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'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: Girls gone wild

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “The Escape” | Aired Sep 16, 2003

It’s tradition for The O.C.‘s children of privilege to “slum it” down Mexico way before fall term starts. When Newport’s teens tire of getting drunk under their parents’ noses at fancy fundraisers and in Holly’s rec room, they hit Tijuana for a change of scenery. (And to scar freshmen water polo recruits by gluing their eyes open for a donkey show.)

Some go with their parents’ blessing (or relief, as in the case of Jimmy Cooper), but Seth predicts that his parents won’t be supportive of the mission for cheap booze. With Ryan’s begrudging assistance, he uses his yearly Comic Con trip as a cover story.

Ryan is hesitant to lie to the parents—he’s still afraid his new, perfect life will be snatched away. But Seth interprets his lack of enthusiasm as fallout from the Marissa situation. “This is me here. Amigo.” He pats the space on the bed next to him and offers to heal Ryan’s soul.

“My soul is fine,” Ryan counters. He goes to TJ because he understands that, with him as an ally, Seth can finally do those pointless teenager-y things he’s missed. But he also goes to prove that Marissa’s rejection had no impact on his soul, or anything else.

Meanwhile, Marissa and Luke, like, totally did it. Summer demands details, but Marissa is an old-fashioned gal. (“Summer, it’s a secret act between two people.”) Well, that, and she’s not exactly the picture of girlish first love. Marissa knows Luke isn’t the one, but she fears he’s exactly what she deserves. Per Summer’s advice, she goes over to his house to “get back on that horse.” Luke spouts some nonsense about Tijuana being “romantic” (red flag) but is disappointed when Marissa suggests her dad’s troubles might keep her home, ruining Luke’s plans for a good time.

With Marissa out of the plan, Summer is down one ride. Holly’s car is full—presumably with suitcases full of frosty eyeshadow and gumball barrettes—and the guys have a big hazing to plan. Seth finally finds his opening with Summer and invites her in their car. Sandy comes outside the next morning to see the boys off for their geeky weekend, confusing Summer in the process. (“Comics? Ew.” “She goes for the anime.”)

Being a dorky dad isn’t a paying job, unfortunately. If it were, Sandy Cohen would be swimming in money. As it is, he’s slaving away at the public defender’s office in the name of sweet justice. But an old acquaintance caught wind of his masterful handling of the case of Jimmy Cooper: Human Disaster, and is trying to woo him over to the corporate dark side. Sandy claims he’s going for the free meal, but Kirsten knows her husband wouldn’t waste his time if his interest were not piqued. Rachel, his recruiter, is professional, but a little too familiar with him. She plays up the pro bono side and sends him a new, sexy surfboard after their initial meeting. She’s also blond and petite and wide-eyed. We are watching you, Rachel.

Kirsten is concerned about Sandy losing his ideals. It’s silly to take a job in the name of a big paycheck—they already have everything they could ever need. “It’s about contributing,” Sandy insists. It’s never before been an issue that their economic freedom comes from Kirsten’s side of the family. Now, Sandy challenges her, and it’s awfully cold. “As long as I haven’t sold out, you haven’t sold out,” he says. “The only thing that keeps you from feeling like Julie Cooper is me.” Where did this chip come from and how did it land so perfectly on Sandy’s shoulder? He takes the job.

While Sandy works out his manly need to provide for his already comfortable family, Kirsten lends her shoulder to Jimmy, who needs to get it together. Julie wants him out, but Jimmy can’t even find an apartment to move into without Kirsten’s help. (Or can he?) The high school sweethearts talk at length about the impending divorce and about how and when Jimmy will break it to Marissa. Jimmy is a “nice guy,” but he proves himself more gutless at every turn. His worries aren’t about Marissa’s well-being or emotional care. They’re about how Marissa’s acceptance of the news will affect him, and how to proceed to keep her in his life. Jimmy Cooper is a taker, and Kirsten has permitted this behavior for way too long. It takes him boldly kissing her while they paint his new “bachelor pad” (ew) for her to acknowledge how she’s enabled him.

Pressed by Jimmy to go so he can leave his family like a thief in the night, Marissa lets herself be dragged to TJ after all. This results in the first adventure of The O.C.’s original OTfoursome. It’s not perfect. Marissa and Ryan stew awkwardly in the backseat, while Seth and Summer bicker relentlessly in the front. (“Eighty is the new seventy.” “Who talks like that?”) Summer’s trash-talking of Deathcab is the final straw, and in their scuffle, they run Kirsten’s Range Rover off the road.

Our heroes spend a night in the motel room that nightmares are made of, worsened by the army of hormones flying around. Seth and Summer make peace so they can share a bed. (“You make a move, I rip out your jugular.” “Hey, pillow talk.”) At the vending machine, Ryan and Marissa address the Gabi situation. He maintains he did nothing wrong, as Marissa was clearly unavailable. “Do you ever wonder why I came to the pool house to find you?” she bluffs. “Every day,” Ryan says, turning to face her. “Here’s your chance.”

Back at the room, Marissa receives the call from home she’s been dreading. She tearfully crawls into the sofa bed with Ryan, who offers his quiet support. The camera rises up and we see all four of them, together, but each turned away to their individual corners of that depressing room. In the morning, they leave it to Marissa to make the executive decision on their next move. There’s nothing for her at home, so it’s on to TJ. And whether it was their late night truth session or the way they woke up spooning each other, Ryan and Marissa are back to a friendly normalcy once they hit the town. One quick stop at a freewheeling Tijuana pharmacy, and then it’s off to Boom Boom to meet up with the rest of Newport.

“I love authentic Mexican culture,” Seth declares as they dodge go-go dancers and down tequila shots watergunned into their mouths. It’s all in good, debaucherous fun until Marissa finds the guy who “loves” her and took her virginity all over one of her fake friends. In the midst of Holly’s cruel defenses (“Marissa, everyone knows”), she runs out of the club. Ryan gets one solid punch off (“You don’t deserve her”), and they chase after her. Summer is relieved to find her at the hotel, but Marissa makes off with a bottle of painkillers while Summer is in the bathroom. Summer, Seth, and Ryan search the streets; Marissa finds the one bar in town that isn’t a fever dream of Senõr Frog and chases a handful of pills with a tequila shot. She stumbles out into an alley, where her friends find her, unresponsive. Ryan picks up her limp body, and Summer buries her head in Seth’s shoulder.

They should have just gone to Comic Con.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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