Remember when Marissa died and barely anyone cried? You do, and we do. (Image: Tina Tiller)
Remember when Marissa died and barely anyone cried? You do, and we do. (Image: Tina Tiller)

TelevisionFebruary 13, 2021

Mmm whatcha say: A definitive list of all the silly things that happened on The OC

Remember when Marissa died and barely anyone cried? You do, and we do. (Image: Tina Tiller)
Remember when Marissa died and barely anyone cried? You do, and we do. (Image: Tina Tiller)

California, here we come! Definitive TV list maven Sam Brooks looks back at the wildest moments from the mid-aughts teen drama.

If you are of a certain age, chances are you watched The OC. The show about the antics of rich teenage friends in southern California lasted only four seasons from 2003 to 2007, but it casts a long shadow. Everybody knows that Marissa Cooper shot someone in the back while Imogen Heap crooned in the background. “Chrismukkah” might not be part of the lexicon now, but it definitely was for a time, thanks to Seth and Sandy Cohen.

If you’ve forgotten just how weird The OC could get – especially in its bonkers final season – come with me on a journey through the strangest moments from its 92 episodes.

The cast of the OC! Were we ever so young?

Season One

  • On first meeting Marissa, Ryan tells her that he is ‘whoever you want me to be.” This is not just bad banter, but scientifically wrong. Ryan is not Mystique from the X-Men. He is a 23-year-old “teenager” with boy band eyes and floppy hair.
  • Sandy Cohen, public defender, and maybe the only good dad on television, allows Ryan, who has just been arrested for trying to break into a car, to stay in his house.
  • Seth wants to sail to Tahiti with his crush, Summer. He has never spoken to Summer.
  • Two SEC agents take Marissa Cooper’s word about her criminal father’s whereabouts, despite Marissa being the least convincing liar in the world (although this might be more of a Mischa Barton problem than a Marissa Cooper problem).
  • Someone says “Welcome to the OC, bitch.” That person is not immediately laughed out of existence.
  • Ryan is convinced to live in an empty model home by Seth and Marissa, despite them having the combined life experience of a goldfish in a dark room. Ryan almost immediately sets the house on fire and is arrested.
  • Seth, like every super rich white kid, declares that he is “upper middle class”.
  • Ryan gets stabbed in the neck with a fork.
  • Kirsten Cohen does not want to take in Ryan. Everybody treats this as crazy, even though she met him like a week ago and has burned down one of her model houses. Anyway, she and Sandy eventually adopt him.
  • Newport Beach has a cotillion ball. This show is set in the mid-2000s.
  • Anna, Seth’s date to cotillion, also wants to sail to Tahiti. Is this a common goal among teenagers?
  • For some reason, these rich kids all want to dine at The Crab Shack. I guarantee you nobody in these kids’ tax evasion bracket would be caught dead somewhere named The Crab Shack.
  • Sandy offers Marissa’s dad Jimmy free legal assistance, despite Jimmy’s issues (rich dude stealing money from other rich dudes) being outside Sandy’s expertise as a public defender.
  • Ryan’s Crab Shack co-worker Donnie straight up shoots Luke in the arm.
  • Ryan makes out with Kirsten’s father’s much younger girlfriend.
  • Summer is charmed that Seth remembers her poem from sixth grade, rather than immensely creeped out.
  • Despite their immense interpersonal issues, Marissa, Ryan, Seth and Summer all go on a trip to Tijuana. Marissa overdoses but survives.
Julie Cooper, icon.
  • Julie Cooper, Marissa’s mother, threatens to have Ryan thrown back in prison, which seems pretty fair given all of the above has happened since he came to Newport Beach.
  • Ryan decides he wants to go to Seth and Marissa’s fancy school and the entrance test happens to be on the very same day he first brings up the idea. It doesn’t matter, because he bails on the test midway to save Marissa from… some much needed psychiatric care.
  • Jimmy, a grown man who has definitely used a stove before, tries to make French toast in the oven.
  • Marissa kisses Ryan on the top of a ferris wheel. He is very scared of heights.
  • Julie goes on a date with her sort-of friend Kirsten’s father Caleb. She tells her daughter Marissa, point blank, that she is marrying him for his money. This happens is the same episode.
  • Sandy Cohen, a saint amongst sinners, is sexually harassed by his co-worker.
  • Seth is obsessed with Summer, despite Anna being right there and having actual things in common with him.
  • The SEC and Jimmy’s clients (from whom he’s stolen millions of dollars) say they’ll drop charges so long as he can pay them back within a month. Who knew rich people were so understanding?!
  • Sandy Cohen, the man for whom ‘best dad ever’ mugs were invented, gives a speech commending Luke’s dad for being true to himself. By which he means: very gay.
  • Caleb turns down $200 million from the preservation society that Sandy represents, because he wants $300 million. Those are both basically fake amounts of money.
  • Marissa gets into shoplifting, which I’m sure was in no way inspired by Winona Ryder. Most annoyingly, she shoplifts several watches despite never wearing a watch in the show.
  • ‘Maybe This Christmas’ by Ron Sexsmith is, inexplicably, used to score a montage. The OC will make many such strange musical choices throughout its run.
  • Chrismukkah.
  • Kirsten and Sandy go to a swinger’s party!
  • Rooney shakin’!

