The Adult Relationships On 'The O.C.' Were Totally Underrated, Case & Point: Sandy & Kirsten Are The Show's OTP

Many an Internet essay has been written about the ‘ship-worthiness of Summer and Seth or Ryan and Marissa, but they are far from The O.C. ’s best couples. I mean, what about Taylor and Ryan? Julie and Bullitt? Julie and Luke? Or, the best pairing ever, Kirsten and Sandy? The O.C. was marketed as a summer teen drama when it debuted, but it was so much more than that. As the show progressed and the writers realized that parents and children had must-see TV nights focused around the show, they began to give the O.C. adults more storylines.

This was, of course, an amazing move for the show, because in the flightiness that was Seth & Summer or Seth & Anna or Marissa & Volchok or Marissa & Johnny, viewers had some seriously stable relationships to hold on to. You always need someone to ‘ship, you know? Especially when the going gets tough. Contrary to teens’ beliefs, parents have sex. They have romantic relationships with complicated conversations and tender moments. The adults watching The O.C. with their children were able to relate to the show on their own levels, locking them in as viewers (and fans). And of the adult relationships on The O.C. , I have a few favorites.

Kirsten & Sandy

Kirsten and Sandy Cohen met when they were 22, and to quote Kirsten, she “stank of patchouli and lived in the back of a mail truck.” Sandy looked like Schmidt from New Girl at the time. Yet, against Kirsten’s father’s wishes, the duo married, moved to a McMansion in Newport, and never looked back. Kirsten’s money allowed Sandy to become a public defender, the two had little baby Seth, and they lived happily ever after. Mostly.

I won’t say that Kirsten and Sandy weren’t without their problems. Sandy had a flirtation with Rachel, Kirsten one with Cooper, and let’s not forget about Kirsten’s bout with alcoholism. But their serious communication skills and strong foundation allowed them to work through their troubles, leaving them at the end of the series with an even stronger bond and a new baby girl to show for it. They were able to parent both Ryan and Seth so effectively because they had that foundation.

Julie & Jimmy

Another one of my favorite adult couples on the show? Julie and Jimmy Cooper — part two. Julie certainly had her share of husbands on the show (Caleb Nichol was the worst), but Jimmy was the one that knew Julie for Julie and her less-than-desirable beginnings. The first time they were married (before Jimmy lost, um, everyone’s money), she was all about the cash, but the second time they began a cute (albeit short) relationship, Julie and Jimmy were actually really sweet to each other.

I think their second round shows that their relationship, at its core, was the right relationship for both of them. When Julie and Jimmy both got caught up in all the money and the status that Newport can bring, they forgot about each other. It was way easier to remember how they fell in love with each other when they were both broke, no? Too bad Jimmy ran for it when he owed a bunch of people money. Oh, Jimmy.

Julie & Frank Atwood

At the end of the series, it was Julie who deserved happiness the most — she had gone through so much in her life (especially with the death of her daughter, Marissa) that she really needed someone to turn to. That man came in the form of Frank Atwood, Ryan’s ex-felon dad. In the series finale, it’s revealed that the two had a son, Cooper Atwood, just a few months after Kirsten and Sandy had their baby. Cousins!

See, grownup love isn’t so bad! At least it wasn’t on The O.C.

Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (3)