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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The SnO.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 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 5 - "The SnO.C."

Directed by Ian Toynton
Written by John Stephens

Previously on The O.C.: Summer blows off another grandstanding outburst from Seth in order to chase after the increasingly frustrated Zach.  Marissa and DJ are back together.  Julie & Jimmy disagree about why she married him in the first place (money? love?).  Caleb is hiding things about his bribery case from Sandy.  Alex thinks Seth is cute enough to kiss.  Ryan and Lindsay like each other.  Like, "like" like each other.

*     *     *     *     *

As a new school day starts, the boys bring each other up to speed on what's going on with the other one regarding the ladies in their lives.  As they walk, they discover a giant sign being hung up for The SnO.C. Winter Dance.  1) That name is horrible and whoever thought it up should be ashamed of themselves (the student, not the writer.  It's a terrifically terrible idea for the writer to assign to a high schooler) and 2) WHAT THE HELL DAY IS IT WHERE THEY'RE HAVING A WINTER DANCE?  The first three episodes took place right around the start of the school year in a span of about 5 days at most.  It's unclear as to how much time transpired in between 3 and 4, but this is clearly taking place almost right after 4.  AT MOST, it's October.  Aha, I've discovered part of the problem.  The O.C. didn't debut until after the World Series on Fox in 2004, so that means that even though this is the fifth episode, it aired on December 9th.  Ok. We get timeweird, then.

ANYSMACKS, big events tend to go poorly for our intrepid duo, so maybe no dates and they'll just go alone?  Smash to Marissa, where she's saying the exact same thing to Summer and Zach.  Hey, Marissa can't go alone!  This is the first dance of the year with her as social chair!  Oh, wait, Summer might have an explanation for the winter dance thing. "The SnO.C. is the one night a year that winter comes to Newport Beach."  Ah, so it's a fake Winter Dance, which might be happening at any time.  All is forgiven, O.C.  Taking DJ to the dance is out because Julie's on the hosting committee (read as: chaperones) and she would fliiiiiip.  Ryan and Seth wander in, and Marissa asks if she should put them down for 4 tickets.  Summer takes the opportunity to start firing all kinds of cheap shots at Seth, which results in her setting Seth up perfectly to make a crack about Zach literally running away from her while she's doing this.  Gotta keep your head on a swivel out there, Summer.

Sandy can't even get Caleb to take his phone calls, and if you thought that made his legal defense efforts pointless, you ain't seen nothing yet.  Ryan elects to ask Lindsay to the dance and he gets SHUT. DOWN.  See, they're lab partners, and why make things awkward if they don't work out?  HARSH, dude.  Meanwhile, DJ picks up Marissa at school for a lunch break back at the Nichol house, which is really just an excuse for Julie to walk in on them making out and lose her damn mind again.  You'd think that she would have toned down the "freak out about Marissa's choices in boyfriends" after everything that happened regarding Marissa and Ryan last season.

It's time for Seth's first shift at The Bait Shop since kissing and ice cream with Alex.  Surprisingly to Seth and unsurprisingly to you and me, Alex actually expects Seth to do his damn job instead of running off to the supply closet with her to make out.  Any chance you're interested in going to The SnO.C., Alex?  No??  But you kissed Seth!  And now you're kissing Homer, the beer guy.  And now you're kissing Mandy, the random female employee.  Well, that changes things.

Okay, it doesn't change some things, as Seth goes into a meltdown about how crazy girls are at school the next day.  Ryan kind of just lets him go wild and since Marissa's got her hands full with dance decorations, he volunteers to help.  This leads to Lindsay seeing him playfully attack her with a gigantic stuffed penguin.  Seth notices this, and nudges her into asking Ryan to the dance.  Zoom back in on Marissa and Ryan, and they decide that since they're both dateless for various reasons, they should go to the dance together.  As friends.  Even though Marissa shouted "WE'VE NEVER JUST BEEN FRIENDS" at Ryan just three weeks ago.

Seth's still in a tizzy about Alex kissing everyone in sight, so he goes to the only female that he can actually talk to for help: Summer.  I would have gone to Marissa, homes, but you do you.  They actually have a polite conversation that turns into a very nice conversation where they actually start being friends for a while.  While Summer's advising Seth to start playing Alex hot and cold, Zach sees this whole conversation going on from across the student lounge.  Do you remember when he was being very cool and mature about this whole Seth thing?  I do.

Sandy tracks down Ms. Wheeler aka Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt on the West Wing and gets absolutely nothing out of her.  Sandy throws the Hail Mary of asking if she was having an affair with Caleb.  All Ms. Wheeler does is tell Sandy that he'll be hearing from her lawyer and the Bar Association, but in the way where her body language totally says that she was sleeping with Caleb at some point.

Back at school, it's time for some course corrections on dating arrangements for the dance.  Except.... Lindsay asks Ryan, but now he's already made plans with Marissa.  Summer reminds Zach to buy tickets, but he can't go.  He has "family stuff," which Summer doesn't buy.  Zach angrily tells her to ask Seth because he'll assuredly say yes.  Finally, Seth goes to work and is much more quiet than normal.  Alex is surprised by all of this, and for a moment there, it almost seems like playing it cool is going to work for Seth...... right up to the point where he decides to go for absolute zero and quits his job to make it seem like he doesn't care if he sees Alex or not.  You moron, and I don't mean that because of the going overboard part.  You just gave up FREE TICKETS to all the concerts, you knob.

