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'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: Hello from the other side

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “The Way We Were” | Aired Nov 11, 2004

After a summer of running away, the boys are back to save the day. Of course, that means The O.C. continues its second season with Seth and Ryan resuming their tour of questionable choices. Because despite what Seth reads in his comic books, there is no day for him to save. Especially not on the first day of school.

“That was months ago. She’s probably moved on by now,” Ryan tells Seth as he waxes dramatic about seeing Summer for the first time. Neither Seth nor Ryan has told Summer or Marissa that they are back from their hiatuses. Hoping to snap things back into place is nothing more than wishful thinking.

But for one of them, maybe it’s not. Marissa leaps into Ryan’s arms upon seeing him, whereas Summer unleashes her signature sneer when she catches sight of Seth. His worst fears, and Ryan’s prediction, have come true: Summer rushes away to meet her new boyfriend.

Ryan sits down with the school counselor, who tells him to start thinking about his future—namely, college. She asks him what he’s interested in, what path he’s thought about following. The man of few words doesn’t know, so he’s given an assignment to aid in figuring that out. Seth, however, knows exactly what he wants, in no particular order: 1) Summer and 2) pioneering comic-book club.

Summer drops Marissa off at her house during their lunch break (because we all had time to schlep home for no good reason in high school) and finds DJ the Yard Guy’s truck blocking her car. She feigns annoyance—disinterest in his appearance, even—but when he appears in her room, she couldn’t fight the sexual tension with a weed whacker. They’ve been hooking up all summer.

Back at school, Marissa sips a latte in the student lounge (don’t even get me started on the luxuries afforded to these teenagers), which, to Summer’s surprise, has been spiked. “It’s been a weird day,” Marissa defends before spilling the beans about DJ the Yard Guy. Summer advises her to play the “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” game with Ryan. Will it work?

Continuing the day-drinking trend, Sandy meets a three-sheets-to-the-wind Caleb to discuss their options regarding Caleb’s imminent indictment for his shady business dealings. He bribed city officials for building permits, and it’s finally catching up to him. Julie Cooper-Nichol, say goodbye to charging ponies on the black card.

Seth, really going hard with comic-book club, enlists Ryan aboard his sinking ship. It’s a sad train wreck of a gathering until Zach, a water polo player with an affinity for comics, joins the league. Seth thinks he’s found his long-lost soulmate, only to have his heart shattered when he sees Summer kiss Zach. A weird day indeed.

Seth sees Summer kiss Zach.

Ryan and Marissa spend the afternoon together, but dance around the elephants in the room. Marissa excludes any truth about DJ the Yard Guy, and Ryan tells little about his time with Theresa. Still, he asks her to the annual kickoff carnival and they kiss, though Marissa keeps one eye on DJ.

The teens aren’t the only ones struggling to remain the way the were. Hailey tells Kirsten she has been offered a new job opportunity in fashion. The catch? It’s in Japan, far, far away from Jimmy. In a desperate attempt to keep her in Newport, he proposes. It doesn’t go well.

Sandy brings Caleb, who has effectively soaked his sorrows in scotch, home to Julie, and the truth comes out. For the first time, Julie learns that another husband has been lying to her about the possibility that they could very well lose everything. He’s later arrested, and that possibility nears certainty. As cold and calculated as Julie is, beneath her icy veneer, a human heart beats; it breaks as much as it can’t catch a break.

When the Cohens’ contractor, Archie, screws up the remodel, Ryan displays an aptitude for architecture. Instead of a writing assignment from the counselor, he’s drawn up a blueprint of the Cohen home with improvements to Archie’s design, landing him in advanced math and science courses. It’s brilliant foreshadowing of who he’ll later become.

Seth wallows with Captain Oats, inconsolable about his grim chances with Summer. Ryan, try as he might, acts as the mediator to bring them back together. He visits Summer, and as comical as it was to see Ryan in a pink room, he realizes that there are no quick fixes. The breaks that were made are clean. No jagged edges to connect, no knots to untangle.

Summer and Ryan

“The way we were wasn’t always so great,” Summer tells Ryan. The truth may hurt, but what she doesn’t realize is that the way they are isn’t so great either. Everyone, it seems, is on the other side of where they should be.

After Ryan catches Marissa with DJ the Yard Guy and Seth clings to a small shred of hope for Summer, the kickoff carnival begins with palpable tension and high stakes. Remember being a junior, and a Ferris wheel and some funnel cake determined your romantic prospects for the school year? Me neither, but for Orange County dwellers, it’s make-or-break. And there are more breaks than makes.

Ryan wants to be friends with Marissa, she doesn’t. Seth wants to be with Summer, she doesn’t. His second attempt at a grand gesture—this time a hot-dog stand and jumping in front of a moving car—loses Summer for good.

Their lives are charmed, what with leather couches and endless free time at school, but they have to fight harder to make their personal lives work in their favor. They won’t have comfort, ease, or the past handed to them as quickly as a perfectly tempered latte. They’re learning that they can’t get what they want when they want it.

Hello from the other side. At least they can say that they tried.

All four seasons of The O.C. are available to stream on The CW Seed.

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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