oc_gambit2 (oc_gambit2) wrote in ocitagain,

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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....] 


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