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Watching ‘The O.C.’, season 4.

Taylor and Ryan. Photo by FOX.

I finished watching season four of “The O.C.” last week, and since there are only four seasons, it’s overrrrrrrrrr!!! I was slowly savoring the episodes when I started on season three, but season four was just… weird.

But, let me offer up the official description from Amazon before I go any further:

High school is over. Time to move on. But events conspire to reunite Ryan, Seth and Summer in posh, seaside Newport. And there may even be a new Core Four. Because after Taylor Townsend says a quick if not passionate au revoir to her education in France, she just might pursue Ryan until he catches her. Time, too, for the series to move on with these 16 Final Episodes. Seth marries Summer? (Maybe.) Ryan goes through life like it’s a steel-cage brawl? (Sometimes.) Kaitlin tries to hook up her mom Julie with a billionaire? (Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) But things happen, sometimes quite unexpectedly. Time to hit the beach for all the surprising events of a cool, compelling and revealing conclusion of The O.C.

Okay, so if you read my review from season three, maybe you guessed that I didn’t realize Marissa DIED. Obviously, I accidentally found out (thanks, Google) that she was going to die, but I didn’t think they’d kill her off with an entire season left!

So, when season four began and everyone was sad and grieving and Ryan was living in the back of a bar participating in cage fights, I was REAL confused.

Also, I know I’ve got a great group of readers here because no one told me that CHRIS BROWN would make a cameo appearance this season – this was perhaps the best thing about season four.

I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of Marissa, but without her, it just seemed wrong. I couldn’t get into Ryan dating Taylor, and the scenes of them together just weren’t right.

From the reviews I’ve read, it seemed like lots of people stopped watching during season three, and the ratings plummeted for season four.

I am glad that Seth and Summer ended up together, and that everyone survived all of the earthquakes (random plot twist) and the new baby’s arrival.

So, that’s pretty much that! I’m really glad I decided to watch this show – and if I would have watched it in high school, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it quite as much.

The question now is – what should I watch next? I’m thinking “Glee” – I have never seen it (I’m hanging my head in embarrassment right now). But what other shows are oldies but goodies? I also have “The West Wing” on DVD that I have yet to watch.

Let me know your favorite old TV series in the comments!

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Watching: ‘The OC’, season 3.

The core four.

I started watching season 3 of “The OC” during my staycation last week, and I wasn’t surprised when I barreled right through it. I thought season 2 was good, but season 3 was just throwing drama left and right, and you know, I am HERE FOR IT.

Before I go any further, here is the description of season 3 from Amazon.com:

Senior year. Prom. Graduation. College visits. Old friends. New problems. And plenty of Korean popstars. Ryan’s savior complex becomes a recipe for disaster. Seth and Summer’s relationship hits the rocks thanks to Seth’s compulsion to edit the truth. As Kirsten attempts to put her life back together, Sandy assumes leadership of the Newport Group and finds himself the heir-apparent to Caleb Nichol’s legacy of scandal. Marissa spirals out of control after little sis Kaitlin – a Julie Cooper in the making – returns home to stir the pot. And speaking of Julie Cooper, she’s cast out of her Palace – into the slums of the OC.

Please note that the following DOES contain spoilers – I’m assuming I’m the only person who is watching “The OC” for the first time.

Season 2 left off with Marissa just having shot Trey, so season 3 picks up right there. To my shock, Trey was still alive, but obviously in the hospital. There is much controversy over Marissa’s actions and the community questions (and wishes) that Ryan was to blame instead.

Marissa and Ryan get kicked out of Harbor, and its public school for her and Ryan gets a tutor for homeschooling. At her new school, Marissa meets a group of new friends, and you can probably guess what happens next…

The new group of friends has their own trouble, and Marissa gets dragged in, love triangle, and all. Eventually, the group starts to fade away, and the remaining friend dies in an accident. Because of course, right?

Over the course of the season, Marissa and Ryan breakup and get back together, as do Seth and Summer. But the other focus remains on getting Marissa admitted back to Harbor (Ryan gets back in) and applying to college.

College visits brings back a few skeletons – Seth runs into Anna on the Brown campus, and Kirsten sees Teresa at the airport… with a baby that looks a lot like Ryan. Dun, dun, dunnnnn.

In the background of all this, Marissa’s dad disappears after proposing to her mom Julie Cooper, and there is no fortune to be had. This leaves Marissa to live with Summer, and Julie moved into the trailer park, complete with pork rinds and chewing tobacco (!).

In the end, Ryan is still up to his old ways – fighting everyone in sight, and getting involved with Marissa’s ex in stealing a car, which sends Ryan and Marissa into a terrible, flaming car crash in the last few minutes of the season finale.

