TV Time with Bob: ‘Hill’ makes a great drinking game, ‘O.C.’ does its own thing

One Tree Hill

The CW, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

One might assume that in its fourth season, “One Tree Hill” might finally be growing up and becoming less of an unintentional (or perhaps intentional) laugh-fest and more of an honest character piece.

Nope! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Deb is climbing down a rope made out of bed sheets to break out of a voluntary rehab. Nathan and Skills are stripping for money for a pregnant crippled Haley so she can wear a maternity dress to her prom. Brooke and Rachel are joining an abstinence club at school in order to steal tests from their teacher so Brooke doesn’t fail.

Oh God, this is great.

And if you want a really great drinking game, set a bottle of vodka in front of you and take a shot every time there is blatant product placement. I’ve already discussed, at length, the fact that “One Tree Hill” must have sold its soul to Sunkist, but lately it’s been mixing it up a little, with Chili’s popping up everywhere and Peyton showing Lucas really annoying things on her T-Mobile phone and then asking him, “Isn’t that cool!?”

Is it wrong for me to go out on a limb here and call “One Tree Hill” the best show on television, even though it’s not in any real definition of the word “good”?

The O.C.

Fox, Thursdays at 9 p.m.

My relationship with “The O.C.” has been the most turbulent of any television show I’ve ever watched. After the excellent season one and hit-and-miss season two, the show almost destroyed itself with the lackluster, horrible season three. But in its fourth and final season, the producers seem to have given up caring about the ratings and just done their own thing, and the results are fantastic.

First, there is one teeny weeny problem left in Orange County, and I think we all know who I’m talking about: Che. Every season has had one character who the audience positively loathes, but who the producers just refuse to truck offscreen for a quiet burial. In season one we had . shudder . Oliver. In season two we had Kim Delany playing someone whose name no one remembers. Season three offered up Johnny, the injured surfer/Marissa stalker who ended up jumping off a cliff and died. And now we have Che, who has gotten Summer kicked out of Brown, shows up randomly in the O.C. uninvited and has a crush on Seth. Please let the guy overdose on some of his happy leaves before season’s end.

But everything else is coming up roses.

The hilarious mismatch between Ryan and Taylor is perfectly done, and it helps that Ben McKenzie and Autumn Reeser have more chemistry than Ryissa ever did. They are so cute together that I’ve even squished their names together to come up with one of those cheesy romantic couple names: Raylor!

And, as always, Julie Cooper is stealing the show. Her antics with mini-Coop are hilarious. She has the best lines of any evening, and her sudden triangle between Hercules and a guy named Bullet (seriously) didn’t seem forced because of her great comedic timing. Bravo!

Anyway, before I end the column for the week, I think it’s time we started thinking up baby names for Kirsten’s bun-in-the-oven. How about we name the baby after couple acronyms! How’s Ryissa, Setummer? No?

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].