Here are the incredibly important life lessons I have learned from watching 4 seasons of The OC multiple times.

  1. Taking things personally is the best way to ruin a relationship. It’s one thing to get upset with your girlfriend when she developed a dangerous drinking problem sophomore year of high school… You just want what is best for her. But when someone makes a mistake and is honest and repentant, that is not the time to dump them like last week’s brown guacamole. If someone says they need a little space and time to sort something out, that is not the time to stop supporting and loving them.  When people have other things going on in their lives it’s incredibly selfish to assume that you should be their priority.
  2. Calling people by their last names shows a level of familiarity that makes the person feel special. It’s also infinitely cool.  Summer calls people by their last names all the time, and we all know she was the coolest character in the entire series.  She was so cool that she went on and got her own show in the south called Hart of Dixie when the OC creator got to start spanking out dramadies for the CW.
  3. Don’t be an idiot about money. If you can’t be trusted with it then let people know. Don’t get credit cards. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.  Jimmy uses his investors money to pay for his family’s way of life in season 1 and legit spends the rest of the show trying to pay everyone back.  For a nice guy he wasn’t too smart.   And don’t have it be the only thing that makes you happy, because you will always be miserable.  Julie Cooper was a money-digging harlot for most of the show, but it was only when she found herself falling for the poor guys that she was really happy and not grasping desperately at everything and everyone in order to feel secure.
  4. Be honest with yourself and others when something is bothering you.
  5. Or get drink and cause a scene in public.  It’s the WASP way of doing things.  Marissa Cooper, Kirsten Cohen, Summer Roberts… all have had times when people around them thought seriously about sending them to rehab because home girls couldn’t face their problems like adults.  In fact, Kiki did go to rehab because she had the adult version of getting drunk at parties: Alcoholism.
  6. Being ones self is what will bring you fulfillment, and pretending to be someone else will lead to unhappiness, guilt, and usually some big “you lied to me?” moment with the people you care about that ruins their ability to trust you.  It happens so often in this show I can’t even pick one person to give an example of.
  7. Have some quality time with your same sex friends.  Seth-Ryan time was a big deal to the boys because they knew it was important to invest in your friendships.  It’s a sign of commitment to a relationship, and it’s a sign of honesty and authenticity to spend time with someone just to spend time with them, and not to get anything out of it. 
  8. If you need people let them know.  There are a lot of cases in life where we want to have other people around for company, need other people for support in hard times, and we just don’t tell anyone because we think it makes us look weak.  Guess what?  No one cares if you are weak.  They care if you’re ok.  Put the pride on the back burner and allow other people to come and walk through things with you.  Ryan Atwood was the stone-hard rock-wall fortress of the show for quite a bit of it, but my favorite episodes were when he would allow Sandy and the rest of the Cohen family to be there for him in rough situations.  He always figured that they would get mad and he would get in trouble, but most of the time they were able to help him wherever he was and get things back onto level ground.  That’s the thing about those who love us, sometimes we have to allow them a chance to support us in order to find out how supportive they really are.