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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Goodbye Girl"

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 21 - "The Goodbye Girl"

Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Marissa stopped by while Theresa was over at the Cohen house for dinner.  Eddie, Theresa's boyfriend, came around to talk to Ryan about where Theresa was.  Luke and Julie OH MY GOD I CAN'T TALK ABOUT THIS.  Caleb asks Sandy for his help getting Uncle Shaun, noted lawbreaker, out of legal trouble.  Sandy would normally tell Caleb to go to hell, but Kirsten is culpable for all of Uncle Shaun's activities, too.  Ryan and Theresa kissed.

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At breakfast, Seth hounds Ryan with questions about how kissing Theresa went.  His questions are loaded with pop culture references which just made me feel old.  Then the questions get stupider, as Seth starts bugging Ryan about where's Theresa going to live and is she going to rent and what can she afford, and so on.  Holy crap, dude, relax.  This conversation is thankfully brought to an end by Theresa arriving.  She has the morning off from the tennis catering and offers the boys a ride to school.  This is immediately made awkward by Marissa's arrival for the same reason.  Both girls flip out and run out of the pool house, leaving our heroes with no ride to school.

Sandy and Kirsten are having breakfast in the kitchen as both girls tear through one after the other, leading to the question: How did they get to the pool house before?  I always figured that they could just go around the house, which is how Oliver ended up staring in the windows that one time.  Maybe they did, but now they go through the house just so Kirsten and Sandy can bug Ryan about what's going on with Theresa.  Sandy launches into the exact same stupid real estate questions that Seth had, so at least Seth's getting that from somewhere.  Some of the Cohens' questions are legitimate (shouldn't Theresa being going back to school at some point?  What about Eddie, who proposed to her?), but Ryan doesn't have any solid answers.  Kirsten asks Sandy if he's going to take Uncle Shaun's case, because it would be awfully nice if Uncle Shaun could be at the reception for Caleb being named Riveria Magazine's Man of the Year.  Who puts out a Man of the Year award issue in (checks IMDB for original air date) March, anyway?

At school, Luke is strumming his guitar, and Marissa asks him about how weird it was for him to see Marissa and Ryan together.  Luke points out that he deserved to get dumped, and Marissa thinks maybe she deserved it, too.  YOU DUMPED RYAN, LADY.  Luke counsels her to just accept that things will never be the same again.

At lunch, Summer is engrossed by the Caleb issue of Riviera Magazine and all the ridiculous plastic surgery pictures in it.  Her dad is a plastic surgeon, you see.  Anna savors the shallow discussion, because she's leaving Newport and going back to Pittsburgh to live with her aunt and uncle.  Hey, she's going to say goodbye and she's a girl!  That's the title of this episode!  Meanwhile, Theresa has met Ryan in the parking lot for lunch while she reads the classifieds to look for a job.  Oh, man, do you remember classified ads in the newspaper?  Ah, the old days, before everyone took that business to Craigslist and killed the newspaper industry.  They share a kind of secret smooch behind the newspaper, and they do such a crappy job of hiding behind the paper, I half expect the camera to shift and show Marissa staring in shock or something.

After school, Luke rings the doorbell at the Cooper house, and we find out that Kaitlyn, Marissa's younger sister has a crush on Luke.  The only thing worse than all three Cooper women being interested in Luke is the garishly bright orange top that Julie's wearing.  Seriously, it's brighter than her hair, and that's saying something.  Jimmy arrives to take Kaitlyn to dinner and Julie makes a dumb excuse about Luke defragging her hard drive, which comes off more risque than expected.

Speaking of dinner, Sandy's grilling some swordfish, and uses "hey, do I need to throw one on for Theresa?" as an excellent way to get Ryan talking about her.  Sandy admits that the concept of helping Theresa run away from her life is incredibly charming, but it's also incredibly stupid.  Ryan heads off to talk to her, and Sandy comes inside with the swordfish, where Caleb is making a salad in the kitchen.  I am not making a word of that up.  Sandy tells Caleb that he'll work on something for Uncle Shaun if Caleb tells Kirsten everything, so at least she knows what is going on if Sandy isn't successful at working something out.

Over at Theresa's motel room, both Ryan and Theresa have something important to say.  Ryan lets her go first, and she tells him that she just got off the phone with Eddie and she told him that they are never ever getting back together.  Ryan suddenly realizes he probably shouldn't tell her that he's there to send her back to Chino and instead asks if she likes swordfish.  I presume he meant what Sandy was cooking, not the movie.

The next morning, Seth and Ryan get confused about which one of their lady friends is leaving Newport and which one is staying.  Neither one of them seems particularly excitable about their respective lady situation, but Seth's mindset is particularly dumb: he thinks Anna is leaving Newport because of him. Oh, no, don't do this, Seth.

