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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The L.A."

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 22 - "The L.A."

Directed by David M. Barrett
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: The girls on the TV show that we watch have a show that they watch called "The Valley."  Jimmy Cooper rebuffs the advances of Hailey Nichol, Kirsten's younger sister.  Jimmy figures out what's going on with Julie and Luke and tells her that it would destroy Marissa.  Ryan's ex-girlfriend Marissa leaves Newport and goes back to Chino.

*     *     *     *     *

Ryan and Seth visit The Mermaid, because Ryan left his watch behind in Theresa's room. This all seems very convenient.  Ah, I see, it's so the guy manning the counter can talk about how nice Theresa is and make Ryan feel horrible that she's gone.  Well, now there's no more drama in Ryan's life.  No potential conflicts of any kind.... hey, is that Luke?  Is that Julie Cooper?  OH MY GODS, ARE THEY KISSING?

What is it with Ryan and being present for the most secretive moments of Luke's life, anyway?

The next morning, Ryan and Seth just stare at each other in the pool house, as they can't process what they've just seen.  All they know is that they can't tell Marissa.  At all.  Ever.  In the main house, Jimmy's there to talk to Sandy about how they've blown through their budget for reconstruction on The Lighthouse.  Jimmy sucks at managing money, as it turns out.  Kirsten rifles through the mail and finds a letter from Hailey.  She's working as an aerobics instructor at the Club Med in the Turks & Caicos Islands.  That's nice.  Kirsten also suggests Julie to work as their interior decorator, because she'll work cheap.  Somehow, Jimmy avoids making a joke.

Marissa and Summer go for a walk on the beach.  Didn't Ryan and Seth say today was a school day?  Summer declares not having a boyfriend to be a good thing for Marissa, as she's never not had one.  Then Summer goes into full meltdown mode because Grady Bridges from The Valley is on the beach.  He's the super charismatic star of the show, and while Summer's going nuts and earning invitations with plus 1's for Ryan and Seth to Grady's birthday party, Marissa seems less than interested, even though we've seen her watching the show.

Julie's on board with doing the design work for free as a portfolio booster, but the materials are going to cost low six figures.  As the guys are essentially broke as far as the restaurant goes, that means an investor.  Kirsten offers, but Sandy doesn't want his wife involved in his side business.  That means asking Caleb, which is even less exciting.

Ryan tracks down Luke in the student lounge and I'm amazed that they didn't go so far as to have Luke rip the felt on the pool table with the cue when Ryan asks him about sex with Julie.  Ryan point blank orders Luke to break it off while the foursome is in LA for Grady's party before Marissa finds out, because SHE WILL find out.  That's how these things go.

Seth's at home catching up on The Valley.  He comes to the realization with a helping hand from Ryan that Grady is an awful lot like him.  We'll have to take their word for this, as we don't see any of the show.  Seth is in full panic mode about Summer's interest in Grady, and Ryan fills him in on the Luke plan as the doorbell rings.  Hey, it's Marissa!  Hi Marissa.  You don't want to go to LA so you and Ryan can be independent from each other?  Crap.

The next morning, Ryan's solved the problem: If HE doesn't go to LA, then Marissa can go.  Seth and Ryan go to Sandy and Kirsten to sell them on the idea of going to the party, but that pretty much ends the whole "Ryan stays home" plan, since it takes Ryan's practicality to burn through Seth's sucking up to convince Sandy to let them go.  Sandy seems very convinced that LA is incredibly dangerous for the boys.  Is it really that big of a deal?  Hollywood's less than 50 miles away from Newport Beach, although Google Maps says it's about a 75 minute drive.  All that's left is for Ryan to convince Marissa that because they go to the same high school and have the same friends that they're going to have to learn to do things independently while together and somehow this works.

The adults have a meeting at The Newport Group office to convince Caleb to fund the restaurant.  He's not completely on board, but an offer of their chef cooking a meal for Caleb and his rich buddies at the Cohen house as a test run is accepted.  Caleb drops Julie off at home after the meeting, and before the sound of Caleb's car fades out, Luke runs out of the bushes to confront Julie.  Luke is easily distracted by more sex and Luke doesn't end it.  Uh oh.

Grady's party is at a club called Luna Chicks, and Ryan is surprised that Grady can play a high schooler.  Oh, man, it's funny because Ben McKenzie was 23 with a degree from Virginia at the time.  Oh, man, the comedy.  The girls and Seth meet Grady and his crew while Ryan calls Luke.  Marissa comes over because she doesn't care about meeting the cast.  They get to see Summer start smacking Seth in the arm because he bumped into a never named blonde socialite that appears to be Paris Hilton.  As they are glad they're not a couple, the stripper on the table that they're leaning against taps Ryan on the shoulder asking if he wants a dance, and HOO BOY, the dancer is Hailey Nichol.  Best way to proceed: spend rest of night on other end of club and not worry about how Hailey, an adult, is spending her life.  Any chance they actually do this? Nooooooooooooope.

