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Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets from The O.C.

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Mersini Karkoulas
California, here we come! For this list, we’re looking at interesting things that have been reported or claimed about this TV show and that the biggest fans of this teen drama may not know. Our list includes The Younger Cast Members Wanted Out, You Couldn’t Dive Into the Pool, The Designer Goods Were Fake, Mischa Barton Spoiled Marissa's Death, Alex Kelly & Marissa Cooper's Relationship Was Deepe, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets from The O.C.
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Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets from The O.C.


California, here we come! Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets from The O.C.
For this list, we’re looking at interesting things that have been reported or claimed about this TV show and that the biggest fans of this teen drama may not know.

#10: The Younger Cast Members Wanted Out


“The O.C.” was a straight shot to fame for the young cast, many of whom had never been in the spotlight before. Once it began to dawn on them that the little show they were in was taking off worldwide, they began to grow restless in their roles, feeling like it was time to move onto something better now that they were becoming household names. According to Tate Donovan, one of the veteran actors, this led to bad attitudes from the younger cast members, some even going so far as to deliberately forget their lines. Sounds like one heck of a bad working environment!

#9: Creator Josh Schwartz Regrets Killing Marissa Cooper


With Josh Schwartz as one of the youngest showrunners of all time, it makes sense that in hindsight he might regret a few story decisions. This definitely turned out to be the case with the death of Marissa Cooper. Happening at the end of season three, after a long run of bad decisions and mistakes on the part of Marissa, it is one of the most memorable moments of the show, and while it might have made sense to Schwartz at the time of writing, he has since come forward saying that it was one of the things he would do differently if he had the chance.

#8: You Couldn’t Dive Into the Pool


They lived in a house that could make the Kardashians jealous, with one of its most distinctive features being the pool in the backyard. But the Cohens might have had a hard time swimming in it for real since the pool built for the show was only 4 feet deep. Scenes often had to be filmed with the actors on their knees to make the water look realistically deep enough. But hey, we all know that the real star of the Cohen house isn’t the pool, but the pool house that serves as Ryan’s bedroom.

#7: Ryan Atwood Was Going to Be Sandy Cohen's Son


They might have had one of the best father-son relationships to ever come out of television - and for awhile it looked like they were going to make it a biological relationship instead of an adoptive one. In early drafts of the show, Ryan was allegedly Sandy’s real son. With Sandy being one of the most compassionate characters on the show and so committed to his family, changing the story so that Ryan was his illegitimate child would have thrown off the whole dynamic. Thankfully, early drafts are just that - drafts - and could be discarded, creating the wonderful relationship between the two characters that we know today.

#6: The Network Demanded More Melodrama


If a favorite show starts going down the drain, there’s a pretty high chance it’s because some network executives got involved in how the show was run. This is especially true of “The O.C.”, where the network demanded more melodrama and more plotlines for the adults. Of course, this resulted in an absolute mess of a season, with stories that didn’t go anywhere, and the show ultimately becoming the thing that it was trying so hard to mock. It might be this network involvement that led to the shortened fourth and final season that had to work doubly as hard to make up for the disaster that was season three.

#5: The Designer Goods Were Fake


It wouldn’t be a show about Newport’s richest without a few dozen Chanel bags appearing on screen, but as Alexandra Welker, the season one costume designer revealed, getting those big brands for the show was not easy. “Nobody had ever heard of us, so they were very leery of loaning anything,” she admitted in honor of the show’s 15th anniversary, going on to spill the beans on one of the biggest secrets of the series: that most of the brands in season one were fakes and knock-offs. Thankfully, once the show began to pick up steam, brands began taking notice, lending real pieces and therefore, real credibility to our Newport faves.

#4: Summer Roberts & Julie Cooper Were Only Recurring Characters


Can you imagine a version of “The O.C,” where Summer Roberts and Julie Cooper were only background characters who turned up for a few episodes per season? Of course not! However, this nearly happened, as the two were initially cast in recurring rather than main roles. Whoever thought Melinda Clarke could only be given an occasional role was seriously mistaken, and Rachel Bilson made a huge impression with fans in the pilot episode, despite how few lines she had. It took about half of the episodes of season one before either of them was upgraded to being a series regular, but this is certainly a case of better late than never!

#3: Mischa Barton Spoiled Marissa's Death


Despite a tumultuous third season with rumors of Marissa’s death floating around, no one was really quite prepared for what happened on the day the finale aired. To say things ended on a bad note with actress Mischa Barton is probably an understatement. It is the only explanation for the fact that she publicly confirmed in an interview, mere hours before the season three finale aired, that her character, Marissa Cooper, was going to die. Combining this information with the knowledge that the cast were unhappy with their roles on the show, it makes sense that Barton did such a thing, ruining the finale for fans and probably making the network weep with frustration.

#2: Alex Kelly & Marissa Cooper's Relationship Was Deeper


“The O.C.” will never be remembered for its stellar LGBTQ representation, but it was one of the first mainstream young adult shows to prominently feature two women in a romantic relationship. Josh Schwartz has been forthcoming about the fact that the relationship was written as something a lot more developed than what made it to the screen, saying that the network forced them to make major cuts of scenes that would have made the relationship between the two characters more meaningful. Instead, what audiences got was a fairly short-lived fling that ended up appearing as though it were a ratings grab.

#1: Josh Schwartz Didn't Want Adam Brody


It was almost a show unlike the one that finally graced our screens by the mere fact that showrunner Josh Schwartz did not want to cast Adam Brody in the role of Seth Cohen. Admittedly, this was because Brody was auditioning for a bunch of shows at that time and so Schwartz was less than impressed by him turning up at the audition without having learned the lines. Considering that Seth was similar to a younger Schwartz, it makes sense that he was protective of the role and didn’t want to give it to someone who looked like they didn’t care. But thankfully, at the insistence of a casting director, Brody was given another chance, then cast, and Seth Cohen was born.
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