It seems as though 2003 started only yesterday, and yet here we are on the precipice of 2004. What will the new year bring? Will I keep my resolutions? How long do you think it will take before I stop writing 2003 on checks???
The characters of The OC have more serious issues on their minds as they gear up for New Year’s Eve. Love triangles, financial ruin, mental instability… and that’s just Marissa!
So after the dramatic Yuletide drunkenness last week, Marissa and Ryan are back on good terms and have just returned from a romantic date to the movies, where they saw nobody’s favorite film of 2003: Master and Commander. This is mainly a setup for a very meta joke about how Marissa doesn’t get why people think Russell Crowe is attractive (Ben McKenzie’s alleged resemblance to Mr. Crowe was much discussed at the time). They talk about how tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and how many things happened to them in 2003 and wonder whether they should go to a party or hang out at home for the big night and then this happens:
After many moments of uncomfortable silence Ryan says “Thank you?” and Marissa is like “UM, YOU’RE WELCOME I GUESS?” and leaves.
He goes to the poolhouse and says “I love you” out loud to himself a bunch of times and then some lady comes strolling out of his bathroom wearing nothing but panties and one of his tank tops and is like “Who the fuck are you?” Ryan is like “This is my poolhouse, I’ll ask the questions!” After a tense few moments of staring at each other with vaguely threatening facial expressions, Ryan finally deduces that this is Kirsten’s ne’er-do-well sister, Hailey. In the constant race to be the worst character on The OC, Jimmy has been leading the pack for a while with Oliver just now emerging as a dark horse. Because of those two goons Hailey tends to fly under the radar but spoiler alert, you’re not going to like her much.
She tells Ryan that Kirsten doesn’t know even know that she’s in town yet and banishes Ryan to the living room couch, saying that they’ll sort everything out in the morning.
The next morning Seth comes downstairs, still feeling blue about his sudden lack of girlfriends, only to find his boyfriend passed out on the couch. He asks Ryan what he’s doing there and Ryan mumbles out a sentence that includes the word “aunt” at which Seth gets very excited and bounds into the kitchen to ask his parents where Hailey is.
Kirsten is like “I dunno, what time of year does Coachella take place?” Ryan comes in and tells them that Hailey is in the poolhouse and Kirsten is like “That Hailey is so spontaneous! I wonder why she’s here?” and Sandy is like “Please look at my face so you can see my eyes rolling because obviously she just needs money.”
The lady herself comes in still wearing her sexy borrowed PJs and Seth is like “We’ll hug later when I don’t find you sexy, blood relative.” Kirsten forces Seth to give her his robe because a pantsless lady in the kitchen is just TOO MUCH SCANDAL for the OC.
Seth fills Hailey in on the most important details of Cohen life since the last time she dropped by, by which I mean he fails to explain who Ryan is and instead talks about how he recently lost two girlfriends. She asks what he’s doing for New Year’s and he says he’ll just tag along with Ryan and Marissa and Hailey is like “Ha ha but didn’t you hear? This Ryan person whose presence I still don’t understand failed to tell Marissa he loves her last night!”
Speak of the devil and she doth appear in the next scene! Marissa is leaving therapy and Oliver is sitting in the same armchair from last week, ostensibly waiting for his appointment to start but probably just waiting for Marissa.
A side note: the majority of the characters on this show have one-to-one matches on Gossip Girl except Gossip Girl has no Luke and I had always thought The OC had no Chuck and Blair but I’m just now noticing Oliver’s hairdo and scarf and coming to a terrible realization:
Anyway! He asks what her New Year’s resolutions are and what her plans for New Year’s Eve are. She evades his questions by asking what his plans are and he invites her to his own party, revealing in the process that he lives in the penthouse at the Four Seasons which I guess is supposed to be impressive? I don’t get rich people.
She’s like “Oh, my boyfriend Ryan who is my boyfriend wants to stay in, just the two of us, and he is my boyfriend.” Oliver is like “Oh that’s cool my girlfriend Natalie is an antisocial asshole too. You can meet her if you come to the party!” and Marissa makes this hilarious skeptical face when he says the word “girlfriend”:
She says maybe she’ll convince Ryan to go.
