The OC Sucks; It's Not in a Good Way -- and I Keep Watching

Last year, The OC was one of those breakout shows that was "so bad, it's good" -- a standard excuse for anyone who watches guilty-pleasure television, but also an insult to actual "good" TV, according to Ken Tucker (read his blog, linked on the right). With all the intensity of a trash romance novel (though I've never read a trash romance novel), The OC introduced us to ultra-rich wholesome familes, ultra-rich disfunctional families, outcasts, dorks, and more hot chicks than you can shake your latte at while sitting in your high school's Starbucks franchise. The stories were ridiculously juicy with plots of greek-tragedy, sweetened and condensed to arc over three or four episodes. Ryan is the bad kid from Chino who is really golden-hearted and falls for the prom-queen rich girl who has parents divorcing and who dumped the football captain (who found out his dad is gay) to be with the bad kid from Chino, only to break up and get back together with him about 15 times. Still with me? Good, because that represents less than 25% of the ridiculous premise of the series. I could go on, but you can probably figure out how dorks and wholesome families fit in. I trust that you're that smart.

So the OC was the soda that you drank along with the HBO steak, 24 mashed potato and Arrested Development beans. Why does it suck so much now?

Maybe it's the near-recycling of plots, maybe it's the overextension of new, even stupider stories, maybe it's the introduction of characters that propel such stories. It's hard to pinpoint and it's doubly hard to deal with the fact that I keep watching. Maybe I'm waiting for that one moment where things will turn around, or that one golden scene that will remind me why I watched in the first place. It's a lot like being a gambler during a bad luck spell. You got to keep on at it until things turn around, or the show is cancelled.


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