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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Rivals"

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 17 - "The Rivals"

Directed by Ian Toynton
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on the O.C.: Marissa met Oliver Trask at her therapist's office, and young Oliver appears to be very into Marissa and also very disturbed.  Caleb Nichol and Julie Cooper are an item.  Jimmy Cooper and Sandy Cohen have made drunken plans to run a restaurant together.  Summer makes a sarcastic crack about how similar Seth and his girlfriend Anna are.  Oliver claimed to have downed a bunch of pills, but he was totally faking it just for the attention from Marissa.

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If you were wondering, yes, the kids still go to school on this show.  I know I was starting to not believe it.  Ryan and Seth walk up the stairs to school and talk about how much of a loon that Oliver is, or at least how much of a loon that Ryan believes him to be.  Seth tells Ryan it must be fun having a girlfriend that he disagrees with on occasion, because Seth and Anna never disagree on anything.  Seth appears to be legitimately troubled by this, proving that he's a moron, even though he overcame his idiocy to even get into this relationship. *sigh*  Ryan sees Marissa and catches up to her to take Seth's advice and be friends with Oliver because he is Marissa's friend.  Ryan feels comfortable with this right up until the point where Mr. Bendis sticks his head into the hallway to tell Ryan and Marissa that Oliver has transferred to The Harbor School.  WELP.  Apparently Marissa actually knew about this, but thought Oliver was joking when he said it.  And Oliver and Marissa have the exact same class schedule!  WHAT AN AMAZING COINCIDENCE!

Sandy and Jimmy have a chat about their drunken plans to purchase and run The Lighthouse.  Amazingly, Jobless Jimmy isn't excited about this, saying it's a bad time for him to get involved in something like this.  GET A JOB, YOU HIPPIE.  Speaking of Coopers and jobs, Julie pesters Kirsten into giving her a crack as the interior decorator for The Newport Group.  Caleb mentioned that they needed one in passing to her and said Kirsten could decide whether Julie could have the job.  Kirsten gives Julie a test run on a model home that needs to be ready in four days.

Back at school, Summer has what appears to be a new boyfriend, but she doesn't seem to be aware that he might actually be the son of the The Devil.  What Summer does know about Danny is that he's hilarious, and Luke and Anna agree.  Seth and I do not.  I don't even think he's trying to be funny, in fact.  Maybe we missed something, as everyone was already laughing when Seth walked into the scene.

Ryan's hanging out in the student lounge getting ready to study when Oliver walks in and sits down with Ryan.  He comments about how difficult junior year is, and Ryan points out that Oliver once told Marissa that he was repeating senior year at his old high school.  Oliver says Harbor is much more competitive, so some of his credits didn't transfer.  It's high school, how complicated can it be?  Oliver's transfer was not his choice, but his parents, and it was something that they insisted on "a while back" after "an incident" at Pacific High.  Oliver just wants Ryan to give him a chance.  Marissa comes in and says she and Oliver are off to his penthouse to work on his French homework.  Ryan finds this dubious, as Oliver lived in Paris.  Oliver counters that it was only for a year and it was when he was 13.  Ryan says he trusts Marissa and sends her off to Oliver's without him.

Ryan and Seth play some video games at home and discuss their relative issues with Oliver and Danny.  Sandy serves up fajitas for dinner, as Seth makes a sarcastic off-handed comment about Ryan breaking into the records room at school to learn about Oliver.  Ryan takes this seriously, though, and heads back to campus to do exactly that.  He doesn't even get into the building before a guard finds him, and about 90 seconds after the guard lets him into the building, the guard catches him red-handed in the records room.  You're really bad at this, Ryan.

This leads to a meeting first thing the next morning with Dr. Keiko Kim.  Ryan's case will have to go in front of the disciplinary committee, and he'll have to attend detention until they make a decision.  Ryan makes his case to Dr. Kim that he was acting out of concern for Marissa, Oliver, and the entire Harbor student body.  He managed to find a letter in Oliver's file that said that back at Pacific, Oliver was found in the men's room with his wrists slit because of his feelings about a girl.  Dr. Kim assures Ryan and the Cohens that Oliver has been evaluated in an psychiatric institution and everyone involved in that case believes that Oliver is best served by a change of scenery.  Dr. Kim also makes basically the same comparison between Oliver and Ryan's sudden arrival that Marissa did before the Rooney concert, which I imagine is starting to grate on Ryan at this point.

Elsewhere at school, Anna has Bright Eyes tickets for her and Seth, and since they've never been to a Bright Eyes show, that counts as doing something new and interesting and not the same old same old and oh my gods they've only been dating since New Year's and this is so stupid.  Danny does an extended "hey, what's that on your shirt" bit with Seth who is not playing along until both Anna and Summer get in on the action and of course Seth gets gently poked in the nose.  This is getting increasingly not funny and Anna takes Seth's lack of amusement as jealousy over Summer having a boyfriend.  I know Ryan's whole "there's a crazy person after my girl" issue is pretty serious, but I think Seth's situation might actually be more intolerable.

