oc_gambit2 (oc_gambit2) wrote in ocitagain,

  • Location:
  • Mood:

The Distance

And I do have some distance to go, but I'm getting there.  This will flow into the Way We Were, New Kids, and New Era, and hopefully soon to SnOC and Chrismukkah.  I thought I'd have ‘me time’ LAST Friday, it’s been another week and there’s so much ketchup on this burger from the OC diner it’s dripping all over me.  There are a few thoughts left elsewhere as responses to others’ S2 thoughts.  Warning:  it's long.  They made a strong start to S2, IMHO.

 From the moment Sandy delivers his ironic, “My house is torn apart and construction’s got nothin’ to do with it,” to hearing Ryan/Ben’s gently amused voice about his foreman, “He’s always angry; he’s an angry man,” I was transported back to the snowglobe of S1.  They’re back, they’re back!- *happy dance* even if everything’s a mess and nothing’s the way it was [should be?].  


Oh Ben, puh-leeze let us see you work soon!  The emotion on Ryan’s face as he backs toward Teresa’s car after Sandy’s “Take care, kid,”:  marvelous!  And we know even without seeing that by the time he turned to her his pleasant, caring mask was back up.


They did a nice job of portraying the tension between the two despite the also genuine caring.  But it’s caring that’s led Ryan into joyless duty.  The combination and consequent conflict within him shine through when he’s telling Teresa he’s decided to go to Portland but forgot the Dr. appointment.  The expression, the body language as he walks up behind her, into her personal space, “You sure?”  Ryan does still love Teresa, but as his oldest friend.  He’s no longer ‘in love’ with her- if indeed most mid-teen boys truly distinguish being ‘in love’ from ‘getting some’. *smirk*  [I don’t mean to be disparaging, simply to point out they’re victims of hormone poisoning.]


I don’t know how many times I replayed the scene where he takes the garbage out and sees the kid.  VHS tape might be wearing thin.  First, he’s so gorgeous in the ‘beater.  But the expression….sigh.  For me the jury’s still out on whether he’s envisioning his possible child and why he’s enduring leaving Newport, or remembering himself a few years back, enjoying a rare moment in the ‘hood biking with his friends.  It works either way, and I kinda like thinking it’s a bit of both.


Picky rewatch bit:  Anybody else think it’s funny all the kids are wearing bike helmets?  Couldn’t get our kid to keep it on once he was out of sight.  Hubby’d drive in saying he saw Tom was out without his helmet again.  I picture all the guys meeting and making a pile of bike helmets down at the corner park….Sorry, TMI.  But you KNOW they come off!  *grin*  Probably some filming safety regulation for child actors. 


I’d been in withdrawal all summer, despite several sessions weekly with my hoard of tapes.  So admittedly, I was not inclined to be critical.  Even now, I think ‘The Distance’ did pretty well.  Today, though, having been exposed to too many of Josh’s ‘quick, let’s wrap up that large plot element in a single scene or two of a single episode’ tendencies, I’m more likely to squawk about plot whiplash. 


The scene with Ryan retreating to the guest room at Luke’s BGD’s house, for example:  He’s stunned, grieving probably from Teresa’s unexpected rejection as much as from the ‘miscarriage’.  Of course he closes the door.  And of course, after [surprise!] actually knocking, Seth walks in without waiting for permission.  On rewatch, I especially note the unspoken bond between the boys, Seth’s uncharacteristic quiet willingness simply to be there, letting Ryan take the lead and speaking- or not- his needs.  It occurred to me there’s a metaphor here, that for all his self-centeredness, there’s just something about Seth- he’s able to 'walk through doors' to get closer to Ryan as no one else can.  And *snark!* if he listened more to his friend he'd know who Ryan is!  This scene’s far from happy or charming, but somehow it reminded me of the poolhouse as they bed down after getting their asses kicked by the water polo team, and Ryan’s tipsy, tolerant smile at Seth’s immature, drunken babbling.  For whatever reason, he LIKES this kid.  And Ryan’s a natural.  With his background, Ryan can easily deal with Seth’s selfishness; compared to the caretaking and abuse he used to endure, this kid’s a cakewalk.


But- I digress into how much I love that scene, so short yet so packed with information without a word spoken, thanks to Ben’s expressive abilities [okay, Adam didn’t do too bad, either].  BUT- point is, SHORT.  Teresa lost the baby.  And that, plus a few pensive words to Marissa in the next episode, is the sum total of what this experience meant to Ryan and how he’s processing it.  On the surface it looks like he went back to Newport and dove into total denial, but that’s hardly Ryan’s character.  It must always be there, under the surface and unspoken so he doesn’t impose his problems on the Cohens.  And no sign of Kandy parenting in terms of even trying to discuss his summer.  We know he wouldn’t say much- but real parents would’ve tried. 