Back at the Cohens’, Hailey is going through Kirsten’s closet and criticizing her for wearing Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren and Talbots and I’m like BITCH I’VE BEEN WEARING TWO OUT OF THREE OF THOSE SINCE I WAS 18 WE CAN’T ALL SWAN AROUND IN STOLEN MEN’S TANK TOPS OK. Kirsten is like “I don’t know how those dorky clothes got there! Changing the subject: I can’t wait until dad gets back from his vacation with his girlfriend Julie Cooper” and there is no way that this Hailey person can be trusted because one of these faces is her reaction to a Talbots sweater and the other is her reaction to the news that Juleb is the hottest new couple in Newport and they are not the right faces:
Kirsten starts to try to grill her about her life plans when Sandy comes in. He and Kirsten have a “we are so super married that we even finish each other’s sentences” conversation about how he’s going surfing and he leaves and Hailey is like “Ew you guys are in a rut. I hate your life.”
She throws some major shade on Sandy and Kirsten’s plan to spend New Year’s at the same restaurant they go to every year and tells her that she should go to this hot party she heard about instead. Kirsten is so offended that Hailey thinks she’s boring that she decides to prove herself by going to the party.
In the poolhouse Marissa is trying to convince Ryan to go to Oliver’s stupid party and Ryan is like “Who the fuck is Oliver?” and Marissa says that he’s a guy from therapy and I’m like “I think you mean he is the guy who stalks you at therapy” and Ryan makes the correct face:
So Ryan is like “We already had a plan what is wrong with the plan we already had” and Marissa subtly hints that she’s mad about how he didn’t say I love you back to her and Ryan is like “UGH FINE. You can go but I’m staying here.”
So this all has resulted in Ryan and Seth having the romantic stay-at-home date with each other, as God intended. They play videogames and Seth tells Ryan that he blew it with Marissa but now that they’re both single they can mix it up a bit HA HA no he actually suggests that they “join Friendster and meet new people.” I miss you, 2003.
Sandy and Kirsten are on their way out the door but they pop in to say goodbye to their sons and it’s basically like
Hailey comes in and is like “You guys better get to your super fun mystery party! Don’t worry about me, I’ll just be spending a quiet evening catching up with friends!” Then she goes to hassle the boys about their pathetic datelessness and I’m like “Read a room, girl.”
She is appalled that they are planning to stay home and convinces Ryan that if Marissa goes to the party alone she’ll end up kissing Oliver at midnight and their relationship will be over. He’s like “OLIVER’S LIPS WILL TOUCH MARISSA’S LIPS OVER MY DEAD BODY” so he gets ready to drag Seth over to the Four Seasons with him. Hailey is like “Have fun! I’ll just be sitting here alone reflecting on life and the year ahead” and she almost gets away with it, but Seth opens the door to leave and finds a surprise waiting on the other side.
A whole stream of bozos come pouring into the room spraying champagne all over each other.
Over at the Four Seasons (ooh la la) Marissa and Summer arrive at Oliver’s party. Summer is very excited as she is recently single and hoping to mingle. They run into Anna, who is there because her parents are friends with Oliver’s parents. Oliver comes up and drags Marissa off for what is surely a creepy conversation, leaving Summer and Anna to stand there awkwardly staring at each other. Apparently they both think the other is dating Seth because he didn’t tell them that he chose Ryan, but they get that straightened out and then bond over their desire for a completely Cohen-free 2004.
Meanwhile Hailey’s party is already out of control and Seth refuses to leave because he doesn’t want the house to get trashed. Ryan is like “But my girlfriend 😦 ” and Seth is like “Fine, go tell my wacky aunt that her wacky party is over and we can go” and then nearby a lady takes her top off and Seth is like
So Sandy and Kirsten are driving to their party and Kirsten is like “Are we in a rut?” and Sandy is like “No” and then to prove that their marriage is still exciting, he turns right when the GPS says to turn left.
At the Four Seasons Oliver makes this face when over-pronouncing “mojito”:
Marissa continues to show warning signs of brain damage by finding this charming and hilarious. He asks where Ryan is and she’s like “Not here. Where’s your girlfriend?” and Oliver is like “Not here. Long story. Don’t ask too many questions about it.” Marissa is like “Have you told her that you love her?” because she is good at conversations and he is like “Duh” and Marissa is like “I am rethinking my star-crossed romance.”
