STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $69.98
RUNNING TIME: 1089 minutes
• "The Party Favor: From Script to Screen" featurette
• "What’s in a Name?" featurette
• "Making Of The Subways Music Video" featurette
• Pass the Remote: selected scene-surfing commentary
• Gag and Goofs Reel

The Pitch

It’s 90210…in 92663.

The Humans

Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, Melinda Clarke, Tate Donovan, Alan Dale.

Scenes from the first ever CHUD – O.C. press junket #1:
Ben McKenzie: "Yeah, um, so you say your name is what, Nunziata? What is that, Italian or something? Yeah? What does it mean? Bearded schlub? Interesting…"

The Nutshell

Ryan Atwood (McKenzie) is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks (Chino, CA) who finds himself staying with his public defender, Sandy Cohen (Gallagher), after his mother throws him out of the house for stealing a car with his older brother, Trey. Cohen just happens to live in the posh community of Newport Beach, in Orange County. Or “The O.C.”, hence the setting of the title. For the record, I happen to live in the LA area and I’ve never heard anyone call it that…but that’s just me…. Anyway, Ryan quickly finds opposition to his being there, particularly from Sandy’s wife, Kirsten (Rowan), but does his best to fit in with the upper class bunch of spoiled and privileged kids, which include the Cohens’ offspring, Seth (Brody), and the girl next door, Marissa Cooper (Barton). From there begins an odyssey of the usual teen angst and even some adult angst as Ryan’s arrival has had a big influence on those around him and they on him.

Scenes from the 1st ever CHUD – O.C. press junket #2:
Mischa Barton’s reaction to learning that the wild night of drunken sex with Fabfunk had mysteriously become the newest – and hottest – video on the CHUD Sex Forum…

The Lowdown

What can you really say about The O.C. that couldn’t be said about a plethora of similarly-themed shows about young (usually white, frequently well off) teenagers trying to find their way in the rough and tumble streets of suburbia or upper crust neighborhoods? This is merely the latest in a long line of teen shows including the aforementioned, 90210, Dawson’s Creek and Everwood, and to some (much lesser) extent, even Buffy or half the recent shows on The CW (formerly WB). Sometimes these shows succeed, as this one has, as 90210 and Dawson did, or they don’t, like The Mountain, Jack and Bobby, Skin, or a thousand others over the years. There’s always going to be a market for these shows, and this is even apparent in Reality TV, as Laguna Beach has proven. So the fact that The O.C. is the teen angst du jour is less than a surprise, it’s to be expected in fact.

Scenes from the first ever CHUD – O.C. press junket #3:
Cam Gigandet: "What do I think of euthanasia? That’s an interesting question. I think young people are cool no matter what continent they’re on…"

Nevertheless, that really doesn’t address the show itself, and whether it’s good or not. From what I saw, it seems fairly solid, or at least as solid as these types of shows can be, and possibly even a bit better than many other shows of its ilk; but it’s not not really anything I’d set up on the ole’ Tivo…if I had an ole’ Tivo. A thirtysomething guy (uh, that’d be me) who still remembers truly heavy hitting soaps like Dynasty and couldn’t care less about whether Nicole Richie starves herself to death while driving down the wrong way on a freeway here, or to whom Paris Hilton is engaged this week isn’t really going to be the demographic this show is aiming for, and that’s fine.

Scenes from the CHUD – O.C. press junket #4:
Rachel Bilson: "Well, Oliver is a demon in the sack, but we just didn’t work out because of that whole ‘he’s a complete nobody’ thing…"

There are a couple of things you can usually depend on with these type of shows though: 1. There’s going to be a regular helping of the teenybop music flavor-of-the-month; 2. You’ll be lucky to see a minority of any type in more than five minutes of screen time without being some sort of de facto stereotype; 3. Two main characters are gonna hook up, then break up, then regret the whole thing; 4. All or most of the teen stars are actually over 20. I can say that since this is essentially a teen soap, it’s kind of hard to come into the middle of it, say in Season 3, because it’s heavily serialized. So if you are interested, this set isn’t the place where you’re going to start.

Scenes from the 1st ever CHUD – O.C. press junket #5:
Adam Brody: "Yeah, I was in a TV show called The Sausage Factory…I don’t want to talk about it for…personal reasons…"

Now since many of these shows usually have some sort of breakout star(s), it should be noted that in this case said stars would undeniably be Mischa Barton and to a lesser extent, Rachel Bilson. In fact, Barton is apparently such a star that she decided to leave the show and she was exited in typically bloody fashion as a result at the end of Season 3. She’s a former Entertainment Weekly “It Girl” and a regular on Maxim’s Hot 100 list, with a multitude of film projects lined up. So it remains to be seen whether or not she’ll end up pulling a George Clooney or a David Caruso. What also remains to be seen is whether or not The O.C. can survive her departure, as she was the main hottie. On a side note, it’s also nice to see Peter Gallagher back in the spotlight.

Scenes from the first ever CHUD – O.C. press junket #7:
Peter Gallagher: "CHUD press junket? You mean this isn’t a fansite for Skag? Fuck it, I’m outta here…"

The Package

The show looks good in widescreen with a boilerplate good transfer, and the sound is fine in Dolby Digital. As far as special features, there’s The Party Favor: From Script to Screen, a 16-minute making-of / behind-the-scenes / talking heads featurette on the production of an episode of the show. There’s also the 13-minute What’s in a Name? featurette, which deals with how the showrunners choose the character names. Then there’s the seminal 3-minute Making Of The Subways Music Video featurette. There’s also Pass the Remote, which is 20 minutes of selected scene-surfing commentary by creator / executive producer Josh Schwartz and supervising producer John Stephens and co-producer J.J. Philbin. Rounding out things is an 11-minute Gag and Goofs Reel. Overall not an entirely bad offering, but not an outstanding one either

6.6 out of 10