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A Review of The O.C. (And Why I Should Replace Mischa Barton in the Reboot)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

No feeling will ever compare to the chills I felt when I first heard the opening notes of “California” by Phantom Planet for the first time. There is just something about that song that is so special to me, as a girl who has been in love with California her whole life. The night I first heard this song, I saw a Tiktok about best TV show theme songs featuring One Tree Hill (another one of my all-time favorites), and The O.C. The rest was history. It’s funny because the night I first heard that song happened to be the fictional character Seth Cohen’s birthday and the anniversary of when I began fundraising for my school trip to California a year prior. The O.C. has since become one of my comfort shows and is very important to me.

I can’t watch a single episode of this show without singing the theme song. I am not kidding when I say that with every new episode, I sing along to “California” by Phantom Planet very obnoxiously. It is the only way. I used to tell myself I was never going to watch it because after watching the “Dear Sister” SNL skit featuring my love Andy Samberg, I was convinced that it was cringy. However, the theme song alone was enough to change my mind. I waited months to finally end up purchasing every season on Amazon Prime Video since it had been removed from Hulu, and I was not going to subscribe to HBO Max. It was pricey, but I have no regrets.

The O.C. takes place in Orange County, California in one of the most beautiful settings I have ever seen on television. It gives me such good vibes watching these characters live their best lives in the golden state, with the nice weather, beautiful beaches, and cute surfer guys. It can be a little overdramatic, but it is still intriguing. Seth Cohen, played by Adam Brody, is my dream man – a nerdy, sweet, gamer who has great music taste, loves movies, and constantly makes pop culture references. I also love the bad-boy character Ryan Atwood portrayed by Ben McKenzie. They are both so awesome. The character that resonated with me the most was Marissa Cooper, the girl-next-door played by Mischa Barton. From the first episode, I saw myself in this character, and I only felt more connected as I kept watching.

Growing up, I have always been told that I am that “girl next door” type and that that is the type of role I would portray in films, so Marissa reminded me of that. I understood her struggles, mood swings, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and this one scene where her mom asks her what is wrong, and she just screams. .Also, there is a scene where Marissa makes a playlist for Ryan and says, “this song reminds me of you.” Music is something I cannot live without and is extremely important to me. I have a history of making playlists for people who mean something to me, as many others can relate to, so Marissa and I are also alike in this way. I constantly feel like her in real life, although I am not as dramatic, and there are many other ways we are drastically different.

A lot of people who watch The O.C. think Marissa is annoying, but I think she is just misunderstood and ignored and deserved better. She is edgy, cool, and has great fashion sense. Some scenes between Marissa and Ryan make me sob, and watching her crazy life on the show is so entertaining. Mischa Barton and I have the same initials and middle name, although hers is spelled differently, which is super cool to me. I think if The O.C. ever got a reboot, and Mischa wanted to step down as Marissa, I would gladly take over. Plus they could just put my initials on the paperwork and everything, and no one would know the difference. I would not have to act for some parts because Marissa’s experiences are so similar to mine. I am so grateful for this amazing show as well as its theme song. California, here we come!

Melanie Bumpus is a freshman at Pace University majoring in Communication Studies (and fluent in Arrested Development quotes). She is either at a concert or watching 10 Things I Hate About You for the millionth time. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9551530/