Season 4 of “The O.C.” was a success in so many ways, exemplified in part by (most) of the new characters that were introduced. The writers masterfully employed a variety of character types and ages this season (not to mention species), and all of these newbies were used fairly well to help move the primary storylines along as the series wrapped up.
Who are your favorite and least favorite new characters? Jump down to the comments and let us know!
I happily welcomed almost all of the new faces that graced my screen as I rewatched the show‘s final season. There were two exceptions, though. Hint: Neither of those men is known to embrace the fine art of showering. Read ahead for the last installment of my “Addition Awards”!
LOVE: Frank Atwood — Most Valuable Player (Almost)
The writers faced a massive challenge in making Frank Atwood (Kevin Sorbo) a redeemable character, especially in a short amount of time, but they were successful. After years of bad choices and being a deadbeat dad, Frank showed up in Season 4 and displayed signs of being a reliable father to Ryan (Ben McKenzie).
Then, in a turn even more unexpected than Frank showing up in the first place, he emerged as probably the most suitable mate for Julie (Melinda Clarke) that we had ever encountered. They understood each other in a way the other characters, who didn't have to fight and claw for what they wanted in life, didn't. But the series finale had him take a sharp turn — he disappeared again, freaked out over the news Julie was pregnant with his baby. He comes to his senses, then refrains from meddling in Julie's relationship with Bullit (Gary Grubbs), and then comes to his senses again and tries to interrupt their wedding.
At the very end of the series finale, in a flash-forward, it seems Frank might've ended up with Julie after all. I’m still puzzled over a few things from the final episode, and that’s one of them. Why did we have to doubt him again?
LOVE: The Bullit — Most Surprisingly Adorable
I couldn’t fathom The Bullit’s larger purpose when we first met him in Season 4, nor did I like him. But, oh my gosh, the familial connection that developed between him and Kaitlin (Willa Holland) was maybe the most endearing relationship I observed among the non-primary characters throughout the entire series. I can understand why Julie would go for him, given the financial security he could provide and the love he clearly had for her one surviving daughter. I just wish the writers could have found a way to tie him more into the Cohen/Cooper crew at the very end.
I also have to mention that during my rewatch, I noticed several lines from The Bullit that flew in 2006-2007 but most certainly wouldn't be OK today. He isn't the most PC character, and a lot of things that were used for humor nearly 20 years ago wouldn't be now. Overall, though, I fell for his charm and warmth. Bullit, you can adopt me!
NEUTRAL: Henri-Michel de Maumarot — Most Forgettable
Two of the funniest bits in “The O.C” involve the usually prim Taylor (Autumn Reeser) surprising people with her sex-positive escapades. In Season 3, she casually mentioned she had a threesome on prom night. This season, when Ryan accidentally walks in on two men in bed, he jokingly asks if Taylor is in there with them (that quip may have been the best line Ryan ever uttered).
All this to say, Taylor's lusty love affair with the French Henri-Michel (Henri Lubatti), whom she married in Paris on a whim, should have sizzled. Instead, it fizzled, and I barely remembered it when Henri-Michel surfaced in Newport with a new novel about their trysts. The whole plot line was a mild yawn (though I do like the nickname he gave Taylor: Peaches).
HATE: Che — Worst at Bathing
Che (Chris Pratt) should have, and could have, been a really fun character! Quirky, earnest, friendly, and seemingly trustworthy (turns out, he isn’t so much) — I should have liked him from the start. Unfortunately, Pratt's over-the-top performance rendered him into nothing more than a cartoon character. Even when Che's complex background was revealed, I wasn’t drawn to him.
Ostensibly, Che is the reason Summer (Rachel Bilson) got into environmental advocacy at Brown, but he ultimately served as little more than a vehicle that helped put a wedge between Summer and Seth (Adam Brody) so they could get back together for the umpteenth time. I suppose that was necessary, but meh. The alt-universe version of Che — marrying Summer and having a down-and-dirty affair with Julie — was amusing, but otherwise, I found him hard to stand. Don't get me started on his hygiene habits.
LOVE: Luke’s Little Brothers — Best Callback
We last saw Luke (Chris Carmack) in the Season 2 premiere, but just because he was off in Portland with his dad didn't mean there weren't other Ward offspring still getting into shenanigans in Newport. To be honest, I had to look up who was who because I never thought of them as much more than a singular unit — Luke’s Little Brothers.
We previously met Brad (Austin Dolan) and Eric Ward (Shane Haboucha) briefly in the first season of “The O.C.,” but they’re utilized far more effectively in the final season, despite serving more as a comic-relief duo than two dynamic characters. They’re a fun addition to Kaitlin’s life and allow us to see her for the very young and, in many ways, still innocent girl she is.
LOVE: Pancakes — Best Non-Human
In a season full of bunnies (including stiff competition from Flapjacks), groundhogs, and aliens, Pancakes reigns supreme when it comes to Season 4's non-human characters. After all, she more or less saves Summer!
Away on her own at Brown after the loss of Marissa (Mischa Barton) and dealing with a shifting relationship with Seth, Summer needed a being in her life whose love was constant and unconditional. I love that Pancakes could provide that for her. Also, look at that face!