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The Sandy Cohen Chronicles: "The Mallpisode"

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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 15 - "The Mallpisode"

Directed by Ian Toynton
Written by Stephanie Savage

Previously on The O.C.: We have no previously on segment.

Instead, we jump right to Seth knocking on the door of a darkened pool house.  Ryan is, unsurprisingly, not dealing with Lindsay up and moving to Chicago particularly well.  Seth is attempting to cheer Ryan up because Ryan did the same for him when he was at his lowest point over Summer.... wait.  No.  Ryan left Seth alone, and he would like that favor returned, except this is Seth Cohen we're dealing with here, so of course he just won't shut up and leave until Ryan has to yell at him to do so.  Ryan isn't a jerk, though, and he does apologize, pointing out he's not great with people leaving him.  Seth finally does leave, and Ryan lays in bed for a moment, before jumping up and starting to throw clothes in a bag.

After the title sequence, we're in the kitchen with Kirsten & Sandy, and things are a little awkward between them after the whole Rebecca thing, but NOTHING HAPPENED.  Also, Kirsten doesn't know where her wedding ring is.  She thinks it was last on the counter by the kitchen sink, so that means it's time for Sandy to dismantle the drain to find it.

Beck's "Girl" plays, and I immediately wonder about the age of that record and this show.  According to Wikipedia, which has to be right because it's run by obsessive nerds, this episode aired on March 10, 2005, while the "Guero" album wasn't released until March 29 of the same year.  Wow, so this counts as promoting Beck's new album??  I mean, it's BECK.  Anyway, with that playing, we're at the diner with Summer waiting for Seth to show up.  She's starting to read a postcard with the Leaning Tower of Pisa on it, so it's obviously from Zach.  Seth arrives, and she hastily jams it into her purse.  Oh, great, so this is going to be a thing this episode.  I hate you in advance, Seth.  Seth relays the deets about Ryan being bedridden, but Summer demands that they go roust him for a trip to the mall with them and Marissa.  Heeeeey, maybe since Lindsay's gone, there's a chance for Ryan and Marissa again?  GET BENT, SETH, YOU KNOW ABOUT ALEX AND MARISSA.

Speaking of those two, Marissa washed a red shirt with the whites, so now all of the laundry is pink.  Alex wears a pink shirt to work, and because that's so crazy, she ultimately lands in an insane asylum.  Upside: She gets to meet a man who thinks he's Michael Jackson and they all write a song for Marissa's sister's birthday.  Wait.  That's the plot from the "Stark Raving Dad" episode of The Simpsons.  Ok, so that didn't happen, but Marissa did turn all their whites pink because she's a clueless ninny who has never had to do anything for herself before.  Marissa's solution: Just get new stuff!  Riiiiight.  Marissa's still working at getting an afterschool job, and HOLY CRAP, when was the last time we saw Marissa at school, anyway?  Besides, it's the weekend, so how about a fun weekend on the beach?  Alex has to work, you yutz.  Also: Watch out for the landlord because y'all are behind on rent.  Probably wasn't a good idea to give Seth that $500 in the last episode, Alex.

Caleb wanders into the Cohen kitchen to mope about losing Lindsay to Sandy, who's shoulders deep under the sink.  Seth wanders through, makes the same "found your calling, eh?" joke as Caleb, and heads to the pool house to retrieve Ryan for the mall.  All he finds is a note on the neatly made bed, and he runs back through the house, grabbing the car keys along the way.

Kirsten and Julie are at work ... on a Saturday.... and the office is very busy.... unlike last week where they were using it to hide from the rest of their lives.... and Julie vents about the magazine publisher assigning them an editor because Julie has no experience editing a magazine.  In mid-rant, she sees a gentleman identifying himself as Lance at the reception desk and yanks the blinds closed.  She doesn't hear any of Kirsten trying to talk her off the ledge, and then runs out of the room.  Okay then.

Seth finds Ryan sitting at the bus station, waiting for a ride to Chicago to surprise Lindsay with a weekend visit.  Amazingly, we don't discuss the fact that it's a TWENTY-NINE HOUR DRIVE to Chicago, and that's without the mandated stops on a Greyhound.  Presuming that it's 10am on Saturday, Ryan won't even get to Chicago until 3pm Sunday at the absolute earliest, and won't get back to Newport until 9pm on Monday, presuming that he never leaves the bus station in Chicago.  This is not one of Mr. Atwood's better ideas, and that's before we get into the issue of surprising Lindsay like that.  Seth convinces him to go to the mall in an effort to distract him, but if he still wants to go tomorrow, Seth will drive Ryan to the bus station himself.

Even though Seth said Marissa and Summer were "already on their way" to the mall, somehow, everyone ends up in the Range Rover.  This does give Seth his first accidental glimpse of the Pisa Postcard, but Summer manages to shrug it off because Marissa and Ryan are already headed into the mall and we wouldn't want that to get awkward.  Once they get inside to where the clothes they're picking up for a battered women's shelter are, Summer forgets about making it awkward for Marissa and Ryan and starts making out with Seth.  Ah, consistency.  Ryan and Marissa get to work loading up the clothes, because the sales girl said that the mall/store/whatever, it wasn't very clear is closing up early today.  Like, isn't it noon right now?  What mall is closing at 1pm on a Saturday?

