The O.C.: Tearful Goodbye or Jeer-ful Good Riddance?

    I am a security monitor at Bobb/McCulloch and at the end of each shift, I walk away with a new batch of…colorful stories. Perhaps the best to-date came this past Saturday night when a girl—who was already rather inebriated—meandered down from the dorms into the Bobb lobby. Dressed for a night of fun at the frats, she stumbled over her high heels and caught herself against a wall.

    “It was just…so SAD,” she said with the wail of a wounded banshee.oc 2

    What could it be? A death in the family? A painful breakup?

    “I can’t believe they cancelled The O.C.! I have to drink this out.”

    At this point it occurred to me that if one is seriously lamenting the end of The O.C., ingesting a substance with the power to further deteriorate an already lacking common sense, might not be the answer. As the girl exited in step with her own drunken sobs, I wondered how anyone could possibly be in that state after learning of The O.C.’s imminent demise.

    I had always assumed that killing off a main character (as The O.C. did last year with Mischa Barton’s alter ego, Marissa) was a sure sign that a show had jumped the shark and that fans would soon lose interest in their once-beloved escape. Despite the steady decline in viewership since the shows first season (season one enjoyed an average of 10 million viewers a week, down to four million this season), fans of the recently cancelled series have banded together, uniting through a “Save The O.C.” blog. The website, rife with spelling errors and lacking much formal punctuation (particularly in the fan contributions and comments), urges fans to start letter writing campaigns and hints at a possible time slot for The O.C. on the freshman network, The CW. The webmasters implore fans to participate in “Save The O.C. Week: 4 Days of Activism,” which consists of letter writing to both Fox and The CW, posting digital banners all over the web, and finally signing an online petition (site owners hope online “signatures” will break the 300,000 mark, a number I suppose they think will show network execs the error of their ways).

    Several fans have lamented on the message boards that Tuesday nights will never be the same. It’s clear by these statements that The O.C. has truly touched every area of life for its fans, since it has moved twice since its original Tuesday night slate, first to Wednesday and then to Thursday nights, its current time slot.

    One fan, “gracie,” posted this comment on the site on January 4, 2007:
    “OMG how could they do this!!!
    the OC is amazing and no matter what characters arent present or relationships that die the writers always have something to add…they cannot cancel this has such potential for a jillion more seasons!!

    Do you hear that, Fox? A jillion more seasons. I bet you’re kicking your collective self right about now, aren’t you?

    Having never seen an episode of The O.C. myself, I can’t testify to its potential for a jillion more seasons, but I can attest to my own disbelief at some of the response it has garnered. I don’t much care what you are under the influence of, the fact that a grown person could invest so much into a television show is simply unreal to me. It’s not as though viewers of The O.C. had discovered in the show some rare gem in the bleak nothingness of network programming—quite the contrary, The O.C. is merely one of many in a genre that refuses to die. Canceling The O.C. is like plucking a gray hair; out of the void it leaves will no doubt spring two new versions of a stock concept.

    This genre being, of course, the nighttime teenage soap opera watched mostly by high school girls whose viewing choices are guided largely by Seventeen Magazine and twenty-somethings who peaked on prom night. The popularity of the plotlines highlight our nation’s perversion and delusion (perverted by nature of the content, deluded by nation of our unending shock after all these years). In any other medium such flagrant marketing of teenage sexcapades would be punishable in a court of law. Take Pacey’s famous affair with his English teacher in the early days of Dawson’s Creek. One other case of such consensual, statutory rape has gained attention in recent years: Mary Kay Letourneau. Now, I don’t want this taken the wrong way, I’m all for pushing the envelope and I love that shows such as The O.C. are willing to do it. They are for the most part, however, all pushing the same envelope and thus don’t particularly warrant tears upon their departure from the airwaves.

    That being said, I sympathize with you, O.C. fans, and if your need for the scripted drama of pretty rich kids in Orange County, CA, MTV has renewed Laguna Beach for a fourth season.


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