If you’ve ever read anything else I’ve ever written for Bustle, you know that I regard The O.C. to be one of the best, if not the best, “teen” dramas of all time. Part of that may be because I think Ben McKenzie is one of the hottest humans on the planet (call me, Ben!), but it’s also because the show gave us all the feels possible. Not that the storylines were exactly universal (I’ve never overdosed on pills in Tijuana or had my mother ruin a Monte Carlo-themed casino gala party — thanks, Mom), but the anger, the sadness, the insecurity, the lust, the humor we saw on The O.C.? That stuff was all-encompassing and perfectly relatable, especially because I was in high school at the time and a dramatic person. The final season of the show wrapped it up in such a gorgeous way, and because I can’t watch it on Netflix, the next best way is to relive The O.C.'s final season in GIFs.
Season 1 had grand theft auto, punching, a gay dad, a lesbian relationship, and a runaway teen (to name only a few plot points), so where could Josh Schwartz and company even go from there? Season 2 did it's own thing and Season 3 was bleaker, full of new characters and Marissa going further off the rails in the wake of shooting Trey. Season 4, however, brought The O.C. kind of full circle, garnering a series of great performances by the whole cast, minus Mischa Barton of course.
After Marissa’s death, Julie, Kaitlin, Summer, and Ryan have to find new ways to live without her there. And it's in these moments that things got real on The O.C.
Ryan Has A Rough Go
Ryan, given his anger issues, has taken up cage fighting. He is crazy hot, so I mean, that's fun to watch. But it was sad to watch Ryan react this way.
Julie & Ryan Started To Understand Each Other
Julie Started To Buddy Up With Summer, Too
A New Love Interest Found Ryan...
Post-graduation, Taylor Townsend is totally into Ryan (despite the fact that she was hilariously married to a weird French guy who wrote a book about her), but Ryan, being the sealed-tight person he is, is still mourning Marissa and can’t handle anything else.
Taylor Was Great, But It Took Ryan A While
But they were for all intents and purposes together at the
end of the season. Taylor and Ryan were perfect for each other — there was
really a yin and yang to those crazy kids, even though they both had to go
through that Chrismukkah episode where they fall off the roof and
imagine alternate realities while in their relative unconscious states.
Seth Loved Summer, So He Let Her Go
Summer threw her grief from her best friends’ death into environmental activism, and at the end of the series, she elected to go fight a pre-fame Chris Pratt (yay, Che!) with GEORGE, an environmental group ready to save the world. Seth, of course, lets her go, knowing she’ll come back…
And [10 Year Old Spoiler] She Came Back
The two get hitched in the “years to come” montage at the end of the series finale.
Then The Show Came Pretty Full Circle
Also in Season 4? Sandy and Kirsten had a baby and moved to Berkeley, Julie ended up with Ryan’s dad, and Kaitlin Cooper ruled the school like her sister did. Each character got their perfectly imperfect ending, including newly minted architect Ryan, who saw a poor kid much like himself and asked him if he needed help. Why? Because someone extended the same trust to him at that age, and it's time to pay it forward.
OK, now it’s time to watch the whole series from the
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (10)