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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Ties That Bind"

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 27 - "The Ties That Bind"

Directed by Patrick Norris
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: *deep breath*  Ryan and Theresa had unprotected sex.  Marissa accidentally figures out that Theresa's pregnant.  Caleb screwed Sandy and Jimmy out of The Lighthouse property, just to make a buck.  Has anyone figured out exactly why Julie's marrying Caleb, anyway?  Jimmy found out about Caleb making a deal to get Marissa to move in with her mother, so he punched Caleb right in the face.  Marissa gets to be the one to tell Ryan about Theresa's pregnancy.

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We get a bunch of establishing shots of boats, and eventually we settle in on Ryan and Seth on the pier.  Seth is trying to be helpful and contribute ideas to name Ryan's theoretical new baby, which, again, we're not entirely sure is actually Ryan's.  This leads to terrible jokes from Seth, and eventually we figure out that the boys are waiting for Theresa outside a beachfront family planning center, and I guess I've seen weirder things on this show.  She comes out of the office, annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we cut to Kirsten on the phone at home discussing how much Caleb hates cilantro.  Right.  The rehearsal dinner.  Sandy wanders in and makes cheap jokes at Caleb's expense as Kirsten wraps up her phone call.  There's about zero chance that Sandy's going to make nice with Caleb before the wedding, but maybe Kirsten can... influence his decision? With sex?  The Cohens start making out in the kitchen, but the kids, who are supposed to be in school, walk in.  This is the big reveal that Theresa's definitely pregnant, I guess, even though we spent half of the previous episode pretty sure on that topic.

After some title sequencing, Ryan and Marissa talk at school.  Theresa's definitely pregnant, but we'll have to wait to find out the paternity since there's no reason to endanger the fetus at this point for that.  Marissa decides to take an attitude about how terrible Ryan was for having sex with Theresa.  I would like to point out two things.  First, as clearly explained by Dr. Ross Geller and friends:

Second: Marissa. YOU broke up with Ryan.  Perhaps YOU shouldn't be so annoyed by what he did after that, hmmm?  Amazingly, though, Ryan insists he's dedicated to making things work with Marissa, regardless of who the father of the baby is.  This will last approximately 3 days in Newport, or 20 minutes of show time.

Over at The Newport Group, Caleb seems frustrated by something as Sandy walks in the door and cracks wise about Caleb's impending nuptials being the cause.  No, you see, Sandy's moment at dinner in Vegas ruined Caleb's chances to keep The Newport Group in the black.  Say what now?  Kirsten's residential real estate side is the only profitable aspect of the company and everything is falling apart on Caleb, including the district attorney coming back around to take a swat at him.  Well then.

As the Cohens get ready for dinner, Sandy reassures Ryan that they'll do whatever they can to help Ryan and Theresa.  Sandy points out that their track record to raise a child is beyond impunity, while Seth starts saying "pudding" more times in this scene than Adam Sandler did during the entirety of Punch Drunk Love.  Ah, comedy.  Theresa comes in and asks to speak with Ryan.  They go out by the pool, where Theresa tells him that she knows he's not ready for a baby (probably because he doesn't know if it's his), and she doesn't think she's ready either, so she's not going to have the baby, or tell her mom that any of this happened.

The next morning, Seth has boat dock fees to pay, and oh, that's right, Seth owns a boat.  Seth declares that the boys should go down there to pay them and take it out for a spin.  This turns into Seth babbling as he struggles to deal with dealing with Ryan, who is dealing with no more baby on the way.  Over in the pool house, Theresa gets ready for a half day of work while Kirsten comes in.  Theresa's going to Planned Parenthood after her shift, and Kirsten offers to drive her to and from her appointment.

