A newspaper simply called Register -- which we can extrapolate to imagine the entire title of which is The Orange County Food Lion Supermarket Coupon Circular That They Throw In Your Bag For Free At The Register -- screams the headline "Newport's Man of the Year Behind Bars," below which is written the further explanatory "Millionaire Developer Embroiled in Scandal." Other headlines in this local daily rag include "Julie Cooper Now Entirely The Color Of A Tangelo" and the meta-media column, "O.C. Second Season Ratings Not Nearly As Bad As The Media Is Making Them Out To Be, Biased Sources Say."
The newspaper drops down and we discover that the hands holding it belong to Ryan "Chino? I Say Chin-yes!" Atwood, who is sitting in the pool house, reading the newspaper, just like all kids do before school. In walks Seth "Of Fresh Air" Cohen, who immediately makes his way to a mirror -- which, face it, if you were him, you'd do that exact same thing -- and asks Ryan, "Do you think I did the right thing? Cutting my hair?" Ryan points out The Register and tries to call Seth's attention away from the part about himself called all of himself, noting about Caleb, "He's in big trouble." Seth somewhat unsympathetically defines his grandfather's precarious situation as being "the creek with the no paddle," and then immediately returns to preening over his Jewfro gone terribly, terribly wrong. Because this week Seth is selfish and feels about his grandfather as most people of his generation feel about their grandparents -- that is, that they spin yarns of Depression-era morality and carry around dusty Velamints that they pull from their pockets and offer to your friends at totally the most inopportune times ever -- he actively shows zero interest in Caleb's plight, continuing on about the newspaper cover, "I was in that photo. I got cut out of it. Probably because of my hairdo." Because Ryan has upgraded to the smart kids room, he has also taken a crash course in slacker sarcasm, rolling his eyes and snarking, "I'm sorry to see you're so upset."
Seth, hilariously, continues to think this conversation revolves around his hair, prompting Ryan to note, "Looks like someone was way off the base, accusing you of making everything about you." But it looks like Seth Cohen is ready to take a heavy dose of conscience along with his Flintstone vitamins as part of this pre-school ritual, as he registers a concerned, dawning look and realizes, "My god. She is right." He goes on and on about how he was going on and on about his haircut, and all the while "[his] grandfather's in the cooler." He continues, "I'm like a monster. I'm all I think about. And not in a good way." He stands up and walks tantalizingly close to Ryan, requesting, "Talk to me about anything other than me." Ryan obliges, mentioning that this is his first day of AP Physics and that he's "actually kind of nervous," but Seth, see, reminds Ryan of the larger problem here, and asks if he really is that self-obsessed and generally insufferable. And I mean, to a certain extent it is true. He is adorable. But I'm glad I only know him on the TV. Ryan's silence provides as much of an answer as Seth needs, and he asks Ryan, "Why didn't you just tell me, then?" Ryan tries to explain that it's hard to get a word in edgewise, but, hilariously, is cut off in the process as Seth decides he has to be less selfish. "Less take, more give. Less pitching, more catching." And though we'd love to know who is pitching and who is catching in this relationship, Cohen, it's really none of our business. But let's just say I don't exactly see Ryan letting Seth do that much pitching to begin with. And he never lets him steal second. Because that would totally fuck up the metaphor. Ryan promises that he's used to Seth, and that Seth doesn't have to change just for Ryan, but Seth says he's only in it for "the greater good of man." Ryan accuses him of a secret agenda by which he's only playing selfless to get Summer back, but Seth promises, "Dude, I don't even want Summer back. Unless that is what she wants. In which case, that's not about me. That's about me supporting her." Ryan makes Seth admit that he just wants her back, but New Seth (which came after Crystal Seth, which did not look or taste anything like what the extensive marketing plan told us it would) tells Ryan to "wrap [his] head around the new Seth Cohen." Oh, Ryan will. And maybe he'll figure out exactly what "stealing second" means in this process. Ryan points out that Seth is taking about himself in the third person, and Seth responds as we might imagine he would: "How is Seth's hair right now?"