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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Truth"

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.

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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 18 - "The Truth"

Directed by Rodman Flender
Written by Allan Heinberg

Previously on The O.C.: Of all the people in the world, Luke gives Ryan advice on what to do about Marissa and Oliver.  The advice did not include stealing letters from Oliver from Marissa's locker, though.  Julie's an interior designer at The Newport Group now.  Seth is worried that his girlfriend Anna is just the female version of himself.  Marissa finds out about the letter that Ryan stole and breaks up with him.  Oliver gloats about causing Ryan and Marissa to break up and Ryan attacks him in the student lounge.

*     *     *     *     *

Since Ryan was already under disciplinary review when he pummeled Oliver, he's now suspended indefinitely.  Oliver's not pursuing criminal charges, though, so that's nice.  Sandy asks Ryan why would Oliver do that if he really wanted Ryan out of the way, which is a logical question.  Unfortunately, Oliver is a crazy person, so the answer is actually: Because he wants Ryan to watch as he steals Marissa from him.  Sandy wants Ryan to talk to him about what's going on, but he won't.  Sandy doesn't feel like he can ground Ryan, telling him that he can go do what he wants, but if he wants to stay in the Cohen house, he has to stay in the Cohen house unless Kirsten or Sandy give Ryan the thumbs up.  This will last until lunchtime.

At school, Marissa and Summer talk about Oliver and being single ladies.  Summer tries to set up some single lady time, but Marissa's busy with Oliver tonight and her mom this weekend.  We cut to Anna and Seth talking about Ryan, and awkwardly enough, they bump into Marissa and Summer.  This awkwardness is either alleviated or made even worse when Oliver wanders up to pitch the idea of a skiing trip this weekend.  Marissa and Oliver walk off to Western Civilization, while Summer points out how happy Oliver is because he's got Marissa all to himself now.

Sandy and Kirsten have lunch together in Kirsten's office, and their discussion about whether they're doing the right thing is interrupted by movers suddenly coming in.  At least the movers are surprised to see Kirsten, too.  Julie's right behind them and is disappointed to find Kirsten in her office, because it's time to remodel the whole damn office without telling anyone, apparently.  Caleb gave Julie the thumbs up on the project, but as he comes storming in to complain to Kirsten about his office being ransacked, it turns out that he's not actually okay with how this works in practice.

Oliver and Marissa have lunch and Oliver continues to sell the ski trip, while Marissa sticks to her "have to spend time with mom" plans.  Luke shows up and Oliver starts explaining to Luke all of the things that are good for Marissa and what Marissa needs to be doing.  Ryan calls Marissa's cell phone, and as it keeps ringing, Luke asks if Marissa's going to answer it.  Oliver tells Luke that Marissa's not talking to Ryan, to which Luke fires back to ask if she's talking to him any more.  Luke ditches Oliver's craziness, and Oliver expresses frustration with how people react to him.  Well, maybe if you weren't a nutbag, dude.  Marissa excuses herself to get dessert and Oliver deletes a "meet me in the library after school" voice mail from Ryan off of Marissa's phone.

Anna and Seth make after school plans of checking on Ryan and getting comic books when Summer inserts herself into the discussion and gets invited for comics.  The checking on Ryan is no longer necessary, as he's zipping through the parking lot for his meeting with Marissa that she doesn't know about.  Seth intercepts him and tries to point out how nutso he's being and how exceptionally stupid this plan is while Ryan's suspended from school.  Ryan refuses to listen, making his plan even stupider than before.  Ryan waits in the library for Marissa, but the only person who finds him is Oliver, who pretends that Marissa sent him to get rid of Ryan.  Oliver tells Ryan to just give up because it's over, but Ryan says it's only just begun.

The next morning, Kirsten's all set to work at home out of the kitchen, which is killing Sandy's ability to get a bagel.  Ryan comes in for coffee, but can barely make eye contact with Sandy after he ignored Sandy's "don't leave the house" rule, although Seth is covering for Ryan.  Julie shows up unannounced to drive with Kirsten to work, which Sandy uses as an excuse to shove Kirsten out the door to talk to Caleb about how Julie's being a bit of a nutter.  Kirsten's not dressed yet, though, so Sandy gives her some coffee, the paper, and a comfy seat out on the patio.  Ryan's got nothing else going on, so he appeals to Julie's overprotective nature to try to reach Marissa regarding how dangerous Oliver is.  Julie's a professional ice queen, though, so she doesn't let Ryan see her inner freakout that she's having.  This is actually a fantastic plan by Ryan.  1/2 so far here.

