Let’s face it:
The O.C. definitely gave us all unrealistic expectations about love. Seth instantly went from invisible nerd geek to Summer's one true love in the span of one season. Meanwhile, Ryan arrived at Newport and within the first 10 minutes of the show, shared an iconic meet-cute with Marissa. When it came to romantic moments, had them all, and they were seriously #goals. The O.C.
Even though some relationships weren’t quite smooth sailing,
like Marissa and Ryan's, there were still plenty of amazing moments shared within the couples on the show. Ryan proved to be the ultimate dream boy, dating strong-willed women who helped him open up about his feelings, while he constantly put himself in danger and sacrificed everything to ensure their safety and happiness. Who can forget Ryan’s many moments of protecting Marissa (and trying to save her before her death in Season 3), or that time he decided to leave his life in Newport behind to go back to Chino with Theresa to help her raise a child who might not even be his?
Meanwhile, Seth did everything in his power to win Summer’s love and trust. It started out a bit rocky, but it quickly grew into a healthy relationship that allowed both of them to grow and learn from each other. Here are some of
The O.C.’s most iconic moments that became ultimate relationship goals.
The "I Wish I Was A Mermaid" Poem
It took years for Summer to realize that Seth had a crush on her, but she started seeing him in a new light when he recited the mermaid poem she read in class in sixth grade.
Ryan And Taylor's Chrismukkah Coma
This Season 4 episode is one of the weirdest, with Ryan and Taylor in a coma after falling off a ladder while trying to figure out their relationship. Turns out, all it took for Ryan and Taylor to make it official was being comatose and sharing the same alternate universe dream that shows how different Newport would be if Ryan had never moved there.
Ryan And Marissa's Meet-Cute
If you ship Marissa and Ryan, you'll recognize this scene as the ultimate meet-cute. Who knew Ryan lighting her cigarette would massively change their lives?
Seth's Kissing Booth Speech
Seth got frustrated with Summer's decision to hide their relationship and declared his love in a huge way: standing on the kissing booth telling pretty much the whole school how much she meant to him. Summer's initial embarrassment didn't last long, as she reciprocated by kissing Seth.
Ryan's First Kiss With Marissa
Ryan, terrified of heights, rode the ferris wheel with Marissa to talk to her. He began to panic when the ferris wheel stops (thanks to Anna's genius scheming), but ultimately embraced his alone time with Marissa, sharing a first kiss.
Seth Hiding His Rejection To Brown From Summer So She'll Still Go
Even though Summer initially planned to go to Brown only to be with Seth, she got in and he didn't. Even though his dreams of attending the Ivy League were shattered, he decided not to tell Summer he didn't get in so she'd still go, sacrificing the relationship. It might not have been good that he lied, but him trying to make sure Summer didn't miss out on going to Brown is really sweet.
Marissa And Alex's First Kiss
Marissa and Alex's relationship was short-lived, but Alex was the main support system for Marissa while she dealt with her tumultuous relationship with her mom Julie. After flirting for a while, Malex finally became a thing when Marissa visited Alex at the Bait Shop on Valentine's Day and changed Alex's mind about hating Valentine's Day dates.
Seth And Summer's Spider-Man Kiss
In this iconic Seth-Summer moment, Seth tried to stop Summer from going to Italy with Zach and she told him off. Just when it seemed like the chance for them to get back together was over, Summer left the airport and caught Seth as he was tangled up upside down after falling off the roof in his Spider-Man mask. And of course, the duo replicated the iconic kiss.
Ryan's Move Back To Chino
After finding out Theresa's pregnant, Ryan left Marissa behind to get back with Theresa and helped her raise the baby. It's clear Ryan loved both women, but sacrificing his newfound, stable life with the Cohens to be there for Theresa said a lot.
Ryan's Sober "I Love You" To Drunk Taylor
Ryan and Taylor had one of the most unexpected yet healthiest relationships on
The O.C., with them mutually supporting each other as they grappled with difficult changes in their lives. Taylor, who had no qualms about speaking her mind, drunkenly wanted Ryan to tell her he loves her and tried to get him drunk so he'd finally say it. Ryan, who was sober, let Taylor know that he didn't have to get inebriated to say it to her.
Ryan Saving Taylor From An Earthquake
The O.C. has plenty of dramatic moments involving Ryan rescuing his love interests. In this one, after Ryan gave Taylor a heartfelt gift that showed how much he listened and cared about her, an earthquake ruined the moment. Ryan quickly decided to shield Taylor as everything fell on him.
Ryan's New Year's Eve Kiss With Marissa
This episode ruined everyone's expectations for New Year's Eve with Ryan racing to Oliver's New Year's Eve party just in time to kiss Marissa in a very dramatic sequence.
Ryan's First Kiss With Lindsay
Ryan and Lindsay are
The O.C.'s most underrated couple, perfectly complementing each other. After Lindsay asked Ryan to the SnOC dance, he rejected her saying he already made plans with Marissa, even though he secretly wanted to go with Lindsay. Ryan left the dance and tried to make amends with Lindsay, to no avail. Just when Ryan came to terms with them not being able to be together, Lindsay dropped by and they shared a passionate kiss.
Seth's Impromptu First Date With Alex
Seth's relationships with anyone who wasn't Summer were kind of a mess, but he shared an adorable, yet brief, romance with Alex. After a disastrous double date with Ryan (meant to be Alex's date) and Lindsay, Alex let Seth know she had feelings for him despite how much he talked about Summer, leading to an impromptu ice cream date.
Seth And Summer's Engagement
During a disastrous trip to Las Vegas, Summer realized she *might* be pregnant and took a pregnancy test — only to have it stolen by someone in an alien costume. The gang raced to find whoever stole Summer's purse with the pregnancy test, making Seth think about the future. He ultimately realized that no matter if Summer was pregnant or not, he couldn't imagine being without her, and decided to propose.
Each of these scenes defined relationship goals back in the day and still continue to do so. The romances may not have been perfect, but they still tug at your heartstrings all the same.