Is anyone else giving up on Seth Cohen and his pals? After initially resisting, I got drawn into watching The O.C. late in the first season, quickly got hooked, and caught up on DVD. Teen angst, indie music, and comic book references on a prime-time show… what's not to love? Beyond that, it had smartly crafted characters and just the right amount of self-awareness. Sure, Marissa was a drag, but everyone else either popped to life with clever dialogue or brooded charismatically.

So what happened? I defended it through last season, stupid sub-plots (hello ratings-spiking lesbian kiss!) and all. The dialogue was still there and I still cared about the characters. But this year… I can't do it. It's all fumbled ideas–how totally wasted was Jeri Ryan after getting set up as a world-class pscho?–go-nowhere characters and twists telegraphed eight episodes in advance. And did someone slip something in Adam Brody's food? He seems kind of sleepy this year.

I think I'm out. And it's a shame, too. If the '90s were defined by Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place the first season or two of The O.C. suggested we were now living in a much cooler decade.

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