Speaking of Ryan, he is looking for Hailey so he can force her to shut down the party. He goes upstairs and overhears her having a fight with some lady she owes a lot of money to. After the mystery lady storms away Ryan pops into the bedroom and is like “Hey I’m gonna call the cops if you don’t shut down this party” and Hailey is like “Hey chill out why don’t we go talk about it in the poolhouse!” and then she locks Ryan and Seth in the poolhouse so she can party in peace without cranky teens nagging her. Seth freaks out because he’s claustrophobic and Ryan is like “Girl take it easy this is basically an entire apartment, we’re not going to run out of oxygen.”
Sandy and Kirsten arrive at their party and are surprised that it isn’t a wild and crazy rager but instead a low-key looking gathering of other middle-aged people drinking cocktails and speaking at a normal volume while wearing all of their clothes. Also, our favorite Newsie Mom Haircut is there!
She makes a cryptic comment about how surprised she is that Kirsten would be at this kind of party and Kirsten is like “Um, ok? You know my husband Sandy right?” and she says “Well if I don’t now, I might at midnight!” and Kirsten is like “???”
Mom Haircut tells Sandy to put his watch in a bowl full of all the other dudes’ watches and then stage whispers to Kirsten that whoever ends up with Sandy tonight is super lucky because HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA this is a swingers party. Kirsten is like “We’ve gotta get out of here. We can’t do this, right?” and Sandy is like “Oh definitely. We’re not in THAT big of a rut” but that was the wrong move because Kirsten is like “SO YOU DO THINK WE’RE IN A RUT, HUH? LET’S BE SWINGERS I HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE!” So Sandy puts his watch in the bowl and they get ready to fuck some strangers.
Sandy immediately starts flirting with some trollop and Mom Haircut goes to console Kirsten, telling her that the first time is the hardest and she should just get really crunk and not overthink it. She also claims that being a swinger saved her boring marriage.
At Oliver’s party Summer and Anna are very bored until this happens:
They both think he was looking at them and Summer is like “WE ARE NOT GOING THROUGH THIS AGAIN!” and drags Anna across the room with her to ask the guy who he likes better. But much like Seth, he cannot choose between them! Anna finally is like “Whatever, you take him, he’s not my type anyway” and Summer is like “’Handsome male’ is not your type? What is your type then? Seth Cohen?” and Anna is like “Yup, basically” and walks away.
Meanwhile Oliver is showing Marissa the crudités (there is this whole running “joke” in this episode about Marissa and Oliver talking about the crudités and dip that I really don’t understand and I was going to ignore it but this is like the fourth time it’s come up so I thought I ought to at least mention it) and then is like “Hey btw, did you ask me that weird question about if I love my girlfriend because you told Ryan you love him and he didn’t say it back?” and Marissa is like “Ur so smart.” She says that maybe he just wasn’t ready to say it yet and then Oliver subtly hints that maybe Ryan just doesn’t love her and she is like
Over at the swinger party Sandy is appalled to see that Kirsten is having a casual conversation with a grey-haired gentleman and I’m like give me a break Sandy literally like two minutes ago this was you, don’t be throwing no stones:
He goes over and introduces himself to his wife’s possible paramour by saying “Sandy Cohen, pleasure swinging with you!” and then tells Kirsten that it’s been real but it’s time to go back to their boring lives. Kirsten is like “I’ve only just begun to swing” and refuses to leave. Sandy is like “FINE” and gets his flirt on with a random lady.
In the poolhouse, these two bozos are not enjoying their evening.
Ryan says that he’s going to murder Hailey because it’s all her fault that he can’t protect his girlfriend’s lips from creeps at midnight. Seth takes a break from breathing into a paper bag to ask Ryan why he didn’t just tell Marissa he loves her. He’s like “I dunno. Let’s change the subject to why didn’t you just choose Summer or Anna, they were both perfectly viable girlfriends.” Seth is like “Because I love you I’m a dummy.”
Inside everybody is having a great time until a few tough customers come in looking for Hailey.
