10 Important Lessons ‘The O.C.’ Taught Us About Life


This week marks the 10th anniversary of series finale. A decade has passed since we said goodbye to the most iconic foursome of all time, and a lot has happened in that time: RAZR phones became obsolete, Seth Cohen married Blair Waldorf, we elected a black and then an orange president, we all learned the Soulja Boy crank that and then promptly tried to make everyone forget we had ever memorized the Soulja Boy moves. Yet despite the passage of time, we’re still not over Marissa’s deathor Mischa Barton for fucking ruining the plot twist. was such a critical element in our adolescent years in part because it was entertaining af, but also because like most 2000s teen dramas, ittaught us many important life lessons. So in honor of the 10th anniversary of the series finale, and to remind you that you’re getting increasingly older with every passing second and we’re all hurtling rapidly towards death, we decided to round up 10 life lessons we learned fromSome people (losers) had guidance counselors or older siblings to turn to when in need of advice; betches turned to a group of four privileged West Coast kids.

Not very present on this list but nonetheless worth mentioning are the fashion lessonstaught us, which could take up an entire article on their own.Marissa and Summer’s baby-sized Louis Vuitton bags and Abercrombie & Fitch minis were the epitome of style and the bane of our parents’ existence. This show helped revolutionize the polo industry, encouraging bros to buy multiple brightly colored polos and wear them at the same time with the collars popped. basically created the tanorexic chic aesthetic and made us all dress like we were on the beach in Los Angeles all the time, even when it was the middle of February in New York. But before we go into a whole cultural analysis of the impact ofon the fashion landscape, let’s get back to these iconic moments from , what lessons they served, and who they were taught by.

1. Sandy Cohen: The Importance Of Eyebrow Maintenance

Somebody call this man an aesthetician or take his ass to CVS to buy a pair of tweezers. If you didn’t watch the season premiere and immediately ask your bestie if your eyebrows were too thick (it’s okay if they’re sisters and not twins), then you had extraordinary self-esteem for a sixth grader.

2. Kirsten Cohen: How To Become Ivanka Trump

Kirsten Cohen was a blonde working mother who was an executive vice president for her father’s real estate development company. She later married a Jewish man and had to testify against her father. Does this sound like any woman living in Washington D.C. whose name rhymes with vodka?

3. The Cohen Family: The Importance Of Bagels

I swear to god there was a basket of freshly baked bagels on the Cohen’s kitchen counter at all times. It’s unclear whether the constant bagels were there to remind Sandy of his Brooklyn heritage in WASP-filled Orange County, help Seth weigh more than a Chinese gymnast, or for Kirsten to pretend she ate more than 300 calories per day. Either way, the ubiquitous bagels were almost powerful enough to convince us not to skip breakfast.

4. Ryan Atwood: How To Pull Off The Wife Beater

Regardless of gender, everyone in the 2000s started wearing wife beaters, even though approximately 0% of those people should have ever put one on. Nobody can wear a wife beater like Ryan Atwood, mostly because nobody other than Ryan Atwood should ever wear one. Michael Kors has his black T-shirts and Ryan has his white, sometimes blood-stained from his most recent fight, shitty Hanes undershirts. For the rest of my life wife beaters will be the trigger that makes me hear Ryan Atwood mutter “I’m whoever you want me to be.” I’ll begrudgingly accept that chokers have made a comeback, but the wife beater trend is one that we as a society should never allow to return.

5. Marissa Cooper: The Art Of Blacking Out At The Pregame

Name a more iconic moment than Marissa Cooper blackout drunk at any one of her mom’s parties. I’ll wait. Oh maybe when she would get blackout drunk by herself while tanning in her backyard before junior year of high school? The entire series starts with a passed out Coop getting dropped off by her friends on her front steps. Her tombstone should have said, “It’s more like I’m staying drunk.” Marissa’s dedication to blacking out was one we admired and took with us to college and beyond, and to when our parents/therapists/doctors/lame-ass friends try to say our behavior is “unsafe” and “not normal.”

6. Marissa Cooper: Nothing Good Ever Happens In Tijuana

This show might have been an elaborate anti-tourist campaign against Tijuana. Marissa finds out her parents are separating, her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of her friends, and she ends up in an alley after mixing Oxy and tequila. She lives, but then she has to go to therapy where she meets a kid that tries to kill himself because Marissa doesn’t love him. If you thought your spring break trip to Cabo was bad, think again. Some would argue that this episode really points to the dangers of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol, but we say those people are fucking narcs.

7. Julie Cooper: How To Be A Master Gold-Digger

Julie Cooper would have been the ultimate Real Housewife of Orange County and probably single-handedly inspired the entire series (and, by proxy, all its spinoffs). If you haven’t fantasized about what her intro line would be, you should probably take a minute to think about it. She trapped Jimmy into marrying her with an accidental pregnancy and divorced his ass after he went bankrupt but kept living in his house. Then she was married to Caleb Cohen (despite her horrible blunt bangs) until he went to prison. After that she was poor for a couple episodes until she realized she could hook up with her daughter’s best friend’s dad, Neil Roberts. Say what you will about this clearly BSCB, but she was resourceful AF.

8. Everyone: How To Perfect The Backhanded Compliment

While there wasn’t the same level of back-stabbing or bitchy comments as in , cultivated the subtlety of the backhanded compliment. That’s when you frame a soul-crushing insult as praise. The best of the best was Julie Cooper’s “Are you going to wear the Donna Karan, Marissa? I thought it was very forgiving.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t tweak that line and use it on my frenemies from time to time.

9. Seth Cohen: Unrealistic Expectations Of Fuckboys Everywhere

Seth Cohen is fake news. There are no wealthy, intelligent, kind, funny men in Orange County who are into sailing, call you back, and are hot enough to be your date to prom. It just doesn’t happen. Seth was a supremely decent boy who, besides the whole Anna incident, had absolutely no reason to be. If you started high school thinking you’d find a boy that loved you enough to name a boat after you and publicly acknowledge your relationship because you thought Seth Cohen was the norm, you are one of many women who fell for the trap.

10. Summer Roberts: How To Be The Best Person In Your Friend Group

Summer was the best character on , and not just because she could wear a mini-skirt and crew-neck T-shirt better than Paris Hilton. She didn’t freak out at her dad for being a responsible parent (@Marissa), she didn’t risk her future every episode to work out a hero complex (@Ryan), she didn’t draw comic books (@Seth), and most importantly she wasn’t a fucking try-hard (@Taylor Townsend). Plus, she went to Brown University even though her boyfriend didn’t get in and prioritized her career over him. Her character development from drinking from a keg in a bikini top to saving the world was almost as amazing as when she dressed up as Wonder Woman for Seth’s Christmukkah present.

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