  • Summer sings the theme song from the Golden Girls at a New Year’s Party. If you want to feel old, this is like a zoomer singing the Friends theme song.
  • The entire concept of Oliver Trask.
  • Sandy goes into business with his disgraced friend Jimmy, because he is gold like Ponyboy.
  • Ryan breaks into the school records room to find out what bad shit Oliver has been up to. He is caught. He also puts Oliver’s records in Marissa’s locker, because maybe Ryan is bad some of the time too.
  • Summer’s boyfriend Danny asks Seth to stop being funny around Summer.
  • Marissa acts like an absolute idiot around Oliver, someone with severe mental health issues and a proven track record of violent behaviour towards himself and others. She goes to his hotel room, alone, and he threatens to shoot himself if he leaves. He is talked down by Ryan when he arrives with hotel security. It’s all very intense.
  • Marissa tries to date Ryan again, without actually taking any of the above into account or trying to resolve it in any way.
  • Luke has a crush on Julie Cooper, who is simultaneously my favourite character and the biggest monster Newport Beach has ever seen. They sleep together, even though Luke is Marissa’s ex.
  • Sandy Cohen, the only gift patriarchy ever gave the world, gives Seth an uncharacteristically terrible sex talk. He also declares himself to be ‘The Master’ when it comes to women, which I 100% believe.
  • Seth slow dances to Ryan Adams’ version of ‘Wonderwall’ with Summer:

  • Kaitlin, Marissa’s sister and Julie’s daughter, has a crush on Luke. Seriously, do like 12 people live in Newport Beach?
  • Sandy and Jimmy try to get Caleb to fund their restaurant, even though Caleb hates both of them.
  • For one episode, Paris Hilton plays a character that is not meant to be Paris Hilton but is totally Paris Hilton.
  • Ryan expresses surprise that a television star can play a high schooler well into their twenties. Ben McKenzie was 23 when this episode was filmed.
  • Julie Cooper makes Kirsten her maid of honour despite the fact that she’s marrying Kirsten’s father, and also Kirsten mostly hates her.
  • Jimmy, Julie’s ex-husband, starts sleeping with Hailey, Kirsten’s sister, because once more, there are 12 people in all of Newport.
  • The first time Seth meets Summer’s father Neil, a plastic surgeon, he tries to convince him that comic books are a legitimate art form. They are! But the kind of person you have to say that to is never going to be convinced.
  • Ryan somehow manages to win $6000 while counting cards. However, Seth has been lured into a trap by a sex worker, so Summer (?) ends up yanking $3500 straight out of her purse. 
  • Ryan may have gotten his ex-girlfriend Theresa pregnant, and Marissa gets angry at him because the two of them weren’t broken up at the time, but on a break. Even though Marissa was the one who started that break. I refuse to engage with this, and if you want to debate it, may I direct you to Ross Gellar PhD.
  • Seth owns a boat, which he named ‘Summer Breeze’ after his crush. It’s worth pointing out that he’d never even spoken to Summer when he got this boat. Normal, non-toxic, behaviour! Anyway, Seth vows to sell his boat and give the money to Theresa.
  • For some reason, Sandy, Seth and Ryan are the groomsmen for Caleb’s wedding. Does he have no friends of his own? Kirsten, Hailey and Marissa are Julie’s bridesmaids. Does she have no friends of her own? Christ.
  • The season closes to the Jeff Buckley cover of ‘Hallelujah’, which I promise was tired even in 2004.
The cast of season two.

