The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Girlfriend"

Wikipedia.org

Marquette basketball has a freshman coming in this fall named Sandy Cohen. There's only one logical thing to do: recap episodes of The O.C.

The near-unanimous reaction to hearing that Marquette had received a verbal commitment from Seymour (WI) guard Sandy Cohen was "What, the dad from The O.C.?" As such, it seemed the obvious thing to do would be use The O.C. references when he makes an outstanding play for the Golden Eagles. We'll spend some time this summer recapping episodes of the classic Fox drama, making notes of major Sandy Cohen moments along the way and giving everyone a guidepost as to what the hell we're talking about come November.

Makes sense, right? Ok, hit it, Phantom Planet!


Season 1, Episode 6 - "The Girlfriend"

Directed by Steve Robman
Teleplay by Josh Schwartz
Story by Debra J. Fisher & Erica Messer

Previously on The O.C. - Kirsten explains to Ryan that she runs the residential side of her father's real estate empire.  Luke blows a gasket over Ryan and Marissa's behavior toward each other.  Seth encourages Ryan to ask Marissa out on a date.  Jimmy ponders his future.  Luke gets shot in the arm.

The opening shot of this episode is an SUV version of the Tarantino trunk shot, as the Cohens unload a carful of groceries because Kirsten's father Caleb is coming to visit OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY IT'S THE DEBUT OF ALAN DALE AS CALEB NICHOL!  WOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Every good soap/drama needs a ridiculous over the top not quite villain type and Caleb Nichol is the O.C.'s guy.  In fact, Caleb is so much of an overbearing jackass that his Lear jet flew faster than expected and he's already used his spare key to let himself into the house and so he probably heard every bad thing about him that Sandy just said to help the audience understand who the character is.  Oops.

Caleb's actually quite jovial to all of the Cohens, albeit with a bit of looking down his nose at Sandy and his Jewish background, but the first words out of his mouth directed at Ryan are literally "You're the boy that burned down my house."  And Seth had just finished doing such a good job of making Ryan feel that Caleb wouldn't even realize it had happened.  Oh well.  Caleb demands bonding time with his grandson while telling Ryan to take the charcoal straight out to the grill by the pool, neglecting to tell Ryan that his buxom blonde 24 year old girlfriend Gabrielle is out there.  We suddenly turn into Fast Times At Ridgemont High as Gabrielle and her powder blue bikini get out of the pool in slow motion as OK Go's You're So Damn Hot plays, except Ryan's actually seeing this happen about 10 feet away from him.  Seth leans into the frame, says, "Oh my God, that could be my grandma," and off we go to the title sequence.

Seth and Ryan literally can't stop staring from the jacuzzi while Gabrielle paddles along in the pool, and then she joins them, sitting directly between the pair.  Conversation turns to Caleb's upcoming birthday party, and Gabrielle knows exactly what she's doing to these two poor idiots, reacting to their lack of dates with surprise: "Two hot young guys like yourselves?"  They discuss Summer and Marissa as potential opportunities and weirdly, they get courage from talking to Gabrielle to ask them out.

Over at the Coopers', Luke wanders into Marissa's room.  Seriously, Jimmy Cooper will let any pile of hormones that knocks on the door run around his house unattended.  It's truly amazing.  Luke's gotten his stitches out and he's had time to reflect on what's important in his life and wants Marissa to be a part of it.  She's not completely won over, but he's okay with taking it slow for now.

Back at the Cohens', Caleb chats with Sandy and Kirsten.  The main jist of the conversation is how Kirsten is running her life, and while he can't really object to how she's running his business, he sure doesn't like adopting Ryan so quickly and without consulting him.  As a result, he's cutting back her responsibilities at The Newport Group.  Seems drastic, but hey, Summer later refers to him as the Donald Trump of the west, so I guess he's gotta be slightly bonkers.

We jump over the fence at the Coopers', where Julie first throws Kaitlin's lack of alopecia pony in Jimmy's face, and then asks for a divorce.  Ryan knocks on the door to ask Marissa to come to the party, but before he can say it, Luke wanders up.  He's still in reflective mode and thanks Ryan for getting him to the hospital.  He also not very subtly shows Ryan that he should back the hell off of his girlfriend, and Ryan bails off to work.

Gabrielle wanders into The Crab Shack because she doesn't want to go sailing with Caleb and Seth, and ends up dumping her life story on him.  She says her mom sent her off to Japan to model with she was 16, and "things got wild" in her house of all teenage models, and "by the time, I got clean, I was 22, retirement age."  She says this while pouring a travel size bottle of Grey Goose from the Lear jet into the cranberry juice that she ordered because Ryan can't serve her alcohol because he's underage.  Is that a thing where if you're a recovering drug addict that it's okay for you to drink alcohol?  That seems bad, right?

After a brief jaunt back to Sandy and Kirsten to add depth to Caleb (they moved their wedding three times for his schedule and he STILL didn't make it, although that's because of a monsoon in Singapore), we come back to The Crab Shack where Marissa wanders in looking for Ryan.  She tells him about Luke wanting to get back together, but she doesn't know what she wants.  Ryan rightfully tells her that he can't help her decide.

The next day, the boys are skateboarding and biking on the beach when they see Marissa and Summer getting burritos.  Seth decides it's time to approach Summer about the party, but she drags him off so Marissa is forced to talk to Ryan.  Ryan finally brings up the party, but Luke has already asked Marissa to go.  Over at the salsa table, Summer makes Seth lick a bit of spilled salsa off her finger and then demands that he ask her to the party.  It's all just a clever ploy so she can hit on investment bankers to which I remind her that they're all (at least) 10 years older than her.  CREEPY.