The season closes with an unclear outcome (of course) – is Marissa alive (I’m thinking yes because we have one more season to go)? Will Ryan go to college? Is Teresa’s baby his?

We will soon see!

Staycation, all I ever wanted!

I am fairly certain its bad blogging etiquette to say how exhausted I am, but it’s been a crazy few weeks at work, and life has just been SERVING it to me. Lucky for me, I planned a staycation for myself months ago and have the entire week off!

At first, I didn’t think I’d be that excited about a staycation (I’ve never really had one) and I also thought a week (or 9 whole days) off work would be almost too long. Turns out, I’m already feeling like I probably should have asked for two weeks off.

Regardless, I made a list of things I might do next week – with an understanding that I also might just lay in my bed until the morning of July 9th, when I’m expected back at the office. So, here’s what I’m thinking:

Brunch at Holy Roller

This downtown gem is known for their witty, religious twist on their decor and menu items. They are also home of the “Trash Fries” – but I’m also eyeing the “Grilled Cheesus”. Take a look at their menu for their full offering.

Head to the Movies

It’s been a minute since I’ve been to the movies, and I really want to see “Tag” along with the new “Jurassic World” – I even have a free movie pass to use, so I’m really hoping for one of those afternoons where I’m the only one in the theatre…

4th of July Paddleboarding

This is the only event I know for a FACT I am doing because I already bought my ticket… plus, I’m pretty excited about it. This is a 2-hour stand-up paddle-boarding session on Lady Bird Lake at night underneath the Downtown Austin fireworks on July 4. I can usually see fireworks from my apartment, but each year I always wish I would have actually gone somewhere to see them closer… and I think this is about as close as I can get! I have only been paddle-boarding once before, but I didn’t fall, so I’m hoping I have similar luck!

Lounge by the Pool

It’s a no-brainer that at least a few times, I’ll be at the pool with my head buried in a book, alongside a cooler full of snacks (and white wine).

Binge on ‘The OC’

I bought seasons three and four and have no had a chance to start either of them! I really have some catching up to do.

Lunch at Veracruz All Natural

I heard that Round Rock’s Veracruz All Natural has THE BEST shrimp tacos in Austin and I will happily forgo my vegan diet to try these bad boyz. They also serve 32-ounce agua frescas and I am so freaking excited to get a pineapple one!

Cook in the Kitchen

While I do plan on eating out and enjoying food at the Drafthouse during movies, I do want to cook a few new vegan goodies right at home, including Garlic Buffalo Brussels Sprouts from Rabbit and Wolves, and a Banana Cream Pie from the Minimalist Baker #treatyoself

And so concludes my list. I sort of wanted to include a few productive things on my list, like renew my passport, renew my car registration, and wash my car… but I decided to drive myself insane and did it ALL this week so that next week – I’m completely without obligation.

I’ll let you all know how it turns out on Instagram and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7

Watching: ‘The OC’, Season Two.

Blue like the sea… the o-sea…

You might recall that earlier this year, I’d never seen a single episode of “The OC”, but I watched season one, and after receiving a surprise copy of season two in the mail, I plowed right through season two.

Before I tell you anything else, here’s the description of season two from Amazon: Hook up with what’s coming down as the Core Four romances of Ryan-and-Marissa and Seth-and-Summer may (or may not) go from very over to very on, Sandy and Kirsten face choices that could trainwreck their 20-year marriage, felon (and Ryan’s brother) Trey gives Newport living a try, Julie’s lurid past comes back to haunt her, and other new hunks and hotties become part of the coastal scene. Live. Laugh. Lie. Cheat. Grow. Share. Connive. Love. In California’s beach paradise, they do everything under the sun.

…So… yeah. After watching season two, I can say it was WAY better than season one. Season one was a nice, sweet introduction to this group… and season two was basically a slap in the face, “Hello, welcome to crazy!” This is where stuff really starts to fall apart.

The season begins with Seth in Portland after he set sail… but arrived at his destination via Greyhound. It takes some convincing from Sandy and Ryan, but obviously Seth returns to the OC unscathed, and just in time for a new school year to begin.

We are also watching Ryan’s relationship, and his life in Chino, as he awaits the birth of his child… that is until his baby mama starts suspecting something is awry with Ryan, and she tells him she lost the baby.

I KNEW she wasn’t going to end up having the baby on the show, which is half-true, as we later see she does indeed have it, but Ryan doesn’t know. I have to applaud the show writers here for not just cutting off this plot line, and I’m curious to see if it ever comes back up in the later seasons.