Julie runs out of her house late for dinner next door because she had sex with Luke twice.  Luke also did not end this relationship.  Crap.

As the dinner gets started with some talking from Caleb, Sandy, and Jimmy, Luke gets Ryan's message and turns around and heads back.  Ryan calls Sandy to tell them they found Hailey.  Since there's strippers at the party, Sandy tells Ryan he wants them home immediately.  Of course, Jimmy's in the room for all of this, so now he knows.  Sandy refuses to let Hailey ruin this night, which is Caleb's cue to start ruining the night.  He hates the idea of serving meatloaf, even though he knew about it and I thought he actually liked it, given that meeting with Sandy about Uncle Shaun.  Jimmy quits if Caleb's going to be this interfering, but after Jimmy leaves, Caleb says "whatevs," so the meatloaf is a go.

Back at the party, Summer is hanging out with Grady and his crew while Seth chats up Paris.  She's in grad school!  Studying Thomas Pynchon!  What the hell is going on here!  Summer sees this conversation, so she takes up Grady on his offer of watching a new episode back in his Escalade.  Ryan and Marissa find Seth, who suggests that Ryan take advantage of his singledom and get a lapdance from this stripper that hasn't turned to face Seth yet, because he's totally ogling his aunt.  They all end up talking, which means it's time for that old TV strip club trope: the manager comes along and sees Hailey not dancing, so that gets the kids kicked out.  But what about Summer?  Seth wanders off, while Marissa has a plan: Bug the VIP bouncer and have Ryan show up a few minutes later, then pretend Ryan is a cast member and do her best Summer impression.  Amazingly, the bouncer buys this act and lets them both in.

Back at the dinner party, the meatloaf goes over like woah, and Caleb takes credit for that being the plan all along.  Julie goes hunting for more wine for everyone, and Luke attacks the window.  Hilarity in avoiding Luke being seen ensues, but eventually Julie shoos him away to go hide in the bushes by her house again.

The Escalade is clearly just a motif to try to make a move on Summer, but she's way too excited about watching the show.  Grady transitions to playing his band's CD for her, and the terrible music attracts Seth.  It also attracts Grady's girlfriend, April, who is also on The Valley.  Ohhhhhh, this got awkward fast.  Grady takes off after her, and Summer and Seth leave as well.  Marissa and Ryan's trip back into the club to find Summer and "resuce" Hailey goes exactly like you expect it would: the manager wanders up almost immediately after they find Hailey and he kicks everyone out, including firing Hailey along the way.  Ryan and the manager start to get physical with each other, but that gives Jimmy the opportunity to point out that the manager is about to punch a kid.  The kids take off, and Jimmy and Hailey share a moment, where Jimmy convinces her to come home.

Jimmy brings her into the Cohen house after the dinner party has ended successfully, and everyone keeps to the Club Med story, even though I don't think anyone - namely Kirsten - actually buys it.  Based on how well the dinner party went, Caleb is in as a silent partner for the restaurant.  It's clear to Caleb that Jimmy and Sandy know what they're doing with the menu, so he's more than happy to just rake in the money later on.

Julie arrives at home and there's Luke hiding in the bushes as promised.  He ends it, although he's not excited about doing so.  Julie gets over it pretty quickly, calling Caleb to tell him that she's ready for that date he's supposed to be planning.

Ryan and Marissa retire to the pool house because Seth and Summer are watching The Valley in the house.  There's fun bantering and Marissa excuses herself to powder her nose.  That means it's the perfect time for Luke to come in and loudly shout that he's done having sex with Julie Cooper.  Oops.  Of course Marissa hears everything, which means she realizes why Ryan insisted that she come to LA, and as she runs out of the pool house, we fade to black.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: I got nothing this week.  No witty quips for Sandy Cohen in this episode.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: I skipped over it in the recap, because ultimately it doesn't have any impact on the plot, but in the middle of the dinner party, Caleb and Sandy have a short talk outside by the pool.  Caleb starts by taking glib cheap shots at Jimmy running out on Sandy, but Sandy has to tell Caleb that he knows Jimmy went to go get Hailey out of the strip club.  As Sandy puts it, that's where Jimmy is, and that's why Jimmy's his partner.