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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Ex-Factor"

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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 9 - "The Ex-Factor"

Directed by Michael Fresco
Written by J.J. Philbin

Previously on The O.C.: Lindsay is well aware of Ryan's past in Chino and his relationship with Marissa.  Seth was being so nutty about Alex that he was sneaking out of the house to see her, but she doesn't really know what to make of their relationship right now.

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Kirsten's ordering food for delivery, which is really just an excuse for the males in the house to get involved and end up ordering way more food than they need, and thus Sandy suggests that the boys invite their girlfriends over for dinner.  Side note: Exactly how long is it going to take for this food to get delivered?  "Hey, wanna come over for dinner? YOU HAVE 30 MINUTES."

Anyway, Lindsay's busy doing stuff with her mom, including family therapy (probably much needed at this point), which leaves Alex.  Seth bops off to The Bait Shop to ask Alex over for dinner, leaving me wondering why more people don't use the phone on this show.  I'm not even saying that cell phones would fix problems that the characters have like they would on Seinfeld, I just don't get why Seth hauls himself over to the club instead of calling.  Alex tells Seth that her ex is in town, specifically in her office right now.  In fact, her ex isn't really officially her ex as they never actually broke up.  So, shoo Seth, while Alex figures things out with her not-really-her-ex.  Seth is kind of a jackass about this, even though Alex said she needed time and space in our last episode, and he leaves.  It turns out Seth's trip to The Bait Shop is really just a plot contrivance so we can see Alex's ex come out of the office and give her a hug, and oh, by the way, the ex is Emmanuelle Chriqui.

At school the next morning, Seth doesn't notice Alex's lack of gender pronouns nor remember that time she kissed a random girl in the club just to point out that their kiss didn't mean anything, and immediately presumes that Alex's ex is in fact an ex-boyfriend.  Typical myopia from Seth, not to mention typical spiraling out of control in a panic, too.  Seth wanders off as Marissa wanders up to Ryan and Lindsay.  Lindsay has her own tiny meltdown and adores everything that Marissa is wearing.  This leads to an awkward moment as Marissa does the polite thing and finds something of Lindsay's to compliment... which is her L.L. Bean backpack.  Marissa wanders off as well, which leaves Ryan and Lindsay to talk about Ryan's past with Marissa.  He's generally unbothered with being her friend now, and hey, maybe Lindsay can be Marissa's friend, too, and then it won't be awkward!

FINALLY, Sandy Cohen has a job.  He's going to work for the Newport Housing Initiative, which as it turns out, is helpful for Kirsten.  She was looking for ideas on how to improve the profile of The Newport Group after Caleb's criminal charges, and doing charity work for the NHI to help build some low income housing is exactly the kind of thing she was looking for.  Nicely done, TV.

Summer's in the school lounge when Zach sneaks up on her with a cupcake and something in gift wrap.  I say "something," because we literally never learn what was in the package.  The cupcake, though, is because today is Zach and Summer's 6 month anniversary.  She seems surprised by this, but then again, she was insisting that Zach wasn't really her boyfriend in September.  This is the longest relationship that either of them have been in, and Zach wants to celebrate with a fancy dinner date.  Instead of an answer, we get a smash cut to Marissa asking what she said.  Summer's reaction?  Nope, can't have dinner because I'm fasting for a colonoscopy.  I presume she was actually serious about that, at least as her excuse for not going for dinner with her boyfriend.  Weird.  Anyway, this meltdown over a six month long relationship leads to Summer & Marissa planning a girls' night instead.

Kirsten gets all set to tell Julie her idea for PR, but hey! Julie has her own idea: Newport Living Magazine, selling Newport Beach as "an aspirational brand," and Julie has a six foot tall mock up of the first cover, which, of course, is a closeup of her face.  Julie's take on the low income housing idea: Julie is the target demographic for The Newport Group (rich, bored, gossipy women), and she doesn't care about low income housing.  I'm surprised that a real estate company has a target demographic.

It's lunchtime at school, and Ryan has to ditch Lindsay for an emergency comic book club meeting, which we all know is going to turn into Seth using the meeting to figure out what to do about Alex.  PRO TIP: do nothing like she asked.  Anyway, Ryan pawns Lindsay off on Summer and Marissa who just got back from In-N-Out to get lunch.  Lindsay expresses her shock that Summer and Marissa can eat cheeseburgers and look like they do, as she has a low carb Zone meal.  I am now super depressed about this body image section of the show, as Lindsay is a perfectly healthy and attractive person.  This lunch leads to Marissa inviting Lindsay to the girls' night.

