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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Secret"

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 12 - "The Secret"

Directed by James Marshall
Written by Allen Heinberg and Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Ryan punches Luke a lot.  Summer and Anna find out about Seth juggling them at Thanksgiving.  Caleb and Julie are a thing now.  Jimmy kissed Kirsten and Kirsten didn't tell Sandy.

Seth is doing his best Risky Business impression, dancing in the hallway.  But the music that plays over his dancing is "We Used To Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols, and that provides the perfect explanation for why he suddenly downgrades into "oh, man, I'm sick" routine.  You see, it's the Monday after Thanksgiving, and let's be honest: I don't blame Seth for trying to dodge school and therefore dodge Anna and Summer.  While Sandy is concerned for his son's health, Ryan is not.  "Maybe you have the Summer flu," Ryan theorizes.  "Maybe you need some Anna-biotics," Ryan says pointedly.  That gets Sandy to catch on, and he realizes Seth's act, too.  Ryan tells him to go to school and apologize as Kirsten comes in complaining of a malady as well.  Sandy sees right through that as today is the first day of Yoga-lates with the girls at the gym, and Sandy knows that Kirsten is trying to avoid Julie having told everyone about drinky times at Thanksgiving.  Sandy finds the entire concept of Yoga-lates hilarious and says it about seven thousand more times while being smarmy with Ryan about not currently being in massive amounts of trouble with anyone.

At school, Mr. Bendis, the European history teacher and not the comic book writer, tells the class that the two person presentations will be one-third of their final grade.  I hope that he's just reminding them of this, as opposed to telling them for the first time, as the Monday after Thanksgiving is no time to be dropping bombshells on people.  It's two person teams assigned randomly by the teacher, and Ryan gets assigned The Spanish Inquisition with..... LUKE.  NO ONE EXPECTS TO BE PARTNERED WITH LUKE... well, no, this seemed pretty obvious, actually.

Jimmy and Sandy meet up because Sandy has some good news.  The SEC and Jimmy's clients have all agreed that as long as Jimmy makes full restitution on the money that he stole by January 1, no one will pursue charges.  The downside here is that Jimmy needs $2 million to pull that off, and he's got about a month to come up with the money.  This leaves selling the house that Julie and Kaitlin are living in as his only option to come up with the money.  I'm sure that will go over well with the estranged Mrs. Cooper...

Marissa listens to Summer shout from a bathroom stall about how much of a punk Seth is, but for whatever reason, Marissa leaves without telling Summer, leading to Anna walking in to hear Summer going on and on.  The two potential Cohen love interests chat while Anna flosses her teeth.  Anna can't find it in herself to be interested in Seth if he's going to treat women the way he did on Thanksgiving.  Anna leaves the bathroom first, only to find Seth wandering about the halls.  He's overjoyed to get a chance to talk to her for about five seconds before Summer comes out and sends him into a flurry of stammering.  The girls improvise a burgeoning friendship and Seth debates the validity of just crawling into a wall and dying.

At Yoga-lates, it's very clear that Julie has told everyone that Kirsten got bombed at Thanksgiving.  The other women give her crap for being late, but Kirsten has the very solid trump card of BEING AT WORK.  Julie tells Kirsten to relax because "we're all friends here."  Kirsten fires back with "If we're all friends, maybe you should start acting like one."  OH NO SHE DIDN'T.

Ryan arrives at the Ward house.  Luke's mom seems very nice, and Luke's two little brothers are either very close in age or twins, and they're also total maniacs who wrestle with each other through this whole scene.  Luke's dad wanders through because he had to stop at home to deliver Mrs. Ward's car.  He was a history major at USC, so he knows the depth of crap that the boys are about to wade through for their presentation.  Mr. Ward seems very nice for a guy who owns a bunch of car dealerships.  He tells Ryan to keep Luke on his toes, sets up plans to take Luke up to tailgate for the USC-Notre Dame football game on Saturday, and invites Ryan along.  Super awesome guy, it seems, even if the writers made him not know that USC played at Notre Dame in October in 2003 and in fact would have been playing Oregon State in the weekend in question.  I point this out because they were on the ball enough to make sure they had the right NFL match up for Thanksgiving.  Ultimately, the most surprising part about Ryan's trip to Luke's house is that Luke has already done a bunch of preliminary work for their project and has a bunch of great ideas on what to do, including using a "film scanner" that Mr. Ward has at his office.