At school, Marissa hasn't talked to Julie about getting out of Mom & Me weekend, because she hates talking to Julie, which Oliver of course takes as a rejection of his entire existence.  Marissa reassures him that she likes nothing more than hanging out with him, so he immediately perks up and says they should skip school and therapy later today and hang out in LA all day.  Luke and Seth are hanging out together for whatever godsforsaken reason, and they see all of this.  The boys discuss their mutual lack of meeting Natalie, and Luke decides to meet up with some friends of his from Pacific High to investigate this further.

At work, Kirsten talks to Caleb about Julie.  Turns out that like most things that are an acquired taste, Julie Cooper is not the kind of person that you want to hang out with every single moment of every single day, even if you do get to see her naked a lot of that time.  Kirsten regrets allowing that "other duties as assigned" clause in her job description, as Caleb tells her to break up with Julie for him.

Seth introduces Summer to comics by giving her The Dark Knight Returns, volume 1 of The Sandman, and Watchmen.  Anna thinks Seth's going about this the wrong way by being grim and gritty, and Sandy, who has wandered into the room and has seen what Seth is stupidly doing, agrees with his son's girlfriend because no one else is.  Sandy heads into the kitchen, and Anna follows him to talk to him about what bonds Sandy & Kirsten together.  The elder Cohens don't really have any shared interests that Sandy can think of off the top of his head other than each other, but he implores Anna to have patience with Seth.  The idiot boy comes into the kitchen to ask if Summer can stay for dinner, Anna glares and goes to help the freshly arrived Kirsten with the groceries, and Sandy slaps his son upside the head - literally.

Luke's also here to help with groceries and check in on Ryan, and by check in, Luke means tell him about his trip to Pacific.  Luke knows some guys on the water polo team over there, and none of them have ever heard of Natalie Bishop.  As in they showed Luke their yearbooks and she's not in there.  Not even as "Not pictured."  Instead of sitting down to dinner with everyone else, Ryan goes over to the Cooper's to intercept Marissa as she arrives for dinner with her mom, although I'm not sure how Ryan knows this is happening.  In any case, Marissa's super pissed at Ryan for telling Julie about Oliver, and even telling her what Luke learned about Natalie doesn't help his case.  Julie comes out of the house and orders Marissa inside, which was probably the wrong move, as she drives off to Oliver and his penthouse in a fury.  Sandy sees all of this from the "see Marissa passed out drunk" balcony.

The next morning, Sandy brings Ryan coffee and a bagel and tries to reach out to him again, promising to help however he can.  Kirsten has the exact same idea, and she reports that even Luke has the same idea, as he's waiting inside to talk to Ryan.  Luke can't believe how easy Ryan's giving up on Marissa, and Luke's an expert on the topic of Ryan's tenacity when it comes to Marissa.  If Ryan's not going after her, Luke will.  He calls her along the way to make sure she's at the penthouse, and the call interrupts Oliver talking about grand lavish plans for the two of them to go to Paris to escape everything.  Oliver doesn't want her to answer the phone, but because it's Luke, she answers.  Then she refuses to listen to him, but asks him to bring her some clothes.  Luke agrees, because at least it'll allow him to talk to her.

Kirsten arrives at the office to find it fully finished, and also to find Julie crouching behind a couch.  Since Marissa bailed out on Mom & Me weekend and Caleb won't return her calls, she had nothing better to do than finish Kirsten's office.  Kirsten has an explanation for the Caleb part of that equation, but Julie figures it out before she can even say anything.  Caleb walks into the office literally one second later, which is super embarrassing for everyone involved, and Julie quits her job.

Seth and the girls are watching Batman: The Animated Series, and while I applaud the concept because B:TAS is awesome, one glance at Anna's body language tells you that she's actually thinking about killing Seth.  Seth doesn't realize this because that would involve looking at Anna, and Sandy yanks him out of the room to explain that to him.  Seth doesn't think he's doing anything wrong, even though it's blatantly obvious that he's ignoring his girlfriend in favor of the girl that she knows that he's had a crush on since forever.  Bad move, man.  Sandy tells him that as his father, it's his job to make sure that Seth doesn't do amazingly stupid things like this, but Seth thinks this is about Ryan refusing to talk to Sandy.  Seth's only about 10% right, though.

