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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't"


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 6 - "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't"

Directed by Tony Wharmby
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Say, what exactly is going on with Julie and Jimmy after they kissed in the last episode?  Kirsten can't figure out how she didn't know about Caleb paying Renee Wheeler all that money.  I'm going to guess because it's not for business reasons, as Sandy figures out that Caleb fathered a child with Renee.  Ryan and Lindsay kiss in the pool house just moments before Renee visits the Cohens and we find out that Lindsay is Caleb's daughter.

*     *     *     *     *

Caleb and Sandy meet up on the piers in a chilly morning in Southern California.  I'm not sure if the 50 degree weather is A) a metaphor for the current state of the relationship between Sandy and Caleb because Sandy's refusing to help Caleb if he won't get admit to the affair to get out of his criminal charges or B) mere happenstance since this was filmed on location.  Along the way to Caleb refusing to explain the trust fund is Sandy saying that Renee's going to "plead the fifth" when she testifies.  The Fifth Amendment allows people to refuse to testify if said testimony will involve admitting to crimes, but all Renee has done is accept child support payments.  I don't get how that would work.

Over at the Cohen house, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and Ryan & Kirsten lug a tree into the house while Seth starts blathering about Chrismukkah.  He's apparently convinced that his is the year that Chrismukkah sweeps the nation in a wave of popularity and I can't imagine why Luke used to bully Seth on a regular basis.  Seth starts issuing commands as to how he wants Kirsten to decorate the house and attempts to get Ryan to do some "Jew-cruiting" for Chrismukkah.  This actually goes better than his attempt to involve Sandy as he comes home from meeting with Caleb.  Needless to say, Sandy wanted nothing to do with his son's mania.

At school, Seth explains his big plan to compose a Chrismukkah carol set to the tune of "A Lack Of Color" by Death Cab For Cutie.  I'll admit I'm not a huge Death Cab fan, so let's hear how that song sounds.

Wow, Seth's an idiot.

The boys think about people to invite to Chrismukkah dinner this coming weekend in addition to the obvious inclusion of Caleb and Julie, but Alex is out of town with her family, Ryan doesn't want to push things with Lindsay, and Marissa's going to be with Jimmy for the holidays.  Speaking of being with Jimmy, Julie's doing that in the biblical sense right now!  Their sexy times are almost ended by guilt from Julie, but that jerk Caleb hasn't touched her in months, so whatevs.

Sandy appeals to Renee to get her to come forward to keep both her and Caleb out of prison.  She refuses, because she doesn't want to admit to Lindsay that she's been lying about who/where Lindsay's father is.  "I don't want to lose her," says Renee.  Well, going to prison will count as "losing her."

Speaking of Lindsay, Ryan ends up explaining Chrismukkah to her in physics class, well, at least explaining it as best as he can, because it is kind of totally insane.  Lindsay and Renee don't really celebrate any winter holidays because it's just the two of them.  Ryan is overcome with sadness at this story and invites Lindsay to Chrismukkah dinner.

Continuing the trend of "giving our non-central characters the week off," we head over to the school lounge where Marissa and Summer explain that their respective boyfriends are out of town for the weekend.  After Marissa's drinking problem briefly resurfaces in the form of the idea of spiking the egg nog, Seth wanders in and invites both girls (and Jimmy) to Chrismukkah dinner.  Hmmm.  This seems to be organizing all of our main characters into one (relatively small) place.  I'm sure this will end well.

After a scene at The Newport Group offices where Julie is two hours late for an investor's meeting and is completely frazzled by the concept of Jimmy existing, we transition to the Cohen kitchen where Ryan's trying to do some homework.  Seth starts losing his mind about Chrismukkah's commercialization or something, which means it's time for Ryan to give up on homework because Seth won't shut up.  This freakout eventually leads to the revelations from both sides that they invited the girls, which leads to more freakouts from Seth.  The freakout continues as they move to the pool house, and since Sandy's grilling for dinner, he overhears all of this and does his fatherly duty to calm his boys down.  Sandy says maybe inviting Lindsay over for dinner with Caleb being there is a bad idea because her mom is tied up in Caleb's case.  Yeah, but what involvement does Lindsay have in the case?  Is she Caleb's drug mule, jokes Ryan.  No, wait, illegitimate love child, jokes Seth.  Sandy is unable to no-sell this joke, lowering his head and putting down his grilling tools.  Both boys are stunned into silence and Sandy orders them to keep it that way.

