Welcome to The OC Musical, Bitch

Ever wonder what it would look like if your fave high schoolers from Newport Beach put all their feelings into song? You won’t have to wait that much longer. It was recently announced that there’s going to be a one-night-only event of The OC in musical format, in Los Angeles in August (of course conveniently when I’m back home in New York). The producers of the show are the same ones who recently did The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions – you may have heard of it because Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon all went together and it was an epic return to 1999.

But now the producers are skipping ahead a few years to 2003, when The OC made its debut and entered the hearts of a new generation, namely, ours. I was a high school senior and this show was meant for people like me. I became obsessed as much as the next teen fan, buying into the mysterious, brooding Ryan Atwood, calling Seth Cohen the perfect nerdy dream man, and (still) having an adverse reaction anytime anyone mentions Tijuana/TJ.

As any The OC fan knows, music was a huge part of the show, which makes perfect sense as to why it’s being made into a musical. So far, the producers have cast school jock Luke, Seth’s mom Kirsten Cohen, and for some reason, show creator Josh Schwartz in some weird meta role, I guess.

For Cruel Intentions, the producers took songs from the late 90s/early 2000s to provide the soundtrack for the musical: e.g. Kathryn teasing stepbrother Sebastian with Xtina’s Genie in a Bottle and a Blaine’s gay sex scene with a BSB/’N Sync medley.

So what can we expect from The OC musical? I am in no way involved with the show at all, so this is just my best guess. If any of these do turn out to be in the show – just remember I am trademarking and copyrighting all of this. Just like Michael Scott declaring bankruptcy.

Act I

California by Phantom Planet

{Josh Schwartz}

There is no song more synonymous with The OC than its theme song, so why not start here? Creator Josh Schwartz went to USC and was also in a fraternity, so he was familiar with rich kids from Southern California. He considered himself an outsider, and got a glimpse at how real teens in Newport Beach lived, and that served as inspiration for The OC. Did you know he was 26 when the show got picked up? When I was 26, I was still binge-watching episodes of The OC. This solo is the beginning of his masterpiece.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

{Ryan Atwood}

In the pilot, Ryan and his brother Trey get caught stealing a car and while Trey lands in jail, Ryan is let go but since he has nowhere to go (since his dad abused him and his mom is an alcoholic with a tendency to just up and leave), his lawyer, the wealthy Sandy Cohen decides to take him in. It’s like this song is Ryan’s pre-Cohen anthem.

Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray

{Sandy Cohen/Kirsten Cohen and Jimmy Cooper/ Julie Cooper}

It wasn’t an easy sell for Sandy to convince Kirsten to take Ryan in – he is, after all, a troubled kid from Chino that they don’t know at all come to live in their mansion of a house and lavish lifestyle in Newport. Meanwhile, their next-door neighbors, Julie and Jimmy Cooper (who happens to by Kirsten’s former flame) are heading towards a divorce of their own. Each couple is in over their heads, but only one will ultimately survive.

Wonderwall by Oasis

{Ryan and Marissa}

Ah, the start of a beautiful friendship. When Ryan and Marissa meet for the first time, she’s outside waiting for her BF to pick her up and he’s going to smoke a cigarette, because he’s the bad boy. It’s one of the most iconic scenes from the show, so their meeting has to have its own song. After he says, ‘Whoever you want me to be’ – they separate and cue music.

I’m Shakin by Rooney

{Seth Cohen}

There aren’t many kids like Seth in Chino. He’s nerdy, into video games, super into emo music and confided in a plastic toy horse called Captain Oats. Wouldn’t it be great if the audience is introduced to a solo Seth Cohen singing and dancing alone in his room and Ryan sees him in his natural element for the first time being a total dingus?

 

Dirty Little Secret by All-American Rejects

{Summer and Seth}

I’m kind of jumping around in the timeline here, but let’s assume Seth and Summer skipped their whole ‘Ew! I don’t like Cohen!’ game and they’re just dating on the DL. (SIDENOTE: Rachel Bilson had a scene with Wilson Bethel aka Wade from Hart of Dixie in The OC?!?! BRAND NEW INFORMATION)

Mr. Brightside by The Killers

{Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer}

Setting: The Bait Shop. The four kids are watching Seth’s fave band, The Killers, play. This scene is purely of them having fun. No brooding allowed.

Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan

{Oliver Trask and Marissa}

Ugh. Oliver. He meets Marissa in therapy, and they bond because they both have problems, but as Marissa’s going to find out, he has bigger problems than her.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

{Cast}

Remember how good the first season was? And remember how good this ending scene in the finale was? Ryan went back to Chino to take care of his maybe-baby with his ex-girlfriend Theresa, Seth sailed on his catamaran to Catalina (?? which I realize now isn’t as far from The OC as I thought), Summer is sad because Cohen left, Marissa moves in with her mom’s new husband and starts drinking again because Ryan left and the Cohens are left as empty nesters because both their boys are gone. CLIFFHANGER END TO THE ACT.

(END OF ACT)

::Intermission/Bake sale for Harbor School::

Act II

Maybe This Christmas by Ron Sexsmith

{Cast}

We open Act II with Christmukkah, a Cohen family tradition and one I even attempted implementing despite the fact I am not Jewish.

Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard

{Seth and Summer}

Seth and Summer briefly break up and he’s into Anna but then he realizes he’s not really into her and still loves Summer. Because they’re *meant to be*.

Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley

{Marissa and Summer}

A song in which the BFFs talk about sexy times with their respective men. Probably setting feminism back a bit, but this isn’t real anyways, so it’s fine.

Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy

{Seth and Ryan}

What’s the early 2000s without Fall Out Boy?

Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

{Oliver, Marissa, Ryan, Sandy}

Oliver proves to be a psycho and basically locks Marissa in a room while he flails a gun around, as seen in this scene (even though this song is famously in this scene). The standoff comes to a complete halt and, as if stuck in time, they start singing a cappella, because this song will give you chills if done right a cappella.

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

{Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer}

Ryan and Marissa are rid of crazy Oliver, Seth and Summer are back in love, and everything is right with the world again.

The Sound of Settling by Death Cab for Cutie

{Cast}

Because you need that finale number that will make you want to cheer for the characters AND dance around at the same time. Also, Death Cab, is Seth Cohen’s favorite, duh.

(CURTAIN)

 

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Mid-2000s Fashion: A Requiem

Fashion is cyclical, and that cycle is about 20 years long. That’s why all those teen whippersnappers are dressed like 1994 Angela Chases and Corey Matthewses right now (although we know that the truth of 90s fashion was a little different). And that’s why styles from 5-10 years ago (think The O.C., Laguna Beach, Mean Girls) … well, they’re old enough to make you look out of date, but too recent pass as a vintage look.

As I am re-watching Veronica Mars, I’m finding myself really missing some of those mid-2000s styles. Others… not so much. We won’t be seeing a lot of these 2003 – 2009 fads again for a while, so consider this a requiem. A long time ago, we used to be friends…

Boot Cut Jeans

Occasionally you hear that boot cuts are coming back for real this time, and maybe it’s true – denim follows different life spans than other fashion, multiple jean styles are acceptable at any time, and enough people resisted the skinny jean trend that boot cuts never really died. Though I like skinny jeans because it’s easier to find pairs that aren’t too baggy, boot cuts were frankly more flattering on more people. I usually stick with trouser jeans or straight leg when I don’t feel like wearing skinny jeans, but I’m seriously considering trawling e-bay for some 2007-vintage Seven For All Mankinds or Luckys. I’m old, I do what I want.

Little Corduroy Jackets

Some quality bootcuts, too.

If Veronica Mars makes you miss one thing, it’s cropped, fitted little corduroy jackets that were acceptable for indoor and outdoor wear and made great layers over shirts and hoodies alike. These are another thing I’d totally bring back without shame – I have some more blazer-y ones that I may or … may wear to the office sometimes.

Aviator Sunglasses

These haven’t gone all the way out, but they’re nowhere near as ubiquitous as they were a while ago. Everyone’s trying to wear Tom Cruise in Risky Business frames these days, but we still need a few Tom Cruise from Top Guns.

To save you the trouble, I googled “when was Kardashian in back brace.” Never. The answer is never. This is a belt.

Fitted Tops That Weren’t Too Short Or Too Long

I blame skinny jeans for this. A lot of ladies wanted or needed to cover their butts in skinny jeans, and suddenly long tops came into fashion. Others wanted to balance fitted skinnies with looser tops, and billowy tunics were here. Then, those damn teens got their hands on fashion, and those awkwardly short yet wide shirts from the 90s came back. We never noticed it happening, but somehow it’s a lot harder to find a shirt that’s not skin-tight, but doesn’t billow. A top that isn’t butt-covering long or belly-baring short, but lands right at your hipbone. Suddenly every shopping trip turns you into freaking goldilocks, searching for the shirt that’s just right. It didn’t used to be like this.