Ryan comes back to the OC, as predicted – this show wouldn’t be a thing without him and his unrefined drama.

Sandy has someone from his past reappear, an old love, as her father is looking for her and she arrives in town under disguise from the FBI. He comes reeeeal close to cheating, and his wife has her own little crush, which results in a slew of heavy drinking, an alcohol-related car accident (which she somehow walks away from) and a trip to rehab.

THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

Ryan briefly dates someone new, until he finds out she’s related to the Cohens, and this heads down the path of a DNA test, adoption, and then she’s virtually killed off the show when she buys a one-way ticket to Chicago.

Ryan’s brother also finds himself in the OC after he’s released from prison. Naturally, Sandy is there to pick him up and invites him to stay in the pool house. Nothing says trouble like this… drugs, theft, and guns? It gets bad.

But the Cohens are always around to solve everything with a basket full of bagels, and/or a ridiculous order of takeout Chinese.

Regardless, by the end of the season, two people are dead, and I’m not lying when I tell you I purchased the final two seasons within five minutes of the season ending. DAMN.

So, there’s that! I am halfway through the series, and I’m hoping my DVDs will be delivered this week – I can’t stand these cliffhangers!

Podcasts I’ve been listening to, Part IX.

I can’t believe it’s come to a “Part 9” of my podcast recommendations – but here we are. Dream big, folks!

It’s been an entire year since I posted about podcasts and that’s simply because I haven’t been devouring them quite like I used to. Since then, I’ve gotten my own office, with a door, which means I spend more time working in silence, sometimes I listen to music, and sometimes I’m simply listening to new episodes from the podcasts I’ve recommended over the years.

I’ve slowly been finding new podcasts to listen to, and well, that’s why I’m writing today – just in case you’ve been looking for some good content to feed your brain. Here goes…

Making Obama

If you’re missing the kindness, wisdom, and poise from our former President (le sigh), this one’s for you. Created by the same people at WBEZ Chicago who brought us “Making Oprah”, this is “Making Obama” and it documents his story from his application to law school. Here’s the description from NPR:

Former President Barack Obama — along with key advisers, mentors, and rivals — tells the story of his climb from Chicago to the national stage. Season One of Making told the story of how Oprah built a media empire. Now, the story of how Chicago shaped the country’s first African-American president.

Right now there are only six episodes (I’m currently on episode 5), and that might be all we get – “Making Oprah” was only 3 parts, with a few bonus episodes. But nonetheless, each episode is around 1-hour, and is so interesting. Start listening to episodes here.

OC Men

I just started listening to this one after I finished watching season 1 of “The OC” for the first time (read my review here). So, I’m only one episode in, but this is pretty comical. Here’s the podcast’s description:

A podcast following the journey of three jerks watching the mid-2000’s show The O.C. Super-fan JT tries to explain the show to his dumb friends, Russell and Jamie, who know nothing about it.

These guys go pretty deep – some of them are studying film, so they really discuss the actors, the body language, and even camera angles. But of course, they’re still talking about “The OC”, and it’s one episode at a time. From the looks of it, they have one podcast episode per “OC” episode, and it looks like they’re all posted, so you can binge away. Start listening to episodes here.

Drawl

I had “Drawl” on my list of podcasts to listen to for months and am finally getting caught up – I’m so glad, because it’s wonderful! Before I go any further, here’s the description:

Drawl is a weekly podcast about Southern poets by Southern poets. Follow along as we feature poetry performances, conversations with poets, and lots of laughs in between. Hosted by Desireé Dallagiacomo and Donney Rose also known as Donney Rose & Desireé Dallagiacomo. Come thru.

I met Donney and Desiree when I was dabbling into the Baton Rouge poetry scene – and these two are so inspiring. They are both amazing poets and they also do an incredible job working with Baton Rouge youth, helping them to use their voices in positive ways. The podcast features a new guest each episode, and it’s making me want to pick up my poetry pen again! Listen to episodes of “Drawl” here.

Straight Up With Stassi

I love, love, LOVE “Vanderpump Rules” and I’ve had my ups and downs with how I feel about Stassi. She’s fashionable and fun, but is she someone I’d go to for political advice? Maybe not. But, this is a fun podcast, and she’s real about everything she discusses, which I love. You can’t fault her for being true to herself, plus, she features fun guests, friends and family. Here’s the scoop:

Love her or hate her, but you can’t ignore the sassy, quick-witted Stassi Schroeder, star of Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules.” Never one to hold back on any topic, Stassi is here with a weekly podcast, “Straight Up with Stassi’, a biting and hilarious look at the world and everyone in it, according to the Queen Bee herself.

