Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Power of the Rewatch

Just as I love to reread, I love to rewatch. Sometimes it's the same thing several times in one week (there was a period a couple years ago where I watched the Disney Beauty and the Beast 10 times in 1 week, and my annual Thanksgiving-Christmas Love Actually period is sure to expand from my 1 viewing last weekend to at least 5), sometimes I need to take a break between viewings. It's a way to forget, or to allow my initial reaction to harden into vague impressions...easier to write over on further viewings. And when it's TV shows I'm rewatching I tend to watch whole seasons at once.

Lately I've been working my way through season 3 of The O.C. I watched the whole series through back when it was airing, and I had some pretty solid opinions of it. Seasons 1 and 4 were awesome. Season 2 was decent but far from perfect, and season 3 was the weakest link. Poor plot, poor was where the show veered so totally off course that I considered dropping it from my weekly line-up.

I've said before that when the show started it wasn't trying to be anything. There were models (90210 was mentioned often), but at the same time, The O.C. was something completely new. In season 2 the road block was that the show was trying to hard to be itself. By season 3 it was becoming One Tree Hill (one of my guilty pleasures, yes, but also some of the worst...everything on television). In season 4 The O.C. was back to attempting something brand new, and while it wasn't the same show as season was pretty awesome.

But now that I'm rewatching season 3 I'm starting to realize that it wasn't quite so bad as I remember. Even season 1 had a black pit of doom (the Oliver Period), and while I disagreed with some of the decisions that Josh Schwartz and co. made (Seth's drug phase, Sandy leading the Newport Group, Volchek, Ryan's brief return to a life of crime), it's still making me laugh and cry and everything else that I look for in good television.

This is the season where we were introduced to Taylor Townsend, who became one of my very favorite characters in season 4 and who turned me into a big Ryan fan just by association. It's the season where we got rid of Marissa (finally), and where Kaitlyn returned as a different actress, more grown-up and with her own plots.

It's not perfect TV, but it's decent, better than I remembered.

That's the nice thing of about rewatching, you can discover something you missed the first time around, when you were busy making snap judgments. I found out that Johnny wasn't really that bad (like when I found out that Veronica Mars' Piz was more awesome, less annoying), nor was Kaitlyn, who seemed terrible the first time around, only growing likeable in season 4. I had forgotten about the quality Seth/Kirsten time we got this season, and about how adorable Neil and Julie's engagement was. The one thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the way the finale brings me to tears.

It's nice to find out what you missed when you weren't really paying attention (intentionally or otherwise).


  1. Noticed that you mentioned One Tree Hill in your post. OTH fans who have never played the TV Anagram game, [i enroll thee]. Just put it on my blog today.

  2. You know, I have to agree with you on this. On the first go-round, s3 was fucking terrible, but if you watch it again, like...two years later, it's not as bad.

    It suffered Marissa over-load in the plot. Which was why we had Johnny and Vochok, they were foils for her. It needed more Ryan, and less Lying!Seth, and generally just more Cohen Family Time. But it wasn't as terrible as I thought first time in.