The O.C.: Season One

Very rarely does a television show cross over into territory that can be enjoyed by tweens, teens, adults and parents. Last year, Fox debuted a show ridiculously titled The O.C. and it became an instant hit. Maybe it was the non-stop fightin' and lovin' or the cute actors used as bait in the commercials that caused an initial reaction, but think about how many times someone has asked you, "Have you seen The O.C.?" Word of mouth got this show going and aren't you thankful? Call it a guilty pleasure, but most people proudly call it one of their faves. Not since Beverly Hills 90210 has a youthful, prime time drama made such a stink with over-the-top situations and cool as shit characters who, deep inside, you wish you could be. However, 90210 doesn't hold a candle to The O.C. There is no James Dean figure like Dylan: the rich, too cool for school (he was literally never in school) rebel. Instead there is the Russell Crowe-alike Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie), the hunky delinquent from the other side of the tracks. Yes, he is tough, irresistible to all women and gets into fights every episode, but deep down he's just like you or me. Instead of the boring, goody two-shoes Brandon, we have the lovable Seth (Adam Brody), a videogame playing, comic book reading nerd who is equally desperate and self-deprecating yet insanely cute and filled with tasty one-liners. And so on. What is so remarkable is how funny the scripts are (Seth says to Ryan after some shopping: "We all know you get a lot of mileage out of a tank top") and the fact that the usually dull and lifeless adults (remember Jim and Cindy?) are an interesting part of the show. Sandy and Kirsten Cohen (Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan) are constantly battling their own issues but they're given sexy chemistry, good "wish they were my parents" personalities and great lines to use against one another. At times the storylines tend to be a little too exciting, but that's what we want: a dose of salacious fiction. Ryan's painful on-again-off-again romance with the beautifully distressed Marissa (Mischa Barton) or Seth's development from loveless geek to super-awkward-stud with both Summer (Rachel Bilson) and Anna (Samaire Armstrong) make for the bulk of the teen content. Bankruptcy, fights, copious black tie events and socially incestuous relationships make up the adult life. Call it a soap opera, but it's just brilliant escapism. All 27 episodes from the first season are captured throughout the seven-disc set, making it a complete and addictive collection. However, seeing as this is DVD, extras are what make it better than your videotapes. "Casting The O.C." visits each character, interviewing casting director Patrick Rush and creator Josh Schwartz, as well as the actor(s). "The Music of The O.C." talks about the impact of the "cool" music on the show and how character-based much of it is. "Inside The O.C." is kind of cheesy, with executive producer McG asking a bunch of real kids from Orange County how real his show is. Most answers are ass-kissingly agreeable, but the truth comes out that no one actually uses the term "the O.C." Of course, the bee's knees here is "The O.C. Unseen," a strong batch of deleted scenes that include some great cut moments like Kirsten's passion for the PS2, Sandy's opinion of The Golden Girls ("Sophia carried that show!") and his reaction to Seth's revelation that Summer is not big on foreplay ("You've got yourself a keeper, son"). Do I sound like an over-caffeinated teenager, you bet, but that's just what this melodramatic, very funny and very sunny series does to you. Welcome to The O.C., bitch, and remember: do not insult Death Cab. (Warner)