4 Things That Make Absolutely No Sense About 'The O.C.'

Go back to California and The O.C., Fox’s popular teen drama of the early 2000s. On the air from 2003 – 2007, the TV show followed the lives of Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton), Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), and Newport Beach newcomer Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie). In addition to the over-the-top parties and scandals, there were parts of the series that just didn’t make sense. 

Ryan Atwood living in the pool house

When Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) first met Ryan in the pilot episode as his public defender, he had a soft spot for him. So much so he took Ryan home to stay with him, his wife Kirsten Cohen (Kelly Rowan), and their son, Seth.

Driving in Sandy’s expensive car and seeing his mansion in a gated community, Ryan realized he wasn’t staying with an average family. When he became a more permanent resident in the Cohen house Ryan lived in the poolhouse.

Why didn’t he stay in the main house with Sandy, Kirsten, and Seth when they had the room? Fans will never know — maybe the production team wanted to differentiate between Ryan and Seth’s bedrooms? — but it just didn’t make sense. 

Seth maintaining good grades when he barely studied

When Ryan went to enroll at Harbor with Seth, viewers got some details on Seth’s course load. He made a remark about taking all advanced classes and having no life.

But then he and Ryan become friends and Seth presumably doesn’t spend as much time studying. In a few scenes he’s sitting at his desk studying, but for the most part, Seth maintained his stellar GPA without doing much schoolwork.

Seth’s performance at school came into question in later seasons but prior to that, he appeared to keep his grades up while also spending more and more time with Ryan, Marissa, Summer, and the rest.

Marissa Cooper not doing much as social chair

Another minor detail that didn’t make sense was Marissa’s duties as her school’s social chair. Her responsibility was to plan the school’s events but she never showed up early to school to set up. On top of that, it wasn’t normal for her to stay late. 

The O.C. made mention of Marissa’s position as social chair on multiple occasions but for a character who was responsible for some pretty time-consuming events, she didn’t do much. Granted, she had some help from the show’s production team with decorations. 

Kirsten Cohen getting swindled by Charlotte Morgan 

One of the larger plots that just didn’t make sense on The O.C. concerned Kirsten and her mysterious friend from rehab, Charlotte Morgan (Jeri Ryan).

It marked a shift when the show became more focused on the adults rather than the teens. And, as The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz told Vulture in 2013, Fox pushed for the addition of a new character.

“There was a real consensus at the network that to make the show broader and more appealing, we should boost the sort of adult soap part of the show,” he said.

Hence the introduction of Charlotte and the plot featuring her and Kirsten. 

At the time, ABC’s Desperate Housewives had become a success and Fox “really wanted us to put a Nicollette Sheridan–type character on the show,” Schwartz added. 

At the time of publication, The O.C. Seasons 1 – 4 is streaming on HBO Max.

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