Season Two

  • Julie Cooper tries to buy Kaitlin a pony on her business credit card. I refuse to believe someone who has married TWICE for money doesn’t have at least a passing familiarity with fraud and how to commit it.
  • Theresa tells Ryan she had a miscarriage and breaks up with him over the phone. Oh, also it turns out she was lying about the miscarriage so Ryan wouldn’t stay with her. 
  • Apparently, thanks to the success of Spider-Man 2, nerds are cool now in Newport Beach. Trust me, if the girls and gays I grew up with are any indication, someone who looks like Adam Brody does just fine, nerd or otherwise.
  • Sandy Cohen, veritable good guy, defends Caleb when he is charged with bribing city officials for construction permits. Everybody on this show needs better work-life boundaries.
  • A band called The Walkmen plays at a venue called The Bait Shop. Are there any actually nice places to eat/drink/gig in Newport Beach?
  • Olivia Wilde, apparently before she took acting classes, shows up as the aggressively bisexual Alex. She works at a bar, despite being (television ) 17.
  • Caleb names Julie Cooper as the new CEO of his company, even though her talents up until now seem to consist of “having affairs” and “divorce” and his daughter Kirsten is actually very qualified to do the job.
  • The Killers play, which is a good indicator of the comparative cultural cachet of this show and that band in 2004.
  • Marissa is somehow “social chair” at her high school, despite her social circle consisting of one (1) friend and a bunch of teen boys who barely tolerate her presence.
  • Seth quits his job at The Bait Shop because he can’t handle Alex kissing other people after she kissed him, even though bands like The Killers play there.
  • It turns out Caleb had an affair with the executor of his trust 16 years ago, which certainly means that child will show up later on.
  • Lindsay, Ryan’s lab partner-love interest, has slippers with Freud on them. I’ll give you a moment to let that pointless joke land. Oh, it also turns out that Lindsay is the child from the above bullet point.
  • Chrismukkah, again. Also Seth uses the phrase “Jew-cruiting”.
  • Everybody finds out that Lindsay is Caleb’s daughter, so Julie and Kirsten slap him. Kirsten also throws a vase at him.
  • Seth makes a Death Cab for Cutie Christmas carol. Yeah, I don’t know either.
  • Julie Cooper cheats on Caleb with her ex-husband Jimmy. I’ll remind you she left Jimmy for Caleb. She later asks her family, who have been present for all this, “Did you really think I would leave you again?”
  • Modest Mouse plays at The Bait Shop:

  • Seth steals his grandfather’s Aston Martin to impress Alex. It does not work.
  • In a rare misstep, living brow legend Sandy Cohen forgets his 20th wedding anniversary.
  • Julie Cooper gives Marissa a blank cheque. Marissa acts responsibly with it! Just kidding, she’s an absolute spoiled brat and spends other people’s money wildly.
  • Seth freaks out that Alex’s ex is… a girl?! This episode was shot in 2005.
  • Summer’s reason for not having dinner with her boyfriend Zach is that she’s fasting for a colonoscopy. You don’t get that on Gossip Girl!
  • Marissa gets Lindsay drunk specifically because Lindsay is interested in Ryan, her ex who she clearly still has feelings for or is at least still inappropriately attached to. Marissa is a bad person!
  • It turns out Sandy, kosher salt of the Earth, was engaged to Rebecca, who burned down a nuclear laboratory site, which seems… unwise, radioactively speaking. Also, Rebecca has faked her death because she’s a fugitive. Sandy hides the fact that she’s alive from his wife and tries to figure out how to… un-fake Rebecca’s death? It’s all very unclear.
  • Kirsten, obviously, finds out Rebecca is alive because this is a soap opera.
  • Alex starts sort-of dating Marissa, despite being a right-thinking human being.
  • Seth draws his female friends into a comic book, because he’s a nerd.
  • Caleb criticises Ryan for being poor so hard that he has a heart attack.
  • Rachel Yamagata performs, in case you forgot this was filmed in 2005.
  • When pitching his comic to a legit producer, Seth changes its concept to make it so the characters based on him and Summer are actually in love with each other. Maybe Seth is also the worst?
  • Sandy kisses Rebecca!!!! Bad Sandy.
  • Caleb seeks to legally adopt his biological daughter Lindsay and for some reason believes that Julie, with all the maternal instincts of a peckish hamster, will look after her if he dies.
  • In one scene, Marissa reads Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. I don’t believe that Marissa would read this, or in fact any book.
  • Seth is shocked that he might lose Summer, despite not actually dating her and despite him acting like a dick towards her most of the time.
  • Seth buys his boat back to impress Summer, only to find out the owner has renamed it ‘Gimme Sex’, which is just really, hugely, genuinely funny.
  • Marissa wants to move in with Alex, and Alex lets her. I guess because Marissa looks like Mischa Barton.
  • Rebecca leaves Newport Beach and everybody forgets she ever existed, despite her role in potentially destroying California’s most wholesome marriage.
  • Seth recreates/steals that kiss from Spider-Man 2 in order to win Summer back. I can not do it justice with mere words, so here is a link:

