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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Heartbreak"

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 19 - "The Heartbreak"

Directed by Lev L. Spiro
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Oliver makes Ryan do things that cause Marissa to not trust him and dump him.  I mean, Oliver was dangerous, but he never hurt Marissa, though.  Hey, remember Theresa?  Hey, remember when Hailey & Jimmy kissed?  Julie and Luke had "a moment."  Anna dumps Seth, but it's really his fault.  Ryan manages to talk Oliver into putting the gun down, which earns Ryan a hug and an apology from Marissa.

*     *     *     *     *

All Sandy Cohen wants to do is get some breakfast out of the refrigerator, but there's his wife Kirsten laying in wait with a Nerf bow and arrow festooned with balloons.  You see, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and while Kirsten is excited, Sandy's not.  He's preoccupied with the entire Oliver and a gun mess, and on top of that, Sandy is your stereotypical "Valentine's Day is a scam" TV character.  This, of course, means that this episode will end with a grand romantic gesture from Mr. Cohen.  Ryan's school suspension has been lifted, so he's got that going for him.  Kirsten tries to get everyone fired up for helping with setting up for the Singles Gala Benefit event tomorrow night, because everything should get back to normal, and that means celebrating the holidays in the Cohen house, but all she gets are stares from the three men.

At school, Marissa seems to think that she and Ryan are dating again, but Ryan, y'know, thinks they broke up.  Someone should probably actually say something out loud about this.  Hey, when is this happening relative to Oliver and his gun, anyway?  As I remember, that happened on a Saturday, because Marissa was supposed to be having a mom day with Julie all day long, and it seems like this is a Friday again, especially based on no one going to school tomorrow.  According to Google, Valentine's Day was in fact a Saturday in 2004.  So Marissa let five days go by without talking to Ryan and just presumes they're all cool now? Oh well.  Over the student lounge, Summer's game of Galaga is interrupted by Seth bugging her for a date now that he's single.  She blows him off, but they are both going to the gala tomorrow, so there's that.

Sandy arrives at Kirsten's office for lunch with news that he's going to be busy tomorrow with restaurant business stuff and can't help set up for the gala and actually might be late, too.  Kirsten figures this an excuse to get out of Valentine's Day things, Sandy's telling the truth, though, and I wonder what the hell Jimmy Cooper's doing for his share of running this restaurant that he can't get Sandy out of it for the day.  The Cohens argue, and part of Kirsten's argument is that she has Sandy's back on the restaurant.  But you're mad at him for working on it tomorrow!  Pick a side, lady!

Jimmy comes home from his long day of not being useful to find a heart shaped box on the doorstep.  The box contains those Hershey's Kisses cookies and a note that tells him it's from Hailey his secret admirer.  Marissa has no idea where the cookies came from, and she doesn't want to talk about Ryan with her dad, either.  Well, of course not, she doesn't want to talk about Ryan with Ryan.

Summer's kicking back on her super princessy canopy bed in her super pink bedroom, when there's a knock at the door.  It's Seth, taking a second crack at this date request.  He has a fancy speech about how he's not picking Summer because Anna dumped him, it's always been Summer for him.  Seth's both right and wrong at the same time here.  The show started with Seth being a crazy person about Summer (remember Seth's boat?), but he DID pick Anna over Summer.  The speech works on Summer, though, and she pounces him.  There's the kissing and the stripping and the asking about condoms and the GLAYVIN.  Surprise: This first encounter between them is disappointing.

Luke shows up at the Cooper house to see if Marissa has a textbook of his.  This is a terribly transparent lie from him, as Julie points out that Marissa doesn't live there.  Luke asks if she needs a ride to the gala tomorrow night and I put a bucket over my head to try to stop this storyline from doing any further damage to my brain.

It's apparently whacky sex night in Newport Beach, as Marissa comes tearing into the pool house and jumps on Ryan.  Not surprisingly since they've yet to have a conversation about whether or not they're actually dating again, Ryan shuts Marissa down when she reaches for his waistband.  She is horrifyingly embarrassed and runs out of the pool house even faster than she came in.  Again, talking about your issues would probably be an important starting point.

The next morning, Seth comes flying into the pool house like this:

But as enthusiastic as he is about it happening, Seth realizes that it was weird and awkward and probably disappointing to the obviously more experienced Summer.  Are we sure about this experience thing?  Summer's never had a boyfriend the whole time this show's been running.  Anyway.  The sum total of Ryan's advice: Do it again.

Summer and Marissa hang out at the beach and talk about boys.  Summer tells Marissa about sex with Seth and Marissa says all of the things she should be saying to Ryan instead. *SIGH*

Ryan wasn't useful, so Seth turns to Sandy, who declares himself to be "The Master" when it comes to women.  This earns a derisive laugh from Kirsten, even though she's not talking to Sandy this morning.  I'm left wondering if Sandy is secretly a Buffy The Vampire Slayer villain or a Doctor Who villain.  The doorbell pulls Kirsten out of the room, and it's Jimmy, holding a plate of the cookies from his heart shaped mystery box.  Kirsten remembers that Hailey used to make those cookies and that sometimes her travels were just living on a boat in the harbor with a friend.  This scene exists literally only to show us the logic step needed to get Hailey and Jimmy together, because we already know where this is going after seeing the Previously On segment.  Meanwhile, Sandy's "talk" with Seth is mostly reduced to Peter Gallagher stammering through verbs while Standards and Practices stares at him from off camera, but at least Sandy introduces Seth to the concept of foreplay.