In order to pass the time before Luke and Ryan go to the dealership, we get to see Jimmy telling Julie he has to sell the house to avoid jail.  As predicted, it does not go over well, and Julie tells Jimmy that "maybe you deserve to go to jail."

So Luke and Ryan end up at the dealership to use the "film scanner," and Luke gets distracted from looking around for Mr. Ward by a nice red Ford Mustang.  Apparently the keys are in the Mustang in the dealership showroom, which seems dumb, but whatever, as Luke fires up the sound system and cranks some tunes.  Amazingly, the blasting speakers in the otherwise empty showroom don't attract the attention of Mr. Ward and his business partner Gus as they walk in on the other side of the very large showroom.... and start holding hands...... and kissing.  Well, that was unexpected.  Luke tells Ryan that it's time to go, but he trips and sets off a car alarm, and THAT gets Mr. Ward's attention.  So now he knows that Luke knows that he's not faithful to Mrs. Ward.  And also possibly gay, but that's not really the important issue here, is it?

Marissa wanders over before school the next morning, and she's surprised Ryan didn't call after he was done working with Luke.  Ryan is his usual tight lipped self, but realizes that Marissa's probably not going to buy the "we didn't talk about you" story unless he explains why they were otherwise preoccupied.  Ryan explains what happened, but swears Marissa to secrecy, since he promised Luke he wouldn't talk.  He makes Marissa double promise to not tell Summer, because Ryan's not even going to tell Seth.  Which would be a bigger mistake: telling Seth or telling Summer?  I'm sticking with Summer, because she's got way more friends at school than Seth, not to mention that those friends are in the same social circle as Luke.

When they get to school, Luke is back to his early season ways, being a jackhole to Ryan, calling Seth "queer," and generally being unpleasant, although he does tell Ryan that he'll finish the project himself.  In the library, Seth tries to make nice with Anna and her ridiculous pink fuzzy Kangol hat, but Summer comes in and so the girls partner up to study and Seth attempts to sink into the floor.

At Yoga-lates, Kirsten talks to Julie about selling the house.  Kirsten figures that Julie will be fine because of Caleb, but it turns out Caleb dumped her.  Julie expects Kirsten to get revenge for talking about Kirsten's drinking, but all Kirsten does is offer her help if she needs it.  As this happens, one of the other ladies in the class comes in with a story about what she saw when she was getting her car serviced, saying "you can't tell anyone, but you won't believe this."  Hey, if THEY can't tell anyone, why are you talking?

Jimmy and Sandy have a beverage after a round of golf, and Sandy tries to convince Jimmy to sell the house.  Sandy points out that he could convince the SEC to start looking into Julie as a co-conspirator to get Julie to come around on selling the house.  This seems completely reasonable, as it's all technically Julie's fault that Jimmy wanted to spend all that money.  Jimmy thanks Sandy for being so cool with him, given what happened.  Sandy doesn't understand, so Jimmy realizes that Kirsten didn't tell Sandy about the kiss, so Jimmy tells him.  Idiot.  Sandy's cell phone rings, and it's Kirsten, calling to tell Sandy what she heard about Mr. Ward at Yoga-lates.

At school, Summer runs up to Marissa and Seth to tell them about Mr. Ward and then Seth runs to Ryan.  The news is already around the school as Luke takes a bunch of juvenile slurs about himself and his dad from guys walking by him.  Ryan tries to talk to him, but he's pretty fairly pissed off at Ryan.  Ryan, in turn, is pretty pissed off at Marissa, who insists she didn't talk.  Marissa takes all of this as Ryan doesn't trust her, although he's got a pretty strong history of not trusting anyone.

