Welcome (back) to the O.C., bitch!

What the fuck is going on with The O.C.?

I stopped watching roughly midway through last season, at the point when Marissa switched to a public school populated by the entire cast of West Side Story. The show seemed to have lost its mooring, and its sense of humor, so I felt like maybe the best thing was to take a little break. You know, love something, set it free, blah blah blah.

But I couldn't stay away forever, so last night I tuned into the season opener to see what my old pals in Newport were up to. I guess if I want to keep watching, I'm going to need to spend a few hours at Television Without Pity, because Jesus I have no idea what's what anymore. I mean I'd heard through the grapevine that Marissa was dead, but I'm not sure what's going on with the rest of the characters.

Ryan's living in the maintenance room of a dingy bar and bare-knuckle boxing sweaty, shirtless dudes in a cage.

Seth's working at a comic book store instead of attending college.

That ultra-chipper student government girl who last I saw was just a one-dimensional bit player is now apparently Summer's super-best-friend.

And Summer's going to Brown, where for some reason she's turned into a caricature of an environmental activist. Also, her dad -- who I'm pretty sure used to be played by a different actor -- is married to Julie Cooper?

I mean, seriously, I know I missed some episodes, but ... whuh?

I'm willing to give the show another chance, even though last night's episode was pretty ridiculous. I mean, bare-knuckle boxing? Really? And did I mention that the Cohens attempted to get Ryan back via sappy autobiographical comic book presentation? Did I mention that the kids at Brown were playing a dijiridu? Or that this led to the following line of dialogue: "But Summer, it's your turn to jam on the dij."

So, yeah, pretty ridiculous. But that last line gives me hope that maybe the show is going to start being funny-ridiculous again instead of just ridiculous-ridiculous. One can always hope.

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