As expected, Seth's emergency meeting is really just an excuse for him to bounce ideas about what to do about Alex's ex off of Zach and Ryan... EXCEPT there are actually other members of the club there, and they appear to be straight out of Central Casting's "Massive Dork" library.  Seth kicks one kid out for daring to ask about New Avengers, and then takes off to call Alex to tell her what's what.  Zach intercedes on both counts, and Ryan shows up just in time to rip the cell phone out of Seth's hand.  No matter, Seth has a paycheck to go pick up!  Ryan promises that he'll take care of that and go scope out The Bait Shop.

Ryan follows through, where he meets Emmanuelle Chriqui, and we learn her name is Jody.  Since he's picking up the paycheck, Jody thinks he's Seth until he corrects her, and as a result of her disappointment in not meeting Seth, he realizes that Jody's the ex.

The next morning, Ryan saw NOTHING at The Bait Shop and he has nothing interesting to say and is Zach coming here or are we meeting him or what and can we pleeeaaaase change the subject?  As Seth demands a word by word reenactment of Ryan's trip, Zach thankfully shows up.  He's moping about Summer flipping out after his dinner idea and instead having a girls' night at The Bait Shop.  Seth's brilliant plan: CRASH THE GIRLS' NIGHT.  I hate you, Seth.  Thankfully, Ryan and Zach are there to slap some sense into him.

Later, Ryan drives Lindsay over to Marissa's house.  Again, she has her own car.  Ryan ends up telling her the story about how he and Marissa met along the way.  They arrive before Summer does, and after Ryan tells Marissa to take care of Lindsay, it's just Marissa and Lindsay for a while.  Marissa's solution to break the ice: LET'S HAVE A DRINK!  This made it more awkward, as Lindsay doesn't drink.  Thankfully, the doorbell rings.  Marissa goes off to let Summer in, while Lindsay looks at pictures of Marissa and Ryan and wonders why she's there.

The awkwardness amongst the ladies continues once they get to The Bait Shop, so Lindsay says Hey, screw this sobriety thing.  Turns out vodka kind of burns if it's your first drink ever, so Marissa wanders off for tonic water and ice.  This lands her at the bar right as Alex and Jody argue about Seth.  Serious question: why is Jody behind the bar for this?  Marissa invents a story about paper towels in the women's restroom to help Alex escape from that conversation.

Back at the Cohen house, Zach and Seth play video games and mope about their girl issues while Ryan balances a remote on his nose since no one listened to his ideas of going far away from Newport for the night.  I wish I could find a picture of this to prove that it actually happened.  Seth and Zach have had enough of moping, so they're gonna go to the club and do something about their mess!  You clowns.  Ryan demands that they not do this, and while this is played as Ryan knows about Jody, he's absolutely right that they should not do this.  Ryan is ultimately left with no choice but to admit that Alex's ex is a woman.  Seth takes this completely in stride.  HA HA HA No, of course he doesn't.

Back at The Bait Shop, The Thrills are playing.  Lindsay's past tipsy, Marissa appears unaffected, and Summer abstains so someone can drive and heads off for some coffee.  Lindsay opines that Marissa's not so scary and asks "Can a guy ever get over a girl like you?"  Well, if you were around for the nonsense of last season, you'd understand how it might be easy to get over Marissa and her roller coaster.  While Summer's on her coffee quest, she bumps into Matt Miller, who's on the Harbor water polo team with Zach.  He's got the Creeper knob turned all the way up to 11, but Summer still goes up to the balcony to watch the show with him.

The Cohens and the Nichols are at dinner together as part of an elaborate scheme concocted by Sandy and Caleb to destroy Julie's magazine idea.  She's going on and on and on and on about it, and when asked for his opinion, Caleb defers to Sandy.  Uh oh.  Sandy buries the magazine and then turns to Kirsten for support.  Except... Sandy probably should have clued Kirsten in on the plan, because Kirsten actually likes Julie's business model for the magazine.  Guys.  You can't engineer a Horsemen Beatdown when one person is afraid to help and another person doesn't actually know what the plan is to start with.  This ends with both Sandy and Julie leaving in various stages of anger, but Caleb and Kirsten talk and decide to support their respective spouses on their side of the aisle.

So, the boys arrive at The Bait Shop, with Seth and Zach all full of piss and vinegar and Ryan running along behind them begging them to reconsider THE WORLD'S WORST PLAN.  As The Thrills play Not For All The Love In The World, Seth goes flying in straight to the bar to howl at Alex about how she has and/or had a girlfriend.  Dude.  Not your business, and that's why she told you to scram so she could figure it out earlier.  Zach finds Summer standing idly next to Matt up in the balcony and of course he loses his damn mind.  Yes, Zach knows that Matt is a sleazeball who will hit on anything that moves but Summer's, y'know, not even touching him and also there's probably at least 15 other people in this joint that Summer happens to know.  Zach gets super angry and storms off.  What exactly was the point of coming here again?