Juicy Tracksuits

Last place you’d see these tracksuits: an actual track. Can you imagine running in head-to-to velour?

I think J.Lo started this one, but America’s responsible for following. These were the outfit that said “I spent a lot of money to wear velour and look like I’m ill.” I never had a pair, but if I were the age I am now when these were popular, I would have probably cave. After a while you just like to be comfortable. If you wore one of these, you probably jazzed it up with some big ol’ hoop earrings.

Snarky Message Tees

At the time, I always used to think that these should read “I’m Not Funny — But My Shirt Is!” Clearly my attitude toward others hasn’t changed in the past decade. I’ll admit that some of these were sort of funny, in a bumper sticker, key chain, greeting card sort of way.

T-Shirts From Destinations You’ve Never Visited

In 2005, it didn’t matter if you’d never been to Ed’s Bowl-A-Roll, Springville Prep Lacrosse Camp, or Buenos Aires. It was enough to had a shirt that said you had. It was so bad that if you’d wear a t-shirt from a vacation or activity, one of your friends would always ask “Now, is that real, or…?”

‘Return To Tiffany’ Jewelry

Man. Could we have thought of something less really expensive to have cycle in and out of fashion? It was these, then those Italian charm bracelets, then regular charm bracelets, and now finally Alex and Ani, which is at least cheap, finally. If you wear these with the right outfit and accessories it’s still doable.

Now, when they went missing, how many of these bad boys do you think actually got returned to Tiffany & Co.?

Che Guevara, For Some Reason

The most mid-2000s thing ever: (1) Che Guevara + (2) Military Green + (3) Canvas + (4) Messenger Bag

I don’t know. In 2007 that one kid who’s always talking about sustainable water supply and the Iraq occupation in your Developing World poli-sci class is definitely wearing a Che t-shirt. Or a Che pin. And definitely a Che jacket. It’s just a thing people were doing to let you know that they didn’t vote for George W. Bush, had serious feelings about organic foods, and were minoring in political science.

Puka Shells and Beaded Man-Necklaces

No beach required. There was a surfer thing going on that might have started in Blue Crush, and it manifested in Hawaiian flowers on shirts and these damn necklaces. They started off as an innocuous accessory, but after a while they were part of the Douchebag Accessory Trifecta, three items that all dirtbaggy mid-2000s dude-bros wore so that we could tell they were douchey without even having to talk to them. We’ll address the other two further down.

Whiskered Denim

Jeans that were painted to look like your hips were so wide that your fabric was straining and puckering against them. Thanks, 2004. You really, really shouldn’t have.

Conspicuous Branding

“My shirt is from a store!” – Your Shirt, c. 2006

In 2006, you didn’t need to worry that people wouldn’t be able to tell that your shirt was from Abercrombie, Hollister, Armani Exchange, or even Aeropostale. Your shirt did the talking for you.

Trucker Hats

Bonus mid-2000s trend: Jesus Is My Homeboy. Double-Bonus Mid-2000s Trend: Ashton Kutcher

 

Usually Von Dutch, always completely silly. This is our second item in the Douchebag Accessory Trifecta.

Gaucho Pants

Baby AnnaSophia Robb is a paragon of 2004 couture.

 

I remember sitting in my college dorm in 2005, people-watching kids going into the dining hall across from our room, and wondering when all of the girls started dressing like swashbuckling pirates.

Popped Collars

See also: every guy I ever met at a party from 2004 to 2008

Here it is. The third Douchebag Accessory. You could even wear two popped collars at once if you were really, really awful.

Going Out Tops

“Nobody looks flyer than me in this silk-accented maroon blouse!” – My Imagination, c. 2006. [In case you’re wondering this is from a puppet show lampooning all of my friends, which a buddy and I wrote, directed, and starred in BECAUSE I’VE ALWAYS BEEN AT LEAST THIS COOL.]

