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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Way We Were"


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 spent last summer recapping episodes from the first season of the classic Fox drama in order to mine for gold for when the basketball playing Cohen did something superlative.  He had a relatively quiet freshman campaign, but that doesn't curtail our quest for entertainment, both during the season and during the quiet summer months.  So we're back again in 2015 with recaps for the 24 episode second season.

Makes sense, right? Ok, hit it, Phantom Planet!

Season 2, Episode 2 - "The Way We Were"

Directed by Michael Lange
Written by Allan Heinberg

Previously on The O.C.: The shirtless yardboy ogles a sunbathing Marissa.  Jimmy is happy with Hailey.  Caleb is waiting for the district attorney to move against him and making sure Julie doesn't spend company money illegally.  Seth grandstands in the school lounge to win Summer's public affection, but then totally ruined it by bugging off to Portland for the summer.  Marissa and Ryan haven't been talking over the summer, and we mean that literally as she calls him while she's drunk and then doesn't actually talk.

*     *     *     *     *

Well, if the boys are back in Newport, that means it's time to go back to school.  But, after an early morning pool house conversation, neither Seth nor Ryan is particularly looking forward to going back to The Harbor School, especially since neither of them have told Marissa or Summer that they're back in town.

After the title sequence, the boys head into the kitchen for breakfast.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of the ongoing construction (and a phone call where no one's on the other end, which I presume was supposed to be Marissa), Kirsten explains that she called the school office and got the boys registered.  Sandy and Kirsten discuss who will actually take them to school, but both of them have early morning work stuff.  It seems like Sandy will end up doing it, but a phone call comes in and Sandy suddenly is in charge of finding someone that's gone missing or something.  It's not very clearly explained.  Archie the foreman promises they'll be done working in the kitchen by the end of the day and volunteers to drive Ryan & Seth to school.

Hopping out of the bed of Archie's slightly beat up pick up truck isn't the most glorious start to the school year, although I'm kind of surprised that Archie doesn't have a nicer truck, given that he's doing contract work in Newport.  Anywho, you're not going to believe this, but the very first two people that see Ryan and Seth are Marissa and Summer.  One of them runs over to the boys while the other storms off angrily.  I'll let you guess which one is which.

Out on Jimmy Cooper's boat .... wait, did Jimmy have a boat the last time we saw him?  I feel like he did, but in this scene, he says "let's keep the boat for another month," so I'm not sure.  Anyway, Hailey has a phone call about something that she hasn't told Jimmy about because she doesn't want to hurt him.  He emerges from below deck, so Hailey quickly ends the call.  Jimmy suggests that they take the boat down to Cabo for a while as they aren't tied down by any jobs and he can just manage his portfolio online.  Hailey seems... distant doesn't seem quite the word, but she also doesn't seem fired up about the idea either.

At school, Ryan meets up with Miss Fischer, the academic counselor.  She put together a schedule for Ryan and mentions that she was very impressed with his GPA from last year.  She asks if the schedule is okay and what Ryan's thinking about as far as college goes.  Ryan's never really thought about it, mostly for money reasons, but Miss Fischer says that with Ryan's grade & test scores, he can do anything he wants.  She hands up a blue essay booklet, and tells him to write about all the things he likes and dislikes about all of his classes.

At lunch, Ryan and Seth catch up while Seth passes out flyers for his new Comic Book Club.  See, Seth figures that after the box office success of Spider-Man 2 (which, strangely, was less than the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie), nerds like him are cool now.  Oh, to see mid-20s Seth react to the Avengers movies.  Related: Spider-Man 2 was 3 Spider-Man movies ago and I am very old.

Marissa and Summer drive off to Marissa's house to get her car, which raises two questions: How close is that mansion to school where they can do this during their lunch hour and 2) Why didn't she drive the car to school in the first place?  We discover that The Yardboy's name is DJ, because Marissa shouts it a whole bunch because his truck is blocking in her Mustang.  Marissa sends Summer back off to school and heads in to her bedroom to reapply her lipgloss... and there's DJ looming in the doorway.  Yo, dude, that's super creepy, just get out of her way, or the whole house, or the city, or the state, or... wait, why are they kissing?  "Will I still see you after school," asks DJ.  HOLY CRAP THEY'RE DATING.  You'd think he would have been less ogly when Summer was around the other day.

