The O.C. turned 10 years old in August. It began in 2003 with a wonderful reception. Orange County. California. Rich people. Welcome to the OC, bitch. Ah, the show itself was fantastic. Even though the show fell apart after the third season, it remains a favorite of mine. The live music acts that appeared on The OC were a main reason why fans kept on coming back. Now I love this show, and continue to watch episodes from the first three seasons. The fourth season? Not so much. These are my top-10 episodes of The OC based off the first three seasons. I remember watching the entire series last summer. I had seen the show before but never in its entirety. Now that I know every episode very well I can make a semi-accurate list. Obviously this list caters towards my favorites. Let me know of any episodes I may have missed, or any episodes that should never have sniffed the top-10. This was much more difficult than I imagined, although I wanted only a top-10. I could have done a top-20 or top-30, but oh well. I give loose summaries of each episode. I do give some spoiler alerts, so sorry if you haven’t seen the O.C. before.
As for the top-10 episodes…
10. THE MALLPISODE Season 2 Episode 15 Written by: Stephanie Savage
Lindsay moves with her mom to Chicago, which hurts Ryan. Ryan, Seth, Summer and Marissa (the core four) spend after hours at a mall. It’s a pretty awesome episode because it shows how important they are to each other. Olivia Wilde (so hot) guest starred on the OC more than once. She played Marissa’s short-time lover, and Seth’s girl.
Here is Le Tigre’s “TKO” playing during this episode.
9. THE PERFECT COUPLE Season 1 Episode 10 Written by: Allan Heinberg
Ah, Ryan and Marissa. So much of the OC was built off this couple. Although it was definitely not always perfect, it made for great television. This episode chronicles the first date between Ryan and Marissa after Marissa chose Ryan over Luke.
This song “Breathe” by Leaves ended this episode.
8. THE RAINY DAY WOMEN Season 2 Episode 14 Written by: Josh Schwartz
Marissa finally tells her mom about her lesbian relationship with Alex (Olivia Wilde). Lindsay takes a paternity test to find out if Caleb is her dad. Lindsay ends up moving to Chicago with her mom, which leads to the Mallpisode (ranked No. 10 on this list.) Summer and Zach are supposed to head to Italy for Zach’s sister’s wedding, but Seth gets in the way. This episode is great because it shows how destined Seth and Summer are. Oh yeah, and this happens.
And while that epic kiss takes place this Oasis cover is played by Matt Pond PA.
7. THE O.SEA Season 2 Episode 23 Written by J.J. Philbin
Caleb confront Kirsten about her drinking issue. A main theme in season 2 deals with Kirsten’s drinking problem. Kirsten develops the problem slowly. It shows the stress and pressure she has put on herself. Caleb dies at the end of this episode. The episode also features Ryan asking Marissa what took place between Ryan’s brother and Marissa when Ryan was away. And prom takes place. Even though Seth and Summer shared that epic kiss a few episodes prior, Zach is still fighting for Summer. And by the end of the episode Seth and Summer finally are back together, of course Coldplay’s “Fix You” plays during that scene.
6. TIES THAT BIND Season 1 Episode 27 Written by Josh Schwartz
This episode ended the debut season. Caleb and Julie wed. Ryan and Theresa deal with baby drama. Seth decides to leave Summer because Ryan went back to Chino. This episode shows a lot about Seth’s character. Seth had no friends or anyone to even talk to before Ryan showed up in his life. Now that Ryan leaves to deal with his baby, Seth feels betrayed and decides to leave on his sailboat. Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” ends the first season of The O.C.
5. THE CLIFFHANGER Season 3 Episode 14 Written by: J.J. Philbin
This is the first episode from season 3 that appears on the list. You meet Johnny in season 3, and he plays a large role in this episode. Seth begins smoking pot the episode before this. He skips his interview with Brown to smoke pot. Summer catches Seth high towards the end of the episode. Marissa and Johnny had been friends all year, and when Kaitlin (Marissa’s sister) comes home from boarding school she and Johnny begin hanging out. Johnny proclaims his love for Marissa but Marissa writes a letter rejecting him. He is depressed and goes up to a cliff. Johnny falls off the cliff and dies.
The best song has to be James Blunt’s “Fall at your feet” during three scenes (including Johnny’s fall)
4. THE GRADUATES Season 3 Episode 25 Written by: Josh Schwartz
Marissa is supposed to leave with her dad for the summer. Summer, Seth, Marissa and Ryan graduate. Ryan and Marissa slowly bring back there relationship, but Marissa ends up dying at the end of the episode. She had been through so much turmoil throughout the first three seasons that this was an appropriate time for her to exit. The episode begins with Ryan trying to convince Seth to admit he burned down his mother’s office. This song appears twice on this list, but this song is by a different artist. It’s a beautiful song during a beautiful moment. Also I love Imogen Heap.
3. PREMIERE Season 1 Episode 1 Written by: Josh Schwartz
The episode that started it all. Ryan and his brother Trey get arrested for stealing a car. But Ryan is released because he is a minor. Sandy Cohen then brings him into his home. Ryan meets Seth, which begins one of the better TV show friendships in recent years. Marissa and Ryan share a moment outside the Cohen’s and Cooper’s. This episode is great, hence why it is a top-3 episode. And Luke, Marissa’s boyfriend at the time, says the famous line to Ryan “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”
2. THE BEST CHRISMUKKAH EVER Season 1 Episode 13 Written by: Stephanie Savage
The sole reason why this episode appears in the top-2 is because of the idea of Chrsimukkah. Seth is Jewish and Christian, so he created his own holiday. The best thing about The OC (besides Sandy) has to be Adam Brody’s character Seth. Seth is a sarcastic comic book nerd. He excels in his role, and I wish he would’ve turned into a bigger star. Seth has two extremely attractive women in his house during Christmas (Summer and Anna), but Anna’s present totally outdoes Summer’s.
The best song had to be by Bright Eyes called “Blue Christmas.”
1. THE DEARLY BELOVED Season 2 Episode 24 Written by: Josh Schwartz
Well, we made it. This is my top episode from The OC. S/o to Mike Arena who predicted this as No. 1. Marissa shoots Trey. What a crazy scene. Kirsten goes to rehab. This episode is crazy. Ryan finds out that Trey (his brother) tried to hook up with Marissa when she was drunk. You can watch the entire scene of Ryan, Trey and Marissa here. And the full song here.