Cue the Phantom Planet song “California” because Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke are really taking The O.C. fans “right back where we started from.” The two actors launched their brand new podcast, Welcome To The O.C., Bitches on Tuesday, April 27 by taking us behind-the-scenes of the iconic teen drama’s very first episode. Bilson and Clarke played Summer Roberts and Julie Cooper, respectively.
In their weekly rewatch podcast, both of them will chronologically binge the Fox show set in the affluent Newport Beach and provide insider details and feature interviews with the cast and crew. They kicked off the first episode by speaking with The O.C. creator Joshua Schwartz, who is also known for developing Gossip Girl, Chuck, and more recently Hulu’s Looking For Alaska and The CW’s Nancy Drew. He’s basically helped drive television’s yearning for young adult dramas.
In the over 90 minute podcast episode, the three of them reflect on the show’s legacy. The O.C. was incredibly popular when it premiered in 2003 and while the same impact didn’t retain for its four-season run, the drama gradually became a pop culture phenomenon. Bilson, Clarke, and Schwartz talk about the making of the pilot, Schwartz’s inspirations for the character dynamics (think E.T. and Elliott’s friendship for Ryan and Seth), and the casting process for its protagonists, including Ben McKenzie as Ryan Atwood, Adam Brody as Seth Cohen, Mischa Barton as Marissa Cooper, and Peter Gallagher as everyone’s favorite fictional dad, Sandy Cohen.
In fact, Bilson revealed that she really wanted to play Marissa initially and Schwartz spoke about how Olivia Wilde, who plays Alex in season two, also auditioned for Marissa. Friday Night Lights’ Garrett Hedlund was a frontrunner for Ryan, but McKenzie’s take on the character won everyone over. The trio also unpack the show’s instantly iconic moments: the character’s greeting each other with “Hey,” Summer’s “Ew, Chino” delivery, and Luke’s (Chris Carmack) dialogue “Welcome to the O.C., bitch,” also the the inspiration for the podcast title.
Welcome To The O.C., Bitches will not only give us behind-the-scenes information on every episode, but also dive into how music became such an important part of The O.C.. In this podcast episode, Schwartz talks about how he aspired to bring the emotions behind Joseph Arthur’s “Honey And The Moon” into the show. The song plays in the pilot when Ryan bids Seth goodbye before heading back to Chino, a move that obviously did not last very long.
Since they’re recapping all 92 episodes of The O.C. on a weekly basis, Bilson and Clarke’s rewatch podcast is here for the long haul. It’s going to be a fun reunion as more cast members and writers of the show stop by and we get to hear their memories while filming. A new episode of the podcast will come out every Tuesday and all four seasons of The O.C. are streaming on HBO Max.