The OC: Recaps, Ryan’s 2 Dads & Peaches

From TV Guide:  

January 11, 2007: A Season for Peaches

Should we start with the peaches or the prostitution? Let’s begin with the erotic novel: A Season for Peaches sounds like it might be a really good read (“The Bridges of Madison County meets The Notebook meets porn”). Aren’t you dying to know what was on page 47? I can’t blame Ryan for going back on his promise and reading the book — how could he not? Especially after meeting Henri-Michel? Initially, I couldn’t see what in the world Taylor saw in this pretentious non-bather, but then the more he and Taylor talked, I saw how much they really clicked, chatting passionately about art, poetry and philosophy. And for the first time I realized how little Taylor and Ryan have in common. I’ve always been distracted by how cute they are together, but now that I think about it, what do they talk about? It’s not like Ryan’s the “corn-fed farm boy” Henri described him as, and he’s just not into many of the same things Taylor is. (Though how sweet was it that he was making an effort, reading French philosophy?) And while Taylor’s usually charmingly nervous, it was great seeing her so at ease and totally in her element, gabbing on a French talk show. Sure, they’ve got the opposites-attract thing going for them, but the fact that Taylor did lie to Henri about Ryan writing philosophical essays was a bit troubling. Ryan wasn’t wrong to point out to her that she’s not fully accepting him for who he is. I’m glad the cheesy slow-motion scene near the end was just a dream. I’m not saying that I want to see Ryan and Taylor break up, but a few stumbling blocks will make their relationship more interesting.

Relationship trouble seemed to be a theme of the night, underscored by Seth and Summer finally ending their sham of an engagement. Hats off to Seth for executing his plan of acting like a 16-year-old so well, telling Dr. Roberts that Summer was “cool” and “pretty easy on the eyes.” It was good seeing Dr. Roberts again, and I liked that the show is following through with its winks to Grey’s Anatomy (“seriously”), although as I laughed at hearing about his patient impaled by a unicorn, part of me cried inside thinking about how Seattle Grace is partly responsible for The O.C.’s cancellation. But then I immediately went back to laughing at Summer and her new gal pals the “Newpsieweds” — they were one scary bunch of self-proclaimed ho’s, willing to sacrifice endangered owls for a hot tub! Summer was actually starting to resemble the daffy alternate-universe Summer of the Chrismukkah episode. And just like in the holiday episode, there was Che again — why? That character feels like he’s overstayed his welcome by now. I hope they’re not trying to say that Summer still has feelings for the rat who turned on her and got her kicked out of school. And while it’s good seeing that Summer wants to work more on finding herself, it’s hard seeing Seth finally realize what he wants (Summer), and watching it slip away.

But of all the relationships on the rocks last night, the one that seemed to suffer the most damage was Julie and Kirsten’s friendship. And all because Julie let a little thing like prostitution get in the way. I liked Kirsten’s detective-like way of uncovering the truth — it reminded me of something Sandy would do. (I wonder how long that guy waited for her to come back with her toys.) How long did Madame Julie really expect to keep this illegal side business going? Now she not only lost her job but her best friend Kiki as well. This time, Julie may have damaged things beyond repair.

January 4, 2007: Who’s Your Daddy?

Obviously they weren’t going to convince Maximus to do TV, despite making several references regarding his alter ego’s resemblance to Ryan over the years. So I guess Hercules is a pretty good second choice to play Ryan’s dad. (Though I’m still holding out hope that Russell Crowe, Simon Baker and Ben McKenzie play brothers in a movie one day — wouldn’t that be terrific casting? But I digress…. ) Every time Kevin Sorbo and Ben McKenzie shared the screen they looked more and more alike. However, Ryan and his dad seemed to have very different temperaments. Frank was more of an outward charmer and less of a brooder, eager to share tales about old family car trips. He was so charming that I started to like the guy, and that’s where the show kind of backed me into a corner: I was almost rooting for the guy to indeed have a terminal illness. Because if he didn’t, that meant that he was a liar and manipulator who was hurting Ryan. Knowing his troubled ex-con past, it wasn’t surprising when he did hurt Ryan, emotionally. What was surprising was that former domestic abuser Frank was the one who got hurt physically — and by peace-loving Sandy, of all people! I loved that Sandy punched him, and that Ryan stepped in and broke up the fight. It was like things coming full circle from Season 1: All of Sandy’s lectures to Ryan throughout the years, cautioning him not to resort to violence, have finally sunk in for Ryan (for the second time this season, the first being with Ryan not killing Volchok). Seeing the tables turn with Sandy not heeding his own advice and throwing a punch (and hurting his hand) was a fun bonus. And then, just after things got all “intense,” as Taylor put it, this show did a 180 and went all sweet with Sandy and Ryan chatting, and Ryan saying to him, “My dad is right here.” Just one of the many reasons I’m gonna miss this show.

Speaking of missing things, why was Seth not at the big dinner? After four years, he’s never met Ryan’s dad, and then he blows his chance. Wasn’t he curious to learn what Frank was like? Didn’t he want to support his “brother”? I know, he was busy with his comic marriage subplot with Summer, but still, he could have worked the dinner into his schedule. The marriage subplot is mildly amusing, but it’s getting old quick. It has to be obvious to both Seth and Summer that each is faking their marriage enthusiasm (if you can call it that — they’re faking it so badly) and simply playing an elaborate game of chicken. Just call it off, already. Hopefully bringing Dr. Roberts into things (will we actually get a visit?) will be the last straw.

Calling it off — well, as I’m sure most of you have heard by now, Fox has decided to cancel our beloved O.C. But the good news is that it’s not immediate. This shortened fourth season will get to play out through February, so loose ends can be tied up, and a proper finale can be had. And a lot can be said for the popular school of thought that says it’s best to go out while on top. Many shows have lingered long after they should have said goodbye, producing a season or more of material that it’s best to pretend didn’t happen. (I’m thinking of Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, Beverly Hills, 90210 — I could go on.) While the ratings may have dipped this season, the story lines and writing have been at a peak. And that’s the way I want to remember The O. C.: punches thrown during parties or dinners; sweet moments like the Cohen family watching Meerkat Manor; and witty, ad-libbed-sounding banter like that between Seth and Ryan during the silly Pancakes scene:

“Don’t listen to mean Uncle Ryan, Pancakes. That’s just the ‘roids talking. They do make him huge, I know.”
“Will you get him out of here, please, before he ends up in a quesadilla?”

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