Sandy comes roaring home from work with the idea of Kirsten quitting her job so they can move back to Berkeley, since they only moved to Newport Beach because Kirsten's mom was sick.  Sandy points out that Kirsten can use her art history degree to operate that gallery in Sausalito that she liked so much.  I'm disappointed that she's not a marine biologist, honestly.  This idea of his spills over into dinner, and Sandy urges Kirsten to take advantage of Caleb "finishing his second bottle of wine."  However, Caleb has come into the kitchen to search for more wine and hears the very end of the that conversation.  This sets him off, of course, which leads to him shouting at Sandy about who really owns and paid for the house and eventually telling Kirsten that he'll expect her resignation in the morning.  Don't drink and tell your daughter to quit, kids.

While the shouting match was developing in the kitchen, Gabrielle and the boys snuck out to the pool house to read comic books and play video games.  Gabrielle doesn't care for whatever handheld game she's playing, so Seth heads to his room to snag Pro Skater 3.  That was probably just a ploy by Gabrielle, as she takes the opportunity to grope Ryan's upper leg and start kissing him.  Again, she's well aware that he's too young to serve her alcohol, but apparently just the right age to bang.  This is cut short by Caleb shouting from the house that it's time to leave.

The boys are lounging around in the pool before the party where Seth makes a convincing case to Ryan that he thinks something's going on with Gabrielle and Ryan.  Ryan point blank says "yep, we hooked up," which Seth reacts to with both disgust (his grandma!) and pride and amazement.  Kirsten hustles them out of the pool because the caterers have arrived, and we cut to the party.  Caleb's the same charismatic jackass, Gabrielle is all over Ryan, Jimmy did not come to the party, and Luke appears to be on quaaludes.  I mean, he compliments Seth on his house and doesn't even come close to using a homosexual slur towards him like Luke usually does.

Everybody seems to be having fun at Caleb's birthday party except for Kirsten.  Sandy and Kirsten talk about I'm not really sure what, but it ends up with Kirsten introducing the concept of Sandy interjecting himself between Caleb and Kirsten because Sandy's not happy with his life.  Meanwhile, it's a lucky thing that Jimmy lives right next door so he could throw on a sport coat and run on over to pitch Caleb on giving him a job. Not lucky: his ability to actually convince Caleb to give him a job.  Smart move by Caleb, although it wasn't a totally insane idea by Jimmy, given how much Caleb hates Sandy and loves Jimmy from when Jimmy and Kirsten were an item.

We get a one minute scene in the bathroom with Marissa and Summer which exists only to inform us that Luke and Marissa have never had sex.  This is important, because we go straight to the pool house where Ryan is trying to hide behind a first generation iPod.  Those things were HUGE.  Surprising no one, Gabrielle comes in and she's ready for the sexy action with a 16 year old that she knows is a 16 year old.  Yeah.  This is just weird.  I know the show is playing the smooth jazz over the top of this, but it's a whole big bowl of wrong.  In case you didn't guess from the Marissa/Summer scene, this is where Marissa wanders in to the pool house.  She then runs out of the pool house, grabs Luke, goes back to Luke's house, and proceeds to sleep with him, although Marissa has PENSIVE FACE when Luke rolls out of bed to get something, which is probably a condom, but they literally never actually say what they're about to do or what Luke should go get.

Meanwhile, back at the party, Julie is unsurprised that Jimmy's master plan failed, so she goes up to Caleb to say hello, wish him a happy birthday, and let him know that Jimmy's left her and the kids with nothing.  Caleb is very distressed by this news and seems very interested in Julie's body plight.

Summer comes to find Seth so he can introduce her to more investment bankers, but he's done with her stupid plan.  She's trying to impress these late 20-somethings while all they're doing is staring at her boobs, according to Seth.  They don't care about her like Seth does, as he recites a poem she read in front of the class in sixth grade.  Summer is overwhelmed by this show of affection and kisses Seth.  Then she goes off to hit on more finance guys.  Seth, of course, thinks this is a fantastic development, while I'm left shouting at him to grab her before she wanders off and kiss her again.  *sigh*

Sandy corners Caleb to give him the straight deal on Kirsten: she's awesome and he's afraid to actually let her be an adult that he doesn't have to assert control over.  Caleb stonefaces Sandy, but goes to Kirsten and has a heart-to-heart with her about how they're the only two people left in their nuclear family, and that's why he's so tough on her.  It's actually quite touching, even though Kirsten sets the table for Caleb to point blank say "I'm proud of you, Kiki," but he never does.  The moment closes with Caleb telling her to not be late for work on Monday.

The episode closes with Ryan seeing Luke drop Marissa off.  He goes over to apparently try to explain why he was getting busy with a 24 year old, but since she was the one being flighty about who to choose, I don't blame Ryan.  Gabrielle for being a possible sex criminal, maybe, but that's neither here nor there.  Marissa says "You're too late," and goes inside as we fade to black.

Best Sandy Cohen Quote: At first, I thought that this one would be more Sandy Cohen moments than anything else, but then I realized that Sandy had a great line that works for basketball when talking with Kirsten during the party: "I wish I could tell you I'm sorry, but I'm not."  The TV Cohen is referring to how he wishes he could truthfully tell his wife that he feels bad about causing the blowup with her father, but it will apply quite nicely to the basketball Cohen throwing a dunk down on Georgetown.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: It's definitely the speech he gives to Caleb at the party.  He's really screwed things up badly for his wife, and he knows he has to make it up to her and he does so in spades.  Sandy plays every card he has in his deck from the more than a decade and a half of dealing with Caleb, playing to every possible insecurity that he can figure Caleb has, while also appealing to Caleb as a father himself at the same time.

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