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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Strip"

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 26 - "The Strip"

Directed by James Marshall
Written by Allan Heinberg

Previously on The O.C.: Julie and Caleb are getting married very quickly after getting engaged.  Eddie punched Theresa, and now she's staying with the Cohens.  Seth completely blew his first meeting with Summer's father.  Theresa feels bad about making things weird between Ryan and Marissa again.  Caleb paid Jimmy and Sandy more than twice what they put into The Lighthouse.  Ryan and Marissa are going to be fine.  Right?  RIGHT?

*     *     *     *     *

Seth can't sleep, so that means it's time to make sure that Ryan can't sleep either, now that they're sharing a bedroom.  Is Hailey staying in the Cohen's spare bedroom in the main house?  When Hailey was rescued from StripperTown, this wasn't clear.  Actually, later in the episode, the doorbell rings and it's Hailey at the door, so perhaps not.  So who is in the extra bedroom that's making Ryan double up with Seth?  Maybe I shouldn't over think this, like Seth is making Ryan overthink what's going on with Theresa.  The boys decide that RIGHT NOW is the time to go bug her about how long she's going to be staying with the Cohens, but of course, she doesn't have a solid answer.  Everyone not named Theresa should probably stop being so weird.  Seth notices that Theresa went out and bought a bunch of toiletry type items and tells her that they've got a ton of spare stuff so if she needs something, just ask.  The boys leave, and Theresa digs into her brown bag of gear.... to remove the pregnancy test.

Hooboy.  This scene almost feels like it should have been the button on the previous episode, because Theresa kept saying "it's complicated" about her situation with Eddie, which felt like it kept building to this reveal, and it never came.

Something caught my attention in the title sequence.  Remember when Seth did a lot of skateboarding?  I don't think we've seen him on his board since the end of the episode where we found out that Luke's dad had a boyfriend.

It's breakfast time in the Cohen kitchen, and Julie's there to bug Caleb about where they're actually going to have the wedding ceremony, which, now that they're down to about 10 days before the ceremony seems like something that should have been decided before they sent out invitations.  Caleb's in the kitchen because Kirsten invited him over for breakfast because she never sees him at work and they need to get some work done.  As it turns out, Caleb's been telling Julie that he's busy with Kirsten and telling Kirsten that he's busy with Julie.  Oopsie.  Also, Julie and Caleb can't go look at a location this weekend because Caleb's out of town on business.  That Kirsten doesn't know about.  In Las Vegas.  WOO BACHELOR PARTY!  Sandy and the boys crash the event, and Kirsten volunteers to hang out with Theresa while they're gone.

Sandy heads over to Jimmy's apartment, where Jimmy's waiting for a realtor to take care of some contract stuff.  Jimmy's gonna buy a sweet beach house for him and Marissa to live in!  Personally, I would have gone slightly more modest with the real estate, since Jimmy's only got his restaurant money and no job, but hey, Jimmy's bad at money.  Sandy invites Jimmy to Vegas for the bachelor party, and Jimmy's so excited by the idea and how much he likes Caleb right now, he offers to buy the first lap dance.  Or give it.  Yep.  Jimmy runs upstairs to snag the contract as the realtor rings the doorbell.  She's pleased to meet Sandy because Jimmy keeps talking about him, of course.  She mentions selling the restaurant and Robert Campbell building an outdoor mall there.  Sandy is confused because they sold it to Caleb.

At school, Marissa and Ryan have a talk about how Marissa hasn't told Jimmy she's moving out (it's still extortion, not blackmail, sweetie) and about the trip to Vegas.  Marissa handles it badly because strippers and showgirls are probably off-limits for the obviously underage Mr. Atwood, but maybe she's just goofing.  Marissa offers to hang out with Theresa because Ryan's friends are her friends.

Over at Kirsten's office, Julie harangues her until Kirsten agrees to host a bachelorette party at her house and hire totally naked male strippers.  To be fair, it was either this or a limo trip to something that Todd in Accounting told Julie about that's called "The Petting Zoo," so this shouldn't be too bad.  Kirsten has no idea how to go about hiring strippers, so she turns to the only expert that she knows: noted former stripper Hailey.