There’s so much material there that TPTB sadly never addressed.


So, as much as I adore Lindsay and that Ryan gets to have a relatively angst-free [for a while, anyway] girl around, I have to agree that there’s a disconnect in how seamlessly they portray him going from being a maybe-teenage-father-dropout-working a difficult job, to discovering Marissa is glad to see him, to discovering she’s still lying to and manipulating him, to grinning and laughing and Lindsay?  Yeah.  NOT!  They got away with it with me only because I was so glad to see the boy have some fun.  Seeing Ben/ Ryan smile can sort of disconnect my logical brain altogether….


Okay, more on the next few later today.  Promise! [yeah, right, I know....] 


Tags: ocitagain
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
yeah good stuff - I am waaay behind you on the rewatching...
It's been killin' me that RL's been kickin' butt with stuff I simply can't ignore for what's important [OC!], because these are some of my favorite parts. I finally let myself off the hook on much of the end of S1 and simply added a few comments....so, set yourself free, fred! By now, most of it's been said. *hee*

It's probably not nice to say it's good to know someone else is so far behind? [Okay, I didn't say that *smirk*] But it is nice to hear from you.

I finally turned the DVD on in the background when I could the last week and all of a sudden as I was falling asleep last night I was ready to write. There might even be some fic cooking, but that will take a bit longer....
I haven't been rewatching lately, but maybe it's time for some OC. Anyway... I do agree with most of your commentary. If I had to pick, it would be on how Ryan comes home. It worked, but it always bugged me that Ryan was able to leave. (16, 17 and one probation can go without parental supervision?)
Hey, maybe so!

Yeah, they just wrapped up too much too fast. And both the leaving last spring and the return? Exactly. I don't think a minor kid on probation/in foster care just picks up and moves an hour from his designated guardians- then back- so easily. They needed to make at least a token nod to the fact the system would've had something to say about Sandy and Kirsten letting Ryan go. Not even the mythic Sandy Cohen, PD could have THAT much pull.
Josh had a vision. It just didn't mesh with reality.... If he wanted Ryan to go back to Chino at the end of S1, he should have had Frank or Dawn show up and take him home. That would have made sense.
"That would have made sense." But hey, this is Josh. C'mon. *grin*
the jury’s still out on whether he’s envisioning his possible child and why he’s enduring leaving Newport, or remembering himself a few years back, enjoying a rare moment in the ‘hood biking with his friends.

Maybe it's b/c I used 'biker Ryan' as an icon for Fresh Air Kid, but I believe Ryan's vision was of himself at 12 or 13.

I loved this epi. What followed was not always good, but Josh was still connected at this point. He dropped the ball on the parenting after the end of this ep...maybe b/c he's not a parent---and I bet not many of the other writers were either. They just don't *get* it, do they?


November 3 2007, 07:30:02 UTC 9 years ago

Hi! *waves*

"Maybe it's b/c I used 'biker Ryan' as an icon for Fresh Air Kid...." yeah. It's a bit 'chicken or egg?' either way, isn't it? *grin* But we know for sure from canon that he loves his bike....

Oh, and the 'Fresh Air' series is like, totally true, right? You wrote such a wonderful, believable kid. *gambit living in snowglobe...*

"Josh was still connected at this point" Definitely it still has the strong points common through S1- but the parenting experience? Yeah, not so much, and it showed more and more as they continued. It IS kinda funny they could do so well 'grabbing' a 'Kandy-age' audience yet drop the ball holding it. I think what writers usually do in unfamiliar territory is called 'research'. [Okay, that was a bit snarky. Onward.] Yes, it's the age difference- they probably never did realize they were missing the mark to the point of needing to learn more about it-

I'm sure I've said it before, but it's still a testament to how strong the beginning was, that so many of us still stuck around thanks to the compelling characters, in hope that the writers would come full circle.
IMO the only time Josh came full circle after S1 was in the series finale---and for me at least, he did it well.

I think you're correct in that TPTB dropped the ball with their older demographics. Looking ahead to S3.2 (on Soap.net the other night) they tried to get that parenting back but went horribly wrong---Sandy speaking harshly to an off-track Ryan, telling him to take a break from Marissa----it was too little (well, really too much) too late.
"....tried to get that parenting back but went horribly wrong---"

I have more than once wondered about how they were parented and whose parent[s] were being 'channeled', espeically S3. *snark* *hee*

And I must agree about the finale- they packed as much as they could in there. The main problem for me is that it WAS the finale. *sob*