It's time to get ready for the dance, and Seth's parked on the couch watching a Sammo Hung movie.  No dance for him.  Sandy leaves a "I've got a break through!" message for Caleb, and then after an explanation from Ryan and a glance with his wife, Kirsten and Sandy take up residence on the couch with Seth to mortify him into going to the dance as a third wheel with Ryan and Marissa.  I've got bad news for you, Seth: Marissa has the same "third wheel" conversation with Summer, so guess who's there when y'all go to pick up Marissa!  Boy, aren't we going to have fun now.

Caleb arrives at the Cohen house ready to hear about Sandy's breakthrough.  His breakthrough is really an informed bluff, as Ms. Wheeler kind of stiffened up when he mentioned an affair, so Sandy runs the deal past Caleb.  FINALLY, Caleb admits to it: It was 16 years ago, Renee came to him saying she was pregnant, so he set up the trust with her as executor.  Even though this will very clearly exonerate Caleb (and Renee for that matter), Cal still has no intention of admitting this to a judge.  Also: if you're familiar with the law of conservation of characters, you know where this is going.

While The SnO.C. decorations are super swank for a high school dance (congrats to you, Marissa), it's still pretty awkward for our main foursome.  Marissa and Ryan slow dance for a bit, and we get a moment where Julie and Jimmy talk about how excited Julie is that Marissa's with Ryan again.  Yeah, wrap your head around that.  She's so pleased with how things are going that she plants a small kiss on Jimmy's cheek, and then there's a moment of lingering camera.  Elsewheres, Summer agrees to dance with Seth as long as he doesn't talk.  After a moment where Julie compliments Ryan, he talks to Marissa about DJ out on the balcony.  She'd much rather be there with DJ, of course, and when he pulls up to whisk her away after the dance, Ryan forks over his coat and tie.  He's got somewhere else to be, anyway.

We go back inside because it's been three minutes without Seth talking, so of course he's reneging on his deal with Summer.  Right as he asks about Zach and why Zach's not there, hey look! Zach's here!  Zach makes a Joanie & Chachi reference and leaves in a huff.

Ryan's "somewhere else to be" is Lindsay's house, obviously and STOP EVERYTHING.

Lindsay has slippers with little plush Sigmund Freuds on them.  SHE HAS FREUDIAN SLIPPERS.  This is the best joke in the history of the show.  Nothing is topping this.

Where we we?  Oh, right.  Ryan has ditched the dance and hey, you wanna do something?  Nope.  Lindsay's not interested because, for lack of a better reason, Ryan's the main character in a television drama based largely on the lives of high school students, and as such, crazy crap is constantly happing to him and his ex-girlfriend is impossibly attractive.  Lindsay doesn't actually say the TV part, but she does say the crazy crap and girlfriend parts.  This does not deter Ryan, though.  He tells Lindsay that he likes her, a lot, and hopefully she'll come around to liking him, too, and then he leaves.  This was nice.

Zach ends up at The Bait Shop.  He orders a YooHoo (not a joke) and because he looks sad, Alex does the bartender-y thing and asks him what's up.  As she puts it, the girl can't fall for you if you're not there to catch her.  This convinces Zach to fight for Summer, even if it literally means a physical fight, because hey, he can take Seth Cohen.  WAIT, sez Alex, did I just send a dude to go kick Seth's ass?

Back at The SnO.C. (and yes, that's more complicated to type than you'd think), Marissa and DJ slow dance which drives Julie B-A-N-A-N-A-S.  This is where we get the shot of Jimmy yanking her by the arm that you see in the title sequence, because he makes the smart move and stops her from repeating all of her dumb mistakes from last year.  Plus, Jimmy reveals that his parents threatened to cut him off way back when if he didn't dump Julie, and he refuses to get in the way of his daughter's love life in that regard.  I'm kind of surprised that this is the first time that Julie's hearing this since Jimmy & Julie first got together over 17 years ago.  This leads to another shared moment between Jimmy and Julie and OH MY THE SMOOCHING.

After the appearance of Zach at the dance, Seth and Summer had agreed to stay away from each other, but now they're both kind of stuck outside without a ride home.  Just before any kind of a conversation can start, Zach flies into the parking lot, leaps out of his vehicle, and plasters Seth with a right cross.  He's followed very quickly by Alex, who shuts the whole thing down, although Zach realized what he did was super stupid pretty quickly.  The show of effort from Zach leads to a make up between Zach and Summer.

Alex, on the other side of things, drags Seth off to The Bait Shop for some first aid.  This is where Seth does one of the smartest things that I've ever seen him do: He blatantly steals from Raiders of the Lost Ark in order to get Alex to start kissing him.  Well played, young sir.

In the pool house, Ryan reads The Great Fire, presumably for school.  Lindsay knocks on the door, and she's yammering and stammering and not really getting her point out because when she gets nervous, she just keeps talking and nothing can shut her up and Ryan kisses her.  Well, that worked.  Ryan says he knows something they can do that doesn't involve talking and he means VIDEO GAMES, you pervs.  Over in the main house, the doorbell rings, and of course, it's Renee Wheeler, there to talk to Sandy.  Sandy says let's go out back to talk, but that of course has them standing there right as Ryan and Lindsay walk out of the pool house, and Lindsay utters a line of dialogue that carries the big reveal that you were expecting for the last half of this recap: "Mom?  What are you doing here?"

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: None of Sandy's dialogue is really great this week.  I miss the witty and barb throwing Sandy from the first season.  His best moment is probably the very final shot of the episode, where he realizes that his ... I guess sister-in-law has been hanging out in the pool house with Ryan.