  • Julie Cooper, who ‘runs’ a magazine, is shocked that the publisher has assigned her an editor. Julie Cooper has no experience running a magazine or doing anything except spending money, divorcing, and creating psychological trauma for her daughters.
  • Julie is looking at future covers of the magazine… which are all photos of her. See above re: no experience.
  • There’s a lot of Beck used in one episode, which I’m sure the famed Scientologist and musician was thrilled about. Seriously, there’s like four songs.
  • Julie Cooper is blackmailed with a porn film she made in the ‘80s called ‘The Porn Identity’, even though the first Bourne film came out in 2002. (I know the novel was published in the ‘80s, you nitpickers, but how many porn films named after books do you recognise?)
  • Sandy and Caleb have a hoon on a claw machine.
  • Seth keeps trying to get Ryan to break Marissa and her girlfriend Alex up, because he’s a huge jackass.
  • Alex breaks up with Marissa because she was obsessed with… a social event at her high school? What else do you expect when you are dating a high schooler?
  • After some needlessly complicated shenanigans, Julie Cooper’s porn film ends up playing at the launch for her magazine. Nobody is happy about it.
  • Hilariously, a bunch of advertisers and customers send in letters to the magazine, despite it only being around for one issue, complaining that Julie Cooper was on the cover. She’s surprisingly OK with this!
  • Upon meeting a comics publisher, Seth is shocked to find out she’s a woman and laments that she’ll want to make the outfits cuter. Seth also really wants to sleep with her. Seth is ostensibly a character we’re supposed to want to see succeed, not see walk into the ocean.
  • Someone sends Julie Cooper a gun in a velvet box, so she takes it and goes to shoot her ex-boyfriend, but… there are no bullets. She was trying to teach him a lesson! Maybe send him a university prospectus instead, Jesus.
  • Julie conspires with her blackmailer/ex-boyfriend to murder Caleb. This plan is just short-lived enough for a P.I to catch them kissing!
  • Marissa lets Ryan’s brother Trey take the fall for her when a girl overdoses in her apartment, even though Trey just got out of prison and is on parole.
  • Death Cab for Cutie play! What, exactly, is the crowd capacity of The Bait Shop?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9xTX-ZTyVo

  • The gang goes to Miami! T.I. performs for them!
  • Summer takes up boxing, and is about as convincing at hitting someone as Conor McGregor would be at playing a Californian high school girl.
  • Trey sexually assaults Marissa, because Trey is the absolute fucking worst.
  • Kirsten has an affair with the Rocketeer (don’t ask) and goes full Leaving Las Vegas alcoholic.
  • Zach and Seth have a fight at their comic book launch over Summer, and practically destroy the store. Summer also gets an elbow to the face. She says she’s done with both of them, a decision which lasts less than an episode.
  • Caleb presents Julie with evidence of her multiple affairs (Luke, Jimmy, Lance), serves her with divoce papers AND fires her. Reasonable!
  • Kirsten gets hit by a car while drink-driving!
  • Summer decides her only two options for a prom date are the two teenage boys she just declared she was done with.
  • Pregnant Theresa comes back! Except she’s no longer pregnant, because she’s holding the baby she lied to Ryan that she’d lost.
  • George Lucas gives Seth romantic advice, which is maybe less ridiculous if you remember that before Star Wars, he directed the quite successful and good teen movie American Graffiti.
  • Julie tries to kill Caleb with an Ambien overdose, and then… doesn’t? It doesn’t matter because Caleb has another heart attack and dies.
  • There’s a shooting in a club!
  • I give you the show’s most famous moment. Mmm, whatcha say:

