The Boyfriend of the Week

November 7, 2003

I'm sure it will come as no great surprise to any of you to find out that I used to be a huge fan of such shows as "Beverly Hills 90210," "Party of Five," and "Dawson's Creek." If there's one thing I have trouble resisting, it's teen drama, and that's a fact I've spent countless hours trying to come to terms with. What is it with my obsession with reliving those unglory days? Those days of invented traumas, exaggerated slights, and maudlin dissolution. Those angsty, pseudo-complicated days of high school relationships and pressures.

Okay, so they didn't feel all pseudo-anything at the time. But hindsight is 20-20 (well, for me it's historically been more like 20-85, but that's a discussion for a different time) and when I look back at all the black I wore, all the Smiths I listened to, and all the moping around I did, I can't help but roll my eyes. Dude, high school? Was a friggin' CINCH compared to my twenties. And, frankly, college wasn't much more of a challenge. Those were the glory days indeed. The days before worrying about bills and credit histories and how you were ever going to afford to buy instead of rent. The days before agonizing over whether or not you'd picked a career, or, even worse, a spouse, that you could live with for the rest of your life. The REST of your LIFE, I'm saying. Decisions in high school influenced what happened to you over the next month or two. Decisions in your twenties can screw up your LIFE. Like, for good! Compared to that, obsessing over whether I'd have to sit alone at lunch or change my clothes in front of others in gym class seem pretty excrutiatingly trivial.

Still, eye-rolling aside, I have to admit there's something about those dramatic teenage years that still calls to me. It was so much fun having everything, and I mean everything, be such a big deal. I mean, I guess "fun" is probably the wrong word. But life sure is different when you're convinced you're at the center of it, you know what I mean? And that's got to be the reason why I can't stop watching shows about kids in high school. It reminds me of a time when I thought the whole world revolved around me. Well, okay, I actually thought the whole world revolved around my gorgeous, popular twin sister. But at least I was standing right next to her while it turned its circles. Sometimes these days, I can't help but wonder if I've somehow managed to spin off track. If I'm not actually hurtling down some undefined trajectory that's taking me further and further away from where I really want to be, and closer and closer to some unexplored reaches of space, where all there be are dragons.

So, given my obvious affection for the simple life I now call "adolescence," why on earth did it take me so long to discover the new WB show, "The O.C."? I mean, I saw the ads for it. I knew it was coming and that it was about teens and their melodramatic teenageryness. And yet, for some reason I still can't figure out, I completely neglected to tune in.

Then "Jake 2.0" started up, I saw it was about a nerdy tech support cutie, and before I even knew what was happening, I was all sucked into that geeky vortex, missing the whole Orange County scene. And I didn't even think that was cause for alarm, either. I was so dumb.

But then I went on vacation to California, where my twin sister lives. She told me I had to tune in, and when I scoffed, she followed it up with a challenge -- she told me there was a character on "The O.C." that I was going to fall in love with, if only I'd start taping "Jake 2.0" and start tuning into the WB at 9pm on Wednesdays. So, intrigued, last week when I saw the show had returned after a brief hiatus, I decided to give it a try.

My Lord, why hath you forsaken me?

I was lost, and now I am found! For I not only am in love with the show (after having gotten all caught up on the episodes I'd missed, thanks to a friend with the same secret lust for teenage melodrama and a stack of O.C. videotapes), I'm also madly in love with the entirety of the male half of the cast.

Peter Gallagher and Tate Donovan! Nice to see you guys are getting work! Watch for both of those old fogies to show up here at some point too, if only for nostalgic reasons. But, predictably, it's really the character of Seth Cohen who has knocked my figurative socks off. Seth, who was once described in a magazine as "adorkable." Adorkable! I think that's my new favorite word. I not only love the man, I love the adjective used to describe him! And anybody who truly knows me (like, for example, my sister) knows that Seth is absolutely perfect for me. He's so my type, he gives me carpal tunnel syndrome! (My type -- carpal tunnel -- caused by typing -- get it? Yeah, okay, so that was a super bad one. I apologize. Won't let it happen again.)

First off, he's totally cute in an unstandard kind of way (not a "substandard" kind of way -- an unstandard king of way, and yes, I do believe I just made that word up). And then there's the sense of humor -- deadly. Plus, and this is a huge one for me, as you know, he's such a total underdog. I mean, Seth is practically captain of the O.C. Underdogs. All guys like him were doomed in high school. And why? Why, because we girls were too damn dumb back then to know any better. Now that I'm older (and, I should mention, married to a man who is much that type himself), I can see what I should've seen back then -- namely that if you line up all those popular guys and strip away their varsity letters, cool cars, cheerleader girlfriends, influential parents, and macho egos, what you're left with is a row of naked losers. Strip those things away from a guy like Seth Cohen and what you're left with is. . .well, Seth Cohen! Funny, sweet, sincere, kind, trustworthy, loyal, and alive and on fire with everything that's right about this world.

And let's not even mention his dark, curly hair; tall, geeky frame; and sexy je nais se quoi. No wait, let's mention those things after all. Because, them too. This boy is so marrying me, I can hardly stand it.

Now, surprisingly, it turns out "The O.C." isn't actually Adam's first foray onto the small screen. How I managed to miss his turn on an episode of "Judging Amy," I have no idea (note: updated information! I caught this episode a month or two ago and immediately knew why I didn't remember him from it -- he looked nothing like himself! In the ep, he plays a teenage goth accused of coercing his girlfriend into committing suicide. Piercings, dark spiky hair, black lipstick -- completely unrecognizable! The only reason I knew it was him was because his mouth is so distinctive (and so is his voice). Anyway, he was great in it -- it's a very sad episode -- and if you can, try to catch it sometime yourselves.) How I managed to miss him in an episode of "Go Fish," I have a more ready explanation for (because who? what?).

Don't be fooled into thinking he's just some rookie kid, though. Adam is actually 24 years old (born on April 8, 1980 in San Diego) and he was active in theater for years before transitioning into primetime television. Before signing on for OC, he was in several episodes of the highly acclaimed show "Gilmore Girls," and he's had several small parts in films as well (including "American Pie 2" and "The Ring"). He also has a starring role in a skateboarding movie called "Grind" under his belt, due out on DVD fairly soon. You better believe I'll be renting it. And then I'll probably rue that decision (because, like, a skateboarding movie? It just can't possibly be any good -- it just can't!). And then a year later, I'll think to myself, "Hey, have I seen this" and I'll rent it again. And then rue it again. And then a year later. . . well, you know the drill. Such is life when you have a mind like a sieve. Or, more accurately, a mind like a cheap plastic collander that's all melty on one side from where it once sat too close to a hot burner.

Anyway, let's wrap this thing up (finally).

Up next for Adam is, happily, more of the same. And if you haven't experienced the melodramatic ridiculousness that IS "The O.C.," never fear. You can jump into this series in the middle without too much of a struggle. You know the plot already, after all. Because though the names have changed, the stories remain the same. Except for one very important element -- none of my friends had dads that were as hot as Peter Gallagher. That's how you know it's fiction. "The O.C." is on Thursday nights at 8pm on FOX. Turn on, tune in, and veg out!

MacGyver Factor Score: 93.254%. Points off because. . .oh, just because. And then points back because of more of the same. And also because I said so. And because I'm older than you are. And because I'm smarter than you are too. And because Mom said I was in charge. And because if you don't cut that out right now I am so telling on you. I said cut it out! Right now! Moooooooommmmmmmm!!!!

Boyfriend-Related Links

Adam's IMDb site
Fox's Official OC web site (fan site)
Brody Fan (another fan site)

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