After a quick smattering of other scenes (Ryan and Marissa talk about no baby & having a normal summer, Caleb shows Julie the house he bought for her, the boys discuss sailing to Catalina with their women), Kirsten and Theresa have dinner somewhere, perhaps the country club.  Theresa's appointment today was the preliminary, tomorrow's the official one.  Theresa says she's making the decision that makes the most sense, and Kirsten tells her that she doesn't have to decide that way.  We take a long, looping dialogue trip around and eventually land on the completely unspoken but blatantly obvious fact that Kirsten had an abortion at some point.  Aren't standards and practices fun?  No one was there for Kirsten, so Kirsten just wants to make sure that someone's there to help Theresa.  The end result of this dinner?  Theresa packs for home, because she's decided to tell her mom and have the baby, because, in her words, "I have to."  Well, okay then.

The next morning, Sandy is furious that Kirsten interfered with Theresa's decision.  You'd think that this conversation is about Sandy pointing out that Kirsten is pushing her own experiences on Theresa, but when Sandy says "Do you have any idea what Ryan's going through," Kirsten replies with "Not as well as I know what Theresa's going through," and this completely throws Sandy off.  Remember: Sandy's a lawyer by trade, so it's kind of his job to never be thrown off by anything anyone ever says, but this comment from his wife derails him.  The implication that his wife had an abortion is new to Sandy, which leads me to believe that the other half of the equation was Jimmy Cooper.  I don't expect this to ever go anywhere, though.

Jimmy and Hailey help Marissa deliver her stuff to the insanely large and currently very empty house that Julie and Caleb will be living in.  Marissa goes back out to the car for another arm load, which gives Julie, Jimmy, and Hailey enough time to start hurling insults non-stop.  In Jimmy and Hailey's defense, Julie started it because of course she did.  Marissa comes back in and shouts at them all to stop, especially Julie because, gosh darn it, you're getting what you want with Marissa moving in, aren't you?  And thus, Julie finds out that this is not Marissa's choice.  Now we're getting somewhere.

Summer and Seth are down at the dock and Summer remarks on what a coincidence it is that Seth named his boat "Summer Breeze."  I swear that Seth actually told her he named his boat for her in the pilot.  I know he told Ryan that, but I'm pretty sure he said it at Holly's party.  Oh, man, remember Holly?  Anyway, a quick check of the recap of the pilot doesn't mention Seth saying it.  Perhaps it was Seth just muttering it at her when she wasn't actually paying attention to him, and thus it wasn't worth mentioning it?  I swear this happened.  Anyway, this scene exists to establish that Seth is going to sell his boat for $6,000 and give the money to Theresa, now that she's going to have the baby, and also to let us know that Ryan hasn't told Marissa about the baby yet.

It's time for the rehearsal dinner at the Cohen house.  Sandy tells Caleb he talked to the DA, and Caleb is totally boned as well as broke.  Julie doesn't know anything about this, though, so that should be fun when she eventually finds out.  Ryan's hiding in the pool house, but Marissa eventually finds him.  He tells her that Theresa's going to have the baby and that she's not getting back together with Eddie, either.

Everyone sits down to dinner and Caleb gives a big speech about the joining of the Cohen, Cooper, and Nichol families through his marriage to Julie, and how glad he is to be the head of that family.  Dinner starts, and Ryan lasts all of about 10 seconds before he has to take off into the house.  Marissa, Summer, and Seth are right behind him, and they all head out to the beach for a walk.  Seth points out that this might even be the same section of beach where Luke kicked their asses nearly a year ago.  Neither girl is aware that the boys were even at that party, which is kind of funny, because Summer was ALL OVER Ryan there, and made no bones about telling Marissa that's what she wanted to do.  Ryan announces to the group that he has to go back to Chino to help Theresa.  It goes unspoken, but it certainly sounds like he's also breaking up with Marissa.

The next morning, Seth's down at the dock ready to sell his boat, but the dock guy tells Seth that the buyer has backed out.  Seth is furious because "you said it was a done deal, man!"  DONE DEAL!  DONE DEAL ON THE O.C. TEN YEARS AGO!  I can't believe that there's not a half-dozen people willing to buy a boat in Newport, though.  Seth meets up with Summer and Marissa in a nearby diner and offers up the idea of all of them getting jobs and pooling their money to pay for Ryan to stick around in Newport.  I don't really get his idea here, as Ryan obviously has a home with the Cohens.  A discussion ensues, and eventually Seth spits truth, pointing out that this is all Marissa's fault for her involvement with Oliver.  FINALLY someone says it.  Seth keeps going, though, and blames Marissa for dragging Ryan "into your messed up life," before leaving in anger.