Season Three

  • The prosecutor keeps trying to pin Trey’s shooting (he’s fine, just in a coma) on Ryan, despite Marissa confessing to doing it.
  • Julie threatens to kill Trey if he doesn’t tell the police that Ryan shot him, even though Marissa clearly shot Trey in the back. He does this, and Ryan gets arrested.
  • Marissa and Summer dress as candy stripers to get access to Trey’s hospital room.
  • A bunch of Marissa’s fellow students, and their parents, sign a petition to get her expelled for being involved in a shooting. I think the fact that nobody likes Marissa might also have something to do with it. Hilariously, Ryan is allowed to stay on, even though the crime was pinned on him.
  • Taylor Townsend shows up to make Marissa’s life hell.
  • Cobra Verde play their cover of ‘Get the Party Started’, thus kicking off the trend of moody covers which are always worse than the pop song originals.
  • Jimmy proposes to Julie, his ex-wife, and she actually considers it.
  • It turns out Caleb died entirely broke! So nobody gets any money. Jimmy, predictably, rescinds his proposal and makes his daughter Marissa tell her mother that he won’t be coming back.
  • Marissa has to go to public school! Everybody hates her immediately, which is unfair because they don’t even know her that well yet.
  • Heather, one of the mean girls, burns Marissa with this line: “So, you’re not gonna shoot me, are you?” That’s genuinely funny.
  • Jeri Ryan plays Charlotte, the worst con artist in the world, who manages to find a mark, Kirsten, who is one of three inheritors of… nothing. She later tries to con Julie, who has nothing but a condo to her name. You suck, Charlotte.
  • A character nicknamed ‘Chili’. This is Chili:
Chili!
  • Taylor texts someone the phrase “Lol U R SO NAWTY” which I don’t think one teenager, at any stage since texting was invented, has ever messaged another.
  • Charlotte, worst con artist ever, suggests that the penniless Julie should throw a charity benefit. The benefit is so that underprivileged women can go to the rehab centre both Charlotte and Kirsten were at.
  • Johnny, a student at Marissa’s public school, confides in her that he almost murdered his father, assuming that she will empathise with him because she also almost killed somebody.
  • Taylor’s mom – and I mean mom, not mum – tells her that her ass is not meant for low riders. Still a better parent than most of the people on this show, Sandy excepted.
  • Kirsten pitches serving alcohol at a charity event … to benefit people with substance abuse issues! Which she has first-hand experience of. Sure!
  • Taylor Townsend is determined to get with Seth, despite Seth being the worst (although being played by Adam Brody is a few points in his favour).
  • Charlotte, who takes the art out of con artist, plans to flee to Puerto Rico after this con, even though you can very easily be extradited from Puerto Rico.
  • The Subways, a band you have not heard of between them being on this show and reading it just then, perform at The Bait Shop.
  • Marissa offers Kevin Volchok, who keeps antagonising Ryan for no reason, her $4000 Cartier watch to leave Ryan alone, even though she and her mother are in the poor house (four bedroom condo). He kidnaps her instead.
  • Julie foils Charlotte’s very bad con, and says that she’d never screw over Kirsten, who is her true friend. If you scroll up, you can see multiple instances of her screwing over Kirsten’s father and adopted son, however.
  • Marissa’s career advisor suggests that nothing “on her record” would put her out of contention for getting into college. What about the time she shot a guy?
  • Julie moves into a trailer park for like half an episode, because apparently pride does not come before a mobile home.
  • Johnny, Marissa’s poor friend, gets hit by a car and may never be able to surf again! But that’s his dream!!!
  • Taylor keeps trying to break up Summer and Seth, despite declaring them both her best friends.
  • Paul Glass, potentially the series’ first Black character, shows up. (I tried to find a photo of him on the internet, but no dice.)
  • Seth refuses to believe Summer could score better than him on the SATs, because Seth is a sexist jerk.
  • Marissa briefly considers becoming a nurse after taking care of Johnny for literally half a day.
  • Sandy’s co-worker, Matt, takes underaged Ryan to a strip club because that’s where he “does his best thinking”.
  • In order to be more attractive to colleges, Summer tries to pick up, of all instruments, the tuba.
  • Marissa shares a bed with Summer for months despite them having boyfriends.
  • Julie and Kirsten start a high-end dating service!
  • Chrismukkah, for a third time.
  • Johnny tries to rob a minimart to fund his knee surgery, despite the fact that his friends are holding a fundraiser for this very thing.
  • Ryan, Summer and Seth try to get Marissa back into their fancy private school, forgetting that both students and parents signed a petition to expel her.
  • Summer’s dad Neil moves into a trailer with Julie. Julie has dated or married all but one of the regular adult male cast of this show. They break up shortly after.
  • Kaitlin, Marissa’s sister, returns to Newport Beach after two years of absence, because apparently she doesn’t care enough about her family to even come back for Christmas/Hannukah/Christmukkah. The feeling is mutual, given that Julie didn’t tell her that she’d even moved. Kaitlin also stole a bunch of money from her ex-boyfriend’s brother and makes Ryan solve her problems. The terrible runs strong in the Cooper bloodline!
  • Seth gets stoned, for apparently the first time. He ends up missing his interview for Brown, his preferred college.

