The Good

The Bad

Okay, have the people who created this show ever been to Orange County?

Lets just start with this question because I think that this show would be better titled South O.C. by Way of Manhattan Beach. I have been an Orange County resident since 1977. I lived in Irvine with my parents before settling in Fountain Valley. I have lived in Huntington Beach and I have traversed every single city in this great part of Southern California. Anybody, who has ever been to Orange County knows that it is a very diverse hotbed of differing cultures and even different political views. The term “Behind the Orange Curtain,” while may be applicable in the 1970s and 1980s, just doesn’t hold true now. This isn’t to say that The O.C.: The Complete Second Season doesn’t get some things right. This 90210-esque show captures a lot of what I have seen when I have traveled to such areas as Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. Which is known as “South County.”

And don’t get me wrong, I love those areas, but to call this show The O.C. and completely ignore Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa and all those other places that make up Orange County just does all of us a big disservice. I know that this is just a show, I know that I am probably taking things too seriously, but what’s the point of doing something like this, of hitting so many people if you’re not going to try and elevate your message a little bit and get things right?

Features

Commentary Tracks on Select Episodes

These are commentary tracks on “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't” and “The Rainy Day Women.” Pretty standard stuff here as it seems like some friends have gotten together to look back at this show that has taken the US by storm. It is amazing how people have taken to the show, and you can tell that the people involved are also surprised by it. It is all evident in how they talk about the show and try and breakdown what the characters are doing in various scenes. I also get the feeling that the actors understand the melodramatic nature of the material and as result play this up with a minimum degree of camp.

Extended Creators Cut of “The Rainy Day Women”

What I guess I wondered as I watched this was why did they pick this episode to extend? Why not the first episode that began the season? Or, even the finale? Truthfully, I didn’t see much about this episode that was even that great or deserved to be extended, but I guess that that is just me. Maybe if I watched more of the show and was just a tad more up on things (watching this 2nd season was basically a crash course in O.C. lingo for me), this extended cut would have resonated more.

Beachy Couture: How O.C. Fashion is Made and Gags and Goofs from Season’s 1 and 2

Okay, what came first, the chicken or the egg? I have never understood how people have watched a TV that’s really cheesy and then started to emulate those characters. Now, before you start to get on me about lets say a show like, “Happy Days” (and people emulating Fonzie), I will state up front that I think the 1950s look is always in style. So there, deal?!? Again, I think fans of the show will appreciate seeing how much they have been affected by it, I just think this whole retro thing when it works can look great. When it doesn’t, it just seems kind of frumpy. The gags and goofs are funny as I think seeing people mess up a line or blow a take is always funny. This said, I think some of the actors on here play it up a bit too much when it happens.

Obsessed Completely: Retrospective TV Special

I actually saw this on TV when it originally aired but it was nice to see this again, simply because I am now 300% more familiar with this show. I really cared about the relationships between the Ryan, Marissa, Summer and Seth characters. I also took a liking to the Julie character but I think that might have been more for personal reasons than it was for anything else. This retrospective is something that I am sure the “obsessed” fans will be completely happy to own on DVD.

Video

Widescreen Anamorphic - 1.78:1. If you live in Orange County, you know that it isn’t this white enclave, where everybody lives by the beach and walks around carrying surfboards. Although parts of it are this way, for the most part, Orange County is a lot like Las Vegas. I liken Northern Orange County (Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Anaheim, etc...) to the downtown area of Las Vegas. Whereas the place that The O.C. depicts (Newport Beach and the surrounding areas) as the Las Vegas strip. However, even Newport Beach has it’s seedy areas and if you should ever find yourself on Harbor Blvd., facing inland, I dare you to make a right on 19th Street. In fact, if any of the creators of The O.C. are reading this, I think I might have just given you an episode idea that I would be more than happy to write for you on spec.

Audio

Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. This is another one of those shows that’s just trying too hard to be cool. It’s trying too hard to have lines that make into Entertainment Weekly’s “Sound Bites” column. Then again part of this show’s charm is how much it revels in the situations it all but dumps it’s characters into. Also, one really interesting thing as that the adults aren’t too much of a moral compass either, so we as viewers get to see how their actions ultimately influence their children. The audio on these DVDs is really outstanding. I didn’t have to adjust my TV much at all, and while this is one of those shows that seems overly rehearsed (and therefore loses some it’s “reality”; if that’s possible), it makes up for it’s deliberateness in giving a lot of screentime to people we want to see talking.

Package

This 7 disc set is packaged in such a way that makes it pretty easy for the consumer to navigate around the disks. I also love the gray-type pictures that surround the main pictures that make up the main picture on the box. As if these characters are all ensconced by the memories of their past, and this past will inevitably have an effect on their current futures. The back features a description of the box sets contents, an extra features listing and technical specs. The disks inside all have episode listings and descriptions as well. While this 7 disk set is pretty bulky (and heavy) I don’t think that will stop it from finding it’s way into people’s collections.

Final Word

Truth be told, everything I had heard about The O.C. was true. You put on one episode and you have to keep watching. I don’t care if you have a Master’s Degree in Analytical Science, this show is such that you want to keep watching even though you may think you’re “above it.” Is it because the characters are all good looking and you want to see how they fare? Probably. Is it because the writing is so cheesy in so many ways that you can’t believe that the situations that are happening in the show are actually happening? That’s a good bet. Is just because this show is easy to watch? Yes.

Now, I am not saying that I am going to become an O.C. devotee. I’m not saying that I am now going to watch the show in it’s regular prime-time spot in the Fox lineup. I will say that after having The O.C.: The Complete Second Season experience, I feel that I did learn something about this show and the people involved. While I think it is 100% misleading to claim that this show represents Orange County, CA, it does represent a part of it that is sure fun to watch.

The O.C. was released .