Luke arrives at the Cooper house to get Marissa's stuff, and the freshly dumped Julie opens up to Luke.  This leads to an ultra creepy "what's going to happen next" moment between the high schooler and the mom of his ex-girlfriend.  Then Luke leaves.  This isn't going to end here, is it?

Oliver's in the shower, so Marissa heads down to the front desk to see if Luke's dropped a bag off for her.  Natalie, the nice concierge lady takes a look around the desk... wait, what was her name?  Natalie? Natalie BISHOP?  She used to babysit for Oliver?  Uh oh.  So to review: Marissa is in the lobby of the hotel and has discovered that Oliver is a big fat liar.  Her options:

  • Leave the hotel and never come back.
  • If she has left her car keys upstairs, stay in lobby and call everyone else that she knows to go upstairs with her to get them and then leave the hotel and never come back.
  • Go back upstairs by herself and confront the kid who has had one self-injuring violent outburst in front of her and has recently slipped on his path to sobriety because of admittedly being jealous of Marissa and her friends.

If you picked the last one, YOU WIN!  Marissa loses, though.  Oliver has another one of his repeatedly punch himself in the head freakouts when Marissa says she's going to leave, so she tells him she'll stay and sends him to go get dressed.  Marissa's options:

  • Grab purse and run out the door and never come back
  • Call Ryan in tears

Again, Marissa chooses the bad option, and Oliver comes racing out of the bedroom with a silver handgun.  Oops.

Ryan goes racing through the house to go help Marissa, and Sandy stops him and demands the keys.  Hey, man, you said you would help Ryan if you could!  Oh, you wanted the keys so you could drive.  GO SANDY!

So Oliver's on a massive tirade about how could Marissa not know that he's in love with her, and how she's the only thing in his life that makes sense, and he's not going to hurt Marissa with the gun, that's for himself if he leaves.  Ryan and Sandy can't get anyone in the penthouse to answer the phone, so they ask the concierge desk for assistance.  Luckily, Natalie's not on break, and Ryan has the same revelation that Marissa did.  Natalie's super helpful, and the three of them head up to the penthouse with hotel security in tow.

Oliver shouts through the door that everything's okay and he was just in the shower and they don't need to come in.  Ryan shouts for Marissa a few times and finally she responds, so Natalie opens the door and holy crap! Hotel security at the Four Seasons ain't joking around, as they both draw their guns on Oliver.  They order him to drop the gun, and stupidly, everyone else stays in the room directly behind the security guys.  Sandy telling him to put the gun down doesn't work after the security guys ordered him to do that, too, so Ryan takes a stab at it.  He reaches out to Oliver on an emotional level, and we get a payoff to everyone comparing Oliver's arrival in Newport to Ryan's arrival, as Ryan tells Oliver he knows what he's going through.  Oliver listens and puts down the gun without hurting anyone.

Over at the Cohens', Kirsten gets off the phone and tells Seth and Anna that everything's okay, and Oliver's in the hospital for evaluation.  Seth's first reaction?  CALL SUMMER.  I actually say out loud "Why?  Summer doesn't know what's happened," right before Anna says it, too.  Anna dumps Seth and leaves, although you can make a very strong argument that Seth already dumped her.

We wrap up the episode with Seth making one final terrible decision by apologizing to Ryan for not being there for him and not having his back.  Seth.  Buddy.  You've been telling Ryan that his plans were stupid and terrible and crazy all along, which was the absolute right thing to say and do.  You should not be apologizing to Ryan, Ryan should be apologizing to you for not listening.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: I'm doing the moment first this time, because it's much more important than any dialogue.  While the major components of this episode are largely in the hands of Ryan, Marissa, and Oliver, it's just one long Sandy Cohen show.  He's constantly a fantastic father, not only to Ryan and Seth, but also to Anna when she talks to him about relationship advice.  His only slight misstep is demanding the keys from Ryan until Ryan gives them to him instead of saying "give me the keys, I'll drive you" right off the bat, but I suppose that's just TV needing to be TV.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: When Julie and Caleb are on their way out to lunch early in the episode right after Kirsten's office has been cleared out by the movers, Julie says "we're off to celebrate my new position," and Sandy, ever the smartass, chirps up with "Oh, I'm not even going to touch that one."