Back in the school lounge, Summer grabs some of Marissa's coffee for a quick pick-me-up, but, um, well, Marissa's not *only* drinking coffee.  Why the in-school alcohol?  Well, how else is she going to figure out how to tell Ryan about DJ?  This counts as telling Summer that Marissa and DJ have been a thing all summer long.  SEEEEEKRITS.

I don't know what Sandy was doing all morning, but now, finally, he tracks down his missing person from earlier: his father-in-law, Caleb, or at very least, his counterpart Drinky Caleb.  Why all the scotch?  That's what you do when the district attorney is charging you with bribing city officials in order to procure construction permits.  While Caleb admits to be Shady McShaderson, he insists that he didn't do this, even if the DA apparently has bank statements that show huge sums of money going from The Newport Group to a city councilman.

Back in the school lounge, the school day is over and it's time for the first meeting of the Comic Book League.  All members are accounted for, because it's only Ryan and Seth.  Oh, and Generic Water Polo Guy that wanders in.  Seth is immediately dismissive of GWPG because, y'know, people can't have more than one interest in life, but GWPG shows his chops by answering Seth's questions easily and even offering a very insightful look at Superman.  The meeting goes super wonderful until they all head out for the day after making plans to snag new comics on Wednesday right up until the point where - and if you didn't see this coming, shame on you - GWPG turns out to be Summer's aforementioned new boyfriend Zach.  Seth reacts to Summer dating an athletic & attractive version of himself exactly the way you think he would: sputtering and spasming.

Marissa shows Ryan around her new house, or rather, they look at the outside of the house.  Marissa inquires about what's up with Ryan & Theresa, and that's how we learn that Ryan and Theresa weren't "together" while they were living together and getting ready to raise a baby together.  If that makes any sense.  Ryan's not big on discussing his feelings, so he quickly changes the topic to Marissa's dating life, and she says she's not dating anyone.  This includes DJ The YardBoy, who is watching this from a balcony.  Since she's single, Ryan asks her to go to the Kickoff Carnival, and then there's kissing and glaring from DJ.

Kirsten and Hailey have... a late lunch?  Tea time?  Second breakfast?  Anyway, they're on Jimmy's boat talking over food.  Here's where we find out that the secret that Hailey's hiding from Jimmy is that her friend Suzie offered her a fashion sales job in Japan.  Also we find out that Jimmy's portfolio is doing very well, which I presume is foreshadowing for Jimmy screwing this up at some point this season.  We follow this scene up with Sandy dragging Drunk Caleb home and Caleb forcing Sandy to bring a Christian Dior bikini clad Julie up to speed on Caleb's pending legal issues.  I mention the bikini because there was a Dior logo the size of a credit card in the middle of her top.  I hope that the production was compensated for this.

Over at the Cohen house, Kirsten is talking to Ryan about the phone conversation she had with Miss Fischer when Sandy and Archie the foreman explode into the kitchen screaming at each other about I-beams in the family room construction.  Short version: They have the wrong I-beam, and the argument is over whether or not Archie screwed up ordering the beam.  Then, out of nowhere, Ryan suggests just moving the wall and using the beam they have.  Archie shouts about telling him how to do his job and Sandy essentially kicks Archie out of the house over this.  Sandy's furious about being the only one sticking his neck out for this family and storms out.  I suspect that this isn't actually about the I-beam.

As if to answer my thought about the I-beam, the very next scene is Kirsten going to the bedroom to apologize to Sandy about her behavior and attitude over the summer.  Sandy tells her to not worry about it because it's not about her.  She's relieved, because she's never seen Sandy that fired up unless it involves her father and oh god what did Caleb do now?  While all of this is going on, Seth and Ryan are in Seth's room lamenting Seth completely blowing things with Summer.  I can't possibly believe that he's just now realizing that bugging out to Portland without telling his girlfriend wouldn't go well.  Wait.  Yes, I can.

