Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Monday, January 08, 2007

"The O.C.": Where Did It All Go Wrong?

It could’ve been an ordinary teen soap opera, but it wasn’t. No, “The O.C.” was something truly special.

Yes, there were the requisite pretty people doing pretty things in pretty places. But there was also dialogue that absolutely crackled. There was great indie music that fit every scene perfectly. Plus, there were adult characters that actually had interesting things to do that we actually cared about.

So where did it all go wrong?

Any time a show becomes a sensation, everyone around it becomes a sensation as well. Creator Josh Schwartz was suddenly very much in demand and he left his baby in other hands to quickly crank out a spin-off for FOX (which never happened). When the key people of a show start working on other things, that always means trouble.

You could also argue that it was all too much too soon. “The O.C.” kids were featured on every magazine cover and every show coming and going. Even MTV created a reality show about the “real” O.C. Burnout was probably a foregone conclusion.

Then, there’s the scheduling. FOX moved the show to Thursdays hoping it would give the network some much needed traction on an important night. But it never happened.

However, I believe that the answer to the question is a very simple one—that absolutely atrocious season one finale.

When the series began, Seth Cohen was an unpopular geek who had pined his entire life for the popular Summer Roberts. And by the end of the season, he had actually won her heart. But when Seth heard that Ryan was leaving Newport, he decided he couldn’t face living there without him and he left his beloved Summer to sail away in his boat.

It made absolutely no sense. And if the season finale of “24” hadn’t been the next week, I may have thrown something through the TV.

It was bad enough that Ryan was going back to Chino to help take care of a baby that might not even be his; but for Seth to leave everything he ever wanted because of that was absolutely ridiculous.

And the show never recovered.

When “The O.C.” returned for its second season, the characters were unrecognizable. Ryan was studious and boring, Kirsten and Sandy’s marriage was crumbling, and Marissa decided to pursue a relationship with another woman, who had been sleeping with Seth. Midway through the season, Josh Schwartz returned to right the ship, but the changes didn’t stick as the show sank into even more gloomy melodrama that only the death of Marissa last season was able to rescue it from.

But it was too late. The show had been too inconsistent for too long and too many people had already stopped watching.

I’m terribly sad that the show was cancelled after finally straightening things out, but I’m also happy that the show will get to go out on top. Not everyone can say that these days and hopefully, those of us who have stuck it out will get the payoff we deserve.

But if I hear one note of that “Hallelujah” song, I’m turning off the TV…