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QUESTION: How come you never see any memorials to dead TV shows on the side of the road? Dead people get roadside tributes all the time … crosses nailed to trees, flowers on lampposts, shrines on hairpin curves — yet not one is dedicated to MacGyver! I need to express my grief, too! (Sniff.) If MacGyver were here, he'd find some way of helping me. Probably with a battery, an empty paper-towel roll and some pine needles.

Anyway, while you may not care that I continue to pine for that rakishly handsome and inventive adventurer, I'm sure you'll all join me in a roadside candlelight vigil for the final episode of The O.C. (Fox, 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22), the greatest teen drama in the history of humankind — and yes, that includes YOU, Degrassi!

Admittedly, I haven't always been 100 percent supportive of The O.C. — primarily because of that annoyingly drippy wench Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) — but I will go to my grave defending this show as a groundbreaking series that raised the bar of excellence for the nighttime soap. Not only did The O.C. turn shoe-staring indie rockers like Death Cab for Cutie into hot commodities, they also made "Chrismukkah" — Seth Cohen's Jewish/Christian mash-up — the hottest holiday since "Festivus." But even though it all ends this week, I'll still have my memories. Such as …

• "Welcome to the O.C., bitch." When water-polo hunk Luke Ward said this in the first episode and proceeded to knock the Chino out of Ryan Atwood, it inspired bullies across the nation. As a matter of fact, I still say this whenever I punch someone in the stomach — whether they're entering the bathroom, Starbucks, or in my grandfather's case, when I dropped him off at the rest home.

• Summer Roberts whipping off her shirt. Ahhh, an image burned into the pleasure center of my brain. After weeks of fighting her feelings for über-nerd Seth Cohen, the popular — and super-hot — Summer knocked his skinny ass on the bed, whipped her shirt off and boned the geek right out of him. Plot twist: Turns out she was a virgin at the time! Ka-BOINNGGG!

• Oliver. It's a name that still strikes terror into the hearts of O.C. fans, and though he came and went in a scant six episodes, what a trail of tears he left in his wake. Oliver Trask was a rich-kid transfer student/sociopath who committed the following crimes: lied his ass off, stole a golf cart, broke up Ryan and Marissa, got busted for drugs, held Marissa at gunpoint, and most horrifically — at least from my perspective — procured tickets for the gang to see Rooney at the Bait Shop. BRRRRRR … I still shudder.

And who could forget Ryan's almost daily fistfights, Seth's "Comic Book Club," Sandy's animatronic eyebrows, that hot lesbian bartender, the "Dean of Discipline" and especially the fantastic and heavenly TAYLOR TOWNSEND — who unfortunately couldn't stop the show's downward spiral brought about by the nasal, horrifying witchery of MARISSA COOPER! Regardless … fare thee well, sweet O.C.! And when you reach those pearly gates in the canceled TV afterlife, may Aaron Spelling be there waiting with these words: "O.C., you did good. Welcome to heaven, bitch."

"Cry on my shoulder," said the road.

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, FEB. 22

8:30 p.m. NBC THE OFFICE

Michael decides to reveal his relationship with Jan … at a party … while drunk.

9 p.m. FOX THE O.C.

Series finale! WAHH! The last episode ever, which means Summer has one more chance to whip off her shirt.

FRIDAY, FEB. 23

8 p.m. NBC 1 VS. 100

It's one person in a battle of wits against a mob, including rappers Three 6 Mafia and Dr. Ruth Westheimer!

11 p.m. BBCA SPOONS

Debut! A new Brit comedy about the foils of young adulthood, guv'nah!

SATURDAY, FEB. 24

9 p.m. SCIFI FIRE SERPENt

(Movie, 2007) A veteran firefighter battles a fire-breathing dragon. (Throw baking soda on it!)

SUNDAY, FEB. 25

5:30 p.m. ABC ACADEMY AWARDS

If Borat isn't going to be there … why bother? Oh yeahhh … the always-possible Scarlett Johansson "nip-slip."

10 p.m. SCIFI BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

The Galactica mechanics go on strike — which works great until they run out of oxygen.

MONDAY, FEB. 26

9 p.m. FOX 24

Have you noticed how skinny President Palmer's neck is? I'd never vote for a guy with a neck that skinny.

10 p.m. NBC THE BLACK DONNELLYS

Debut! A new drama about the working-class Irish mafia (which is like the Italian mafia except with shillelaghs).

TUESDAY, FEB. 27

9 p.m. CW VERONICA MARS

Tim Foyle breaks into the Mars' office, inspiring Keith Mars to break into his face.

9:30 p.m. FOX ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADER?

Debut! A new game show that tests adults on fifth-grade knowledge. Hosted by the sub-intelligent Jeff Foxworthy.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28

8 p.m. CW AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

Season premiere! Tyra Banks (who is NOT fat, BTW) is back with a new bevy of babes (also NOT fat).

10 p.m. ABC LOST

A mysterious car is found on the island, leading Hurley to search for a mysterious microwave and Slurpee machine.


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