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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Nana"

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 23 - "The Nana"

Directed by Michael Lange
Written by Allan Heinberg

Previously on The O.C.: Ryan and Seth accidentally find out about Luke's trysts with Julie Cooper, and Ryan demands that Luke end it before Marissa finds out.  The kids go to a party in LA and find Hailey working as a stripper.  Jimmy Cooper brings Hailey back to Newport.  Eddie punches out Ryan.  Luke ends it with Julie, but runs straight to Ryan to loudly tell him, not realizing that Marissa's in the next room.  She runs off.

*     *     *     *     *

Ryan and Luke spent all night looking for Marissa while Seth fell asleep in the pool house and missed a phone call from her.  Oops.  Luke starts dropping back into mean jock mode, which kind of seems rude more than anything else.  This is your fault, dude.  As Ryan finishes listening to the voice mail from Marissa (she's fine, don't come looking for her), Julie storms into the pool house demanding to know where Marissa is.  Julie seems even meaner than usual and appears to be under the opinion that Ryan is hiding her in the pool house.  Weird.  Luke tells her that Ryan and Seth know about them and that's why Marissa's gone, too.  Julie asks to speak with Ryan alone, and if I were Seth and Luke, I would have said no, just as an insurance policy for Ryan.  Julie takes zero responsibility for her part in Marissa's disappearance and blames everything on Ryan.

Gods only know what Julie will do if she finds Marissa, so it's up to Ryan to figure this all out before she does.  The problem is that Ryan's plan right extends to "drive around some more" and "ask Summer."  Thankfully, they won't have to execute this difficult plan on an empty stomach as Hailey went all out with making breakfast as a thank you for last night.  She also did a superb job cleaning the kitchen, as not a single thing appears to be out of place.  As Kirsten starts loading up on pancakes, Sandy comes flying into the kitchen in a frenzy.  Gotta unleaven the kitchen, because Mama Cohen is coming from the Bronx in a few hours for Passover.  I dunno, maybe worry about this yesterday when you were just sitting out on the patio when Seth and Ryan broke you down over whether they could go to the party?  This happened literally 18 hours ago.

Since she's his girlfriend, Seth gets assigned to Summer duty.  Yes, Marissa called her.  No, Summer's not telling Seth anything else.  Well, it's off to pick up stuff for Passover, and no, Summer, you're not invited because The Nana is scary and Seth doesn't want you to experience that.  Also, you don't know anything about Passover, so that could get awkward.

Back at the house, Sandy has a rich guy freakout and starts yanking the nice sheets off the bed.  You see, Sophie Cohen has been a social worker in the Bronx for 40 years and is essentially the antithesis of everything that Sandy's life has turned into at this point.  Ah, guilt.

Jimmy Cooper's at the door to check on Hailey.  He encourages her to stay in Newport.  Hailey playfully inquires about what this means for them if she stays, and Jimmy kind of just stammers and then leaves.

Ryan returns from his drive around empty handed as Sandy attempts to recruit volunteers to go with him to the airport to pick up Nana.  His efforts are met with blank stares, but that's okay, because she just walked in the front door.  Welp.  Nana is happy to see everyone, and is complimentary, and says California's not so bad after all.  This is not the Nana Sandy and Seth set us up for.

In the pool house, Seth ponders what's up with Nana while Ryan ponders where Marissa could be.  As is usually the case with these two, Seth dominates the talking.  He's shocked that Nana was so nice to his mother, comparing it to the ultra-conservative Hawkman and the super liberal Green Arrow suddenly getting along even though they have almost nothing in common.  Seth!  That's it!  Marissa's gone to Chino to hide out at Theresa's house!

Eddie's not excited to see Ryan, even more so than usual, because today of all days is Eddie and Theresa's engagement party.  Ok, I see Eddie's point, but seeing as Marissa showed up at the door all of about 10 hours ago, perhaps let's not be surprised that Ryan showed up shortly behind her?  Of course, Theresa doesn't appreciate all of Ryan's questions about her decision to go back to Chino either, but again, perhaps that's something you should expect when you disappear in the middle of the night on someone like she did.  Ryan points this out, but Theresa fires back, saying that Ryan left town first.  Ryan was arrested on a felony charge and was then abandoned by his mother and had nowhere else to go.  Slightly different circumstances, sweetie.  In any case, Theresa's mom is happy to see Ryan ("I told you he'd come if you just invited him!"), but Marissa is not.  She's not going home.

Nana catches up with her family in the kitchen, and Sandy tells her that she was hoping for the full Sophie Cohen Special for Seder because it will be Ryan's first Passover.  She ends up wanting to see Sandy's restaurant, and goes off to freshen up before they leave.  The doorbell happens to ring while she's off, and she answers it.  It's Summer!  She has macaroons for Seder and even though Seth is in full panic mode, Nana and Summer hit it off and she invites Summer for Seder.

Hailey delivers all of the leavened bread products to Jimmy.  They kiss because Jimmy left Hailey thinking that they had something starting up, but Jimmy backs off to his usual stance of "can't because I like Kirsten and Sandy too much."  Dude.  Stop leading Hailey on like this.

