It's weird to imagine that there was ever a time before Seth Cohen. A time when beta-males didn't get starring roles on teen soap operas about California. A time when you could only channel your sophomore year angst through the avatar of Angela Chase. Strange as it is, there was a time when The O.C.'s nerdy heartthrob didn't exist to make your awkward years feel more bearable, but since we live in a post-Seth universe, we should reflect on the times when he got us through that.
If you were an uncool weirdo in 2004, chances are that Seth Cohen was your guiding light, and I use "uncool weirdo" lovingly, because that was TOTALLY me. I was gothing hard whereas Seth was emo-lite, but that feel was still the same. Like Seth, I always felt like I didn't fit into my rich kid town, despite inadvertently being a product of it. I had my own Ryans, friends that were tougher, from broken situations, that looked at my everyday anxiety and low self-esteem and were like, "Seriously, though?" And like Seth, I also had a fondness for plastic horses, although I'm more about Princess Sparkle than Captain Oats.
But enough about me. Let's recap how Seth related back to YOUR awkward social misfit phase.
When He Also Had A Silly Haircut
I mean, not that Ryan's man bangs were anything to write home about, but Seth's Season 1 hair always looked like it was a little overgrown. Truth be told he never committed to the full emo thing (which is good, because I had no use for the skinny jean wearing set) but he didn't achieve follicle perfection until about season four. Likewise you tried temporary dying your hair "plum" and looked like the sad lovechild of Marilyn Manson and Grimace in 9th grade.
When He Harbored A Crush On Someone Who Totally Didn't Know He Existed
You totally spent six years in love with out-of-your-league Bobby DeFranco, much like Seth spent all those years pining secretly for Summer. Luckily for Seth, he got to know Summer and eventual they forged a lifelong love. Unluckily for you, Bobby DeFranco only wanted to hook up in the parking lot outside of Dunkin Donuts a few times before dating Madison Albright. I hear they have a house up in Manalapan now and are expecting their first child.
How great for them.
When He Listened To Alternative Music While The Cool Kids Were Listening to Top 40 Jams
I don't remember, because I was listening to The Shins and crying myself asleep a lot. Although The O.C. was a playground of indie rock, Seth's actual taste for emo music like Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes isolated him from his peers. I'm sure he made killer mix CDs, though.
When He Liked Comic Books BEFORE They Were Being Made Into Superhero Movies Every Month
Probably the most obnoxious thing I've ever written, but let's face facts. When The O.C. debuted, Batman had yet to be rebooted from the Joel Schumacher films and Spider-Man was still starring Tobey Maguire. Seth was all about comic culture before Marvel and D.C. pushed EVERY series to the big screen (Ant-Man, guys, seriously?) and rest assured that doesn't call for bragging rights. It made him wildly uncool, and he knew it.
And that's just like us at 13, hiding our issues of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac behind our science textbooks, all the while getting judge-y glares from our classmates. No? Just me?
When He Counted Down The Days Until College
"College applications have been sent off, studying, homework, learning... all the reasons to come here are pretty much over." Seth Cohen is all of us second semester senior year... and actually all of us waaaaay before high school even started. Pre-Ryan, the Harbor School was a friendless, godless place and Seth couldn't wait to bail for college life on the east coast, where he felt he would undoubtedly peak. Irony of ironies, his hyper popular girlfriend ends up blossoming at Brown University while he's stuck in Newport beach for an extra few months.
When His First Time Was Also Awkward & Unexpected
Seth and Summer's first romantic interlude was a little less than perfect, with the latter confessing that Seth wasn't the only virgin in the room, and Seth following up with, "There was someone else in the room?!" And I can't speak on your behalf, but I know that my first time pretty much went down exactly like that, but with Electric Wizard playing in the background. So.
When His Parents Were His Best Friends
Well, based on what kind of social misfit you were (aggressively rebellious or uncomfortably nerdy) they were either your best friends or your worst enemies. I kind of had it both ways, although more-so on the best friend side as I got older. Likewise Sandy wasn't just a confidant and a mentor, he was someone that the kids of The O.C. could go to for some one-on-one real talk. That was particularly fortunate for Seth, considering he had little social contact outside of the core four (or with the core... three? You know what I mean).
When, Try As He Might, He Just Couldn't Pull Off Being A Rebel
You may have been part of some alternative crowd, that much is true, but you really weren't as much as a badass as you'd like to be. And let's face it, aside from Seth running away from home (which could be interpreted as weird cowardice more than anything) Seth wasn't particularly hardcore. He smokes weed once during this entire ordeal and it's like, the most dramatic thing.
Guys, you know it's bad when Chanel-bag-carrying Marissa Cooper has more street cred than you.
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