  • Kaitlin makes out with Johnny. Kaitlin is 14, and is surprisingly played by a 15-year-old Willa Holland. 
  • After Marissa tells him she has no feelings for him, Johnny jumps/falls/throws himself off a cliff. The episode is delicately called ‘The Cliffhanger’ despite that being quite the opposite of what happened. He dies of brain injuries and is hardly acknowledged ever again.
  • Seth somehow accidentally gives Summer his mother’s lingerie.
  • Johnny’s cousin Sadie comes into town, and her only trait seems to be making shitty jewellery. Ryan ends up breaking up with Marissa for her, because Marissa, let’s hear it from the back, suuuucks.
  • Seth hires a Foreigner cover band to play for Ryan’s birthday at The Bait Shop.
  • Sandy tries to reunite Ryan with his mother, Dawn, by busting her out of prison. She ditches Sandy immediately and leaves a note for Ryan, which she’s done multiple times now.
  • Marissa starts seeing Kevin Volchok, and alcohol, again.
  • Taylor tries to teach Seth the kama sutra, despite the fact that Taylor is not Seth’s girlfriend.
  • Julie and Neil get engaged, despite the relationship being a “trial”. 
  • Summer embarks on a drinking problem. Not to be outdone, Marissa embarks on a cocaine problem.
  • Summer gets into Brown! Seth doesn’t, but lies about it. Summer doesn’t want to go to Brown without Seth, because the women on this show have terrible taste.
  • A whole story line where Sandy’s coworker Matt tries to extort money from someone. Remember when this was a teen soap opera?
  • After having marriage issues with Sandy, Kirsten relapses because the writers couldn’t figure out any other plotline for her.
  • Kevin, who is dating Marissa sort of, steals $5000 from Taylor’s purse, which she intended to use to pay for a party? Also, Ryan beats up Kevin.
  • Sandy is named Man of the Year, but is also under criminal investigation for shady business dealings. He turns it down to instead be Husband and Father of the Year (unofficially, of course).
  • Seth sets Sandy’s office on fire with a joint. He is arrested for arson, which is dropped within an episode.
  • Kevin runs Ryan and Marissa off the road!!! Ryan survives with minor injuries, but Marissa dies, along with Mischa Barton’s acting career. Imogen Heap’s version of ‘Hallelujah’ plays, making this two out of four seasons that ends with a cover of that song.

