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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Model Home"

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 2 - "The Model Home"

Episode 2 starts with some of the worst looking fake outside lighting I've ever seen.  They're barely trying to make it look like Seth and Ryan are lounging in the pool while Sandy does some poolside grilling.  Sandy comes inside as Kirsten wraps up a phone call with her father about a real estate development model home, and the pair have a conversation about Ryan's future.  After a jovial family dinner, Sandy and Ryan talk about some legal matters, specifically paperwork that will get Ryan declared a ward of the state of California because he has no idea where his mother has gone, and Ryan signs the form as we head to the title sequence.

Ryan can't sleep in the pool house, and decides to start packing up and leave the Cohen's house before he heads to a group home the next morning.  Seth bumps into him with the idea of coming out to play some Playstation, and Seth has an idea of where to set Ryan up for the time being.  Seth heads to his room to pack some things quickly, but has to pretend to be mostly asleep because Sandy comes in to try to talk with his son about Ryan.  Seth eventually gets rid of his dad and finishes grabbing a few things from his room.

Ryan's waiting down at the end of the driveway where he sees Marissa for the first time since he carried her into the pool house because she was passed out drunk.  Marissa's headed out to Summer's birthday party.... Wait, what time is it? Ryan and Seth were both in bed, although Sandy was surprised to find Seth asleep, but Marissa's headed out to a party?  Anyway, Marissa quickly realizes that the boys are up to something.  It probably wasn't hard to guess, though, as Ryan points out that Seth is wearing a black turtleneck in August in California.  Seth retorts that it's slimming, and somewhere, the idea for Sterling Archer is born.

Marissa drives the boys over to Kirsten's model home while Seth lays in the back seat dying on an emotional level because he listens to the same music (Clash, Sex Pistols) at the moment as Marissa.  In case you weren't totally sure that it was Kirsten's model home, we cut back to the Cohen's house where Kirsten is having another phone conversation about the model home.  Again, what time is it?  It's been dark in August since dinner time at the Cohen's, and now Kirsten's having phone conversations?

Seth uses the not filled pool at the model home as a makeshift skate park while Marissa and Ryan talk about Ryan's life situation over French fries from an unidentified fast food joint, although from the drink cup involved, it looks like they went to In-N-Out.  Marissa briefly brings up what she knows about her father's financial problems, and Luke The Douchebag Boyfriend calls Marissa trying to figure out why she's not at the party.  Feel free to be a controlling lunatic, buddy.  Luke's phone call leads to a discussion about Luke amongst the trio and how much he point blank hates Ryan.  That conversation is interrupted by a call from Summer, which actually does get Marissa to head off to her friend's birthday party after promising to not tell anyone about where Ryan is.  The scene closes with Seth, who by the way, now has no ride home other than his skateboard, assures Ryan that the plan is foolproof.  No, Seth, this plan is at best one-quarter baked.

The next morning, Sandy comes out to the pool house to find that Ryan is nowhere to be found, which leads to a county sheriff's deputy coming out to file a report.  The deputy speaks with Seth, who was trying to head out tot the model home.  Seth feigns ignorance, which comes off as smart mouthed teenager.  Next door at the Cooper's, Marissa's on her way out to drive Seth to the model home, but is surprised by her mother feeding Luke breakfast.  Luke has arrived at the Cooper's with all sorts of plans for the couple for the day, leading me to wonder: Why didn't you mention any of this at the party last night, Luke?  It's been what, eight hours tops since you last saw Marissa?  While Marissa is busy shaking Luke with discussions of fake plans for manicures, her parents have a conversation about stable fees for a pony for Marissa's younger sister Kaitlin and Jimmy nearly confesses his financial troubles to Julie.