Before it was normal to wear cute dresses or casual t-shirts out, every Friday and Saturday night (and Thursday… and Sunday), you’d straighten your hair, smudge on some liquid eyeliner, and change into one of your Going Out Tops. They were silky or lacy or otherwise fancy tops. At my college, at least, you’d then cover it up with a NorthFace fleece to walk across the frozen terrain.

In case you’re wondering, “going out top” was a clumsy phrase invented as a workaround so we didn’t have to say “blouse.”

Ringer Tees

Sports fashion for people who can’t play, or necessarily name, a single sport. These are neither dead, nor as very alive as they once were.

That One Kind Of Jeans Skirt

I basically wore this exact outfit.

Some kinds of denim skirt are still in – I was just wearing one. But remember that one kind of jeans skirt that everyone had? In warm weather, you’d wear it with your going out shirt.

The Butt-Ruffle

I don’t know. It was like a flouncy ruffle that covered your ass. It sort of looked like a diaper cover. It seemed cute at the time.

Surf and Beach Inspired Outfits

What is this shirt, College Molly? You don’t even LIKE beaches that much. Too much sun exposure, too much sand.

Thanks to the aforementioned Blue Crush, along with The O.C. and Laguna Beach, teen beach bums were having a moment. Even if you lived nowhere near water, it’s a thing that was happening.

Short-Sleeved Shirts Over Long-Sleeved Shirts

Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

Ah, the mid-2000s. When shirt sleeves of all lengths lived in harmony.

Fitted Off-The Shoulder Tops

These weren’t those big, floppy 80s flashdance numbers. They were regular long-sleeved tops, but the shoulders were over the shoulder.

Tight Plain Tank Tops Worn By Themselves As Though It Were Just… Okay

To explain: We were “hiking” and Traci instructed me to “look competent.” And our friend’s face is obscured so as not to throw her under the 2006 bus.

Your ab situation was on-point. You knew it. So did everyone else. Frankly, I’m glad these were popular in my college years so that my 18-21 year old abs will live on in the memory of all those I knew and loved.

Half-Cardigans

What’s so funny, 2007 me? Is it that you still have the glow of youth? That you live in a house with a lime-green bar room? Or is it that your cardigan only reaches your ribs and you realize you look like an idiot?

Sometimes you’d wear it over your tight plain tank top.

Floppy Surfer Boy Haircuts That Always Curled Straight Out

I have curly hair, too. I understand. This hair cut was not always bad, but on boys with a certain kind of hair, it curled straight out at the bottom, forming, like, a hair-shelf. It looked stupid. You looked stupid.

Smocking On Grown-Assed Women

On five-year-olds’ sundresses: Adorable. On adult ladies with boobs: really really weird. They made your boobs look tube-shaped and awful.

Did I Do That?! Top TV Teen Nerds

Believe it or not, I wasn’t a cool kid. Yes, I know this might be hard to get your head around, but despite my appealing attributes – short, freckled, bookish, brillo-textured red hair — I wasn’t exactly homecoming queen.

However, I wasn’t so uncool that I was a total pariah. I was just more of a non-entity. I was also not a social striver: I figured whoever liked me, liked me and I wasn’t about to try to act cool to get cooler friends. First of all, I didn’t care enough*, and second of all, I don’t know HOW to act cool. Did those girls just get a special book at the beginning of every school year telling them what to wear and how to behave? Because if there was a book, I’d have been golden. I’m good at books.

* If you think this means I was too cool to care, let me disabuse you of that idea. I am just astoundingly lazy.

All of my favorite TV nerds are the same way. These characters aren’t all so dorky that people point and laugh at them in the hall. They’re just too busy being themselves to care what anyone else thinks. However, if they did put out an annual annotated guide on how to be cool, that’s not to say these characters wouldn’t have read it:

Millie Kentner from Freaks And Geeks

Although the entire cast of Freaks and Geeks really deserves a place on this list, I’d like to take a moment and single out Millie. Millie was that girl in high school who was a total goody-goody, but only because she actually liked wholesome activities and behaving. I can relate, as my main interests in high school were being obedient and exceeding expectations. Something about Millie is so earnest, it just tugs at my heartstrings. She isn’t so nerdy and well-behaved because she’s sucking up, it’s because that’s what comes honestly to her. Again, I can relate. I can remember one girl on my tennis team  who was acted like I was judging her because she was a “bad kid” and I was, well, hyper-compliant. I wasn’t — I just wasn’t interested in anything too badass myself.

