Why ‘The O.C.’ Is Worth More Than Just Nostalgia

Ready to feel older than a grown man playing a school boy in a teen soap? It’s been ten years since the final episode of The O.C. was broadcast into lounge rooms around the world.

But if you’re anything like me (or any O.C. fan), February 23 2007 wasn’t the last time the show played on your (now multiple) screens. Every year I return to sunny Newport Beach, teleported through my screen back to the balboa bars, shootings and social events that frame all four seasons of The O.C.. This isn’t about overdosing on memory lane in Tijuana — there’s something in addition to the nostalgia that draws me back; it’s the same impulse that drew in fans at the time.

On this diamond anniversary I’ve been wondering about the lasting impact The O.C.had on fans and why, unlike its televisual contemporaries like HBO’s The Sopranosor Six Feet Under, Fox’s teen classic merely inspires “where are the cast now” articles but very little serious acclaim or attention. Genre-defying cult favourite Buffywas set in a high school, involved monsters and in-jokes, bad decisions and great narrative arcs, and inspired an entire academic field dedicated to the show dubbed Slayage. In 2012, Duke University dedicated a single class to Fox’s primetime teen soap, ‘California, Here We Come: The O.C. and the Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America’.

The O.C. was less a cult favourite than a smash hit with viewers. Locally, in 2005 The O.C. received the Logie for Best International Program. In the States, it drew in more weekly viewers than Dawson’s Creek had in years prior. Like Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton), The O.C. was incredibly pretty and popular and underestimated — there’s much more going on under the surface.

So, why are the golden beaches of The O.C. overlooked during all the discussion of this “golden age of television”? Simply put: like a Newpsie yogalates class, you can guarantee there’s some serious snobbery going down.

Read the rest at Junkee.

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