Sandy and Kirsten finally talk about Jimmy back at home, and Sandy's sticking point is that Kirsten was suspicious of Rachel and didn't tell Sandy about what happened with Jimmy.  This irritation bleeds over into dinner, where Seth enjoys the folly of Luke throwing gay slurs at him for so many years.

The next day at Yoga-lates, the other women are giggling about how they "should have known" about Mr. Ward, which makes Kirsten and Julie bail for fried food and beer.  The two neighbors bond over Caleb's more lunatic behaviors when it comes to relationships, both familial and otherwise.

Seth finds Anna and Summer in the library where they're both wearing purple in some fashion and making grand plans of studying together.  He launches into a two-pronged apology that he should have taken care of two days ago, but it still lands with both girls, especially his line in his defense about how he can't be blamed for desiring the company of either girl.  He takes off before he can get a response, which is absolutely the right decision.  Summer tracks him down first, and lands a date for Saturday.  Anna finds him a little later, and while she's disappointed that Seth is busy on Friday, she smartly arranges a date for Friday night with him.

Luke wasn't in history class, so Ryan goes over to his house to try and check on him, where he finds Marissa had the same idea.  Luke apologizes for being a jackwagon to Ryan, because as it turns out, Luke discovering his dad's infidelity sent Mr. Ward on a mission to tell Mrs. Ward himself before Luke told her.  She flipped out, called all sorts of people about what had happened, and that's how everyone found out.  Mr. Ward is in the house at the time, and after a conversation with Mrs. Ward results in her running upstairs, he tries to talk to Luke, but Luke runs off, leaving Ryan and Marissa to stand around looking awkward.

They track Luke down and after magically acquiring beer, the trio crashes at the local Little League field to drink and muse about their respective problems with their fathers.  Some jerks from Del Vista high school show up and recognize at least Luke as kids from The Harbor School, and they make gay slurs, which leads to Ryan and Luke throwing stereo punches and knocking both dudes out.  Problem solved!  Until their eight friends arrive.  Oops.

After a commercial break, we come back to Ryan and Luke taking on... wait. No, this is the door at the Cohen house.  Hey, you left me hanging on the rumble here!  WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIGHT?  Well, okay, what's going on here, then?  Julie's at the door, with flowers for Kirsten.  Caleb and Julie talked, Julie threw every single negative thing that Kirsten brought up in their beer bender at Caleb, and he's agreed to not only get back together with Julie, but also buy the house!  Julie gets to stay in the house and Jimmy doesn't go to jail!  Hooray, apparently!

Sandy works a "Hey, Seth, ask your mother..." gimmick to talk to Kirsten while he's busy watching Hair-Raising Hare, the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon.  This whole "not actually talking to Kirsten" thing is interrupted by Marissa and Ryan dragging a badly beaten Luke home.  So I guess the fight didn't go very well.  Sandy insists on calling Mr. Ward, and when he arrives, Sandy gives him full marks for finally being honest about who he is, and says that any kid should be proud to have him as a parent for doing that.  Luke must have actually heard that speech from Sandy, because he agrees to go home with his dad.

Kirsten also high fives Sandy for his awesome speech, except she does it with her mouth on his face.  The pair agree that they shouldn't have any secrets between them, and that includes Sandy's porn stash on the computer that Kirsten already knows about.  I'm not sure if this is real or a joke between them, so I'm going to presume that Sandy has all sorts of porn on the computer.

The last scene is Luke getting to repeat all of the First Day Of School dialogue about things being awkward and weird.  As "Move On" by Jet plays, Luke says that this is going to suck and Seth responds with "Welcome to my world."

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: I believe that we have achieved Peak Sandy Cohen Crossover here.  Sandy says YOGA-LATES about a billion times in the opening scene while reveling in the foolishness that is Newport Beach's hottest fitness craze amongst the womenfolk.  Between the ridiculous grin on his face by the end of the scene and the ridiculous nature of the combination of the words yoga and Pilates, this is going to be the go to exclamation for any outstanding play by the young man from Seymour.  Take this as your warning of hilarity in November.