Marissa and Seth take supplies to Ryan at the model home, including a mix CD (oh, man, remember mix CDs?) that Marissa made, and then the trio head out to .... I honestly don't know where, but it's a pier with a diner at the end, so I'm guessing Balboa Pier?  While the kids bike and skate and be kids on the pier, Sandy and Kirsten have a conversation about why Sandy cares more about Ryan than any of the other delinquents that have come across his desk.  Sandy tells his wife that he sees himself in Ryan, remembering that he was in a similar situation to Ryan's and because someone helped him, Sandy is where he is today.  Kirsten takes a phone call from Jimmy Cooper who's trying to reach out about his finances, but Julie comes rushing into Jimmy's office: KAITLIN'S PONY HAS ALOPECIA! [dramatic music stinger]

Seth, Marissa, and Ryan try to figure out Ryan's future, and he figures he'll find some work to get some money to get himself to Texas where he knows he has some family.  This conversation is interrupted by Luke The DB and his DB crew wandering into the diner.  Marissa tries to distract them as Seth and Ryan sneak out, but Seth trips into a busboy, and the resulting crash of dishes means Luke and the boys have a confrontation.  Ryan decks Luke, and the boys head for the hills.

Back at the model home, Seth marvels over Ryan's wittiness ("You know what I like about rich kids?" *punch* "Nothing."), and Marissa rejoins them just in time for Kirsten & Jimmy to show up.  The adults reminisce about old times before Jimmy dances around his problems and Kirsten point blank asks him how much he needs.  Jimmy says it's $100,000 just to stay solvent, but it might be a while before he can pay Kirsten back.  As Kirsten reminds Jimmy, "I know where you live," the adults leave and accidentally inform the kids that the contractors will be back at work tomorrow, so Ryan has to go.

Back at home, Seth buys a bus ticket to Austin for Ryan as Sandy comes in because of the police report created by the diner calling the cops on Ryan and Luke.  Sandy drags Seth out of the house to go drive around looking for Ryan.  Smash cut to Marissa at another party at Holly's house, where Summer confronts her about why she's been weird lately.  Holly's declaration of "FRESH MARGS!" ends up leading to a discussion of how much The DB Crew hates Ryan, how much Summer thinks oxycontin is "gnarly," and then Marissa leaving because of The DB Crew plotting to kick Ryan's ass.  Back with the Cohen men, Seth and Sandy talk about why Sandy cares so much about Ryan, and Sandy tells Seth how much he couldn't handle Seth running away from home like Ryan had done.

Back at the model home, Ryan lights candles and Marissa wanders in.  She tries to get Ryan to let her spend the night as Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" plays in the background, and Ryan makes her leave because he couldn't leave Newport Beach if she spent the night.  Marissa drives off as Luke watches her leave and Ryan eventually takes a few steps out of the house to watch her leave.

Back upstairs, Ryan hears a noise and shouts to Seth, but it's Luke and his whole crew.  Luke and Ryan go nose to nose as the episode goes to the closing credits.

Wait. That doesn't make sense.  Yep, my DVD from Netflix just sucks.  It won't load the next six minutes of show, but Wikipedia tells me that Ryan and Luke have a brawl that ends up with the model home being lit on fire and Luke eventually coming back inside to save Ryan's life.

I rewind from the end to get to a spot where the disc will play again, and Luke gives Ryan a ride back to the Cohen's as both boys agree to never speak of what happened.

Sandy is upstairs in Seth's room, knowing that Ryan was at the model home and it was burned down.  Seth laments Ryan being booted out of the Cohen's house and goes outside to talk to the same sheriff's deputy from earlier.  Before he can say anything, Luke pulls up and Ryan apologizes to Sandy and Kirsten.  Ryan is placed under arrest, but Luke speaks up that the fire was an accident and he is arrested as well.  Sandy tells the deputy that he's Ryan's attorney and no one is to speak to Ryan without him present and advises both boys to not speak to the police.  The squad car drives off as the episode fades to black for real this time.

Best Sandy Cohen Quote: Waaaaaay back at the family dinner in the opening of the show, as they sit down, Sandy says, "So, last supper, huh?" referring to Ryan heading off to the group home the next morning.  He admits it's a bad joke, but Sandy's best quote from the first two episodes have now gone from a prison joke to a crucifixition joke.  This is a bad trend that I can only hope that we'll turn around next week.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: It's a tie this week, as Peter Gallagher carries two very important moments for the show.  First, he gets across Sandy's hardscrabble background to the audience when he tells Kirsten that he *was* Ryan at one point in his life, and someone reaching out to him resulted in the Sandy Cohen that we see here.  Later, Sandy endears himself as one of the best dads in television history when he tells Seth that if Seth ever plans on running away to let him know so they can run away together.  Sandy loves his son and really can't even think of what he would do if his kid ran off.