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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Heights"

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 9 - "The Heights"

Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Debra J. Fisher & Erica Messer

Previously on The O.C.: Ryan gets introduced to The Harbor School, the high school that Seth attends.  Holly and Luke get busy on the dance floor without realizing Marissa is there.  Marissa insists she didn't want to kill herself.  Luke tries to visit Marissa in the hospital.  Seth insists he and Summer have chemistry.  Hey, remember Anna from the Cotillion episode?  Sandy takes a new high powered lawyer job.  Ryan holds his own against Julie with regards to Marissa's future, and Marissa insists on living with Jimmy.

It's the first day of school, and the only one of our four teenage protagonists that might be excited is Summer.  Kirsten and Sandy try to compliment Seth's appearance (Sandy: "Mad props, yo.") and Summer tries to convince Marissa that she doesn't have to worry about people jabbering about her, well, everything.  As if to draw that into focus, Jimmy attempts to make French toast in the oven, and I don't mean one of those fancy baked french toast recipes.  The kids arriving at school doesn't do anything to calm down anyone's particular concerns about how things are going to go, but Ryan convinces Marissa to bail on her responsibilities of planning the kickoff carnival to hang out with him after school.

Sandy and Kirsten nearly have morning sexy fun times, but both of their phones ring, and it's off to the rat races for them.

YAY ANNA IS BACK!  Seth gets distracted by a girl that's willing to talk to him, and the girl that's not that willing to talk to him, AKA Summer, gets jealous.  Later, in science class, Seth grabs an open seat next to Anna, but gives it up to Summer before eventually sitting between the two of them.  This is dumb, and will get dumber.

At Fancy Time Law Firm, it takes Sandy five whole minutes and being handed a file folder that expressly says it to realize that the real estate company that is infringing on a protected wetland is The Newport Group, AKA Caleb and Kirsten's company.  Seriously, I picked up on it as soon as Rachel said "developers" and Sandy had to literally read it off of a page.  He will proceed to not tell his wife that the wetlands protectors have come to Fancy Time Law Firm specifically to hire Sandy, which means we can play a fun game called "Which Cohen Man Is Being A Bigger Idiot?"  It's probably Sandy, because Kirsten easily finds out the next day and is super pissed at Sandy for not telling her, even though he hasn't officially accepted the case.

In the library at The Harbor School, Holly stares at Marissa while gossiping about her and Luke glares at Ryan.  This leads to Marissa going to Dr. Kim and trying to get out of being the social chair.  Dr. Kim points out that 1) the students elected her to the job of social chair and 2) She may as well give them something positive to talk about.  Anna convinces Seth to join her on the literary magazine staff, which leaves Ryan with no one to hang out with after school.  The next morning, Sandy convinces Ryan to try out for the soccer team.

Over at Jimmy's apartment, Jimmy didn't actually buy the cookbook he promised to buy, so it's cold cereal this morning.  Luke shows up doing a wicked Eddie Haskell impression, and he gets really stupid really quickly.  Here's a pro tip for you: When the father of a teenage girl tells you that she told him that you cheated on her, don't try to joke your way out of it, and DEFINTELY don't try to drag his personal failings into the discussion.  What a moron.

Ryan heads to his first soccer practice, and Coach Dad From Good Luck Charlie asks him what position he plays.  Ryan says striker, and Coach Dad tells him to run over and do what the captain and striker does.  Oh, hey, look, that's Luke!  Is it just me, or given Luke's height and physical stature, he'd make a terrible striker?  Wouldn't he be best fit as a back or maybe keeper?

After practice, Luke heads straight over to cut Marissa off after her kickoff carnival meeting.  He has the TEMERITY to say "Do you know how hard it is to come to school every day and not talk to you?"  Jackass actually CRIES.  Dude, if you didn't forsee your virgin girlfriend getting pissed at you after 1) sleeping with you and 2) finding out you sleep with every girl in sight, I don't know what to tell you.  Of course, it's possible that this is just Luke being conniving, but I don't think he's actually that smart.  Ryan walks up after getting cleaned up after practice, and since Marissa is at least half buying Luke's "Let's start over" act, Ryan takes off.

The next morning, Kirsten's even MORE pissed about Sandy's firm taking the case because it's now on the front page of the Newport Beach newspaper.  Seth and Ryan talk about Marissa and Luke, Marissa and Summer talk about Marissa and Ryan, and eventually Marissa and Ryan talk to each other, with Marissa hiding the conversation with Luke and Ryan hiding that he already knows about it.

