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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Countdown"

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 14 - "The Countdown"

Directed by Michael Fresco
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Marissa's drinking problem pisses off Ryan, and that finally gets her to want to go to therapy where she meets Oliver Trask.  Caleb and Kirsten have no idea where Kirsten's younger sister is at.  Anna and Summer make Seth choose between them before someone gets hurt.

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It's a New Year's Eve Eve movie date night for Ryan and Marissa.  Ryan like Master And Commander, Marissa didn't care for three hours of boats and Russell Crowe.  Apparently she doesn't get why he's supposed to be attractive.  The couple discuss plans for New Year's Eve, and given Marissa's "issues," Ryan pushes for staying in and wins.  They smooch a bit and if you don't know what's coming when Marissa starts talking, I don't know how to help you.  She says "I love you," Ryan first stares goofily, then counters with "Thank you."  Yeah.  So, that's awkward now.  Marissa says "You're welcome" in confusion and heads home.

Ryan heads into the pool house and bangs his head on the wall while muttering about how stupid he is and how difficult can it be to say "I love you?"  A random young woman in a white tank top and purple panties that's brushing her teeth in the pool house says it's not hard to say it, but it's hard to mean it.

Wait, what?

Oh, that's why the clip about Kirsten's younger sister was in the "Previously on."  It's Hailey Nichol, which Ryan has to figure out for himself.  She declares this to be her pool house, even though Kirsten doesn't know that she's there right now and boots Ryan out to the main house, which is where Seth finds him the next morning.  This leads to hilarity when Seth walks into the kitchen and asks Sandy and Kirsten where Hailey is, and that's when Seth finds out that his parents don't know Hailey's out in the pool house.  That's right about when Hailey wanders into the kitchen still wearing the Ryan's tank top and purple panties ensemble that she was sporting when we met her.  Sandy becomes VERY engrossed in the crossword that he and Kristen were working on until Seth's robe gets commandeered by Kirsten to clothe her sister.  As a final kicker, Hailey gets to be the one to spill Ryan's "Thank you" transgression to the Cohens.

Over at the therapist's office, Marissa continues to just answer whatever goofball questions that Oliver asks her.  He invites her to the NYE party that he's throwing in the penthouse of the local Four Seasons.

Back at the Cohens', Hailey goes through Kirsten's clothes looking for... well, I don't know what.  But she is critical of Kirsten's wardrobe as her older sister fills her in on the local goings on, including their father's connection with Julie Cooper.  Kirsten says "At least he's dating someone my age instead of your age," which indicates a bit of a gap between the two sisters.  Hailey implies to Kirsten that she's not fun based on her clothes and standard issue NYE dinner date with Sandy, so she goads them into going to some party that Hailey heard about.

Ryan and Marissa talk about going to Oliver's party and awkwardly dance around the "I love you" problem.  Marissa insists that she wants to go to the party and Ryan really doesn't want to go, so that means video games with Seth tonight.  The Cohen parents head out, leaving Hailey to harass the boys about why they're staying in on New Year's Eve, which quickly turns into Hailey torturing Ryan about how Marissa's going to have no choice but to kiss Oliver at midnight.  Ryan realizes he'd better get his butt over to that party, but wait, what's Hailey going to do?  Oh, just stay in?  Ok, that makes sense.  Ryan and Seth open the door to leave and the entire Adam Rose Exotic Express comes shooting on in.  Dude, Hailey.  Not cool.

In place of Ryan, Marissa has dragged Summer along to Oliver's party, and by "dragged," I mean "Summer appears to be more excited than Marissa."  They find Anna in the penthouse, as her parents are friends with the parents of the guy throwing the party. "Oh, you know Oliver?" "Who?"  Well, that's weird.  Marissa heads over to Oliver and compliments him on the penthouse, which leads to the revelation that his parents own lots of hotels.  Ok, sure, but probably not the Four Seasons, buddy.  Marissa tells him to not avoid alcohol on her account, but he reveals he's been sober for 11 months right now.  Also, his girlfriend Natalie, who was supposed to be here, is in fact not here.  She's a freshman at Arizona, but not actually older than Oliver, as he's been kicked out of three high schools in three years.  Fun!

Hailey's completely crawled up into Kirsten's head, which means that she prompts a conversation with Sandy about whether or not they're in a rut.  Sandy proves they're not in a rut by intentionally disobeying the GPS commands.  They elect to change things up and skip their traditional dinner date and head straight for this mystery party.  What are the chances that it's actually Oliver's party, since they keep avoiding telling us where the party is?

After Seth makes Ryan deal with Hailey, Ryan tracks her down in the guest bedroom.  He overhears a conversation between Hailey and some random girl that Hailey owes three thousand dollars to and has owed that for two years now.  The random chick says that Hailey'd better hope that Cameo doesn't show up after what Hailey did to Alex!  USELESS INFORMATION OTHER THAN IT SOUNDS THREATENING!  Ryan demands that Hailey shut down the party or he's calling the cops.  Seems reasonable, which is why Hailey rounds up Ryan and Seth and locks them in the pool house.

