Saturday, January 29, 2011

The O.C.: The Graduates

Today, I'm going to be specifically writing about the last episode of season three of the O.C., but I'm also going to share a little bit of my thoughts on season three as whole. I know this review is probably coming seemingly out of nowhere because The O.C. has been off the air a while, and it's weird for me to start my reviews on it at the end of the third season. But, I've been watching it, albeit slowly, since this past summer. That being said, here it goes.

Season three seems to be widely considered the worst season of the O.C., and I'm not sure I can disagree that it's been the worst of the three seasons I've seen so far. There's been plenty of storylines that were ridiculous and a bit tiresome. For example, Seth lying about not getting into Brown for so long was just far-fetched and a bit tiresome to watch. Also, alternate love interests for Marissa and Ryan arose for about the billionth time. And there are many other negative things I could say about season three, but I feel like they've been said before. So, I'll tell you that it actually wasn't as bad as I expected. Of the first three seasons, I'd have to say that season one, despite a couple of missteps, was probably the most solidly good season. Season two and much moreso season three were, for me, mostly soapy (yes, I know, that the O.C. has always been a "teen soap opera" but season two and three for me were so much more that than season one) with far-fetched storyline and somewhat repetitive drama. But, they were fun to watch and entertaining. I loved three of the four core characters (any guesses as to who I didn't like?", so I enjoyed watching them, even if the plots weren't always the greatest. I'd also have to say that the introduction of Taylor was one of the greatest things about season three because her character is just so fantastically fun.

Given that rambling on season three, I guess I'll talk about the episode I'm actually supposed to be writing about. Despite the fact that season three was greatly flawed as a whole, I loved "The Graduates." Now, I went into the episode knowing that this was the episode that Marissa dies, but that knowledge almost made it better. It added extra poignancy to the nostalgia of the episode. In fact, nostalgia was pretty much the theme of the episode and the reason that I like it so much. In fact, I think (spoiler alert: I'm giving you an outline of this review) I'll focus on those two topics (Marissa's death and nostalgia) in this review.

If you didn't guess it earlier, Marissa is the one character of the core four that I despised. Occasionally, she'd have an episode or moment where she was somewhat likeable, but she was so ridiculously unlikable in the episodes and moments between those that I hated her character. So, call me sadistic if you will, but I was pretty pumped about watching this episode knowing that she was going to die. But, surprisingly, I teared up through about the episode (and may have shed a tear at the end) partially because of that knowledge. It was perfect for the writers to have Marissa going away to work on a boat with her dad because it gave us a chance to see everyone's goodbyes to her. And every thing about her leaving, for example a shot of the "you're now leaving the O.C." sign could also be applied to her death. It was pretty heartbreaking to see Marissa, Ryan, Seth, and Summer reminiscing at the model home, knowing that it was the last time the four of them would be together. When it came to Marissa's death scene, I actually think it could have been filmed a little better, but it was still really sad.

My other topic of discussing is the feeling of nostalgia and finality that filled the episode. This kind of goes with Marissa's death, but even without her death, the episode would have felt that way. Everyone was getting ready to move on to the future and start a new chapter of their lives. That in itself was kind of bittersweet. In particular, I loved the graduation scene. In fact, I've been playing the excellent "Speeding Cars" by Imogen Heap that was used during that scene on repeat since I finished the episode. It was really beautiful filmed, and I loved the inter-splicing shots of Taylor's speech and our favorite Harbor students' getting their diplomas. My only complaint is that it was a little weird for them to wear lei's at their graduation, and I've never heard of guys and girls wearing different colored graduation gowns. The other stand out scene, which I briefly mentioned earlier was the reminiscing at the model home. It was fun to hear the core four reflect on some of the first scenes in which we saw them. It was a great way to bring their friendship full circle, and impressively, it wasn't even completely out of the blue because we saw Marissa visit the home earlier.

So, now I'm ready to watch season four whenever decides to put it up. I'm interested to see where the show's going to go without Marissa, and although I've already heard who replaces her as Ryan's love interest, I'm interested to see how that's going to come about.

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