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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Return Of The Nana"


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 21 - "The Return Of The Nana"

Directed by Ian Toynton
Written by Josh Schwartz

Previously on The O.C.: Ryan and Marissa are back together again.  Kirsten and Carter aka The Rocketeer got blitzed at a wine tasting because they're apparently bad at understanding how tastings go.  Sandy told her to stay the night at the resort, but because there was TENSION with The Rocketeer, she arranged for a car service to bring her home.  Hey, remember Sandy's mom, aka The Nana?

*     *     *     *     *

We open in the Cohen kitchen as Seth deals with the idea of Bright Eyes having two top 10 albums.  I was going to make a crack about remember when Bright Eyes was a thing, but apparently they've released two albums since this episode aired 10+ years ago, so what do I know.  Thankfully, a phone call from Nana interrupts this pop culture reference, and she's calling to talk to Sandy.  He leaves the room to talk while Ryan, Seth, and Kirsten remind us of what the Nana's deal is.  There are oblique references to Nana being sick and being better now, which is probably for the best, because according to our highly detailed recap of her previous appearance, she was diagnosed with six months to live..... 14 months ago.  DON'T REMEMBER THINGS, KIDS.  Anyway, Sandy wanders back in after he's done talking to his mom.  She's engaged!  Guess what that means?  SPRING BREAK IN MIAMI!!!!!!

We get a quick bunch of scenes setting things up here: Ryan doesn't really want to go because he's restarting things with Marissa and also Trey's just getting back on his feet, but Seth badgers him into going; Sandy's concerned about his mom because who else would love her besides him (remember, Sandy's dad was a non-factor in his life); Ryan talks to Trey about the trip, and then Jess The Drug Overdose Girl shows up at his door to thank him with sex for not getting her arrested (I swear that last episode ended on a zipper pull noise); Boxing Summer tells Seth that they're on a time out anyway because she's so furious with him over the comic book party and tells him to have fun at Music Video Nation Spring Break in Miami because Seth kind of just skims over the part about his grandmother; Marissa says she'll check in on Trey while Ryan's gone and also help him find a job; and finally, Sandy's hyperworried about Kirsten being home alone because only the boys are going to Miami.  Don't be silly, Sandy, she's an adult and everything's fine.  The taxi drives off with the guys, Kirsten walks back into her desolate house, and after 10 seconds of that, calls the office to see if The Rocketeer is present.  WELP.

We get a montage of transport to Miami set to a song that was already 7 years old when this episode first aired and the guys are staying at The Fontainbleau.  That's the whole segment, just so we have a transition point to Kirsten arriving at the office to get all sorts of work done this weekend with The Rocketeer on the magazine.  *I SWEAR* that Kirsten used to be a fairly successful real estate mogul at some point.  Anyway, The Rocketeer announces that Newport Living Magazine has revived his editorial career, and so he's taking a new fancy job in New York City, and he's leaving on Monday.  How about a farewell dinner at Kirsten's house?!  What could POSSIBLY go wrong.

As the guys cruise South Beach to the tune of Spoon's I Turn My Camera On, Marissa stops in to say hi to Trey and set up plans to go job hunting tomorrow.  Trey is wrapped in a bedsheet the whole time because he just stepped away from banging Jess to answer the door.  Jess wanders over in her bikini and cutoffs, laughs at the idea of Trey and Marissa being an item ("It's not like that," says Trey) and then does a bunch of blow off of Trey's coffee table.  WELP.

We head over to Nana's retirement community the next morning powered by yet another go round with Will Smith, where Sandy and Ryan are shocked as to how popular Seth is with the old dudes there.  "He doesn't have this many friends at school."  Anyway, Nana wanders up looking much more stylish than last time we saw her, and it's time for her to chat with Sandy, who entrusts Ryan with making sure Seth doesn't die from old age.  Nana lets Sandy know that she and Bobby, her fiance who happens to be 10 years younger than her, are planning to move to the condo that Sandy bought her in Sarasota.  Why isn't she there now, I ask.  Anyway, Bobby's a chiropractor, so he can practice anywhere, and Nana tells Sandy to stop being so cynical, even though he learned it from her.

