The brilliant-for-a-while teen soap The O.C. is officially departing after four seasons in February. I’m sad that the show, better than Beverly Hills 90210 or Dawson’s Creek, didn’t manage to last as long as either. I’m also glad, as the show proved the rule that no high-school drama should last longer than it takes to get through high school. And I’m a hypocrite for saying either, since I haven’t seriously watched the show, except to see Marisa die, die, DIE!, for about a year and a half. I’m told by some of my TV critic brethren–who may make up all the remaining audience–that the new season marked a creative comeback; personally, I couldn’t stop laughing at seeing Ryan in that cage-fight match in the season premiere, and gave up for good then.
I’ll be back for the finale, though. There’s something dutiful, sweet and sad about watching the send-off for a show you haven’t watched for years but loved once, like attending the funeral of an old teacher or going to the wedding of your high-school sweetheart. I came back for the Dawson finale, if only to watch Joshua Jackson, James Van Der Beek and the future Mrs. Cruise pretend to be young once more. I did the same for 90210, Frasier and Alias–well, anyway, I think there’s still a copy of the Alias finale somewhere on my TiVo menu, and I swear I’m going to watch it someday.
All is not lost for O.C. fans, anyway, as the CW picked up the second of two pilots sold by creator Josh Schwartz this week. (What ever happened to Athens, the college drama for Fox that the network said was forthcoming, like, 20 years ago, I have no idea.)
In the end it was probably best of Fox to mercy-kill the show, and maybe even best that its ratings dropped, so that it didn’t stay on the air until Adam Brody had laugh lines to match Peter Gallagher’s. And kind of them to wait until after Chrismukkah to announce it.
* It’s an allusion, people. Relax.