Seth finds Summer in the student lounge and tells her about Vegas this weekend, and she has the opposite reaction that Marissa did.  In fact, she almost has no reaction at all, and she's been avoiding Seth and not returning his calls, either.  Seth reopens the "who care what your dad thinks" argument.  Dig up, stupid.  Her dad is important to her.  She literally said this out loud.  Seth manages to at least dig sideways and realizes that nothing he's saying is working, so off he goes.  Summer utters a not-even-halfhearted "wait" as Seth disappears down the hallway.

Ryan tries to hang out with Theresa, but she's off to another shift at the bakery.  Her goal is to scrape together enough cash to move to Atlanta where her cousin Kim will let her live as long as she pays her own way.  That's going to cost about $2,000, though.  Ryan offers to help however he can, including asking the Cohens for the money.  Theresa is her usual stand alone self and tells Ryan that she has to do this on her own as she heads out the door.  Ryan immediately ignores this and starts bouncing ideas off of Marissa and Seth about what to do.  Seth's brilliant idea: count cards playing blackjack in Vegas using these fake IDs he's acquired for them and use his $1,000 of bar mitzvah money as a starting point.  When have we ever seen Ryan counting cards, by the way?  Yes, his mom was doing that waaaaaay back in episode 3, but it's not like it's a genetic gift.

The crew arrives at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and somehow a concierge named Amy finds them.  It's very weird, as she's not holding a sign with their name on it or something simliar.  She just wanders up and asks which one is Mr. Cohen.  She was actually looking for Seth, because he's the one who set all of this up.  Amy gives them the brief layout of the first floor and shows them the way to the penthouse, which briefly causes Sandy some concern.  Then Seth tells his dad that he put all of this on Caleb's credit card, so no worries about paying for any of this.  Sandy's never been prouder of his son.

Anyone want a tour of the place?  The adults are out, but Seth and Ryan are in, right up until Amy asks to see IDs and says that she'd hate to kick anyone out of the awesome penthouse that has a bowling alley because they used fakes to get onto the casino floor.  BOOM, pre-busted.  Well, now what?  Go to another casino, obviously.  Except instead they head down to the pool at the Hard Rock.  Odd choice.  Seth is overcome with the possibility of talking to all of the beautiful bikini clad women.  No, literally.  He wants to but has no idea where to start.  Jenn here though does, as she asks Seth if she can kiss him and then quickly does so.  You have to be a guest at the Hard Rock in order to use the pool, and Jenn is an English major at UNLV and definitely not a prostitute.  I mean, she's wearing glasses and carrying a book!  Summer calls as the boys deal with discovering their new friend, and before Seth and Summer can talk, the security guy for the casino is coming back around and Jenn tells Seth that she needs to kiss him again.  Summer hears everything and hangs up, shouting at Marissa that she's going to kill Seth.  Jenn realizes what's happened, and starts to leave because she's got a paper to write.  But the boys mention a need to gamble and she knows about "a poker thing downtown" that some "guys from my classes" are involved with and that's definitely not any kind of a ruse that a prostitute would be using on two idiot boys.

Caleb steps away from a craps table to take a call where the only thing of interest that we really hear from his "Where are we doing this?"  This sounds awfully shady, but Sandy walks up as this is happening, and wants to know where the big party is at.  Caleb insists that there's no party, just a quiet dinner.  I swear he said something about "the investors" at the beginning of the episode, but anyway.  Armed with the accidental knowledge he got from Jimmy's realtor, Sandy asks Caleb about his plans for the restaurant, which Caleb quickly shunts into a discussion about how Sandy and Jimmy are going to spend their money.  Sandy's gonna waste some gambling, but he tells Caleb about Jimmy's house plans, and Caleb is surprised by this, telling Sandy about Marissa's plan to move in with Caleb and Julie.  Sandy's just an accidental information sponge this week.  Sandy tracks down Jimmy hanging out by the pool and brings him up to speed on Robert Campbell paying "half a billion" for the coastline, oh, and that whole "Marissa moving out" issue.