Later on, Ryan is roaming the hallways between classes and sees Oliver hand a letter to Marissa, which she promptly puts in her locker.  We then spend wayyyyyyyyy too much time watching Ryan sloooooowly wander over to her locker and then stare at it.  Smash cut to Sandy and Kirsten giving Ryan the business about how irresponsible he is.  They don't mention Ryan actually stealing the letter, though, so maybe this is just a general parenting thing about the meeting this morning?  Huh.  I figured this was about Ryan getting in trouble for the letter stealing, but since we're not mentioning it and they didn't show it, I guess he didn't...... no, wait, he's showing it to Seth.  Ryan totally stole the letter.  Well, at least he didn't read it and promised Seth he'd put it back... nope, there he goes reading it.  No, Ryan, telling Seth the next morning about this is also not the right idea.  I don't care if the letter says Oliver can't live without Marissa, you're being crazy and yes, thank you Seth for saying that to him.  Marissa shows up to drive Ryan to school, and he turns down a cooking lesson with Oliver because he's helping Kirsten at the model home.  So, is that after detention, or... oh, dude, you didn't tell Marissa about detention, did you?

Speaking of the model home, Julie is busy crying in Kirsten's office because all of her wonderful plans to impress Caleb with her design ideas have completely fallen apart.  I swear they showed us Julie demanding progress reports from her underlings before the end of the day.  Why is this a surprise to her the next morning?  Well, Kirsten's got another 48 hours to try to salvage this with Julie.

Back in the student lounge, Anna and Seth order smoothies, but not too similar of smoothies, because they're not, like, identical, you know.  Danny's still not funny, but after a glare from Anna, Seth invites him over to hang out after school with the promise of TiVo'd Tonight Shows, and since this was 2003, that means Jay Leno.  His guest tonight?  Seann William Scott.  *shudder*

Over at Jimmy's apartment, he's home in the middle of the day because he doesn't have a job.  Sandy frantically rings his doorbell, because he's already paid the down payment on the restaurant.  Jimmy whines and complains about how he can't get his share together right now and how this is all moving too fast for him and it's too soon.  GET A JOB, YOU HIPPIE.

Ryan has decided to put the letter back in Marissa's locker, but hey! There's Oliver to make things awkward and weird, and Luke to make things odd by fistbumping with Oliver.  Oliver admires Marissa sharing her locker combination with  Ryan, and also says that he and Marissa are talking about a camping trip for the gang!  Well, of course, then Oliver can hide the bodies in the woods.  Oliver takes off, and we learn that Luke was just acting nice.  He actually thinks Oliver is super creepy, and offers to kick Oliver's ass if Ryan wants.  At least, that's what I think he means.  His actual offer was "Let me know and I'll drop The Great Gatsby on him."  I presume that's a threat.  He also doesn't put the letter back.

Danny and Seth play video games at Seth's house and Danny's still not funny.  Sandy comes home and introduces himself to Danny, who responds with "So take a shower."  See, it's because Sandy used his name, not Mr. Cohen, and sandy is also an adjective for someone who was at the beach, so... yeah.  Danny confides in Seth that he needs Seth to start being less funny around Summer.  Say what?  As it turns out, Summer said that Seth is the funniest guy she knows, so Danny needs Seth to dial it down so Danny doesn't have to be on all the time.  Seth encourages him to get even bigger and more ridiculous with his "comedy."

Dr. Kim calls Marissa in for an afterschool meeting about a recent transfer to Harbor that has a history of instability.  No, not Oliver.  Since the only other transfer that Marissa knows is Ryan, it's time for her to wait for him outside of detention.  Aw, snap, y'all.  Marissa dismisses Ryan's claims that Oliver is in love with her, and even producing the letter doesn't help his case.  You see, Oliver wrote the letter for Natalie and wanted Marissa's opinion on it as a woman.  Oops.  As predicted by Seth, thus endeth the relationship.

Time to start wrapping up some plot threads.  Caleb loves the design work at the model home, so Julie's got the full time job, even though it used none of her actual ideas.  Hopefully she learns to tone it down.  Danny's now humping people in the hallway, so Summer's done with his not funny ass.  Seth says he's got some Daily Shows on the TiVo if Summer's interested, and yes, he means as hosted by Jon Stewart, not Craig Kilborn.  Believe it or not, Jon Stewart had been host of The Daily Show for FIVE YEARS when this episode aired.  Sandy's forced to not sign the title for The Lighthouse because Jimmy is backing out, but then he shows up at the last minute and HOLY CRAP JIMMY SIGNED THE TITLE AND NOW HE HAS A JOB PRAISE BE TO THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER, MAY WE ALL BE TOUCHED BY HIS NOODLY APPENDAGE.

Ryan's shooting some pool in the student lounge, and since he has detention until further notice, this must be during school hours.  I wish I went to a high school where I could shoot pool during school hours.  Oliver sidles up to offer his condolences about the end of Ryan and Marissa's relationship, and by condolences, I mean "gloat."  Oliver barely had to do anything to get Ryan to ruin their relationship, and Oliver and Marissa are MEANT TO BE TOGETHER.  Oliver all but admits that he's been trying to destroy their relationship from the get go and that he's completely insane, too.  As he walks away, Ryan jumps him from behind and starts laying in some vicious ground and pound before he gets pulled off of Oliver.  As if that wasn't bad enough, Ryan howls "YOU STAY AWAY FROM HER" as Marissa comes running in to tend to Oliver and his bloody lip, which has just the faintest hint of a smirk to it.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: I don't even care about appropriating lines to use for basketball here.  The best Sandy Cohen line of the episode is "Just sign it," because he's finally getting Jimmy a frigging job for the first time since Cotillion.  Now I don't have to shout about how he's affording literally anything any more.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: While I'm tempted to go with when he's telling Ryan that he going to wish that the Cohens kicked him out because of his transgressions in the records office, I prefer to go with Seth and Sandy being dumbfounded at how not funny Danny is.  Sandy even tells Seth to get himself funnier friends, because Danny makes both Ryan and Marissa funny by comparison.