You'll Want To Add These 'The O.C.' Episodes To Your Next Weekend Marathon

by S. Atkinson

Fall isn't just about spice pumpkin lattes or brainstorming ideas for your Halloween costume with increasing panic. It's also good for canceling all your plans and staying in. These The O.C. episodes are perfect for a mini-marathon, so if you've been feeling shruggy about your party plans, want an excuse to snuggle in bed with your laptop, or don't have a spare 20 bucks to blow on brunch, this weekend could be the moment when all your televisual fantasies come true.

While your favorite mid '00s show was one of the most compelling works of television to grace the small screen during that era, not every episode was a total winner. So rather than revisit all of the episodes for a long, drawn-out marathon (although let's be real, you're going to do that eventually), why not experience the show in its peak moments?

So without further ado, please proceed to the list ahead, composed to cater to every taste. There's drama, there's chillness, there are ample quantities of Seth Cohen, there's sex (which is basically the same thing as the previous item on this list), and there's even the episode that launched everyone's favorite holiday remix. Proceed with caution — you might never make weekend plans again.


"Premiere" (Season 1, Episode 1)

No O.C. mini-marathon would be complete without the perfect pilot. Pilots are normally short-form for a kind of slow, draggy episode of a show you know you'll eventually love, but hasn't yet established its winning formula. But this flawless episode proves show creator Josh Schwartz knew what he was doing from day one.

Seth and Ryan have instant friendship chemistry, Marissa and Ryan have instant more-than-friends chemistry, the storyline of Ryan getting kicked out of his family home is a little too dramatic (in a good way), Sandy Cohen is a god, everyone has impeccable hair. Statues have been erected for less.


"The Debut" (Season 1, Episode 4)

The show begins to pick up the pace here. It's Cotillion; Anna finally appears (giving Summer a reason to form full sentences around Seth rather than just dropping an "ew" and sprinting to the nearest exit); and Luke breaks up with Marissa after she spends half of the night gabbing to Ryan, which honestly, yes. Why stick around and watch someone fall in love with someone else?


"The Best Chrismukkah Ever" (Season 1, Episode 13)

Who doesn't ride for this episode? If you'd managed to stave off your building attraction to Seth up until this point, prepare to drown in feelings you can no longer suppress, because he is adorable. Well, kind of. Inventing a hybrid holiday to find a compromise between Kirsten's Catholicism and Sandy's Jewish identity is nice; stringing along both Anna and Summer, less so. Also, Marissa starts developing into the beautiful trainwreck viewers know her as later on in the series.


"The Rainy Day Women" (Season 2, Episode 14)

Two words: Spider-Man kiss. After Seth agonizes over having messed things up with Summer, things look grim. But it turns out that the woman named after your favorite season is human — how can she resist Seth?

In other news, Marissa and her cool, rock chick girlfriend Alex move in together after Summer's best friend comes out to her mom, and we get to see them shift into a less passionate, more who's-washing-the-dishes type mindset.


"The Mallpisode" (Season 2, Episode 15)

One of the rare episodes where we get to enjoy all four of the leads hanging out without insane quantities of drama and secrets. Ryan's heartbroken because Lindsay moved to Chicago, and his pals are looking to distract him with a trip to the mall. Those crazy kids get locked in and comic magic ensues.


"The Showdown" (Season 2, Episode 22)

If you love drama, this, my friends, is the episode you've been waiting for. The rollercoaster ride that is Seth and Summer takes a sudden swoop downward as the brunette tells him in no uncertain terms, after witnessing him lick whipped cream off some chick's body on TV in spring break, they are so over.

Kirsten is drinking heavily to escape from her crushing guilt over smooching a non-Sandy human being, aka Carter, a hot journalist who's just moved away to New York. Eventually Sandy confronts her about the infidelity and the booze and things reach a head. Also, Caleb serves Julie divorce papers in the most brutal way possible.


"The Dearly Beloved" (Season 2, Episode 24)

Such an iconic The O.C. episode that Saturday Night Live even parodied it. Thanks to Summer, Ryan finds out Trey tried to rape Marissa and goes to confront him. But ultimately, it's Marissa who ends up dishing out the violence in an effort to save the person she loves most in the world.


"The End Of Innocence" (Season 3, Episode 3)

Given how dramatic Season 3 is, this episode is an oasis of calm. Stuff happens — but it's a quietly affecting episode. The best example of this is how the show handles Kirsten, who has returned from rehab. It seems like she's about to cave and start drinking again when she's under emotional duress — and honestly, that would be the most dramatic and obvious decision for the show to make. But ultimately she takes a deep breath and keeps on keepin' on. Oh yeah, and the thing we've all been waiting for since we first tuned in happens. Marissa and Ryan finally hook up.


"The Pot Stirrer" (Season 3, Episode 13)

Seth Cohen smokes pot to deal with the stress of college applications. If you need anything more than that to sell you this episode, it's probably not for you.


"The Avengers" (Season 4, Episode 1)

No, skip that Marissa death episode. That's way too upsetting to rewatch, even all these years later. You're going to want to head straight to the repercussions: how are her nearest and dearest doing post her untimely demise? Well, Ryan's fueling his rage into violence by getting into cage fighting, Summer's now a vegan activist, and Seth's working in a comic book store. It's an important episode in how it plunges the viewer into how radically different the show was minus Mischa Barton, but how, peculiarly enough, it still had a lot to offer.


"The Groundhog Day" (Season 4, Episode 12)

Yep, 40-year-old Kirsten reveals she's pregnant. And that's not the only hopeful note in the installment. We also get young Chris Pratt as Che, Summer's hippy friend, convincing Seth to accompany him on a caper to free a groundhog, an adventure that ends in him finding his soulmate. Plus, Kirsten's birthday party dinner is adorable.


"The End's Not Near, It's Here" (Season 4, Episode 16)

By jumping ahead six months, the series gives itself a good chance at tying up all of its loose ends in the finale. The most unbelievable house sale in history (seriously, why is the couple who currently live there moving out?). Julie choosing between Bullit and Frank. Seth and Summer tying the knot. And Ryan Atwood finding the new Ryan Atwood. Watch it without tearing up? Congratulations, here's a million dollars.

Had so much fun watching the mini-marathon you don't know what to do next? Yes, you do. Line them all up and start again. It's the only logical way to spend your free time.