Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) is, without a doubt, my favorite character in “The O.C.,” mostly because he serves as the comedic heart of the show (at least he has for the first two seasons of my rewatch, but I can’t imagine my opinion will change in Season 3 or 4). I aspire to reach his level of dry wit; Seth will never be without a quippy comeback. Ryan (Ben McKenzie) spends Season 1 exuding hesitance and stoicism — coupled with those weirdly angled head tilts, which mercifully have disappeared by Season 2 — qualities that serve as a particularly effective foil for Seth’s humor.
I think their Season 2 banter is even more fun, as Ryan has solidified his footing as a Cohen family member and occasionally utters more than monosyllables in order to match (or even outdo) Seth’s witticisms. Here are my picks for the funniest Ryan-to-Seth remarks in Season 2 of “The O.C.”
“So you learned to work a grill. You’re a step up on your mom.”
When we finished Season 1, Seth was at sea. In the Season 2 premiere, he finds himself … with Luke (Chris Carmack) at his new house in Portland? He refuses to return to Orange County, so Ryan and Sandy (Peter Gallagher) head north to try and convince him to come home. After greeting Luke, Ryan happens upon Seth grilling meat outside. The pseudo-brothers re-bond immediately when Ryan opens the conversation with some levity: “So you learned to work a grill. You’re a step up on your mom.” Kirsten (Kelly Rowan), of course, is a notoriously bad cook.
“Seth shops for his girlfriends in the yearbook.”
The boys have gone back to school in the Season 2 episode, “The New Era,” and Seth is worried about his single life ahead, though I’m not sure he should be — he didn’t even have his first girlfriend until the year before! But he declares to his family over breakfast that he’s found a new love. His mother questions where he discovered this woman, and Ryan jumps in with the humorous explanation: “Ah, no, in the new era, Seth shops for his girlfriends in the yearbook.”
“You’re not really the fist-fighting type.”
When Seth tells Ryan that things will be different this year and that maybe he’ll shoulder the burden of parties going awry in the duo’s wake, Ryan simply responds, “You’re not really the fist-fighting type.” I hope this proves correct as my rewatch progresses; I’m not sure how many more fights I can take.
“We could head up to L.A., hit a club, go to Vegas, road-trip to Tijuana.”
Ryan gets clever and a bit meta when he references road trips from previous episodes. The boys are trying to have a guy’s night out, but are struggling to find something to actually do. Ryan slyly suggests, “We could head up to L.A., hit a club, go to Vegas, road-trip to Tijuana” — all places the gang memorably ventured to in Season 1.
“It’s weird and it’s creepy and it’s none of your business.”
Seth is in panic mode after Summer (Rachel Bilson) and Zach (Michael Cassidy) spend the night in a hotel room. He's desperate to know if they had sex and decides the only solution is to ask Summer — totally inappropriate! Ryan points this out with some choice words: “Seth, you can’t ask her. It’s creepy and it’s weird and it’s none of your business.”
Stay tuned for my favorite Seth and Ryan quips in Season 3 as my “The O.C.” rewatch journey continues!