Sandy and his mother return from The Lighthouse, and she's so complimentary about what Sandy's doing there that he can't take it any more.  Why is she here now?  Sandy's been inviting her for Passover every year since Seth turned 13 (what, 3 years ago?  How old is Seth, anyway?) so why did she accept now?  What's her deal?  The deal is she has advanced lung cancer.  Dr. Talley, her oncologist, has given her four to six months to live and she came to say goodbye to her family.  Oops.

After a quick scene back in Chino to reinforce Marissa not leaving, Eddie being a jackwagon, and Julie threatening Ryan with police action over the phone, we're back to the Cohen kitchen, where Nana is trying to cook and doesn't really want to talk about her cancer.  Sandy keeps pushing and eventually pushes his mother gives up the front of trying to enjoy herself.  She's still mad at Sandy for leaving home when he was 16 and moving across the country to restart his life (he had a scholarship!), much less marrying the daughter of a man who is the embodiment of everything that she's fought against her entire life.  Nana explodes into a flurry of shouts about everything that she hates about California and leaves the kitchen.

At Theresa's, Ryan's still not leaving, so Marissa goes to talk to Eddie.  Luke shows up at the Cooper house to apologize, and Julie seems right on the edge of accepting fault, but then talks about how she's going to put Marissa into an institution when she comes home, so I guess not.

The good news about lung cancer is you can go ahead and smoke all the cigarettes that you want, so Nana takes advantage of this "benefit."  Sandy's given Dr. Talley a phone call, and it turns out that Nana's not returning his calls or accepting any kind of treatment for the cancer.  The treatment could slow down the progress and give her some more time with her family, and Sandy doesn't want to see her run away from her family like this.  Seth overhears the conversation, so now he knows about it, too. She follows after him and they have a talk where Seth essentially repeats everything his dad said about Nana running away.

Back in Chino, Marissa and Theresa talk.  The visit to Newport was just a freakout by Theresa, and she now she knows that Eddie and Chino are the right thing for her.  She's happy with Eddie and definitely not interested in Ryan any more.  Ryan carries in some ice and Eddie approaches him.  Marissa smartened him up to Ryan only being there because she was and his arrival had nothing to do with Theresa.  What a loon.  Now that he's not crazy any more, Eddie has a pretty solid insight on how Marissa feels about Ryan: She went and hid in a place where only Ryan would think to go and look for her.

Ryan tries again to get Marissa to leave with him, but she starts to go on the run again.  Ryan grabs her instead of letting her leave the room, and eventually she just melts into a pile of sobbing blonde hair.  Theresa's mom calls out that there's someone there to see Ryan, which is weird.  It's obviously not Eddie, and Arturo, Theresa's brother, isn't a mystery person, plus he's in jail.  Oh, it's Luke.  Seth told him where Ryan is, and this is an amazingly stupid idea on his part.  Eddie - EDDIE, of all people - has to be the voice of reason and stop the impending brawl between Ryan and Luke, but that's where Marissa jumps in.  She pops Luke in the face and screams at him to leave.  I mean, really, were there any other possible outcomes here?

Ryan apologizes for ruining the party, but Theresa points out that it's a pretty great party, so it's not like anything's actually ruined.  Plus, she would have kicked his ass if he missed it.  Ryan doesn't want to get his ass kicked, so hopefully that means he gets an invitation to the wedding, too.  Eddie brings over cake for everyone, but it's time for Ryan to leave so he can make it back to Newport for Seder.  Theresa drags Eddie off so Ryan and Marissa can talk, which essentially amounts to Ryan pointing out that with the exception of Luke and Julie, Newport is full of awesome things that she likes.

Nana was unable to find a Seder plate, which forces Sandy to admit that they've never had Seder at their house.  Nana points out that she's spent most of her life finding homes for boys like Ryan, but she never had the idea of using her own home for one before.  Sandy asks her to get a chance to get to know Ryan, but she can't.  Nana has an early flight back to New York tomorrow because she's going to consent to getting the cancer treated.  Sandy tries to get her to get treatment in LA, but she likes Dr. Talley and Sandy's siblings are back in New York.  Sandy promises to visit her.

Ryan and Marissa arrive at Julie's house so Marissa can get her stuff, but Julie's there to be imperious.  Her gimmick of controlling Marissa almost works, until Marissa calls her bluff.  Go ahead.  Call her therapist.  Marissa will be happy to explain the exact reason why she ran away for 18 hours.  Julie forgot that it was her sexual affair with a high schooler that was the cause of all of this, so she tells Marissa to get her belongings and get out.

Jimmy arrives for Seder and he and Hailey have an argument about who was right.  They decide to agree that Hailey was right and so now they're together, although they're not going to tell Kirsten yet.  They are going to sit right next to Kirsten at the table and hold hands, though, so nice plan, idiots.

Sandy comes out to the pool house to collect all four kids for Seder.  He and Ryan are the last two out, and he asks Ryan how it was at home.  Ryan's response is exactly what you expect, because I'm almost positive they've done this bit before: "You tell me.  I was in Chino."  We fade to black on the Cohen family and assorted guests sitting down to Seder.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: I'm taking the easy way out this time around.  Sandy spends most of the episode upset at his mother for one reason or another, which doesn't lend itself to a lot of entertaining dialogue or a lot of high points for him as a character.  Oh well.