Julie proofs the future covers for the magazine, and they're all pictures of her.  Hey, it works for Oprah.  As she's doing that, Carter The Editor arrives to meet with the ladies.  Julie isn't pleased to see him, but hey, he's not pleased at being jammed into this situation either, so how's about Julie just does whatever she wants anyway, they have a few meetings a week to make it look like he's working, and everyone can just get along nicely.  Now who wants to go for a cocktail?

Sandy and Caleb retreat to... it's not a bar, and it's not Caleb's billiards room.  I presume it's in the Cohen house, but I'm not sure.  In any case, it *has* a bar, and they drink.  Sandy explains the Rebecca thing to Caleb (yeah, great plan to tell your father-in-law who already doesn't like you a lot, dude), and that leads to a discussion of what the lost ring means to Sandy & Kirsten, and why Sandy's working so hard to find it.  It's not the engagement ring, because Sandy had to save up for this expensive doodad, and he used a plastic ring that he won at an arcade in San Francisco to propose and Kirsten wore that thing for years OH MY GOD THEY HAVE AN IDEA.

Alex comes home after dark and no one else is there.  How much flipping clothing is this store/mall donating to the shelter, anyway?  If it's been HOURS, there's more than will just fit into the Range Rover.  Anyway, Alex calls Marissa and gets voice mail immediately.

Back at the mall, Summer and Seth are making out again/still, while Marissa and Ryan make small talk.  Seth breaks away from Summer's face to open the door... for some reason?  And they're locked in.  No one has cell service, and after an ill fated attempt by Seth to pick the lock with a bobby pin from Summer, the boys crawl into the air vents to try and find their way out of the storeroom.  Seth has the most success when he falls through one of the vent panels in amazingly predictable fashion.

Marissa and Summer take advantage of the alone time to talk about boys, specifically the two they're with.  Summer's happy with Seth and she just feels a connection to him.  Marissa's only ever been that happy with Ryan, and she misses Ryan every day.  She also misses that he's been just outside the edge of the vent for the last three minutes and has overheard all of this.  Seth opens the door from the outside and ignores Ryan's violent headshaking before waving at him, leading to an "OH MY GAWD WHAT DID HE HEAR" look from Marissa.  The department store they're in is in fact closed for the night, so they're stuck in the store for the night.  Marissa and Summer make some phone calls to cover why they're not at home, while Seth calls home and leaves a message telling his parents the truth.  I'd like to raise a practical question at this point: If you're out of the storeroom and have cell service, not to mention access to the landlines in the store, why not just keep calling people to let you out?  I bet if you look hard enough, you can find the manager's home phone number.

Summer decides that they should play roller hockey to decide who gets beds and who gets tents in sporting goods for the night, and we get a rousing game that probably doesn't actually feature any of the actors as they're all wearing facemasks to play.  It's also set to the tune of Beck's "E-Pro," so yeah, full on marketing blitz here.  The ball they're using bounces down an escalator and Marissa and Summer chase after it, but get distracted by new body shimmer on a counter.  Girls, am I right?  Seth hollers down about it being time to eat, and the girls just abandon the hockey ball.

Julie, Kirsten, and Carter all head to dinner together, but Julie gets distracted by Lance at the bar.  I would have gone out of my way to make sure that Carter and Lance don't look so similar, but that's just my opinion.  He reveals to the audience that he and Julie used to be an item way back when, and also he's clearly blackmailing Julie as he hands her a package that he tells her to let him know how much she thinks it's worth.  He's not clear here, but it's kind of obvious that it's a sex tape.  I guess he has duplicates back at home, because it's pretty lazy to give Julie his only copy.  Julie claims "food poisoning," and bails on dinner.  This leaves Carter and Kirsten to have dinner together.  We learn that his recent wildly successful magazine venture fell apart because he went on a bender because he was going through a divorce.  Kirsten's lack of ring leads to questions about her past, but she explains it's lost.  Carter tells Kirsten that he knew his wife didn't love him any more when she wasn't wearing her ring because she "claimed" she took it off to scrub a casserole dish, and taking off your ring is a very serious statement about your relationship. Serious question: Is it really that big of a deal to take your wedding ring off?  I ask because I literally haven't worn mine all day.  Anyway, this segment ends with Carter telling Kirsten that while he started off not interested in the assignment, now he's finding Newport Living VERY interesting, wink wink nudge nudge.  Get bent, TV.  We're going to go from a "OMG SANDY MIGHT CHEAT" story to a "OMG KIRSTEN MIGHT CHEAT" story?  This sucks.