While setting up for the gala, Luke bugs Ryan about whether or not Julie is coming, and thankfully, Theresa is on the catering crew, thus leaving Ryan with a real reason to be unable to say anything useful.  They end up having a discussion about what happened with Oliver, which, like the conversation between Marissa and Summer, are things that Marissa and Ryan should be saying to each other.  Speaking of Marissa, she finds Ryan and Theresa, and things get massively awkward fast.

Seth gets a second chance with Summer and immediately starts blowing it by trying way too hard with foreplay.  Thankfully, this ends quickly when Summer whips off her top again and Seth is dumbstruck again by the sight of her naked chest.

Cut to the pool house where Ryan's getting ready for the gala, and it turns out that Seth's second chance goes as badly as the first.  This time, it's because limbs were going everywhere and Seth caught a toe in the eye, somehow.  Ryan's not excited about going to the gala, and, as we cut to Marissa's bedroom, neither is she.  Summer has a limp because Seth kneed her in the leg during the sex.  Summer and Marissa again have a conversation that would be best if Marissa had it with Ryan.  This is really not hard, people.  I get that you're idiot teenagers, but come on.

Jimmy finds the boat that Hailey's living on and invites her to be his guinea pig on a few recipes at The Lighthouse.  FINALLY.  Someone making a very smart romantic gesture with their significant other on this show.  Jimmy lets her get changed, takes her all the way over to the restaurant, and then immediately explodes his smart romantic gesture into a bazillion pieces by telling Hailey that he can't possibly be with her because of his relationship with the Cohens, specifically Kirsten, which is the same thing he said after he kissed her way back when.  I don't even.

At the gala, Kirsten's still not talking to Sandy, Summer and Marissa gossip about Theresa's existence, and Julie leaves as Luke watches her go.  Marissa literally tries to start over with Ryan ("Hi, I'm Marissa, you go to Harbor, don't you?"), but Ryan just can't go through this with her.  Meanwhile, Seth tells Summer that he's giving up on dating her because the sex is bad.  Pretty stupid, buddy.

Theresa's on break, and she finds Ryan outside.  They talk about how Ryan misses Chino and Theresa just wants to find ways out.  In fact, she took this catering job on the off chance that she'd see Ryan.  She doesn't have to be back until time for clean up, so the two of them decide to take off.

Sandy finds a sobbing Marissa and gives her a pep talk about how Ryan's past has him expecting to be abandoned every time something bad happens, so she needs to show him that it's not going to happen again.  He goes into a "love is tough sometimes, but it's worth it," and Kirsten overhears him and is touched.  Summer wanders by to take Marissa home, and as they leave, they see Theresa and Ryan driving off.  All Ryan and Theresa do back at the pool house is talk about random crap and perhaps they'll see each other again, now that Theresa knows where Ryan lives.  This is cute and not meant as "stare through the windows like Oliver would."

Over at the Cooper house, Luke makes an impassioned speech about how hot Julie is as Bob Seger's Night Moves blares in the background.  This is so horrible, and it's made even worse when Luke tells Julie about how she would always win the "Hey, which mom would you bang?" votes.  Her reaction is "I beat Kirsten?" and then she drags Luke inside after gulping down the last of her wine.  *headdesk headdesk headdesk*  She elects to (apparently) sleep with her daughter's ex-boyfriend because she's surprised that he and his friends find her more attractive than her next door neighbor. UGGGGGGH MAKE IT STOP

At the Cohen's, Sandy went crazy decorating their bedroom with candles and rose petals and the biggest frigging heart shaped box of chocolates that you've ever seen.  HA HA, he lied about the restaurant stuff as an excuse to do this after she left.  Oh, Sandy, you joker.

While Sandy and Kirsten get busy in the master bedroom, Seth and Captain Oats lament the end of their relationships with Summer and Princess Sparkle, the My Little Pony doll on Summer's nightstand.  Was Seth Cohen the original brony?  Summer bursts into the room with dramatic important news: She was a virgin before she had sex with Seth, surprising only Seth.  I have interesting biological questions here that would make Seth even stupider than originally realized, but let's move on to the pair deciding to keep dating and slow things down, as Seth puts on Ryan Adams' cover of Wonderwall and they slow dance.

Marissa takes a deep breath and opens the door to the pool house, demanding to know where Theresa is.  There are probably better ways to tell your kind of boyfriend that you want to fight to keep him, but that's what she goes with.  Ryan doesn't want someone or something to come between them as easily as Oliver did.  Marissa tells Ryan to trust her, but Ryan points out that she didn't trust him.  She runs out, and the episode ends as Ryan pulls the door to the pool house closed.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: These are tied together, although not necessarily the same thing.  The moment is Sandy going out of his way to provide a little fatherly advice to Marissa that he thinks will also benefit his foster son.  He even goes on with helping Marissa out after she insists that her crying has nothing to do with Ryan.  The line comes after that, when Kirsten compliments him on doing that.  She says "Sometimes you make it hard to hate you," and his response is "I know! It's all part of my charm."  While Kirsten's response is "Sometimes you make it easy," I think it's still a solid line to appropriate for basketball reasons, perhaps for a hustle play.