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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!

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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!”