The 11 Best Marissa Cooper Moments On 'The O.C.' — Because No, She Wasn't All Bad

by Tatiana Tenreyro
Warner Bros. TV

Out of the core four from The O.C., Marissa is the one that fans often struggle to remember in a positive light. After all, her life was often chaotic, with the character constantly making questionable decisions that impacted those closest to her. But even though she wasn’t always the best person, Marissa had plenty of great moments, too.

For one thing, Marissa deeply cared about her friends and family. From the beginning, she was supportive of Ryan when his arrival to Newport wasn’t smooth sailing, becoming the loving, loyal girlfriend he needed at the time. This continued beyond the end of their relationship, showing how much he mattered to her. And her friendship with Summer also had some incredibly sweet moments. Marissa often returned the favor to Summer for being there for her during her most troublesome moments with small yet meaningful gestures.

But Marissa's best moments involved her forgiveness towards her family, even when their dynamic was dysfunctional. Even though Jimmy made some terrible choices, Marissa was mature enough to forgive him and be supportive of him while he received plenty of scrutiny from people in Newport. Plus, who can forget how Marissa was willing to do anything for her little sister Kaitlin, even if it meant pretending to be a foreign exchange student?

Marissa went through so much that it's easy to forget the positive aspects of her story, so it's time to revisit her best moments.


When She Had A Meet-Cute With Ryan

No fan can ever forget the instant chemistry between Marissa and Ryan. From there on, they formed a strong, longstanding bond.


And When She Rescued Him From Trey

Ryan often dropped everything to rescue Marissa, but she returned the favor by risking everything to protect Ryan during his fight with Trey. When Marissa shot Trey, she temporarily was kicked out of Harbor and her reputation was tarnished. But it spoke volumes of what she was willing to do for her loved ones.


When She Told Summer About Alex

When Marissa told Summer about Alex, it showed that she was willing to be vulnerable with her bestie even though it wasn't easy for her. It also showed Alex that Marissa was serious about their relationship instead of merely using it to piss off her mom.


When She & Ryan Shared A Touching Moment Before Her Death

Marissa's love for Ryan beyond their relationship was so strong that they continued being close friends after their break-up He was the last person she spent time with at Newport, with him driving her to the airport. Even though their car ride ended grimly, their sweet moment before her death was so touching.


When She Formed A Friendship With Theresa

Even though Marissa was understandably hurt when Ryan left Newport to be with Theresa, she developed a friendship with her and understood the importance of her remaining in Ryan's life.


When She Helped Kaitlin Get Revenge

Marissa's relationship with her sister Kaitlin wasn't always great, but seeing them team up by having Marissa pretend to be a British exchange student/stripper to bring down Kaitlin's nemesis was an unforgettable moment.


When She Rescued Heather From Being Raped

Even though Heather bullied her, that didn't matter to Marissa when she had the chance to save Heather from being raped.


When She Was There For Jimmy

Marissa's parents were equally clueless when it came to creating a healthy family dynamic. But despite all his faults, Marissa forgave her dad and was supportive of him during his most difficult moments.


When She Tried To Bring Out Volchok's Sensitive Side

Marissa knew how troubled Volchok was, but attempted to change him by being openly vulnerable and telling him about her ideal relationship. Even though it wasn't completely effective given her eventual death at his hands, she still managed to bring out his sensitive side.


When She Was There For Summer After Her Breakup With Seth

Summer's breakup with Seth was very tough. So Marissa did what any great friend would do and just laid in bed with her. It was a simple yet so impactful gesture that showed how much she cared about her friend.


When She Decided To Go To Therapy

Even though therapy is less stigmatized now, it was still considered to be somewhat taboo at the time the O.C. aired. By going to therapy, Marissa showed that it's perfectly fine to get help when you need it.

Marissa's story may be overshadowed by her hardships, but these great moments show there's so much more to her than some fans might think.