The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Third Wheel"

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 15 - "The Third Wheel"

Directed by Sandy Smolan

Written by Melissa Rosenberg

Previously on The O.C.: Kirsten's sister Hailey has returned to Newport Beach, but why?  Anna's not interested in non-Seth guys, so she tracks him down on New Year's Eve to seal the deal.  Oliver Trask had a party in a Four Seasons penthouse on New Year's Eve, and while Ryan didn't want to go, Marissa went anyway.  That meant Ryan had to make a dramatic last second entrance to kiss Marissa at midnight.

*     *     *     *     *

Hailey's tenure in the Cohen house is not going over well.  For example, this morning she's eaten the last bagel, drank the last of the orange juice, taken the section of the paper that Seth wanted to read, and she's doing all of this while wearing Kirsten's robe.  Honestly, the first three are forgivable, but what's with stealing your sister's robe?  That's just kind of creepy.  Hailey doesn't have anything else to do than hang around the house because, as Ryan puts it, "all of her friends want to kick her ass."  Kirsten promises to talk to her sister about doing something - ANYTHING - as Hailey calls out to Kirsten to make her some coffee.  The good French roast kind, of course.

Seth begs Ryan for some Seth-Ryan time at some point.  He needs Ryan's advice to figure out how to tell Summer than he and Anna are an item now.  They almost get a moment, but Marissa bounds through the door and obviously, they can't talk about dealing with Summer in front of Marissa.

Jimmy and Sandy have a pow-wow about Jimmy's resume.  HE STILL DOES NOT HAVE A JOB, which only makes him almost as pathetic as Hailey, who wanders in to say hi to Jimmy.  Sandy uses the momentary break to go talk to Kirsten, who did not broach the topic of being a lazyass with Hailey while they were grocery shopping.  Jimmy and Hailey bond over the memories of Kirsten & Jimmy babysitting a Golden Girls-enamored Hailey.  Hailey remarks about how odd it was for her 10 year old self to identify with 70 year old women.  I can't help but double check what I suspected: Bea Arthur & Betty White were 63 when The Golden Girls debuted, while Rue McClanahan was 51.  Hell, McClanahan wasn't even 70 when this episode aired in 2004.  But I digress.  Jimmy and Hailey make plans to go out together and catch up tomorrow night.

Hey, everybody!  Luke's back!  We haven't seen Luke since he left the Cohen house with his dad at the end of "The Secret," so it's nice to see him again.  The verbal abuse about his dad hasn't ended, and it's advanced to physical abuse in the form of slashing the tires on his truck.  What the hell?  Ryan offers him a chance to get out of the Harbor School parking lot immediately, which means Seth/Ryan time has turned into Seth/Luke/Ryan time.  Seth hates all of this, as he thinks Luke is a terrible person for liking Playstation for the sports games.  I quietly judge Seth for judging people on the basis of what video games they like to play, especially when the games Luke likes sell an awful lot of copies.  The phone rings, and it's Marissa, who is over at Oliver's with Moroccan food.  This obviously seems like a terrible idea to Ryan, so he takes up Marissa's offer to come over and drags Seth and Luke along.  Ryan has grossly miscalculated here, though, as the other four kids talk about rich kid stuff (snowboarding in the Alps, vacationing in Paris, how much The Louvre sucks), and Ryan gets completely marginalized in his attempt to marginalize Oliver's access to his girlfriend.  The rich kid stuff discussion eventually turns to music and Oliver has the hookup for tickets to tomorrow night's sold out Rooney concert.  Hey, remember when Rooney was a thing?

The next morning, Seth runs his ideas for talking to Summer past Ryan.  Let's just say Ryan thinks carrier pigeon is a stupid idea and move on.  Later, Marissa walks Ryan through the Rooney catalog (i.e. their entire one album at this point) and they kind of half-assedly talk about Ryan's vague jealousy about Oliver.  The music allows us to transition to Sandy in Seth's room listening to the music to alleviate Kirsten's fear that the kids are going to a death metal concert.  Sweetie, have you SEEN how Seth dresses?  He's not going to any death metal shows.  Sandy dads Seth up a bit, mostly about not doing drugs at concerts, but also about talking to Summer when Seth tells him that this is technically his first date with Anna.

At the concert hall, there's a brief moment of panic when the kids aren't on the list and no one can get in touch with Oliver, but they eventually wander outside and find Oliver by the back entrance, which he somehow managed to forget to mention.  There's a longer moment of panic when Summer shows up unexpectedly, thus throwing a wrench into Seth's entire plan of "enjoy evening with Anna, talk to Summer at later date."  The band also shows up, thus knocking down Seth's fear of missing any of the show, but Oliver's girlfriend Natalie does not show up, as Oliver claims another fight between the two.  Uh huh.

Back at home, Sandy and Kirsten get ready for a night with the house to themselves... except there's a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime, so Hailey and Jimmy are watching that, eating pizza, and playing video games.  Kirsten throws herself into the fun of board games with her younger sister and her high school boyfriend, but Sandy can't help himself but make sarcastic comments and eventually he blows up at Hailey.  It's kind of a fair blowup, as Hailey was making rude comments about the houses that The Newport Group builds.... y'know.... houses like the one they're currently in.  Hailey storms off after knocking over the Connect Four board and Jimmy shows himself out.

