11 Times Kirsten On 'The O.C.' Was Actually The Show's Most Underrated Character

Warner Bros. TV

Sandy Cohen is often lauded as the best parent of The O.C. thanks to his easygoing demeanor and his excellent advice. But let’s face it: Sandy wouldn’t be the dream dad without Kirsten. Not only does Kirsten balance out his lax parenting style by being the tough mom, but she’s a fierce, smart woman who sticks out in a town filled with housewives looking for rich husbands. Sandy’s an amazing dad, but there were so many times on the show when it became clear that Kirsten is such an underrated O.C. character.

Despite her tough persona, Kirsten always manages to see the best in everyone — including Julie Cooper, who repeatedly brings chaos into her life. Throughout the whole show, Kirsten is the confidant that many of the characters need, even helping out Taylor and Theresa along the way. Kirsten’s advice is often just as great as Sandy’s, and sometimes, even better.

Thanks to her, Seth and Ryan go from being absolutely clueless when it comes to women, to being fantastic boyfriends with headstrong, independent women who match Kirsten’s best traits. Also, let’s face it: Sandy wouldn’t have the opportunity to be the great dad he is without being perfectly complemented by his wife's more serious personality. Here are 11 moments Kirsten proved she’s the best character on The O.C.

Her Obsession With Valentine's Day

The Cohens love holidays, but Kirsten's favorite is Valentine's Day because it's Sandy's chance to go all out and spoil her. Who can blame her?

Her Maternal Love For Ryan

Even though Kirsten isn't initially completely sold on the idea of having Ryan stay with the Cohens, she ends up considering him a second son and fiercely supports him, threatening to cut off communication with her own father after he insults Ryan. Even Ryan's biological mother realizes that Kirsten is a better fit as a mom.

Her Role In Helping Julie Cooper Become A Better Person

Julie Cooper's life throughout the show is pretty much a total disaster. From alienating her own daughter to creating a sex work ring, she doesn't have a track record of best decisions. Even though her problematic actions frustrate Kirsten and complicate her pal's life, Kirsten sticks by Julie and helps her slowly grow into a more responsible adult.

Her Love For Business And Strong Work Ethic

Kirsten could easily let her dad manage the business, but her innate drive leads her to prove to Caleb that she's capable of running things on her own. For awhile, Kirsten is her household's breadwinner, showing how hard work and independence pay off. And when she's faced with challenges, particularly brought on by Julie Cooper, she's always able to bounce back.

Her Intense Love For Her Family

Kirsten has the perfect balance of non-stop work and doting motherhood. She once tells Sandy, "There isn't anything I wouldn't do for my family," and it's true. Whenever someone poses harm to any of her children or to Sandy, she does everything possible to protect them.

Her Relatable Advice To The Show's Young Women

Kirsten doesn't just offer motherly advice to Ryan and Seth — she is also there for their romantic partners. Before even discussing her abortion with Sandy, she opens up about her experience to Theresa when the young woman is pregnant. She also becomes a motherly figure to Summer, listening to her woes when she deals with challenges in her relationship with Seth.

Her Ability To Work Through Her Marriage's Lowest Point

Between Kirsten's alcoholism, as well as the brief affairs both she and Sandy have, their marriage could easily crumble. Instead, Kirsten's ability to have open conversations with Sandy helps their relationship stay strong.

Her Disastrous Cooking

Kirsten not knowing how to cook is super relatable for those of us who are culinarily challenged. Even when her family gives her tons of crap for being bad at cooking, she still sets out to prove them wrong.

Her Inclusion Of Ryan's Family Members

Even though she becomes Ryan's legal guardian, Kirsten always tries to include his family in his life. Kirsten teaches Ryan that it's OK to have a complicated dynamic with two families and the importance of appreciating one's relatives, despite how flawed they are.

Her Decision To Help Taylor

All the young women of The O.C. have strained relationships with their moms and see Kirsten as a mother figure. For Taylor, in particular, Kirsten helps her tell her mom that she has moved back from France and put her studies on hold. After Taylor is kicked out of the house, Kirsten decides to let her stay with the Cohens. At this point in the show, Kirsten barely knows Taylor, so it's clear how selfless her decision truly is.

Her Decision To Go To Rehab For Seth

Kirsten's alcoholism storyline is one of the most heartbreaking of the show. When she attends an AA meeting after months of sobriety, she explains that the reason why she felt motivated to get help was thanks to Seth. He ends up not being appreciative of Kirsten's decision to take him to the meeting, but this still shows how much Kirsten cares about her loved ones.

If you need more reminders of why Kirsten is a badass mom who perseveres through everything, it's time to re-watch The O.C.