As we come the end of a wonderful week spent reminiscing about McMansions and Mischa Barton death scenes via the 10-year anniversary of The O.C. premiere, we’d be remiss not to mention the music. For four years, Josh Schwartz and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas saved you the trouble of making your own collection of tunes essential to the teenage experience with a series of official soundtracks from the show. I spent many hours driving around to “Saturday Morning” by Eels and Beulah’s “Popular Mechanics For Lovers,” and followed the complex family dynamics of the Cohens, Coopers, and Nichols for a solid three seasons (for those who stuck it out after Marissa’s death, bravo). To celebrate our California friends hitting TV screens 10 years ago, here are the essential moments made even stronger by the soundtrack.
1. Cohen gets lucky, and Super Fury Animals become legendary
“Hello Sunshine” will forever signify that someone is taking their top off. Maybe it’s not the action a band dreams of providing a soundtrack for (or maybe it is?) but either way, Seth and Summer’s underwhelming moment wouldn’t be the same without that song calling us home.
2. Coldplay can’t fix Kirsten’s drinking problem
Back before Apple, Moses, and GOOP, in a time when Coldplay wasn’t quite the punchline to a lot of people’s jokes, it felt pretty cool to hear one of my favorite bands on one of my favorite shows. And after watching Ryan and Marissa reconnect outside of the Harbor School–where, let’s face it, neither one of them ever really fit in–Chris Martin’s quiet soul accompanied by the organ chords of “Fix You” can and will make me cry at any moment. Wait, is Caleb having a heart attack, and OH S–T did Kirsten get caught drinking again?! Excuse me while I grab some tissues.
3. Seth finally lives up to his idol, Tobey Maguire
Matt Pond PA’s cover of “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis set against a montage of relationships rekindled (plus two people leaving the door open to rekindle one, so long as no one tells Alex from the Bait Shop). Summer and Seth reenact the Spider-Man kiss, which is really all any comic book/Tobey Maguire fan wants, right?
4. Exit music from a TV soap
While lovable, Seth is at his most grating when he’s using other people for personal advantage, completely ignoring their thoughts and feelings, as well as the fact that they’re pretty awesome and don’t need to wait around for a dope like Cohen to figure that out. That said, Season One was still a time when Seth was figuring out his place in a world he despised so much, and finding comfort in like-minded friends (Anna) or compassionate strangers turned friends with far too much patience (Ryan). He didn’t want to date Anna–and upon re-watching I tend to side with her during the love triangle storyline–but his utter fear of not having her as a safety net, paired with Nada Surf’s “If You Leave,” in a quintessential rom com airport scenario, makes me always turn around whenever I’m headed through security… just in case.
5. Marissa teaches Ryan that material goods can provide comfort around the holidays
The eldest Cooper daughter might not be able to afford retail therapy South Coast Plaza anymore (check her pockets, security) but her obsession with perfect and need to escape from her problems is right at home inside the well-manicured grounds of the local shopping mall. For two people who’ve been through a lot both together and long before their paths crossed, “Maybe This Christmas” by Ron Sexsmith adds the necessary element of hope that things can and will get better.
6.The Bait Shop sets the scene
The Killers stopped by Orange County’s seaside live music venue of choice to perform “Smile Like You Mean It” and “Mr. Brightside.” Both songs serve as appropriate compliments to the awkward, insincere posing-as-perfect both couples (Summer and Zach, Seth and Lindsay) do, but only the latter remains a stand-out karaoke choice. Plus, this show is the first time Marissa meets Alex (Olivia Wilde), thus opening the door to a slew of new ways she can piss off her mom.
7. TIP meets The O.C.
The thought of Seth and Ryan dancing to T.I. (or, dancing at all) cheers me up on the darkest of days. Plus, Tip is a part of the VH1 family, so have to show him some love.
8. Wedding day confessions
You may have thought nothing could top Sir Paul McCartney’s original, or that gender-bending the classics diminishes meaning, but Jem’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” proves it all wrong. It’s Julie and Caleb’s special day, but it’s Marissa’s last chance to tell Ryan how she feels. At least the wedding backdrop gives me an excuse to cry.
9. Where were you when Marissa shot Trey?
And unexpected and life-altering ending to the strange tension between two brothers and one girlfriend. Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” picks up where Marissa, Ryan, Seth, and Summer’s speechlessness leaves off, following the altercation with Trey that ended with a gun shot. Did that just happen? “Hide and Seek” would go on to be sampled by Jason Derulo and play a role on the next Josh Schwartz series.
10. “It’s gonna be okay.”
RYAN CARRIES MARISSA’S BODY AWAY FROM A BURNING CAR (to the sounds of Imogen Heap’s version of “Hallelujah”). That is all.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]