Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


RIP, The O.C.

Well, the writing was on the wall when the fourth season of my cheesy, yet strangely beloved teen soap The O.C. opened this September to pathetically low ratings. Fox has now cancelled my beloved guilty pleasure, with the finale set to air February 22. At least they're planning for it, and they're not just yanking it with narrative threads all a-dangle. In memoriam (since I totally missed eulogizing James Brown & Gerald Ford while I was on vacation with my family), a handful of good things The O.C. introduced to the world during its tenure on the airwaves:

  • Nerd cool: let's face it, protagonist Seth Cohen (as played by the adorable Adam Brody) has brought sexy (okay, maybe a tepid "appealing" would be more accurate) back to nerdiness. A master stroke for skinny Death Cab-loving boys -- and the girls who never thought they'd love them -- everywhere.
  • Mix CDs: these are nothing new, but the six official mix CDs that make up this show's soundtrack kick major sonic booty. Featuring artists like the aforementioned Death Cab, Sufjan Stevens, Mates of State, and Imogen Heap, they are gateway listening to indie rock nirvana and are therefore must-haves for my library's collection, and quite possibly for yours.
  • Indie Rock Rocks: Well, duh. A major part of the show's appeal, for me, at least, was the fact that they played good music in every episode. And not just any good music -- good music on little labels like Kill Rock Stars, SubPop, and Sympathy For The Record Industry. It's a big deal for a major TV network to showcase long tail music. Let's give Fox some credit.
  • Showcasing Michael Chabon: I didn't include this in my five things, but Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors. Even when he is so (justifiably) in love with his own prose stylings that he can't, you know, move the darn story forward, I forgive him and love him. Hi, Michael! Wonder Boys is another of my all-time favorite books; I think I might like it even more than Kavalier & Clay, which fellow O.C. viewers will recognize as a core element in the Seth Cohen Starter Pack, the gift Seth bestows upon his two would-be ladyloves in the first Chrismukkah episode. Which brings me to...
  • Chrismukkah! The all-purpose Winter Holiday for interfaith families (Seth's mother, Kirsten, is an ur-shiksa, a size 2 Nordic Goddess, married to a Nice Jewish Boy from the Bronx, Sandy) has enjoyed quite a boost in notoriety and popularity since The O.C.'s first season. As half of an interfaith couple myself, Chrismukkah really resonates with me, though my husband prefers his own coinage, Chanumas.

So long, O.C.! We hardly knew ye!

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  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger SOTA II SEA said…

    I never did get into the OC--I think it conflicted with some other equally fine programming. But, I was pretty giddy when I ran across a block of 90210's over the holidays on SOAP. It was a chunk of all their holiday episodes....sooooo delightfully cheesy. No judgment passed here, Sophie!

  • At 12:13 PM, Blogger Jenny said…

    Yes, the OC is cancelled, and that sucks. But last night I read online that the creator of the OC is currently developing a pilot based on the Gossip Girls series!! Now THAT, I would like to see.... especially in his hands.

  • At 12:20 PM, Blogger Josh B. said…

    I too have been a fan since the shows inception and am sad to hear the news, although, it is without doubt time. I agree that this show has done a lot to bring some really good music to the public scene, and am thankful for the cool factor it gave to us nerds. By the way tell your husband the Chanumas rocks. Thanks for the post.

  • At 2:24 PM, Blogger Sophie Brookover said…

    Mmmm, 90210. Or as it was called at my high school, "Bev". I loved that show, and Melrose Place, too. Say what you will about Fox, that network knows how to create a buzzworthy soap. Thanks for the reminder of the crazy old days, sota ii sea!

    jenny, that is amazing, wonderful, salivation-inducing news. Oh, thank you so much for sharing! Link, if you can furnish one!

    josh b., I will certainly pass along your compliments to Mr. Sophie. And although I've come to terms with the cancellation, you can't deny that the show has been in rare form this year (after an abysmal, trying 3rd season). This year's Chrismukkah episode? Which theme-checked It's A Wonderful Life? Genius!

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Jenny said…

    Here's the link to the story about the Gossip Girls pilot:
    Josh Schwartz and Gossip Girls


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