In the pool house, Ryan's laying out his clothes for the wedding when Sandy walks in.  He points out that as his guardian, Sandy could make Ryan stay in Newport.  He won't, though, because Ryan's doing what Sandy's been teaching him for a year: fight for your family.  Sandy tries one more time to offer a home to Ryan and Theresa, but Ryan can't ask Sandy to do that.  YOU'RE NOT ASKING, SANDY'S OFFERING, YOU IDIOT.  How many times do Sandy and Kirsten have to offer their home to Ryan and Theresa before Ryan gets that this isn't really an imposition for them?

Well, off to the wedding we go.  The chapel is something straight out of Rivendell, all open air and trees.  Sandy, Seth, and Ryan are your groomsmen, while the bridesmaids are Kirsten, Hailey, and Marissa.  This leaves Summer to sit with Jimmy, which is kind of funny.  We fast forward through the whole thing and skip directly to the reception and dancing as Jem's cover of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" plays.  Ryan asks Marissa to dance, and she tells him she understands why he's leaving, but wishes he didn't have to.  Marissa tells Ryan she loves him, and Ryan doesn't answer, which is probably for the best.  Summer finds Seth sitting on a hill outside the chapel, as Seth's not dealing well with Ryan leaving.  Newport was not a fun place to be for Seth before Ryan arrived, and at the very least, Seth had another outcast to hang out with in Ryan.  Summer comforts him, saying they'll make it through okay.  Seth asks for a few more minutes alone, and also tells Summer that yes, he named the boat after her.

That night, Ryan's ready for Theresa to come pick him up, and fittingly, he's dressed in the same black jacket/gray hoodie/white tank top outfit that he was wearing in the pilot.  Kirsten's packed him a lunch and a hug, and Sandy jokes that Kirsten's not even a hugger.  Ryan goes upstairs to say goodbye to Seth, who has decided to be a massive jackwagon.  He barely looks at Ryan, and even after Ryan gives him a map of Tahiti, his original boating destination, as a going away gift, Seth barely says thank you and tosses it on the nightstand before putting his earbuds back in.  I'm not saying Seth has to be happy to see Ryan leave, but maybe being angry with him about leaving isn't the way to go.

It's time for Ryan to leave, and the music transitions to Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah.  As they drive off, Marissa's standing out at the curb with her stuff.  We get another call back to the pilot where Ryan looks back at Marissa standing there, where, instead of Luke's truck wiping her from view, it's the limo that Julie has sent to pick her up.  Seth tosses some notes, one for his parents and one for Summer, onto his nightstand and leaves the house.  Marissa arrives at her new gigantic house and starts drinking again.  Kirsten starts resetting the pool house now that Ryan's gone, and starts crying as Sandy comes in to find her and comfort her.

The first season of The O.C. closes first, with a call back to the shot of Ryan through the car window that opens up the title sequence, and then finally, a shot of Seth on his boat, sailing away from Newport.

Best Sandy Cohen Line: I'm going way back to before the title sequence where Sandy came in while Kirsten was on the phone.  Kirsten mentions that the decorative lights have to be white, because colored lights make Caleb think of carnivals and Caleb hates carnies.  Sandy's response?  "Note to self: hang with carnies."

Best Sandy Cohen Moment: There's actually surprisingly few scenes in this episode that involve Sandy doing some heavy lifting, so I have to go with the only one that fits: the conversation between Sandy and Ryan about how Ryan's doing the best thing for his family by going back to Chino because that's what Sandy taught him to do.  It might not actually be particularly memorable for anything Sandy really said or did, but it shows how far Ryan has come in the last year under the guidance of Sandy.  As Sandy says in the scene, referring back to the pilot: "Like I said, you could have done worse."