Listen to episodes here.

Watching: ‘The OC’, Season One.

Unfolding the drama that is ‘The OC’, season 1.

That’s right, I have NEVER watched a single episode of “The OC” – until now. Of course, I’d heard it was a good show, but it premiered in 2003, when I was strictly watching “Laguna Beach”.

After discovering that my library has NO copies of “The OC” on DVD, I asked for season 1 for Christmas, got it (thanks, mom!), and starting watching it pretty much immediately. Before I dive into my thoughts, here’s the official description from Amazon.com:

When Ryan Atwood, a tough, guarded, fiercely intelligent 16-year-old plunges headlong into the wealthy, privileged community of Newport Beach, he soon discovers that the ruling families of Orange County are every bit as territorial as the tough crowd with which he ran on the streets of Chino. For Sandy Cohen, the idealistic public defender who takes Ryan in; his wife Kirsten, the linchpin of O.C. society; their awkward adolescent son, Seth; and the beautiful troubled girl next door, Marissa Copper – Ryan’s presence will forever change their lives.

Ok, let’s get into this! And yes, there’s about to be loads of spoilers, because I’m assuming I’m the only person who hadn’t seen this show (I’m always late to the game). The season starts with us meeting Ryan in an interesting way – he’s attempting to steal a car with his brother, they mess it up and end up with the cops.

I was shocked – this is what all the hooplah was about? Some loser trying to steal cars? Ugh. But of course, Sandy Cohen, that public defender with a heart of gold, comes to Ryan’s rescue and offers to take him in (duh, there’s room in the pool house) temporarily.

Of course, a kid like Ryan isn’t immediately going to straighten up at the sight of Spanish-tiled roofs and granite countertops, so his presence in the neighborhood does not go unnoticed. He’s new, rough-around-the-edges, and he can’t seem to go anywhere without punching someone.

But alas, he catches the eyes of the girl next door, Marissa (Mischa Barton), and we’re given the romantic side of all the drama. Of course, Marissa’s not without her problems – cut to her drinking an endless bottle of room-temperature vodka.

As the season goes on (there are 27 episodes in season one), drama unfolds with all of the characters, including Marissa and her family, and the Cohens’ extended family members. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, which explains why I watched a majority of it within a week, and then kept putting off the final three episodes because I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

Honestly, I didn’t grow up watching shows like this. I wasn’t allowed to watch “90210”, and have only seen a few episodes of “Dawson’s Creek”. “The OC” falls in-line with shows like this, the teen-soap type.

It’s good; not too cheesy, and I like the characters. The one that really won me over was Seth (Adam Brody), who is Sandy’s son, and he quickly befriends Ryan upon arrival. Seth is a nerd and despite his family’s name, he hasn’t been able to make many friends or get a girlfriend, well, ever. But once Ryan shows up and throws Seth into the cool scene, Seth is getting all the attention and I got a big kick watching his personality unfold.

For the record, I wanted so badly for Seth to end up with Anna, and was sad to see her go back to Philly. Summer is funny, but her character got stale for me.

Before I forget, let’s discuss Teresa, Ryan’s ex from Chino. I am not a big fan of her, and when she wound up pregnant in the second-to-last episode of the season I was about to scream! She toys with the idea of getting an abortion, but says she just HAS to have this baby (No, girl, you don’t! Your body, your choice!) because, cable TV.

So, the season ends with us not knowing exactly WHO the father is (cue Maury) and Ryan heading back with her to Chino to help her out. NNAAAAOOOOOO! Obviously, I haven’t watched season two yet (please, no spoilers), but I do not think she will end up having the baby and getting a paternity test. I am mostly thinking she will have a miscarriage and/or her and Ryan will get into a fight, sending him back to Orange County at the start of season two. We’ll see.

Probably my favorite two things about this show are 1. the nostalgia, and 2. the theme song. “The OC” is packed with things of my teenage life – silver flip phones, all things Hollister, and the stereotypical California lifestyle. Having said that, the show seemed rather low-budget to me now, but I’m sure if I’d have watched it in 2003, I would have thought it was very glamorous.

And then there’s the theme song, which is highly important (the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is another favorite) and I would be lying if I said I didn’t belt out “CALI-FOR-NNIIIAAAAAAA” every single episode I watched. The soundtrack was also key, and brought me back to lots of bands I listened to in college.

So, there you have it! I haven’t started season two yet, but I promise you, I will! I’d love to hear if you watched this show, and why you liked it, or didn’t like it. In the meantime… “Californiiiiaaaaaaa, here we cooommme!”