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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