Back at stately Cooper-Nichol Manor, Julie pops in the tape that I expected to be in the paper bag from Lance.  However, it's *NOT* a sex tape of her and Lance.  Instead, it's a copy of the porno that Julie made way back in the day.  It's kind of funny to see modern day Melinda Clarke 1) dressed in stereotypical 1980s clothes and 2) playing a version of Julie that's obviously at least 18 years younger than her current self.  I'd grouse about the title being "The Porn Identity" because the first Jason Bourne movie came out in 2002, but the book was published in 1980.  LONG WAY AROUND, Alex just wanders on in through an unlocked door looking for Marissa.  While the porno is playing.  Yuuuuuup.  No Marissa around, but Julie uses the opportunity to point out to Alex that she's just another in a long line of things Marissa is using to upset Julie and oh, yeah, it's only a matter of time before Marissa comes home anyway.  This ends up being a pretty interesting discussion of Marissa's psyche.

Back at the mall, Seth and Summer set up shop in sporting goods with a fake fire.  Seth tells Summer to go get another fake log for the fake fire before it goes out, and she actually leaves like an idiot.  It's literally just paper mâché, including the flames on the logs, but off she goes anyway.  That gives Seth a solid 15 seconds alone, so he grabs the postcard and reads the first five words: "Remember how hot it was" and that's it before Summer realizes it's a fake fire and doesn't need new logs and comes back.  We are now going to get a fight between Seth and Summer based on Seth being an intrusive asshat who thinks Zach is talking all sexy-like and forgot that the primary way to talk about the weather is through discussion of heat.  Again, Seth was more fun when a threat of a beatdown from Luke was on the table.

Sandy and Caleb are hard at work on a claw machine at some local arcade.  Sandy's got SKILLZ on the claw, but all he has to show for it are a pile of key chains and no plastic rings.  He's gotta make this work to have something to show for his efforts to Kirsten, so we're gonna need more quarters.  I am not joking: I would much rather replace all of the Seth/Summer fighting bits in this episode with shots of Sandy working the claw machine.

Ryan and Marissa are getting settled with food around ye olde fake fire when Marissa's phone chimes with a call from Alex.  She lies to Alex about staying at Summer's house, and then hangs up.  Again, if you can make calls, you can get out of this dumb store.  While they discussing moving into the tent to sleep, a guy in a suit and a security guard find the abandoned roller hockey ball.  DRAMATIC MUSIC STINGER!

Summer hears the security guy coming up the escalator over the sound of Seth whining about what's on the postcard from Zach, and it's time to run for cover.  We see the security guy and Suit Guy recognizing the noise coming from sporting goods... and Security Guy DRAWS HIS GUN.  Well, I guess if the store sells hunting rifles, this kind of makes sense.  He advances on the noisy tent... but this doesn't sound like our crew.  No, it's just some mannequins in hockey gear and a DVD of The Valley.  Our foursome are running out the alarmed door to the Range Rover and get the hell out of Dodge.  Again, they got stuck in the store and weren't doing anything illegal that I can see.  Ryan asks if anyone is hungry and Seth snarks that Summer could go for some Italian.  What a complete jackass.

At home, Julie answers the phone to find Lance calling.  Julie offers $50,000, no questions asked.  Lance thinks it's more like $500,000 because Caleb's super rich.  I don't think Lance is very good at this blackmail game, especially when I'm sure he's not in possession of all of the copies of the porno.  Julie doesn't know how she can get her hands on that kind of money without Caleb asking questions.

At the diner, Marissa and Ryan go inside, leaving Seth and Summer to resolve their dumb argument.  "If I tell you what's on the postcard, do you pinkie swear to stop bickering?"  "About the postcard?"  DIE IN A FIRE, SETH.  The postcard is exactly what you expect: Zach is talking about the weather and yep, he even included a "say hi to Seth" at the end, because that's what one does when one is sending a postcard to the girl that just broke up with you before you left on vacation.

It's 11:21pm according to Sandy's bedside clock when Kirsten comes home.  Sandy tells her all about his long day of plumbing and failing to find her ring and also losing a key component of the sink, so they're going to have to wash their dishes in the tub or whatever.  But it's okay, because he loves his wife and this plastic ring he FINALLY won for her.  It's a super cute and wonderful moment, but Kirsten has a look on her face that I can't quite explain as they embrace.

Beck's cover of Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You In The End" starts playing as we get a shot of Julie just sitting and staring, and then Alex asleep on the couch with the TV on after she finished folding all that pink laundry.  After that, we head to the Cohen house, where Kirsten is getting ready for a shower.  She retrieves her ring from under a book in her nightstand and OH MY GOD SHE TOOK OFF HER RING ON PURPOSE BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T LOVE SANDY ANY MORE but then she puts it on.

We close with Ryan and Marissa being cute in the diner together and Seth and Summer admiring how cute they are.  Seth goes as far as saying that the Fantastic Four are looking a little more fantastic right now.  Again, Marissa's in a relationship, you clod.  He's such a terrible person.

Best Sandy Cohen Line/Moment: As far as things on screen, it's definitely his "EUREKA" moment when he realizes he can go win Kirsten a new plastic ring.  I'm bummed that we never got to see Sandy's reaction to actually winning the ring, though, because that would have been a shoo-in for this slot.