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'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: Roses are red, the Cohens are blue

Season 2 | Episode 12 | “The Lonely Hearts Club” | Aired Feb 10, 2005

It’s Valentine’s Day in The O.C., and love heartache is in air. Like pollen on a windy afternoon, romantic unrest floats round and round, leaving a few of our favorite Newport residents lonely. Cohen family, queue up some Death Cab. You’re about to spend your V-Day down in the dumps.

Instead of fessing up to Kirsten about Rebecca (to his ignorance, the cat’s out of the bag), Sandy overcompensates with dozens upon dozens of roses. Kirsten shoves the flowers petals-first down the garbage disposal, in no mood for his try-hard holiday spirit. It’ll take all the conversation hearts in Southern California for Sandy talk his way out of this one.

She calls him out on withholding the truth, and he tries to get out on the technicality that Kirsten could have been seen as an accessory. Nice try, Sandy. Still, he takes Rebecca to a secluded inn and informs her he can’t take her case. Out of sight, out of mind, out of his hair. Not so fast …

Although Kirsten’s over the moon and making dinner reservations, Sandy’s with Rebecca’s dad when he passes away. Rebecca’s instinct is to bounce, since without her dad, there’s no way her case will have any traction. Remarkably, Kirsten gives Sandy permission to go say good-bye to Rebecca, but it’s all canceled dinner plans and slammed doors when he misses their reservation. Just wait until Kirsten finds out Sandy and Rebecca kissed.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Ryan and Marissa — separately, of course — have a touch more luck with their Valentine’s plans than Sandy. Following Caleb’s heart attack, Lindsay wanted to take a break with Ryan (though now she’s attributing the break to Ryan), but he doesn’t take “I want to get to know my dad” as an answer. He brings Lindsay a rose (swoon!) to rescind their hasty break. She accepts, on the condition that he smooths things over with Caleb.

To Ryan’s credit, he tries his hardest to offer his apologies to Caleb. But it’s not in Caleb’s nature to accept kindness and reciprocate. He snaps at Ryan with his acid tongue. (Caleb has to be one of the absolute meanest characters in all of television history. He makes Victoria Grayson look like Kimmy Schmidt.) The next day, Ryan does the only rational, sensible thing he can think of: Challenge Caleb to a pool duel. If Ryan wins, Caleb has to accept Ryan as Lindsay’s boyfriend. If Ryan loses, he walks away. Simple.

During the high-stakes pool match, they psych each other out with trash talk, but it doesn’t faze Ryan. As if there were any doubters, Ryan takes home the game and Caleb must end his reign of terror. Ryan even does Caleb one last solid, surrendering a Valentine’s Day date with Lindsay for her to spend it with her dad. Caleb doesn’t deserve Kid Chino.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Elsewhere, Marissa mourns the return of Julie. The ever-doting mother storms back into The O.C. fresh off her European getaway with warm welcomes for everyone. (“How’s the ticker?” is the first thing she says to her husband. God bless Julie Cooper-Nichol.) She rampages through Marissa’s room, waking her up from a sound sleep, but important business must be attended to.

Julie has suddenly become threatened by Lindsay. She views the new daughter as one more person in position to claim a chunk of Caleb’s fortune should he actually kick the bucket. Being the evil mastermind she is, Julie wants to team up with Marissa to remain in Caleb’s good graces. Money is on the line, after all.

Marissa turns to Alex to vent about having to break bread with her mother, and Alex extends expert advice for faking cordiality with annoying parents. It works well enough that Julie Cooper can’t even sniff out the bullshit. Although Marissa and Alex had planned for a non-Valentine’s first date, the tides have shifted and they have their first kiss on the beach. But as a new love story begins, an old one begs to rewrite its history.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Seth and Summer shared the tiniest of nose grazes, the prelude to a kiss, and of course it’s sent Seth into a downward spiral. It doesn’t help that he’s hitting the road with his one true love and her current boyfriend on the anniversary of their first time. This shouldn’t be uncomfortable at all. San Diego or bust!

En route to their comic-book meeting, Seth and Summer regale Zach with the tale of their Tijuana (yes, that Tijuana trip …) road trip, leaving out the sordid details. Note to Seth and Summer: Don’t talk about your memories together while in the presence of a new significant other, okay? Okay.

The damage has already been done: Their meeting is postponed, and Zach lets it slip that he’s taking Summer to Italy for his sister’s wedding. Seth’s in desperate need of a paper bag, but he channels his anxiety into butting into Summer and Zach’s alone time. He doesn’t sleep a wink, leading him to mainline espresso the morning of their meeting. He bombs the meeting, pitching the comic as a romance between the Ironist (Seth) and Little Miss Vixen (Summer). Is this narrative he’s spinning true fiction or is this how he feels?

Summer gives him an opportunity to tell her what his meltdown was about, but he freezes. He leaves on the next bus and, overcome by loneliness, calls Summer. She doesn’t answer, and he doesn’t leave a message. Roses are red, the Cohens are blue. Marissa might be in love, and Ryan could be, too.

Episode Mixtape:

  • “Another Day” by The Album Leaf
  • “The Outer Banks” by The Album Leaf
  • “The Streamside” by The Album Leaf
  • “Tourist” by Athlete
  • “Follow” by Bang Gang
  • “Eve, the Apple of My Eye” by Bell X1
  • “Sambossa” by Jazzelicious
  • “No Idea” by J. Belle
  • “Non-Photo Blue” by Pinback
  • “Rear Moth” by Psapp
  • “The Love Goes” by Trent Dabbs

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

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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