Backstage at the concert, we learn that Luke can play guitar and has written at least one terrible song.  Seth can't figure out how to tell to Summer, so Anna drags her off to the bathroom for girl time.  Meanwhile, Oliver has a panicked phone call about making sure something "is good" and "gets here soon."  I presume this is drugs, even though he's so proud of being sober for 11 months.

In the bathroom, Anna gets sidetracked from telling Summer by Summer singing the theme song from Golden Girls.


The teen girls bond over how awesome the Golden Girls is, and Anna completely forgets to tell her about Seth.  I'm actually surprised by no one else in the fairly spacious bathroom not singing along with them.

Hailey catches up to Jimmy before they leave, and they reminisce about the good ol' days.  With that said, the good ol' days probably didn't involve the two of them kissing, which does happen here.  Jimmy backs out of it quickly, because 1) Hailey was eight when Jimmy went off to college and 2) Jimmy has too much respect for Sandy and Kirsten and how they've treated him, especially after he, y'know, kissed Kirsten.  Hang on a minute.  Jimmy went to college when Hailey was eight.  She remembers watching Golden Girls when she was 10.  Presuming that was 1985, the year the show debuted, that would make Jimmy.... 39? 40, maybe?  I know there was a reference to knocking Julie up, so that kind of matches with the timeline, I guess, with Marissa being 16 or 17 here.  The further into the Golden Girls run we go, the more this timeline gets confusing.  We should probably not spend a lot of time thinking about this.

Rooney's on stage, and while Oliver and Marissa are up close to the show, Ryan hangs back by the bar, until he doesn't want to any more and goes and drags Marissa back by him.  Kind of a jerk move here, Atwood.  Concerts just aren't Ryan's scene, I guess, and since he's not having fun, Marissa gives him the "I'm your girlfriend and you should leave if you're not having fun, but I really don't want you to go and don't understand why you're not having fun with me" permission to leave.  Meanwhile, Luke is a goof singing along to I'm Shakin' and Seth is attempting to melt into the floor.

Ryan heads out a side door where he sees some big dude roughing up Oliver.  Ryan might not like Oliver, but he's not going to let him get his ass kicked.  Luckily for Ryan, the undercover cop understands what this looked like to a bystander and doesn't arrest him, too.  You see, Oliver just tried to buy three grams of cocaine from him.  Oliver tells Ryan to go back inside and to not tell anyone.  Ryan listens to most of what Oliver said, and goes inside to grab the car keys and phone from Seth, who is at the bar getting Mountain Dews and anticipating his death once Summer and Anna come back from the bathroom.  Is the bathroom in frigging Mordor or something?  They can hear the show from there, right?  There's no way they're still in the bathroom.  Eventually, Rooney finishes playing their entire album, and Anna spots Seth at the bar, and runs over to rave about the show.  Seth immediately asks Anna if she told Summer, and of course, he forgot to, y'know, look around him, and there's Summer, right behind Anna, primed to ask "Tell me what?"  They come clean, and somehow because of the bond between Anna and Summer, Summer doesn't kill Seth.  So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

Ryan used the cell phone to call Sandy, who arranges for Oliver to be released from lock up.  Sandy says he plays poker with "these guys," which I presume means the narcotics squad that arrested Oliver, not the uniform cops that are working at the jail.  I mean, if it was the latter, the former would be pretty pissed off about their arrest getting set free.  Oliver tells Ryan he just flipped when he saw Ryan and Marissa and their friends and their normal life, as he's constantly fighting with Natalie and his friends all ditched him when he got sober.  Huh.  Maybe he's not making all of this up, as that kind of fits the whole program here.  The phone rings with Marissa calling looking for Ryan, but he hands it to Oliver to come clean about not being clean.

Back at home, Sandy shares a bagel with Hailey and tells her to pick a direction and run with it, instead of being a shiftless layabout waiting for a handout from daddy.  In the pool house, Ryan's reading when Marissa comes in and just wants to cuddle and not talk about Oliver.  The kissing lasts about five seconds before Anna, Seth, Summer, and Luke all barge in, with Luke being even louder than normal because he stood too close to the speakers for the whole concert.  Oh, Luke.  Anna quickly shifts the group inside for Playstation hanging out, while Marissa and Ryan tag along inside and everyone's laughing and riding and cornballing except for Buster Oliver, who's standing outside the window staring at everyone.  Fade to black.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Best Sandy Cohen Line: Remember when Ryan pointed out that all of Hailey's friends want to kick her ass?  Ryan apologized for his language, which prompts Sandy to say, "Don't apologize.  I want to kick her ass."  Bold words from a man talking about his much younger sister-in-law.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: It's the scene in Seth's room before the concert.  Seth has to cut off the music before Sandy gets too caught up in the beat and hurts himself, or hurts Seth, as apparently there was an incident at a bar mitzvah once involving "YMCA."  Sandy easily transitions from that into making sure that Seth isn't going to use drugs at the concert, and even though he's being the heavy about the drug use, he easily transitions again to advising his son about how to deal with the girl that he is forced to reject.  Sandy does that in a manner that only he can, quoting Steven Seagal in Hard To Kill: "The anticipation of death is worse than death itself."

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