In science class, Anna claims Seth as a lab partner and agrees to help Seth win the affection of Summer.  Seth remains an idiot.  After school, it's more soccer practice, and after seeing Luke and Marissa talking and laughing on the sidelines, Ryan blatantly tackles Luke from behind on a drill.  I mean obvious straight red card kind of stuff, and Luke comes up grabbing at his ankle.  This is actually stupider than both Sandy and Seth, because the best way to try to win the affection of the girl you like is definitely trying to injure the boyfriend that she just broke up with.

At dinner, no one wants to talk to Seth, and later in the pool house, Marissa comes over to say "what the hell, man?"  Ryan claims it was a clean tackle (liar) and comes clean about knowing about Marissa and Luke's chat.  This leads to lots of shouting back and forth and Marissa leaves in anger, but thankfully doesn't look back in anger.

The next morning, Sandy's waiting in the pool house when Ryan wakes up.  Coach Dad called, letting Sandy know he's going to suspend Ryan for two games and that he thinks Ryan's attitude sucks.  Sandy tries the steely eyed fathering approach before veering into "one mistake and someone's going to take you away from us" territory.

That night, Sandy brings home flowers for Kirsten, who's relaxing in the jacuzzi.  Sandy tells her he has to take the case, and Kirsten's okay with it.  That's the Sandy Cohen she married, after all, and he wouldn't be who he is if he didn't take it.  Then both of their phones ring again.

At the kickoff carnival, Anna and Seth play Skee-Ball, or, more accurately, Anna hustles Seth at Skee-Ball.  Ryan wanders up, Seth takes off to buy Summer something with his tickets, and Ryan questions Anna's motives for helping Seth, in case you hadn't figured it out on your own.

Ryan sees Marissa heading towards the Ferris wheel and hustles over there, only to have his path cut off by Luke.  The awkwardness is quickly cut down when Ryan apologizes for the red card tackle and Luke, seeing where Ryan's headed off to, allows Ryan to pass without even a word.  Marissa allows Ryan to ride the Ferris wheel with her, and Anna slips the operator $10 to keep them stuck at the top so they can talk.  Anna continues to be the straw that stirs the drink around these parts when she grabs Seth and kisses him.  Remember earlier when I said Seth will get dumber?  This is where it gets dumber.  The incredibly fun, interesting, and attractive Anna just smooched him, and SETH CAN'T TAKE HIS EYES OFF OF SUMMER.  "Was that part of your plan," Seth asks.  IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT.  So Seth takes off to take advantage of the freshly jealous Summer, but before he goes, he gives Anna the Sock Monkey he bought with his tickets.  GOOD GOD, MAN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Ryan is stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel with Marissa, and as set up earlier in the episode, he's not good with heights.  Hey, that's the name of the development that Kirsten wants to build AND the name of the episode!  TV is not subtle sometimes.  Ryan, with eyes squeezed very tightly shut, opens up to Marissa about how he struggles to trust people because of his past and how he wants things to work out with him and Marissa.  Marissa proves she's much less of a dope than Seth and kisses Ryan, partly because she wants to, and partly because he's not going to see it coming with his eyes closed.  Ryan pays for another go-round on the Ferris wheel and the episode ends with Marissa and Ryan making out while the camera pulls out to a wide shot of the whole carnival.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: It comes when Sandy brings flowers home to Kirsten.  Kirsten offers her viewpoint that she's glad she married a man that's a man, referring more to Sandy's insistence on taking a case that puts him at odds with The Newport Group, not Kirsten feeling lucky that Sandy's actually transgender, I presume.  In any case, Sandy's response is simple: "I'm all man."

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: It's the scene where Sandy confronts Ryan about being a nozzle at soccer practice.  First, Sandy's very intense, although he cracks it with levity.  He tells Ryan to sit down, and when Ryan refuses, Sandy points out that Ryan's smart enough to know how much lawyers love to talk.  From there, Sandy slowly melts his hard exterior, eventually ending with making the point to Ryan that he doesn't want Ryan to make a foolish, short sighted, and immature decision that ends with Ryan getting yanked out of the Cohens' home.  It's an impressive bit of parenting from the elder Cohen, made more impressive by so solidly connecting with a kid that's barely been his foster kid for a month at this point.