Pleasures of the guilty and not-so-guilty varieties

Last night I watched the last episode of the TV series, The OC and afterward, felt is was time for a more personal diary-like post here on Alt Text; a post where I get to provide a bit of a window into my soul, however embarrassing that may be. It has been a while and that isn’t good.
Yesterday, I was quite surprised to hear that the series was ending. Not only that, but the series finale was on that night. Now, I haven’t watched The OC in a while – at least two or three seasons – but I will admit that it made its way into, an albeit guilty, region of my heart. Yes, despite being the type of cheesy, teen drama that I so often ridiculed I couldn’t stop myself from caring about these (mostly) rich Orange County residents, many with very few redeeming qualities. I could try to play it cool now and say that I like the show for the hot girls and great soundtrack* , but the truth is, it was more than that. Mind you not much more, but in almost every episode I saw, there were moments of honesty and emotion that seemed so very contradictory to the backdrop and to the personalities of the characters.
Like so much of seasons’ past, however, the finale had many gag worthy moments, actually many more than the average episode. This is due in part because the show, more even than it usually did, mocks itself mercilessly. The writers and creators of The OC know what it is. They know they aren’t creating art. That is part of the reason they ended the show after 5 seasons (undoubtedly another part is ratings drops though I haven’t checked into that). They understand that the show is cheesy and, for most viewers over 18 (a vast majority) a guilty pleasure.
In this, the final episode, the ridiculous builds upon the plain stupid toward the crescendo ending that isn’t. Part of the plot supposed the viewer feel sorry for this wealthy family because their mansion on the ocean is deemed unsalvageable after an earthquake. They even cut to each family member’s face as this news is delivered, creating the ultimate in cheese. Other plot points, try to draw out drama from whether a serial adultery and marry-er decides to marry her second 60 year old, husband, or the guy who player Hercules in that UPN show of the same name. Clichés and inside jokes fly out of the character’s mouths for about 40 more minutes until they they settle into a series of flash-forwards to see what becomes of our heroes and heroines. All of this is quite predictable and rather boring until, in classic OC style (if not somewhat predictable as well), in the last scene the troubled kid from the wrong side of the tracks (who is now all growed up) is leaving his job site and sees a kid who was just like himself when The OC began. He knows where he is and he asks him if he needs help. This moment, too, is high on sappiness, but, with the music in the background and the history I have with this show, I can’t help but feel good about it and even though I gave up watching years ago, I couldn’t help but mourn a little for the loss of The OC. Just knowing it was there has been a comfort to me I guess. Ugh.

* For a while, the show provided me with a lot of exposure to new music including introducing me to some of my current favorites: Imogen Heap, Rouge Wave, Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Pond PA, Keane, Super Furry Animals, and many more, and was honestly one of the primary reasons the show resonated with me as it did. They did a great job finding songs that really matched and enhanced the emotions of the scenes with which they were coupled.
There are many sites showcasing the music of The OC, like this official site, an unofficial site that breaks the songs down by episode, and also a comprehensive Wikipedia entry of the songs featured on the OC.
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