The next morning, it's time for the boys to head off to their respective invited women and un-invite them.  Summer and Marissa also have to be un-invited so that way Ryan doesn't look like a jackass to Lindsay.  Unsurprisingly, Seth tries to weasel out of his side of the deal before Ryan glares him into manning up.  Ryan's mission fails when Lindsay shows Ryan the yarmul-Claus that she made for the party, while Seth's quest is doomed the moment when Summer drags him on a Christmas tree buying trip and tells him that she feels like they're really becoming friends because he invited her to dinner.

Back to the house for dinner we go.  The boys confirm their failures with each other, while Jimmy and Julie meet up in the kitchen for smooching before Kirsten walks in and senses some weirdness happening.  Luckily, Jimmy was wrist deep in the orange chicken, so Julie can claim that she's shaming him.  Renee drops off Lindsay, which again causes me to point out that the very first time that we saw Lindsay was her getting out of her own car.  This will turn out to be excuseable this time, though.  All the kids congregate in the pool house and things get awkward because Marissa and Lindsay are both there.  Sandy and Caleb chat, and it seems that Caleb is ready to come clean to Kirsten about Renee & Lindsay.   Bad news for Caleb, though: Renee's wandered back to the house and Kirsten's poured her some wine as they talk.  As Caleb and Renee settle who will tell Kirsten the news, the kids all come in from the pool house.  Things get crazy awkward from there to the point where no one notices Jimmy & Julie sneaking into the room from a tryst in the bathroom.

Caleb picks the absolute worst way to launch into his explanation ("I made a severe error in judgment"), but he never actually says that Lindsay's his daughter because she figures it out first.  The women in the room take turns storming out for various reasons, Caleb gets slapped by both Kirsten and Julie, and the menfolk follow after the woman that they feel most responsible for in the equation.  This, though, leaves Marissa and Summer alone in the kitchen.  Summer comments that she feels much more normal now, and Marissa reminds her that this is Marissa's family, too.

We finally get something thrown in the Cohen master bedroom as Caleb tries to talk to Kirsten and she hucks a vase at him and then locks herself in the walk-in closet.  Sandy fails at getting him to leave, but Seth is successful.  Over at the Wheeler/Gardner house, Renee tries to shoo Ryan away, but Lindsay intercedes long enough to tell him that she never wants to talk to him again because he's a Nichol by proxy.  Ryan catches up to the other three kids at a local diner.  Chrismukkah is dead, you see, and this is the wake.  Not so fast my friend, says Summer.  She has a plan.

Caleb searches his ridiculously large house for Julie and eventually finds her in Marissa's room, waiting for her to come home.  Julie CAN NOT BELIEVE that Caleb cheated on his wife and she hasn't decided whether she's going to forgive him yet.  I'm just going to let that sink in for a moment.  She leaves to find Marissa.

In the Cohen kitchen, finally someone realizes that there's a metric ton of Chinese food just sitting there, and Sandy digs in to the Mu Shu.  Ryan enters and apologizes for not listening and inviting Lindsay.  Sandy absolves him of all blame and gives his blessing to go try to talk to Kirsten.  Ryan's really just got one play to make and he absolutely kills it: Can we go tell Lindsay that she's now part of a family that's really good at letting in new members?

Summer and Marissa search Jimmy's boat for a generator and an extension cord.  I think that this is going to lead to them walking in on Jimmy and Julie, but not today.  Jimmy intercepts them and provides them the equipment.  Jimmy waits for them to leave before opening the door to the cabin below, and we see Julie in a black silk robe.  My instinct was right, but now's not the time to throw a wrench into where we're going here, I suppose.

Seth finds Lindsay on the beach at the suggestion of her mom.  Seth welcomes her to the family by making jokes about how at least they never started dating.  As a member of the family now, he presents her with her own stocking.  It says "Laura" on it, but that's fine, because Seth customizes all the stockings anyway.  Seth walks Lindsay home and explains this Chrismukkah nonsense to her.  Of course, seeing is better than telling, and as they arrive back at home, someone, let's say Ryan, fires up the generator to flip on all the lights and decorations and ballyhoo that have been jammed into her front yard as a part of Summer's plan.  Kirsten welcomes her with a hug, Marissa passes out egg nog, and there's all sorts of welcoming and festiving and so forthing.  We fade to black as Seth attempts to sing his idiot Death Cab carol.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Oh, it's easily when Sandy decides to eat the food in his kitchen.  I can't believe that no one else thought about that before that point.

The Sandy stuff in the first batch of episodes has been a little lackluster, but now that we've wrapped up the "Caleb legal issues" plot thread, perhaps we get get a little bit more fun from our favorite namesake going forward.