all. Not all 8.5's are created equal my friends.

The key to enjoying the OC again lied in something that was hard to consider before. When I started watching intense dramas like Battlestar and Lost, it was hard to take the OC remotely seriously. I saw that as a sign that I needed to drop the show, when I could have looked at it in an entirely different light.

Stop taking it seriously.

Sure it's crap, but man, it is fun as hell to watch with friends and soak in all of the drama. Sometimes you sit and make fun of it, other times you just enjoy it for the good aspects - the black and white adjudication laid down by protagonist Ryan Atwood; the goofy self absorption of Seth Cohen; incredible parents Sandy and Kirsten Cohen; the realization that Summer may somehow be the best character; and the knowledge that regardless of how annoying she is now, that Marissa gets hers in the end.


Well, sort of. She bugs the heck out of me.

Anyways, so given how much I ripped the crap out of this show for the last couple years, I figured writing a blog revealing my affection for this show has returned was the only real fair thing to do. So here is my public apology to Josh Schwartz, whom I've made up with already over my love for his other show Chuck.

Sorry I said your show was bad. It is bad, but its so bad its good again.


Patty said...

You never liked Marissa. So what is old is new again!

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