Ryan has the most successful trip to the club, which is odd, seeing as he knows they shouldn't be here.  He finds Marissa and druuuuuuuunk Lindsay.  Ryan's obviously upset as he knows Marissa's damn well responsible for this and he specifically asked Marissa to take care of Lindsay.  Marissa not being visibly drunk here isn't helping Ryan's state of mind, either.  Well, at least Lindsay's a giggly drunk, right?  Ryan extricates Lindsay from the situation, but makes a massive mistake along the way.  He takes Lindsay down to the beach BEFORE getting the Dawn Atwood Special (aka french fries & coffee), so even though Lindsay's in "LET'S GO SWIMMING" mode and even though the surf is crashing against the pier pylons something fierce, Ryan parks Lindsay in the sand and goes off to get the DAS.  In one of the more horribly telegraphed scenes in television history, Ryan returns from his errand to find Lindsay not where he left her, so he charges into the water to find her.

While Ryan searches for his drowned girlfriend, Seth bangs on Alex's office door until she can take no more and lets him in.  I have no idea what his real point is, but he's SUPER offended that Alex didn't tell him 1) she had an ex (spoiler alert: I bet she has more than 1, you ninny) and 2) the ex was A WOMAN [dramatic music stinger].  Seth decides that Alex isn't being COOL to him, so WE'RE THROUGH and breaks up with her in a fit of idiocy.  I swear to you, I have no idea why he's doing this, as Alex has generally speaking been fairly frank and honest with him the whole time.  Additionally, Seth and Alex are the only two people we see in her office.  This is very important.

Back to Ryan in the water.  He starts shouting Lindsay's name, which is kind of funny, since he's nipples deep in water and there's about zero chance that she can hear him regardless of whether she's passed out on the beach or drowned.  Somehow, though, Seth is able to hear Ryan's shouting over the sad Charlie Brown Christmas music playing as he... walks home, I guess?  Dude, you drove everyone down here.  Anyway, Seth runs over and asks Ryan why he's being all crazy shouty because Lindsay's passed out in Alex's office.  I swear to you, Seth said this and I immediately rewound to the office scene because I thought had missed something while writing a note down.  Nope.  We never see Lindsay in there.  See, what happened was she wandered off to find Ryan (never trust drunk people to stay still), but luckily, she bumped into Marissa, who had gone looking for Ryan for some damn reason.

Everyone meets up in Alex's office, and Ryan blows a gasket.  He lets his frustration with Marissa boil over, demanding to know how many other people she's going to mix up in her crap and drag down with her.  Alex thinks now is a good time to intercede, but all she gets is a death glare for her trouble.  The glaring, though, leads to a clean moment for Seth to drag Ryan out of the room as Alex promises to take care of Lindsay.

Summer lands at a diner and orders a black & white shake.  If it's anything like the black & white shake I got at the Shake Shack in Vegas 2 weeks ago, it's an AMAZING shake.  Tastes just like a black & white cookie.  Before the shake can arrive, she sees Zach in a booth.  Summer goes over and apologizes to Zach.  Excuse me, I have to go pick my chin off the ground.  I mean, yeah, okay, she kind of set him off by flipping out about the dinner, but Zach was the major idiot here.

The boys reconvene in the pool house.  Ryan comes out of the shower after his adventure in the ocean, and Seth advises Ryan that Alex called to let them know that Lindsay made it home okay and then hung up on him.  "I really screwed things up with her."  YES.  YOU DID.  YOU BROKE UP WITH HER, YOU CHUCKLEHEAD.  Seth gets a point back by pointing that tonight's misadventures with Drunk Lindsay are kind of Ryan's fault for trying to shove her into a friendship with Marissa.

We get to put a pin in the Julie magazine story, as Kirsten comes into the living room while Sandy watches a bad old horror movie.  She tells him that she understands if he's angry at her.  He's not, he just needed direction in his life.  In fact, he insists that she back Julie and the magazine.  Going with the housing initiative idea would have meant working with Kirsten, which just would have led to a lot of dinner dates with Caleb and Julie, and THAT is truly terrible.

So, because Ryan realized he kind of made a mess of things, he and Seth go to Alex's apartment to apologize.  Alex gives Ryan the same death glare she got earlier, but he goes inside to talk to Marissa and Alex goes outside to talk to Seth.  Truces and apologies are issued on all sides.  The boys take off, and Alex goes back inside, where Marissa is watching that same horror movie that Sandy was watching.  Alex grabs a blanket for them to share because Marissa looks cold, and as she shakes it out over the two of them, she and Marissa lock eyes for a moment.  Then the moment passes, and Alex settles in to watch the flick.  We fade to black as the ladies watch TV, but before things go dark, Marissa gives Alex a quick sideways glance.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: Sandy's reduced to a minor character in this episode as things are largely focused on Seth flipping out about Alex knowing people before he met her.  He doesn't really have much to do in this one, and he doesn't have anything that really stands out.