Marissa and Theresa hang out at Marissa's apartment and Marissa attempts to cobble together a plan while pouring herself some coffee.  Theresa doesn't want to go out, so ordering in then!  What kind of food?  Sushi?  No, Theresa can't do raw fish.  What should we do about beverages?  Wanna get some beer?  No, Theresa can't, I mean shouldn't.  What, are you pregnant or something, Theresa?  Yep.  To commercial!

We come back from commercial and the boys and Jenn are at a poorly lit bar with a bouncer keeping the losers away from the card table with a $250 buy in.  You can tell it's a risky place to be because "How High" by Tricky is playing over this scene.  Jenn's tossed a slinky red sundress over her bikini and ditched her glasses and definitely doesn't look like a prostitute leading a bunch of marks past the bouncer with a wave.  She goes off to get some drinks while Ryan sits down to play Texas Hold 'Em.

Marissa dunks a teabag into the coffee she just poured herself.  Seriously.  It was clearly a black liquid in a pot from a coffee maker, and now she's got a teabag.  I'm not making a word of this up.  As it turns out, Marissa is the first person that Theresa's told about her pregnancy, and she's got a pretty solid reason for this beyond her financial situation: She doesn't know if the baby is Ryan's or Eddie's.  Oh, did Marissa not know that Ryan and Theresa were sexing it up after Marissa broke up with Ryan?  Oops.

A dude at the poker table in a trucker hat goes all in for $2500 according to him, and Ryan calls.  I want to make this perfectly clear: Ryan still has chips left to match this bet.  Ryan has two aces, and we never see Trucker Hat's cards or get a good look at the communal cards, but apparently Ryan has won this hand easily.  Ryan gets the $2500 he had wagered on the hand, plus the $2500 from Trucker Hat, plus at least the ante amounts from everyone else at the table.  The way I see it, Ryan just walked away from the table with at least $6,000 between his winnings and the chips he still had left.  Remember this for later.

After winning a hand that big, I would have stayed to play one more hand out of sportsmanship, even if you fold after the initial cards, but Ryan is still justified to walk away immediately.  Seth doesn't understand the concept of "gambling" though, and wants Ryan to keep going so he can make them some "go to Europe money" or enough to buy Vespas at least.  You're the worst, Seth.  By my math, Ryan has 1) turned your one grand into six grand and 2) walked away with a $3,000 profit after giving Theresa $2K.  Seth actually says "why quit while you're ahead?"  THAT'S EXACTLY WHEN TO QUIT.  The only other options are "WHEN YOU'RE BEHIND," which is really bad.  Seth's so fired up about the whole experience that he invites Jenn back to the penthouse to go bowling.  She's overcome with excitement and mentions how her girlfriends have wanted to rent it for a night, but it's much too expensive.  Seth, having no reason to think that Jenn is a prostitute and is clearly working Seth to get even more money out of him, tells her to invite all her friends on over.

A classy cocktail party is underway at the Cohen house, but Julie's desperate to see some naked dudes.  The doorbell rings, but it's just Hailey.  Oh, and the "fire truck" outside, which also comes with four "firemen."  The phone rings, and Kirsten happily removes herself from the dancing festivities to answer.  It's Sandy, inexplicably calling from a bar inside the casino instead of literally anywhere else where it would be easier to handle a phone call.  Sandy runs the whole "Robert Campbell/oodles of money/isn't Caleb friends with the whole liquor board" theory past his wife, who can't believe her father would intentionally tank the restaurant in order to profit himself.  Sandy can't believe that Kirsten can't believe her father is capable of literally anything.

The boys and Jenn arrive back at the Hard Rock, while Seth tells Jenn that they're going to play Strip Bowling.  Jimmy sees Ryan and flags him down while leaving a message for Marissa.  Jimmy asks if Marissa said anything about moving out and Ryan, clearly not thinking things through all the way, tells his girlfriend's father about a deal that his girlfriend struck that she wasn't supposed to tell anyone about.  Didn't have to do it, of course, Ryan could have played dumb about the reasons, but he told Jimmy the truth.

Summer arrives at the Hard Rock and inquires about where the Cohens are staying, but doesn't know for sure how to spell Cohen.  Yes, really.

