The 50 Best Moments from The O.C.

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The 50 Best Moments from The O.C.

Over the course of four seasons and 92 episodes, The O.C. had its share of great moments. From Cohen family hilarity to heartbreak and grief, the series ran the gamut of styles and tones, creating a wide variety of unforgettable scenes. (It was so ubiquitous, in fact, that The Lonely Island parodied it in a digital short without needing to mention it by name.) To mark series landing on HBO Max, Paste presents The O.C.’s 50 Best Moments, listed in chronological order. (Read our complete episode ranking here.)

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1. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Ryan gets arrested with his brother and meets Sandy Cohen.

2. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Ryan meets Marissa for the first time.

3. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

Seth meets his new brother, Ryan.

4. “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)

“Welcome to the O.C., bitch!”

5. “The Model Home” (Episode 1.02)

Ryan and Luke fight—burning down a model home as a result.

6. “The Girlfriend” (Episode 1.06)

Seth and Summer kiss, beginning The O.C.’s best romance (of many).

7. “The Escape” (Episode 1.07)

The gang goes to “TJ” (Tijuana).

8. “The Escape” (Episode 1.07)

Marissa overdoses on pills and booze.

9. “The Heights” (Episode 1.09)

Ryan and Marissa share their first kiss atop a ferris wheel.

10. “The Secret” (Episode 1.12)


11. ”The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Episode 1.13)

The Cohens introduce the world to Chrismukkah, the holiday sweeping the nation.

12. ”The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Episode 1.13)

Summer gives Seth his Chrismukkah present: His own, real-life Wonder Woman.

13. “The Countdown” (Episode 1.14)

Ryan rushes to kiss Marissa on New Year’s Eve.

14. “The Truth” (Episode 1.18)

Oliver loses his goddamn mind.

15. “The Heartbreak” (Episode 1.19)

Summer and Seth have sex for the first time—and it’s awkward.

16. “The Heartbreak” (Episode 1.19)

Sandy and Seth have “the talk.”

17. “The Heartbreak” (Episode 1.19)

Seth and Summer share a dance.

18. “The Telenovela” (Episode 1.20)

Seth publicly proclaims his love for Summer.

19. “The Goodbye Girl” (Episode 1.21)

Anna leaves for the East Coast and says goodbye to Seth.

20. “The Proposal” (Episode 1.24)

The Gruesome Twosome get engaged.

21. “The Strip” (Episode 1.26)

The O.C. goes to The Vegas.

22. “The Ties That Bind” (Episode 1.27)

The most unholy of all unions.

23. “The Ties That Bind” (Episode 1.27)

Ryan goes back to Chino and Seth sails to Tahiti.

24. “The Distance” (Episode 2.01)

Marissa’s hilariously stupid meltdown.

25. “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t” (Episode 2.06)


26. “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t” (Episode 2.06)

Kirsten finds out about her long lost sister, then attacks her father.

27. “The Lonely Hearts Club” (Episode 2.12)

Seth ruins his comic book meeting by being jealous and over-caffeinated.

28. “The Rainy Day Women” (Episode 2.14)

Seth and Summer reunite with a Spider-Man-style kiss.

29. “The Return of the Nana” (Episode 2.21)

Trey attacks and forces himself on Marissa.

30. “The Showdown” (Episode 2.22)

Kirsten gets in a car accident after drinking and driving.

31. “The O.Sea” (Episode 2.23)

Caleb Nichol has a heart attack and dies.

32. “The Dearly Beloved” (Episode 2.24)

Kirsten’s substance abuse problems lead her loved ones to stage an intervention.

33. “The Dearly Beloved” (Episode 2.24)

Marissa shoots Trey.

34. “The Shape of Things to Come” (Episode 3.02)

Ryan punches the dean of his high school.

35. “The Game Plan” (Episode 3.08)

Seth doesn’t give a crap about school anymore.

36. “The Sister Act” (Episode 3.12)

Kaitlin Cooper returns to Newport.

37. “The Cliffhanger” (Episode 3.14)

Johnny dies. Finally.

38. “The Road Warrior” (Episode 3.16)

Marissa and Ryan break up one final time.

39. “The Day After Tomorrow” (Episode 3.20)

Summer gets into Brown and Seth doesn’t. The two break up because of Seth’s lies.

40. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

Ryan, Seth, Marissa and Summer graduate from high school.

41. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

The gang return to the model home to say goodbye to each other.

42. “The Graduates” (Episode 3.25)

Marissa Cooper dies.

43. “The Avengers” (Episode 4.01)

Seth makes a comic book for Ryan.

44. “The Metamorphosis” (Episode 4.04)

Summer rapidly goes through the stages of grief.

45. “The Metamorphosis” (Episode 4.04)

Ryan and Taylor have their first kiss.

46. “The Chrismukk-huh?” (Episode 4.07)

Ryan and Taylor share a Chrismukkah coma dream.

47. ”The Earth Girls Are Easy” (Episode 4.08)

Seth proposes to Summer.

48. “The Case of the Franks” (Episode 4.13)

The O.C. flashes back to young Sandy and Kirsten.

49. “The Shake Up” (Episode 4.14)

An earthquake hits Orange County.

50. ”The End’s Not Near, It’s Here” (Episode 4.16)

Seth and Summer get married.

Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. Yogalates. You can follow find more of his writing at and follow him on Twitter.

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