Hailey gets Jimmy nice and loaded on wine before breaking the news about her job offer in Japan.  Jimmy's reaction?  MARRY ME AND USE MY MONEY TO DO YOUR OWN FASHION THING HERE.  We cut away to Summer doing some high frequency meditation before Hailey can answer, and I'm actually surprised that we're following up on this frequency thing from last episode.  There's a knock at the door and Summer shouts at her step-mother to let her study for Intro To Pre-Calc in peace, but it's actually Ryan.  There's a nice bit where Ryan thinks that Summer's Horrible Step-Mother was pretty nice, but then we get to the meat of the issue: Seth doesn't know Ryan's there to apologize for being the root cause of destroying the Summer/Seth relationship.  Summer says that Zach's not actually her boyfriend because she's done with boyfriends after dealing with Seth.  Well, hey, maybe things can just go back to the way they were, then?  Summer tells Ryan that everyone's moved on after the boys left town, which throws Ryan for a loop because she meant Marissa moved on, too.  Summer tells Ryan to go talk to Marissa.

Crazy jealous DJ started calling Marissa during dinner, so she's forced to go outside to deal with him.  He knew the deal: they can't tell anyone about their relationship because Julie would fire him immediately.  Here's the question: Would Julie fire him just because he was the YardBoy dating her precious daughter OR would Julie fire DJ because he's, y'know, obviously a full time professional YardBoy and therefore this whole deal is just a teensy bit scandalous beyond the class stature thing?  Anyway, so in order to prevent the firing, DJ tells Marissa to tell Jule that he quits, which leads to crying, which leads to kissing, which leads to Ryan driving up at that exact moment, but you saw that coming.  I'm not entirely clear as to whether or not DJ's actually quitting now.

The next morning in the pool house, Ryan explains this whole story to Seth.  The only thing that Seth takes away from this is that Summer wants to be friends with him, which OBVIOUSLY means that she really wants to get back together with him.  Oh, no, Seth.  No, Seth, no, don't plan some kind of idiot grand gesture to win her over.  She definitely doesn't want that and Ryan made that perfectly clear. *sigh*

After a quick breakfast that included Caleb because Julie's off on a spa weekend because she's angry at him as well as plans for dinner with Caleb, Ryan heads to school where he turns in his essay book to Miss Fischer.  Ryan not write words good, but folded into the essay book is what Ryan was working on instead of the essay: floor plans for the Cohen family room.  Miss Fischer immediately starts rearranging Ryan's schedule with more math & science, because we gotta get him on a track to be an architect.

After a brief meet-up between Kirsten and Jimmy at her office where we learn that Hailey is in fact going to Japan, the boys head to the Kickoff Carnival.  No pressure, guys, last year's Carnival only determined your romantic futures for the entire rest of the school year.  Ryan finds Marissa over by the Ferris wheel, which, as you'll remember, is where they kissed for the first time a year ago.  Ryan just wanted the truth, Marissa says she didn't lie, Ryan says yes you did, and then the shouting.  Ryan says they can only be friends.  "We were never just friends." "I guess that was the problem. See ya."  Ryan ACTUALLY said "see ya."  That's cold, bro.

Zach heads off to get funnel cake and fried Snickers for Summer and himself, which gives Summer a moment to stand around and notice Seth attempting to climb on top of a hot dog stand.  Summer immediately cuts him off, but he's not big on, y'know, listening, or paying attention to clues, or generally interacting with others.  Zach wanders back over right as Seth shouts that he loves Summer, which is a shock to Zach, of course.  I guess he wasn't in the lounge last year when Seth scaled the coffee counter?  Summer leaves, Seth tries to follow, and Zach tells him to back off.  Seth listens for all of six seconds before he runs after them.  *sigh*  He bolts out into traffic to stop Zach and Summer from driving off, and Summer justifiably reads him the riot act for this.  Well, for that, and for his repeated missteps in attempting to have a relationship with her, most notably choosing Anna over her and also bailing to Portland.

Ryan drags him off and they head home, where Sandy, Kirsten, and Caleb are eating Mu Shu Pork off a low table in the family room area.  Seth cracks wise about Caleb being reduced to sitting on the floor, but things get worse for him from there.  The police arrive to arrest Caleb, and we close on Sandy telling the police that he is Caleb's lawyer.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Man, two straight weeks with nothing particularly great from Sandy.  He's a solid character here, he just doesn't have any superstar shining moments.