Kirsten meets Caleb for... what is this? It was just breakfast time at the house, so is this breakfast? Lunch? There's wine already poured on the table, so I have no idea what's going on.  Anyway, Caleb spills the beans on exactly how much illegal crap Uncle Shaun has been getting up to over the years, and more importantly, how exactly completely boned Kirsten is if he talks to the district attorney.

Over in the student lounge at Harbor, Marissa interrupts Ryan's Western Civ studying, but as befits the topic that he's studying, NO ONE EXPECTS THE 25 YEAR OLD EDDIE BURSTING INTO THE LOUNGE!  Believe it or not, this actually is addressed within seconds as a teacher comes in to shoo Eddie out, but not before he does all sorts of shouting at Ryan about whether or not he's slept with Theresa.  It seems a little unfair to blame sex with Ryan, which, by the way, hasn't happened, for Theresa running away the second that you proposed marriage, dude, but whatever floats your boat.

Seth inquires with Anna about her reasons to return to Pittsburgh.  None of them involve Seth, though, which is not surprising to any one with half a brain.  They also don't include Primanti Brothers sandwiches, so I find her entire list to be invalid.  She does promise to stop by Caleb's party, even though that's the day she's leaving town.

Marissa tries too hard at being Ryan's friend and offers to be Theresa's friend as well.  Marissa asks if Theresa is going to be at Caleb's party so they can all hang out together and be super friends forever, and Ryan's reaction is exactly what you think it should be: Why the hell would Marissa want that?

Sandy comes home and checks on Kirsten, who is SUPER pissed off at her father.  She says everything that happened with the wetlands tipped her off that Caleb was up to no good.  I'm sorry, what?  Kirsten's been working for who knows how long, much less been HIS DAUGHTER her entire life, and just now she's realizing that Caleb's kind of shifty?  Sheesh.

Seth and Summer sit on the hood of a car, eating In-N-Out and making out, until Seth is overcome with distress over how Anna lied to him about her reasons for wanting to leave Newport.  Oh.  My.  God.  Is Seth Cohen just doomed to instantly destroy every relationship he ever gets into?  Seconds after getting together with Anna, he can't deal with the similarities between the two of them, and now he's focusing on Anna while making out with Summer.

Ryan wanders over to Theresa's motel and apologizes because he can't provide for her and he doesn't know how to help her.  Theresa cuts him off, pointing out that she's not a trust fund girl who needs everything handed to her because she's helpless, but she appreciates the thought.  That leads to the sexy times, which leads to the camera panning away to the window where we can see Eddie sitting in his car staring at the second floor window.  Eddie sees the light in the motel room go off, which I guess is code for "sex is happening right now," although it's not like darkness is a requirement, y'know?  Eddie drives off angrily.

The next morning, Ryan invites Theresa to Caleb's party.  Theresa thinks he doesn't really want her to go, but it's just Ryan guessing that she wouldn't want to go, which is right.  He insists that he's not embarrassed of her, and she points out that she has nothing to wear, anyway.  But hey, that's okay, after the party, Ryan can come over and they can have nothing to wear together.  GET IT, GUYS?  SHE MEANT SEX.

Sandy ambushes the district attorney at the driving range, and in between swings, he gets the DA to admit they're not going to prosecute Uncle Shaun as long as he coughs up everything he knows about Caleb.  Of course, that's only going to happen as long as the plaintiff doesn't drop the charges, and that gets the DA's attention.  You see, The Newport Group is Newport Beach's version of Enron, and Sandy'd better not get in the way.

Ryan and Seth discuss their lady issues, and by "issues," I mean Seth covered for Ryan not being at home last night.  In return, Ryan suggests to Seth that he be direct with Anna if he thinks she's really leaving Newport because of him.

Over at Theresa's motel room, she's fresh out of the shower and wearing only a tiny pink robe, which is good news!  That means that she doesn't have to bother with changing out of clothes to try on the dresses that Marissa brought over for her to wear to Caleb's party!  Isn't Marissa super helpful, everybody?

As is the case with most of these party scenes on this show, we get a lot of rapid fire action here.  The lumber guy pressing charges against Uncle Shaun calls Sandy and they strike a deal to let Shaun go free as long as Caleb gives Lumber Guy his next big contract.  Summer tries to build a bridge between Marissa and Ryan.  Marissa and Theresa arrive, and I can't believe that I'm expected to believe that clothes that belong to Mischa Barton also fit Navi Rawat. (Aside: I'm glad that I'm not friends with Navi Rawat.  I'd be making Legend of Zelda "Hey!  Listen!" jokes until blunt objects struck me in the head repeatedly.)  Caleb shanghais Seth into taking pictures with him.  Anna arrives, and because Seth is busy, she gives Ryan a letter to give to Seth.  She also gives Ryan a big hug and wishes him the best life because he deserves it.

