I &hearts TV 

Ode to The O.C

QUESTION: How come you never see any memorials to dead TV shows on the side of the road? Dead people get roadside tributes all the time... crosses nailed to trees, flowers on lampposts, shrines on hairpin curves—yet not one is dedicated to MacGyver! I need to express my grief, too! (Sniff.)

Anyway, while you may not care that I continue to pine for that rakishly handsome and inventive adventurer, I'm sure you'll all join me in a roadside candlelight vigil for the final episode of The O.C. (Fox, Thurs Feb 22, 9 pm), the greatest teen drama in the history of humankind.

Admittedly, I haven't always been 100 percent supportive of The O.C.—primarily because of that annoyingly drippy wench Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton)—but I will go to my grave defending this show as a groundbreaking series that raised the bar of excellence for the nighttime soap. Not only did The O.C. turn shoe-gazing indierockers like Death Cab for Cutie into hot commodities, they also made "Chrismukkah"—Seth Cohen's Jewish/Christian mash-up—the hottest holiday since "Festivus." But even though it all ends this week, I'll still have my memories. Such as...

"Welcome to the O.C., bitch." When water-polo hunk Luke Ward said this in the first episode, and proceeded to knock the Chino out of Ryan Atwood, it inspired bullies across the nation. As a matter of fact, I still say this whenever I punch someone in the stomach.

Summer Roberts whipping off her shirt. Ahhh, an image burned into the pleasure center of my brain. After weeks of fighting her feelings for über-nerd Seth Cohen, the popular—and super hot—Summer knocked his skinny ass on the bed, whipped her shirt off, and boned the geek right out of him. Plot twist: Turns out she was a virgin at the time! Ka-BOINNGGG!

Oliver. It's a name that still strikes terror into the hearts of O.C. fans, and though he came and went in a scant six episodes, what a trail of tears he left in his wake. Oliver Trask was a rich-kid transfer student/sociopath who committed the following crimes: lied his ass off, stole a golf cart, broke up Ryan and Marissa, got busted for drugs, held Marissa at gunpoint, and most horrifically—at least from my perspective—procured the gang tickets to see Rooney at the Bait Shop. BRRRRRR... I still shudder.

And who could forget Ryan's almost daily fistfights, Seth's "Comic Book Club," Sandy's animatronic eyebrows, that hot lesbian bartender, the "Dean of Discipline," and especially the fantastic and heavenly TAYLOR TOWNSEND—who unfortunately couldn't stop the show's downward spiral brought about by the nasal, horrifying witchery of MARISSA COOPER! Regardless... fare thee well, sweet O.C.! And when you reach those pearly gates in the canceled TV afterlife, may Aaron Spelling be there waiting with these words: "O.C., you did good. Welcome to heaven, bitch."

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