Summer's back on her heavy bag, and Zach sneaks up on her like a moron.  I continue to be surprised by the ability of teenaged boys to just wander into her bedroom at all hours of the day, so it's fitting that Summer finally works in her best Conor McGregor impression here.

He's checking in on Summer after the disastrous comic book party, and since his family's off in Aspen for an economics conference, Zach invites Summer over for dinner.   I see what you're doing here, Zach.  Not cool.

Seth's on a winning streak at shuffleboard, which means it's time for Mary Sue (played by Jaime King) to come on in and hustle him.  I mean, she claims that she's just hanging out with her grandmother Mary Ellen, but she whips him easily and taunts him into a second game with stakes: if she wins, Seth has to be her dance contest partner so she can win college scholarship money.  Where is this dance contest, you ask?  Well, it's at Music Video Nation's Spring Break.  You can guess where this is going, and I don't just mean that Seth loses again.

Marissa tags along while Trey gets Seth's old job at The Bait Shop.  I guess The Bait Shop isn't as attentive to details about ex-cons as Baskin Robbins is.  Anyway, Trey's got a job, so time to celebrate tonight!  Trey will make margaritas!  Marissa will bring guacamole and movies!  Wheeeee!

Off to MVN Spring Break we go.  It's a terrible MTV ripoff as you might expect, including Swerve, the VJ, and Pixie, the star of Sherman Oaks: The Real Valley, as the hosts of the deal.  Ah, meta-jokes.  The ripoff part ends there, though, as they get T.I. to perform Bring 'Em Out.  Wow, is that song that old already?  Anyway, while he performs, Mary Sue explains to Seth that she's not really in a dance contest.  Instead, it's a contest where a guy has to eat whipped cream off of her in order for her to win the scholarship money.  If this didn't sound like Seth was getting worked before, it definitely does now.  And yet, he just goes along with this.  Since he still possesses a brain, Ryan calls Marissa in an effort to try to keep Summer away from a TV just in case.

Speaking of Summer and TV, she's at Zach's, where he's making gnocchi from scratch.  This is going to take a while, so they turn on the TV, and hey, look, there's the MVN Spring Break show.  I think we know were this is going.

Sandy and Nana meet up with Bobby (played by a VERY tan Tony Denison) for lunch.  Nana excuses herself so Sandy and Bobby can talk.  Sandy goes into the most aggressive passive-aggressive speech that I've ever seen.  Stuff like, "hey, my FBI friends said 'Sandy, we can look into this guy if you want,' but I said if my mother trusts him, so do I."  Bobby gets increasingly uncomfortable during Sandy's speech, so I guess Sandy's suspicion about Bobby only being interested in the money from the condo is on target.

Time for party time and movie night at Trey's apartment.  Marissa brought..... The Notebook.  Look, sweetie, I don't care how much you like it, that's not the kind of movie you want to watch with your boyfriend's brother in a celebratory mode.  We cut away from the margaritas and a mostly full tequila bottle (that we never see again, which is weird) to Kirsten's wine glass.  The table is all ready to go for dinner with the Rocketeer.... who's here now.  Wine?

Back in Miami, Ryan acquires a bottle of water from the bar and ends up chatting with the dude next to him.  See, he's come down to Miami from Bob Jones University with his bible study friends (who are all jacked up) to find his girlfriend.  She's fixing to participate in some immoral contest with some chap who isn't her boyfriend (obvs) and 1) he doesn't want this to happen at all plus 2) she'll probably get kicked out of school due to their honor code if this actually happens.  Obviously we're talking about Mary Sue here.

Back in the OC, Kirsten and The Rocketeer have downed a whole bottle of wine and haven't even started eating dinner yet.  Oops?  I thought dinner was all set to go?  Just start eating, idiots.  Anyway, this leads to a moment where their hands graze each other on the neck of a new bottle and I want to shoot them into the sun.

