I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’ve had a borderline unhealthy obsession with The O.C. since I first laid my little 12-year-old eyes upon it. You better believe my mother rues the day that I popped into her room, promptly asked her what show she was watching, and was immediately captivated by whatever was happening on the screen. (While I don’t remember exactly, let’s be real: It was maybe, probably, definitely a Seth Cohen monologue.)
The show provided some much-needed comic relief as I went through my ~teenage angst~ years, showing me that, yes, beautiful, ridiculously wealthy people have problems of their own, too — even if a lot of them could be solved if people just… went to therapy.
Since it premiered 20 years ago on August 5 (pssst: don’t forget to use your retinol tonight), The O.C. left a mark on the pop culture landscape as we know it. And no, I’m not just talking about that Dear Sister sketch. I think I speak for a lot of unabashedly basic millennial bitches (betches?) out there when I say that it set the scene for teaching me everything I need to know about love, life, and to not make friends with people named Oliver.
Every Important Life Lesson I Learned From The O.C.
- XOXO is an unbeatable combination.
- Everything is always better when Death Cab for Cutie is playing in the background.
- If your best friend gets way too drunk at a house party, do not leave her on the sidewalk in front of her house. Wake her parents TF up and get her inside.
- For the love of god, if you end up in a fistfight with the boyfriend of your current love interest, don’t do it in your soon-to-be mother’s model home — especially if said model home is full of candles that you just lit in order to impress said love interest. Just take it outside, okay?!
- Don’t pick on the nerdy kid who just so happens to have a best friend who stole a car and spent a few nights in jail. You’ll get punched in the face.
- Don’t steal people’s money, and if you do, don’t tell them while you’re at cotillion. You’ll also get punched in the face. Are you sensing a theme here?
- If you overdose in an alleyway in Tijuana (BTW, it’s pronounced Tijuana, mom), everyone will probably talk shit about you at school — high school kids love a scandal. But don’t worry, they’ll forget about it by next week. Most likely.
- As it turns out, the Summer flu cannot actually be treated with Anna-biotics.
- Eyebrows are indeed a sign of power.
- If your significant other tells you they love you for the first time, don’t even think about saying “thank you.” But if you do, you better make sure you have a plan to do the most romantic thing possible, which is storming into a New Year’s Eve party and telling them you also love them as the clock strikes midnight. Obviously.
- If you have a weird feeling about someone but none of your friends believe you, it’s only a matter of time until they know you were right. Especially if this person’s name is (you guessed it!) Oliver.
- I can’t believe I have to say this but don’t sleep with your daughter’s ex-boyfriend. Looking at you, Julie.
- If you’re planning on running away from home by sailing your little sailboat — which just so happens to be named after the person you’ve had a crush on since you were kids and are currently dating — around the world, make sure you have enough snacks. If you don’t, you might have to sell it to someone who renames it to the “Gimme Sex.”
- There are going to be times where you just feel like throwing in the towel. Or furniture in the pool. Go with the latter.
- All of our parents did some weird shit back in the ‘80s. Looking at you again, Julie (and I say that with love).
- Every family is at least a little bit dysfunctional.
- If you have an idea for a grand romantic gesture to win the love of your life back, you should shout “EUREKA” while you’re telling your best friend all about said plan.
- Always take protective headgear with you if you’re planning on changing the TV antenna on top of your house during a once-in-a-lifetime rainstorm in Southern California. Yes, even if it’s a Spider-Man mask. You never know when you’ll end up upside down on your roof, making out with your future spouse. After all, you can’t fight fate.
- It’s probably not a good idea to make a comic book with the current boyfriend of your ex-girlfriend alongside an attractive literary agent. Probably.
- If you’re struggling with something, you should confide in your best friend — don’t try to hide it. They love you and they want to help.
- No matter how much you hate your classmates, you will regret it if you don’t go to prom. Take it from the guy who invented Star Wars.
- Even the best of relationships go through rough times. But just because you can bend this thing, doesn’t mean it’s going to break.
- No matter how heartbroken you are, do not — I repeat, not — get drunk while standing on the top of a cliff overlooking the beach. Things will not end well.
- Cannot stress this one enough: If you and your girlfriend apply to the same college, and you do not get in — and this is a crazy thought here — but maybe just tell her?!
- It’s probably not the best idea to get back together with your ex-husband who has a penchant for stealing other people’s money. You may or may not end up in a trailer park for a hot sec.
- There will come a point where girls like the funny, witty guy who plays video games and listens to indie music more than the surfer guy who doesn’t have a headboard. Trust.
- While we’re on the topic of surfer guys without headboards… Just steer clear of them entirely. You’ll thank me for this.
- Running away to Greece and working on a ship sounds way better in theory than it would actually be. This isn’t an episode of Below Deck, sweetie.
- Illegitimi non carborundum. Don’t let the bastards get you down.
- You might find love in the most unexpected places and people. Sometimes, they may even go to extreme lengths, like wearing a groundhog suit, to show you.
- You’re going to grieve — whether it’s something, or someone — at some point, and it’s normal to go through those stages. Don’t push it away (and don’t free the bunnies from the lab or you might get expelled from school).
- If you ever just so happen to find yourself in a demolished ice cream parlor and think you’re drifting out to sea because of an earthquake, you should absolutely eat all of the ice cream while singing Bob Seger.
- There will be a day — say, 20 years from now — where you realize everything worked out, and it’s going to be better than you ever could have imagined. Just don’t forget to pay it forward.