Season Four

  • Everybody seems to have moved on, just five months after Marissa’s death. Julie takes pills, Seth works at a comic book store, Kaitlin smokes weed in public, Summer is a liberal arts student and Ryan works underage at a bar and goes… cagefighting.
  • Seth makes a comic about Ryan which somehow convinces him to move back to the poolhouse.
  • Steve O is a guest star on an episode set in Mexico.
  • Ryan goes to Mexico to beat up Kevin, but mostly just tries to convince him to turn himself in, which has never worked ever. Except this time it does, and Sandy is his public defender. Kevin goes to jail.
  • Taylor went to France and got married, but she’s back in Newport Beach for no reason, and she makes Ryan pretend to be her boyfriend.
  • Kaitlin gets a fake ID and runs into Julie, her mother, at a club. There is surprisingly little made of it.
  • Summer goes through all of the stages of grief over one episode for Marissa. Good for her.
  • Kaitlin is dating a tennis pro who ends up sleeping with… Julie. Julie ends up showing up with said pro at an event with… the tennis pro’s father. Hijinks ensue.
  • At Brown, where Summer is, she’s framed by Chris Pratt (he was on this show!) because he hates her for some reason. Summer is promptly suspended and goes back to Newport Beach. Oh, also, Chris Pratt’s character is called Che.
Chris Pratt, everyone!
  • Seth throws Chris Pratt, and accidentally Summer, into a pool. Summer and Seth decide to go to the same school.
  • A letter from Marissa, written before she died, is delivered to Ryan many months later. 
  • An episode where Ryan and Taylor are in a shared coma! Ryan has to get over Marissa and Taylor has to get over her… mother being awful, and then they’ll wake up! Sure! In practice, it acts like a parallel universe where Ryan never came to Newport Beach and Taylor is a dude. Summer is married, Marissa is still dead, and Seth is still the worst, so no change there. Sandy and Julie are a couple, as are Kirsten and Jimmy. It’s all exhausting and boring. Also, this is all on Chrismukkah.
  • Seth proposes to Summer because he thinks she’s pregnant, but when he finds out that she’s not they call it off! Pointless.
  • Kevin Sorbo aka MAGA Hercules shows up as Ryan’s dad and blackmails Julie, who is basically running a male brothel. 
  • Kevin Sorbo lies about having cancer, so Sandy hits him.
  • Julie tries to convert Summer to Judaism and falls in love with Kevin Sorbo.
  • Taylor’s husband, Henri-Michel, writes a book about their time together. It becomes a bestseller in France and gets printed in English. All this has happened in the six or so months since Marissa’s death, mind.
  • Chris Brown (yes, that Chris Brown) shows up as a character who wants to date Kaitlin. Yikes!
  • Kirsten finds out Julie is running a male brothel and kicks them out of the partnership. To get back in Kirsten’s good books, Julie dupes her into telling her clients that they’ve all got an STD. This… works.
  • Chris Pratt has a crush on Seth, for some reason, for like one episode, before disappearing, only to reappear on Parks and Recreation a few years later.
  • Kaitlin orchestrates a marriage to the tennis pro’s father by pretending to be Julie on emails. He flies back and proposes to Julie, which she accepts because she believes love will grow in her cold, dead heart. Also, she’s banging Kevin Sorbo.
  • A psychic tells Summer that she should be with someone else, which she believes. But it turns out the guy’s name George is an acronym for an eco-progressive group called G.E.O.R.G.E. Sigh.
  • Kirsten tells Sandy the truth about her abortion many years ago! Progressive, for 2007!
  • Julie chooses Kevin Sorbo over tennis pro’s dad.
  • Seth tries to make a film because Summer thinks he can’t. She is, of course, entirely correct.
  • Kaitlin tries to get rid of Kevin Sorbo by planting… clown porn on him. It works, sort of. Julie slows down with Kevin Sorbo.
  • Taylor gets Ryan drunk to make him tell her that he loves her.
  • An earthquake!!!
  • Ryan puts off getting medical treatment for what is essentially a full pane of glass lodged in his back.
  • Taylor accidentally shoots her mother in the foot with a flare gun.
  • Seth gives Ryan a blood transfusion, and I’m 99% sure that’s not how it works.
  • For the last episode, we get a six month timeskip for no reason.
  • Kevin Sorbo got Julie pregnant and promptly left her, but she’s going to marry Tennis Pro Dad! But then Kevin Sorbo comes back to interrupt her at the altar! And Julie marries nobody, choosing instead herself and I presume her unborn child.
  • Kirsten has a baby!
  • Summer joins G.E.O.R.G.E!
  • The show skips through everybody’s future in about two minutes, but in short: Ryan goes to college and eventually becomes Sandy 2.0, Summer protests, Seth is the worst but still marries Summer, Kirsten raises her kid, Sandy still has eyebrows but is a professor now, Julie graduates from college.
  • Marissa remains dead.

More definitive lists by Sam Brooks:

A definitive ranking of all 162 lip-syncs on RuPaul’s Drag Race

A definitive list of the weirdest, wildest foreign language shows on Netflix

A definitive list of all the fireable offences over 15 seasons on Grey’s Anatomy

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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