Sandy and Nana are at The Fontainbleau waiting for Bobby to meet up with them after a stop at the office.  He calls Nana, saying he's just been hit with a malpractice suit and he's getting out of town until this all blows over.  That's... not .... how that works.  Nana thinks this is all Sandy's fault, and she storms off.

Trey and Marissa play quarters instead of watching The Notebook.  Enough of getting hammered, time for the movie.  Trey gets cozy on the couch next to Marissa, and smartly, she decides they need some fresh air before the movie so they don't doze off.  Trey says he's going to grab his coat and he'll meet her outside, but he grabs a bump of coke before grabbing the coat.

It's time for the whipped cream contest, and the Bible Study Bros immediately notice Seth and Mary Sue up on stage.  "We're going to bring fire and brimstone down on her and that skinny little sinner!"  I laughed.  Anyway, the MVN crew hoses Mary Sue down with whipped cream, and Seth starts scarfing it down.  Summer takes a break from Zach's really great gnocchi to comment on how disgusting the entire contest is.... and the camera focuses on Seth.  She immediately grabs Zach and starts making out with him.  Back in Miami, Ryan is alert enough to get to the stage before the Bible Study Bros do, but not fast enough to actually, y'know, save Seth.

We wrap up the Nana storyline back at her condo, as Sandy goes to apologize for his part in making Bobby realize that he shouldn't scam old Jewish women.  Nana says that she knew something was wrong, at least part of her, and that's why she wanted Sandy to visit, because Sandy would be the part of her that would be tough minded on this issue.  She just didn't want to be alone, and Sandy promises to visit more.  Sandy also promised this last year when we saw Nana, soooooo

Over at Stately Cohen Manor, dinner is over.  The Rocketeer declares it to be the best meal he's ever eaten.  I'm shocked to hear this, as we've established that Kirsten's a terrible cook..... and then she confesses to having the whole deal catered.  Well, at least that's consistent.  Since she's being honest with him, The Rocketeer is honest back: He almost didn't take the NYC job because he didn't want to leave..... Kirsten.  And then they kiss, just for a moment.  Kirsten breaks it off, wishes the Rocketeer good luck in his future endeavors, and he leaves, presumably forever.  Kirsten puts down her wine, goes to the freezer, pulls out the vodka, covers two fingers' worth of ice, and POUNDS the entire contents of the glass.  Damn, girl.

Trey and Marissa scamper around on the beach a bit.  Trey's feeling good about life (and also the cocaine and the alcohol), so he howls like a wolf.  He encourages Marissa to howl, and she tries, but she's bad at howling.  He picks her up and spins her around a bit, and after putting her down, Trey says that he feels like he can do anything when he's with her.  That's probably more the coke than Marissa, really.  Trey seems to be under the impression that there's something going on between him and Marissa, and she adeptly shuts that down quickly.  Trey keeps pushing the issue, and by "issue," I mean "Marissa," because now she's on the ground and this has turned into an attempted rape.  I say attempted, because Marissa notices a piece of driftwood within arm's reach and clobbers Trey right in the friggin' orbital bone with it.  If there had been a nail in that wood, Trey would be out an eye right now.  While he deals with his new concussion and crimson mask, Marissa bolts, leaving behind her purse.  Trey comes to his senses enough to realize that he just tried to rape his brother's girlfriend, and his brother already didn't completely 100% trust his ex-con ass.

Ryan and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man walk down South Beach.  Wait, that's not Stay-Puft, that's just Seth after the Bible Study Bros got to him.  Shoutout to them for merely coating Seth in all the whipped cream instead of giving him the literal #BEATEMDOWN that he deserved.  Seth heads inside to clean up, and Ryan gives Marissa a call.  Her phone, sitting there on the beach, rings and rings and rings.  It keeps ringing as Trey picks it up and stares at it, knowing how totally hosed he is.

Best Sandy Cohen Moment/Line: Oh, it's clearly the speech he gives to Bobby.  A masterful performance of being wonderfully polite to Bobby while blatantly and obviously threatening the living hell out of him at the same time.  It was definitely a return to Season 1 form for Sandy, I just wish it was funny.