EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: What happens in the mall stays in the mall

Season 2 | Episode 15 | “The Mallpisode” | Aired Mar 10, 2005

You know when you’re a young tyke and you’re being dragged to the shopping mall? You’re basically in it for the free food-court samples and maybe some new kicks if you’re lucky. But as you’re lazing around a department store while your mom spritzes perfumes in the air and thumbs through the endless sale racks, a rogue thought passes through your mind: What would it be like to hide out here after hours, Saved by the Bell style?

The O.C. made everyone’s childhood fantasy come true and locked the Core Four in Summer’s home away from home for an entire episode. The results are John Hughes-ian magic.

After the rain has dried, Ryan’s tears for Lindsay haven’t. Bedridden and angst-riddled, Seth tries to cheer up Kid Chino, but this is the brand of wallowing that carb-heavy breakfast foods just can’t cure. He’s got a case of the Peyton Sawyers. People always leave his life, and they never issue a warning or a return date. Like the storm from the previous episode, they roll right on in then right on out without so much as a “deuces.” But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Ryan packs a bag with his sights set on Chicago.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Before the kids get trapped in the mall, the adults get trapped in their own metaphorical mall. They’re not stuck in a jack-of-all-trades department store. No, they’re smack-dab in the high-traffic epicenter of the mall, and they can’t dodge those weird kiosks that no one ever needs to buy anything from. Sandy and Kirsten can’t quite get back into their groove, what with Kirsten’s “lost” wedding ring and handsome new coworker.

Carter, the new editor of Julie’s ill-conceived Newport Living magazine, doesn’t want to work for a lowbrow publication any more than Julie wants to hand over the reins. When Julie pulls an Irish exit during a business dinner, Carter spots Kirsten’s naked ring finger and pokes at her vulnerabilities. We just got rid of Rebecca, and now we’ve got another outsider making a play for one of the Cohens. Perfection.

Sandy works overtime (with human trash-bag Caleb, no less) to win Kirsten a plastic carnival ring — the same kind he used to propose to her. It’s cute and the gesture wins Kirsten over, but here’s the secret: Kirsten never misplaced her ring while gardening. She took the sucker off and hid it in her drawer. Now it’s back on, even as her mind spins with thoughts of Carter.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Meanwhile, Julie’s blast from the past thrusts her directly into the crosshairs of a memory she thought she’d put to bed (you’ll get this glorious pun in a moment). Julie first eyes Lance, her alleged stalker, from between the blinds — ironic, considering all the shade she’s bound to throw. She excuses herself during dinner with Kirsten and Carter to speak with Lance, who is grade-A sketchy. He slides a package full of blackmail across the bar that makes the noted wicked witch of the West Coast nervous. What have you gotten yourself into, Julie?

Porn, it turns out. Desperate for cash back in the day, she starred in a few adult films to pay the bills. She’s willing to pay Lance $50K to make the tapes disappear, but he wants her to multiply that by 10. What will Julie do to keep her sordid past hidden from her loyal magazine subscribers?

Considering how easily she stomps on Alex’s hopes and dreams regarding Marissa, there’s no doubt that blackmail will be no match for Julie Cooper. After she turned all their laundry pink (Aside: Has this actually ever happened to anyone in real life?), Marissa lied to Alex about her whereabouts, sending Alex right into the hornet’s nest. Julie tells Alex that she is Marissa’s latest weapon in her war with her mother. The sad part is, even though Marissa and Alex’s connection is real, Julie just might be right.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Obviously, Ryan doesn’t leave. Seth convinces Ryan to join him and Summer for some light charity work at the mall. And, oh, by the way, Ryan: Marissa will be there, too. The Core Four are escorted to a back room in the mall by none other than Amber Heard. Unfortunately, Heard’s character devastatingly mirrors recent events, as the clothing they’re sorting benefits a battered women’s shelter, and one of her three lines is, “Someone should get a restraining order against that coat.”

Before long, the Core Four realizes that Amber Heard has inadvertently locked them in. With no cell service and an inability to pick the lock, their only option is to crawl through the air vents in the mall. Just like The Breakfast Club, being confined in a mall pushes Marissa and Ryan to reconnect and opens up their dirty little secrets. Marissa, unhappy living with Alex, tells Summer that she misses Ryan — who, of course, overhears the confession in the air vent.

They strike up a game of hockey to compete for the Ethan Allen showroom, which causes them to unwittingly activate the security cameras. But while they have the time of their lives, Summer’s postcard from Zach torments Seth. He tries to read it, but Summer catches him before he can sneak a peek at the innocent note. In the middle of their millionth spat about trust, Summer hears the security guards in pursuit. Without a second thought, the Core Four make their escape to the diner for cheeseburgers like old times.

Seth and Summer strengthen their relationship with a little communication and compromise (who knew!), while Marissa and Ryan get back to basics with chili fries. Suddenly, it feels like the earth, the sun, and the stars are all aligned. But could perfect really be this perfect?

Episode Mixtape:

  • “E-Pro” by Beck
  • “Girl” by Beck
  • “Missing” by Beck
  • “Que Onda Guero” by Beck
  • “Scarecrow” by Beck
  • “TKO” by Le Tigre
  • “Big Talker” by The Murmurs
  • “At the Mall” by Pansy Division
  • “C + F” by Sam Prekop
  • “True Love Will Find You in the End” by Beck

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

You May Like