In the penthouse, Jenn's taken off the dress, but put a robe back over her bikini, in order to sexily drop the robe to the floor.  "Wait til you see what happens next," she says, which is definitely not going to be telling Seth how much he owes her because she's definitely not a prostitute.  They kiss as Summer bursts in with Ryan trailing behind offering apologies about trying to stop her.  Jenn's girlfriends arrive and .... they look.... less classy then Jenn, let's say.  There's Valerie, and Shannon, and Grace, and Lucas, and Lucas' well muscled friend.  Waitaminute, those last two weren't sexy at all!  Those are dudes!  And Lucas is a pimp!  JENN IS A PROSTITUTE.  At least Ryan seems amused by the entire encounter.  Lucas says for the four girls until midnight plus all afternoon with Jenn, they owe him $5,000.  Luckily, Ryan has more than $6,000 in his pocket.  Thus ends our episode.

Or not.

We come back from a commercial break and the professional women are still there.  Between Seth's nest egg and the two grand for Theresa, they only have $3,000.  Except, as you'll remember, Ryan walked away from more than $5K from one hand and he wasn't even all in at the time.  Summer pulls $3,500 out of her purse, so now they have $6,500 according to Ryan and more than $9,500 according to anyone with an understanding of how poker works.  Give Lucas his $5K, and you've still got $4,500 to work with.  Also, did I mention that Summer just yanked $3,500 out of her purse like it was nothing?  Somehow, Ryan still says that they're $1,500 short, which at this point defies the laws of physics, so Jenn suggests that since the hookers are on order until midnight, Ryan's still got time to go play some poker.

In case you were wondering, prostitution is illegal in Clark County, so it's actually not a problem that there's a couple of under 18 boys buying prostitutes.

The dancing is over, so Julie compliments one of the strippers on a job well done.  He asks if she's doing anything afterwards, and apparently the answer to that question is "Only you, big boy."  Julie runs over to say goodbye to Kirsten, but notices the stripper she was just talking to now laughing with Hailey.  She's briefly insulted until Kirsten tells her that Hailey set it up the strippers and she and Jeff are old friends.  Julie decides this means that the whole thing with Jeff The Stripper propositioning her was a set up by Hailey to ruin her marriage to Caleb and CATFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT and of course they end up in the pool.

Sandy tracks down Caleb's dinner with Robert Campbell and lays everything he's put together out on the table in front of them: intentionally working the liquor board to deny the license, buying out Sandy and Jimmy for relative peanuts compared to how much he's actually going to make on his deal, the land being apparently worthless, the potential fraud and collusion criminal charges and the civil case that Sandy's going to bring against Caleb for damages and tie the property up in litigation for months, if not years.  Caleb's trying to get Sandy to leave and things are juuuust short of getting physical when Jimmy blows in.  He's a house a-fire, shouting about working deals with his daughter and just flat out cold cocks Caleb into the next table over.

Ryan gets cleaned out by Trucker Hat back at the poorly lit bar.  Oops.  He begs Jenn for a loan, which she thinks is insane.  Ryan points out that Trucker Hat's probably feeling very confident right now, so all Ryan needs is a couple of bucks to get back in this oh my gods Ryan tanked at poker in order to win even more money.  That is an outrageously stupid plan.  But it works, as we smash cut from Ryan buying back in to Ryan wearing Trucker Hat's trucker hat because he actually won that in the game in addition to all the money he needed.

Time for some wrapup!  Sandy sneaks back into his bedroom where Kirsten tells him about the catfight and Sandy tells her about Jimmy decking Caleb.  Ryan goes over to see Marissa, but she's furious at him.  Not only did he tell Jimmy about the deal, but he didn't tell Marissa about having sex with Theresa, oh, and by the way, Theresa's pregnant, which is news to Ryan.  We fade to black on the two of them just staring at each other.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: It's the way that Sandy tells Kirsten about how Jimmy punched Caleb out.  "You'll be happy to know that I did not punch him in the mouth," which of course is just a set up to tell Kirsten that Jimmy beat him to the punch, literally.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: Oh, it's definitely when Sandy pulls the big reveal on Caleb.  Not only is he laying out everything that he's figured out, but Sandy's also laying on the charm extra thick.  Plus, he keeps stealing Caleb's food and drink in between sentences.