Four-season hit The O.C. signs off tonight

Robert Taylor

When “The O.C.” launched four years ago, it immediately became a major hit with audiences and critics, winning audiences over with its stylish mix of teen soap, savvy pop-culture references and likable characters. It made immediate stars of original regulars Mischa Barton, Ben McKenzie and Adam Brody. And now, four seasons and Chrismukkahs later, it’s ending. Tonight.

As “The O.C.” ends, Kent State students comment on its cancellation…

“I’ve never watched it. I never had the time and I’m a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fan.” – Monica Volante, freshman journalism and mass communication major

“Mischa Barton should still be on the show. Seth and Summer should still be together. They are destined to be together.” – Kim Hutson, freshman communication studies major

“I don’t really care that it’s over. It went downhill after last season when Marissa died.” – Alexis Ols, sophomore interior design major

“It’s good that it’s ending. It’s just like everything else on TV. I only watched to see Ryan.” – Lauren Lavoia, junior nursing major

“Mischa Barton is not on it anymore, so it’s not even cool.” – Cailey Ambrose, sophomore political science major

“It’s crap. It should end because they killed off Marissa.” – Kyle Smith, freshman secondary education major

“It’s still making money so I think it should continue.” – Seisho Lembaucher, freshman architecture major

“‘Grey’s’ has better looking guys and a much better story line. It’s much more realistic than ‘The O.C.'” – Paige Meyer, freshman communication studies major

“Hopefully they can fill that time slot with a better show.” – Jimmy Hanson, freshman computer design and animation engineering technology major

The dramedy was created by 26-year-old Josh Schwartz in 2003, telling the story of RyanMcKenzie, a troubled high-schooler from Chino being adopted by the rich Cohen family in Orange County.

Ryan immediately found himself falling for a local rich girl (Barton) who is already involved with a popular jock (Chris Carmack).

As soon as it premiered, it was hailed as a new cultural phenomenon, creating pop-culture quotes (“Welcome to the O.C., bitch!”) and holidays (Chrismukkah, a mixture of Hanukkah and Christmas) and making geeks cool again thanks to Brody’s performance as lovable loser Seth Cohen.

The music of “The O.C.” also hit a chord with audiences- – its indie music spilling over onto six mix CDs and helping to introduce mainstream audiences to The Dandy Warhols, Joseph Arthur, Imogen Heap, Jem and Alexi Murdoch.

The show became such a phenomenon that Fox supersized “The O.C.’s” first season to 27 episodes. The second and third seasons were also supersized. But a major hit in ratings came with the third season’s shift in timeslot to 9 p.m. Thursdays, which pitted the show against “CSI.”

When it returned for its final season, it premiered late in the season against “CSI” and uber-hit “Grey’s Anatomy,” ratings dropped steeply, and it was not renewed for another season.

Despite being a critical darling for most of its run, “The O.C.” had its fair share of controversial and subpar storylines. In Season One a crazy stalker named Oliver fixated on Barton’s character, and a similar story with a surfer named Johnny in Season Three garnered numerous boos from viewers. Producers listened and threw Johnny over a cliff (literally) halfway through the season, killing him and leaving audiences cheering.

Also, in the final moments of Season Three, Barton’s character was shockingly killed off in a car accident, creating uproar with audiences but sparking a creative resurgence in the fourth season.

Tonight’s season finale flash-forwards six months into the future and promises a wedding, a baby and a few more laughs and tears. So, one final time, California, here we come!

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].