Hailey sees them and runs to the poolhouse and is like “Hey guys, are you still interested in breaking up this party because some angry ladies are here to bust my chops and/or face.” Ryan is like “You are a trifling b and I hate you but I really want to kiss my girlfriend at midnight so let’s just make this quick.” They shut off the power and tell everybody that the cops are coming and after everybody leaves Seth tells Ryan to GTFO to stake his claim on his woman and that he’ll stay behind and clean up.
It’s 30 minutes to midnight which means it’s time for the swingers to pick their swinging partners. You would think that people would pair up based on who they connected with during the drinks and flirtation part of the evening, but nope, the ladies pick watches out of a bowl at random and get stuck with whatever clown owns the watch whether she wants his D or not. Sounds like a good system!
Kirsten is starting to feel nervous but she has decided to turn this whole thing into a game of chicken with Sandy so she decides to stick it out. The ladies start to choose their watches and can I just point out that next to the bowl of watches there is a bowl of condoms?
Sandy and Kirsten intensely stare at each other from across the room for the entire selection process. Mom Haircut gets stuck with an unattractive nerd but unfortunately she is now contractually obligated to fuck him so she goes to meet her fate after telling Kirsten she hopes she has better luck.
Finally they get down to the last four people but WHAT IS THIS???? There’s only one watch left in the bowl and it ain’t Sandy’s! He just could not let his wife fuck a stranger to make a stupid point about their marriage, so he snuck his own watch out of the bowl at some point! Kirsten is very relieved.
Meanwhile Ryan is rushing to get to Oliver’s party. I will point out now that I did some intensive research on the subject and found that the nearest Four Seasons to Newport Beach is an hour away by car and Ryan is currently in a traffic jam, having left the house at 11:30. NICE TRY, SHOW, BUT THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Anyway, Anna is at the party feeling sad about her lost love and she decides to leave. Much like Ryan, she will (spoiler alert) defy the laws of time and space and get back to the OC before midnight.
Marissa tells Oliver that she keeps hoping that Ryan will show up and he’s like “Oh yeah I keep hoping Natalie will show up too but it’s just not meant to be and at least we have each other!”
Sandy and Kirsten come home to find their house has been trashed. Seth is like “Don’t look at me, I only have one friend and the only thing we were planning on fucking up tonight were some videogame zombies.” Hailey comes in and is like “Hey guys how was the swinging?” Kirsten sends Seth to take out the trash so she can yell at Hailey in private while Sandy goes off to bed.
Kirsten starts lecturing Hailey about her wayward ways and Hailey is like “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM AND YOU NEVER WILL BE!”
Meanwhile Sandy goes into his bedroom to find a callback to the pilot episode waiting for him
Downstairs Kirsten transitions from yelling to being condescendingly disappointed in Hailey and goes on this whole rant about how at her age she should have a job and a college degree and a husband and like, Hailey is awful but seriously Kirsten? Anyway, Hailey is like “Whatevs, I’m going to bed.”
Outside Seth is taking out the trash when a lady appears in the driveway.
They banter a bit about how she didn’t want him to be alone at midnight and how he wasn’t alone because he had Captain Oats and at one point Seth refers to Carson Daly as “a ginormous tool” which I remember thinking was the most hilarious thing I had ever heard when I first saw this episode but now I just imagine being Carson Daly and watching my new favorite show The OC and then this scene happens and I cry myself to sleep.
Ryan arrives at the Four Seasons with only minutes to spare and for some reason he decides that instead of waiting for the elevator he’s going to run up the stairs and I’m like “GIRL DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT A PENTHOUSE IS IT MEANS ALL THE STAIRS.”
But luckily for him time doesn’t work the same way in the OC as it does in the real world so of course he manages to make it right at the end of the midnight countdown. When Marissa sees him she is so relieved that she just runs away from Oliver (who was clearly winding up for a creepy kiss) to make out with him.
Back at home Sandy and Kirsten prepare to have marital relations while down the hall Seth makes out with Anna on his bed. Everybody is getting some action except poor Summer, who breaks off from midnight-kissing her generic hunk because she realizes the only person she wants to kiss is Seth which is a curse I would not wish on my worst enemy.
And finally, Oliver looks on with jelly-eyes as Ryan tells Marissa that he loves her and they make out some more and we fade to black.