Sandy and Kirsten arrive at the party... which is not Oliver's.  How boring.  But wait!  There's Kirsten's socialite friend Terri, who's excited to see Kirsten and didn't know that Kirsten and Sandy were so lively!  It's a pretty sedate party, Terri, so I don't know what you mean by "lively," unless you mean the part where it's a swingers party, and no, I don't mean that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is playing and someone's trying to make Gretzky's head bleed.  Sandy and Kirsten have a stare down about whether or not this is their kind of scene, and they essentially dare each other into Sandy putting his watch into the bowl with the others.

Anna and Summer get to be awkward about which one of them a guy (we'll call him Tulsa, as I only heard where he's from, not his name) is paying attention to, while Oliver introduces doubt into Marissa's mind about whether Ryan does love her.

Kirsten continues to force herself to have fun at the swingers party, while Sandy gets along with everyone in sight.  It's not surprising.  He's a reasonably attractive dude for his age, plus he's witty and charismatic.  I mean, there's a reason why we're doing these recaps, y'know?  He's had enough yammering with ladies, so he tries to get Kirsten to bail, but she's having none of it.  WE'RE GONNA HAVE FUN AND TAKE CHANCES, DAMMIT, AND NO THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HAILEY.

Seth's getting claustrophobic in a beach house the size of your average one bedroom apartment, so he breathes into a paper bag while the boys discuss how Ryan's handling Marissa.  A trio of girls show up at the party with the lead one demanding, "Where is that bitch," so I'm guessing that's Cameo.  Hailey sees this, and immediately runs to Ryan and Seth for help shutting down the party.  You're bad at this, Hailey, although I suppose that's the point here.  The boys pull the ol' "ohhhhh, the power went out, well, I guess everyone has to leave now" bit, and Ryan takes off to catch Marissa before midnight.  Over at the swingers party, it's 30 minutes til midnight (hey, thanks for the helpful time cue!), so it's time for the ladies to pick watches!  Eventually, the group dwindles to just Kirsten and Sandy because Sandy's not a moron and he pocketed his watch hours ago.  Technically, we never actually saw Sandy even put his watch into the bowl, actually.  It just cut to a commercial break right before he did.  Very tricksy, The O.C.

Kirsten and Sandy come home to their completely trashed house, although not completely empty, as Sandy walks in on a three-way in the master bedroom.  Kirsten loses it on Hailey, although that makes sense.  She's been in town for less than 20 hours and she pulls this stunt.  Hey, here's an interesting question: How did Hailey get into the pool house?  I get that it's not locked, but the Cohens live in a gated community, which was established in the pilot.  Hailey turns into a big baby, moaning that Kirsten can't talk to her that way, you're not mom, and instead of cleaning up the house by morning the way Sandy told her to, Hailey goes to bed instead of accepting help cleaning from Kirsten.  She seems nice.

Seth takes out the trash as ordered by Kirsten, although I don't know why he's taking it out to the street.  1) There's a huge mess in the house to clean up and 2) it's New Year's Eve, so there's no way there's garbage pick up tomorrow.  Anyway, Anna wanders up the driveway, claiming she didn't want Seth to be alone, then confessing that she didn't want to be alone either.

Hey, remember Ryan? He FINALLY makes it to the Four Seasons and takes the stairs instead of waiting for an elevator.  He catches a bit of break as time goes to slow motion at the last second, allowing him to explode into the penthouse just in time for midnight and a kiss with Marissa.  "Dice" by Finley Quaye plays as we get a montage of Kirsten and Sandy getting ready for sexy times, Anna and Seth making out in Seth's room, Summer kissing Tulsa but hating it because he's not Seth, Oliver standing around like a dumbass, and finally, back to Marissa and Ryan kissing.  Ryan manages to rummage up enough breath after his run up the stair to say "I love you" to Marissa, and again, if you didn't see her response of "Thank you" coming, I can't help you.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: It's a response to Seth, and actually it's very simple, yet very complex.  Sandy and Kirsten are on their way out to dinner, and Seth shouts after them, "Hey! I love you, guys."  Sandy knows exactly what he wanted in return for this, since Ryan's sitting right next to Seth, and Sandy gives him the only response anyone with a sense of humor could possibly give: "Thank you."

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: I personally loved Sandy ignoring the commands of the GPS lady.  He thinks it's absurd to think that he and Kirsten are in a rut of any kind, and as to prove the point to Kirsten that Hailey's completely thrown her brainmeats off, he just takes a right instead of a left and just keeps on ignoring the prompts to make a U-turn.  While he's doing all of this, Sandy's making a gigantic deal out of how much a risktaker he is, just to prove how silly Kirsten is being.  Well played, sir.