Since I brought it up, tennis is the dorkiest physical activity you can join that still counts as a sport. Seriously. Even bowling might be cooler, in an ironic, blue collar, old-man way. Tennis: The Reading Of Sports.

Also this:

Seth Cohen from The O.C.

Seth Cohen made teen nerdiness hot. And God, do I still love him for it. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since we first met young Seth, who is the first and only person I would ever describe as being “adorkable.” From his snarky message t shirts to his enthusiasm for comic books to his dorky joy about introducing people to Chrismukkah, Seth was everything good about uncool adolescents. I also appreciated how Seth was into indie/alternative music, just like most of my unpopular friends. This just goes to show that most nerdy teens aren’t lame and boring, they’re just not into whatever is in the teen mainstream. Cohen reminds us that dorky teenagers are just one semester of liberal arts college away from being hipsters. Also, just look at him.

Sue Heck from The Middle

The Middle really does not get enough play. I think it’s funny (usually) and hilarious (sometimes). Like all teen nerds, Sue is supremely enthusiastic. Rather than understanding and accepting that she’s a geek, Sue has total faith that someday, she will be one of the cool kids. Because of this, she flies whole-heartedly into the nerdiest activities (see: specialized cheerleading squad for the wrestling team). I especially love her supporting cast of dorky Wrestlerette friends:

Lisa Loopner from Saturday Night Live

By far the most hilarious teen nerd on the list, Lisa Loopner had a chronic stuffy nose, frizzy hair, and a boyfriend named Todd. She may sound like a typical dork, but this character is played with classic Gilda Radner joie de vivre, and that makes all the difference. I… listen. Just watch this.

Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons

Lisa may be too smart to fit in at Springfield Elementary, but she’s also too smart to care… usually. While she does try to fit in with the mega-90s kids on her beach vacation and the occasional third-grade mean girl, she is usually pretty content filling her time with her music, inventions, and Thanksgiving diorama of influential women in U.S. history. However, she is still just a kid, and can be seen playing hopscotch with Sherri and Terri or pining over Malibu Stacy. Lisa isn’t technically a teen nerd, but she has the reading comprehension and math skills of a girl twice her age, which has to count for something.

Landry Clarke from Friday Night Lights

On paper, Landry (or Lance, whatever) doesn’t really sound like a nerd. He’s a high school football player in a land where high school football is king. He’s the lead singer and bassist in a garage band. He loves the lovely and sometimes-badass Tyra. He even may have committed a pretty big felony (seriously, what WAS that plotline?). However, life isn’t lived on paper. Somehow, despite all of these cool factors, Landry is kind of a dork. He’s also proof that sometimes dorks can emerge victorious. Or crucifictorious, I guess.

Fun fact: As far as I know, Jesse Plemons is the only actor who appeared in both Varsity Blues and FNL. Those, along with the times my high school won states, mark the trifecta of Things That Have Made Me Actually Care About High School Football.

Kimmy Gibbler from Full House

Kimmy Gibbler sucked. I’m not denying that. The thing is, I feel so sorry for her! It didn’t occur to me as a child, but she had three grown men living next door to her who mocked her mercilessly. Danny? Joey? Jesse? You’re bullies. Also, her BFF was kind of a dud. Remember when DJ forgot Kimmy’s birthday cake and made her a dish of hashbrowns with Happy Birthday written on it in ketchup? I sometimes use that as a metaphor when I’ve made really weak gestures of friendship. Try it for yourself sometimes. Kimmy did have some positive attributes, like being a pretty decent keyboardist when Girl Talk butchered The Sign (no, not that Girl Talk).

Steve Urkel from Family Matters

I wasn’t even going to put Urkel on the list. I think he forfeited his Teen Nerd title during the later seasons, when suddenly it was All Steffon, All The Time. I’m also still a little bitter that his affinity for cheese made cheese seem nerdy. I freaking love cheese. Come at me, nerd haters and vegans!

You gotta hand it to Urkel, though. He really knew how to deliver a nerd catch phrase.

Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

He invented “The Carlton,” and that alone earns him a spot on the list. It’s got to be hard being a nerd when you live with super-cool Hillary and Ashley and your badass cousin from West Philly. Having so much money that you live in a full-size replica of the White House probably softens the blow a little. While mostly a classic uptight nerd, Carlton also knew how to let loose and dance.