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'The O.C.' nostalgia recap: The 4 most atomic moments in 'The Rager'

Season 2 | Episode 19 | “The Rager” | Aired Apr 14, 2005

The wheels are in motion for The O.C.’s Incredible Sinking Core Four. Following Trey’s arrival in Newport, the domino effect of drama has left Ryan and Marissa in a tailspin. Ryan doesn’t know if he can trust his older brother, and Marissa seemingly can’t decide which Atwood brother she wants. Hint: Her baby blues may wander, but it’s Ryan, and it will always be Ryan.

Even Seth and Summer aren’t safe from Hurricane Trey. His impromptu 21st-birthday blowout should have been the eye of the storm, but it became the aggressive wind and rain that punctuated their Spider-Man kiss. Once again, Seth has been caught in a random act of thoughtlessness, and Summer’s blasé attitude bites her where it hurts. Honestly, it’s business as usual for The O.C. kids.

As the classic teen soap gears up for its second-season finale with that shot heard round Newport County, the Core Four attempt to stay afloat amid the chunky waters of love, trust, and the perils of partying. From armed standoffs to comic book conundrums to drug overdoses and more, these are the four most atomic moments in “The Rager.”

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/ screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/ screengrab

1. Seth and Zach team up a comic genius who’s — gasp! — a woman.
Atomic County officially hits the ground running when Carter sets Seth and Zach up with his ex-assistant, who develops graphic novels. Seth and Zach go into the meeting assuming Reed is of the male persuasion, but they’re taken aback upon seeing an attractive female approach them, extensive comic book knowledge in tow. Somewhere in Southern California, Reed shattered a glass ceiling by infiltrating the hyper-exclusive boys’ club of comics.

Of course, they make things harder for themselves by failing to fill Summer in on a few key details. However, she did tell them she wanted nothing to do with Atomic County, choosing to remain in the dark. Keeping this little tidbit to themselves leads to a hot-for-teacher crush in both Seth and Zach. Seth grows annoyed at Zach’s infatuation with Reed, but to be fair, he’s acting like he’s seen a bulldog successfully operate a skateboard, too. Because he’s Seth Cohen, Summer sniffs out his little white lie at the rager and leaves with Zach and Reed. For such a smart guy, he can be so, so dumb.

2. Julie reconnects with her ex-boyfriend/present-day saboteur.
What do you do when an ex blackmails you with your ’80s soft-core porn film and attempts to extort your husband for all he’s worth? Naturally, you threaten to kill him, then later drunkenly dance to Poison with him. Julie finds herself in hot water when Newport Living is slapped with a libel suit, and she’s been ripped from the cover of her own magazine because of her sex scandal. Confusingly, Julie doesn’t explode into a fit of rage. A calm Julie Cooper just might be the scariest and most dangerous Julie Cooper.

Taking matters into her own manicured hands, she unlocks her diamond-encrusted gun and holds Lance at gunpoint. If he’s going to try and tear down her life from the ground up, she’s going to hold him up within three seconds of his own. She didn’t actually load the gun. Murder’s not her racket. Julie wanted him to feel the threat of losing his life. A tad dramatic, sure, but 100 percent effective and 1,000 percent savage. Over drinks and memories with Lance, she learns that Caleb didn’t pay Lance off. Is Julie’s reputation worth nothing to Caleb? She’s afraid of divorce and Caleb judging her, but ol’ Jules’ mind grapes are ripe for the picking. (Comment below if you understand that reference.)

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

3. Sandy chums it up with Carter; Kirsten sips chardonnay.
Speaking of grapes, Kirsten turns to her favorite drink when confronted with the discomfort of her husband and work crush becoming buddies. Carter’s article in Newport Living gets flagged for libel, and he turns to one Sandy Cohen for legal help. A single consultation turns into a surf session, a dinner invitation, and a romantic setup. Kirsten isn’t too keen on Sandy’s idea to match Carter with his old pal Erin because of good, old-fashioned jealousy. During the double date, all she can say is, “I’ll bring the wine.” Oh, KiKi …

When Kirsten’s left alone with Erin after the dire phone call from the kids, she goes to work. She tells Erin to be careful since Carter’s still messed up from his divorce. Who can say whether she’s lying or not? He very well might be still torn up from his divorce (as we saw him skipping work to day drink and wallow), but her warning came from a selfish place. These are some treacherous waters, Kirsten, and all the white wine in the world can’t save you.

4. The party’s over for Trey.
After the whole crystal-egg debacle, Ryan won’t accept Trey’s apology. But his brother is on the up-and-up, moving into his own apartment and celebrating his 21st birthday on the other side of iron bars. Marissa delivers Trey a lava lamp (a sensible and practical housewarming gift) and learns of his birthday. Never trust the Harbor School social chair with news of the need for a party. She proposes to Ryan that throwing Trey a birthday bash would be the perfect white flag. He agrees to wish his brother a happy birthday … until he sees him handing some rando cash in a dark alley. Enter the signature Atwood fisticuffs.

Appearances can be deceiving: Trey was with his parole officer and giving a friend a spare five dollars to help him out. Ryan, meet overreaction. Overreaction, I believe you and Ryan have met. Ryan tells Marissa about the issue at hand, to which her only solution is “Let’s throw a party.” Parties don’t solve every problem, though. In The O.C., parties are often the catalyst of new problems. Although it began as the saddest five-person party of all time, word spread, and it became an all-out rager. Drugs are passed around, threesomes are walked in on — the whole dirty nine yards.

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Warner Bros. TV/CW Seed/screengrab

Case in point: Trey nearly sleeps with an underage girl, who later ends up floating unconscious in the pool. Marissa gets handcuffed since the party happened in her home, but Trey takes the fall for the girl’s near-fatal overdose. Once again, an Atwood ducks into the back of a cop car. It’ll take more than the Core Four rallying together to get Trey out of this one.

Episode Mixtape:

  • “Mi Casa” by Beat Phreaks
  • “Under the Milky Way” by The Church
  • “Technologic” by Daft Punk
  • “Decent Days and Nights” by Futureheads
  • “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” by LCD Soundsystem
  • “Stop Dragging Me Down” by The Obscurities
  • “Party’s Crashing Us” by Of Montreal
  • “Melt” by Way Out West
  • “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

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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