The O.C.
The Rivals

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Mystery Of The Letter In The Locker

Harbor School. Ryan walks with Seth, who wears a cute outfit of messenger bag, bright yellow shirt, blue athletic jacket, brown cords, and especially tousled hair; we join their conversation just as Seth points out that Ryan accused Oliver of faking a suicide attempt. Ryan corrects that he didn't actually accuse him; he just didn't believe him. Seth suggests that it's hard to believe such "blind compassion" didn't impress Marissa, and that Ryan should "go work for UNICEF." When Ryan points out that something about Oliver is "off," Seth agrees that since he either tried to kill himself or faked trying to kill himself, it's indeed "pretty off." Ryan can't figure out why he and Marissa are fighting about Oliver every day, and Seth -- who is not a girl but did spend several summers at camp being called such -- proposes that Ryan may be jealous because Oliver is rich, well-traveled, and a "Dapper Dan." Ryan asks, "And I'm not?" as if there's any question of the matter while he's wearing a leather wrist cuff. And why couldn't that thing have burned up in the model home? Seth adds that Oliver is clinically depressed and chemically dependent so "it all comes out in the wash, really," which seems to me like a less-than-admirable treatment by the writers of mental illness.

In any case, Seth suggests that Ryan make peace and "embrace the friend." He then enviously presents Ryan's other option, which is to "enjoy the arguing with Marissa -- sparks flying, her yin to your yang." When Ryan asks whether Seth and Anna don't argue, Seth explains, "We're all yang, Ryan." He asks what they'd fight about, since they both love all the same things and have the same interests. Ryan mockingly agrees that it's terrible, and Seth moans, "It's like we're sharing the same brain," addings, "Am I dating the female me? Like me, but as a girl?" Ryan stares at him and shakes his head before mustering up a dismayed response: "I don't...I don't kn -- I don't wanna -- that's disgusting." It's a very Ben delivery. And it works. Ryan spots Marissa across campus and rushes after her, yelling back toward Seth that he's off to "embrace the friend." Marissa is not particularly embraceable, though, unless you like an armful of ribcage.

Marissa slams her locker and snits down the hallway all pouty-faced for no apparent reason since she doesn't yet know that Ryan is around. He intercepts her and asks about Oliver; she asks whether he really wants to know, and then whines that Oliver feels bad: he can't understand how his overdose attempt caused a fight between Marissa and Ryan, and she doesn't get it, either. An apologetic Ryan volunteers that since Oliver is Marissa's friend, he's his friend, too, to which Mischa Barton attempts to express "surprise." Ryan hurriedly insists that he can't promise he won't "get weird about it again," but he'll try not to, which Marissa thinks is "great." Ryan backtracks that "great" is pushing it a little, but that it's definitely "good." She thanks him in her breathless "hey" voice, and bestows a kiss upon him, which is interrupted by the actor who has been kicking himself every single day of his life since Anthony Edwards nosed him out for the role of bald, bony-skulled, and eventual brain tumor-having physician. Phrased like that, it becomes obvious that Dr. Greene had more than his fair share of bad luck in the cranium department. Maybe he scalped a lot of heads or operated a guillotine or something in a previous life. Ryan wipes Marissa's cooties off his face, but the guidance counselor doesn't care about the cootie transfer. Instead, he introduces a new transfer student, who says they're all friends. And who could it be? Big Bird? Frank Perdue? Jennifer Lopez? Nope! All wrong! It's Oliver!

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The O.C.

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