Luke tells Julie how hot she is, and thankfully for my sanity, she shoos him away, but not before Jimmy sees it.  Jimmy isn't as dumb as he looks, and he tells Julie that he better not have seen what he thinks he just saw, because it would destroy Marissa.  One Dad Point for Mr. Cooper.

Instead of hanging out with Theresa and Marissa, Ryan chugs off to find Seth to give him Anna's letter immediately.  Honestly now.  I guess this serves the story, though, as Eddie comes roaring through the Cohens' open front door and makes a beeline for Theresa.  Boy, if only Eddie knew how pissed Caleb's gonna be when he interrupts the speech that Caleb is giving.  Eddie's going Angry Mode instead of Humble Request Mode, which means lots of grabbing Theresa's arm and demanding that she talk to him.  Bad plan, especially when Ryan sees this all happening.  Ryan's intervention earns him a shove and a punch, which sends him flying through the fruit table.  Ryan hops up and tackles Eddie through the drinks stand (BOOOOOO PARTY FOUL), Eddie yanks Ryan into a caterer, sending everyone sprawling, and then blasts Ryan with a right hand that sends him flying into the pool.  Luke and Jimmy take advantage of the sudden space between Ryan and Eddie and drag him away while Sandy tells him to scram before the cops get there.  Eddie throws in a final "YOU'RE DEAD" in Ryan's direction, which is probably a bad plan when Sandy's already talking about the police.

Theresa apologizes for the ruckus, but Kirsten tells her it's not her fault.  Well, it kind of is.  I mean, yes, Eddie's the one doing outlandishly aggressive things, but she's the one who ran away from him and she's the one who's sleeping with Ryan.  Ryan remembers he had Anna's letter for Seth in his pocket when he went into the pool, and now it's all watersoaked and blurry.  Seth reads "I love you" in the not-blurry parts and figures Anna really is leaving Newport because of him.  Summer puts him on blast for giving a crap, but realizes this means a lot to her man, so she tells him to go talk to her at the airport.  This means Ryan has to drive him there because three glasses of champagne have wrecked his ability to drive along with his common sense.  Theresa says she needs to talk to Eddie (oh, that moment passed last week, sweetie, or, y'know, even 10 minutes ago when he was demanding to talk to you), but she promises to meet up with Ryan at her motel room later.  We close out the party with Caleb asking Julie for a second chance and Julie telling him to plan a date and run it past her.

While Seth freaks out on the drive to the airport, Theresa returns the dress to Marissa and tells her that she's leaving Newport.  She's got this whole life to figure out, and so does Ryan.  Meanwhile, at the Cohen house, Sandy's distraught over obstructing justice and tampering with a witness.  The case against Caleb is going to disappear now, because the DA can afford to lose in an election year, and Sandy points out that if you're going to go after the king, then you had better know that you can kill the king.  Omar said that better about two years before this episode aired, though.  Kirsten says she's rather go to jail that see Sandy get tied up in Caleb's twisted reality, which leads to Sandy telling Kirsten that the only person putting her in handcuffs is going to be him.  The Cohens have one of the more sex-positive relationships that I've seen on TV, I'll say that much.

As Nada Surf's cover of If You Leave plays, Seth runs into the airport and finds Anna as she's going through security.  Turns out, Seth's a dope.  The note doesn't say anything that he thinks it says due to the soaking.  Anna loves him as a friend, but she has to go back to Pittsburgh because she's lonely in Newport.  We have only seen her interact with our cast of characters, but that's perspective bias.  So off she goes, although Seth does an awful lot of shouting at banging on windows here that should have gotten TSA to tell him to knock it off at least three or four times.

We close the episode with a trip to Theresa's motel room, where the cleaning staff is vacuuming, and the boys go get pizza and consider the what if's about their respective women.  I really hate you when you focus on girls that aren't your girlfriend, Seth.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: There's not an outstanding amount of wisecracks from Sandy Cohen in this one, but there is one line that we can try to transfer to using for basketball.  When Sandy's talking to the DA at the driving range, the DA says he'll come down on Sandy if he interferes with their investigation into The Newport Group.  That prompts this from Mr. Cohen: "Oh, wow.  It must be an election year."  While the TV Sandy meant it as pure sarcasm, I think it works as a straight up exclamation.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: As always, Sandy doing the parenting thing is a fantastic thing to see.  His conversation with Ryan while he's grilling swordfish is wonderful, and as we've seen before with Seth and even Marissa, his natural conversation with Ryan doesn't come easy just because Ryan's not actually his son.  The man just genuinely like helping people, regardless of their age.