Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun Friday: There's a Class about The O.C.

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

This takes me back, you guys. Back in the 90s, I was sucked into television shows through their marketing, channel surfing, or word-of-mouth. I didn't read the entertainment section of the newspaper. My AOL time was engulfed with research, IMing, and creating my first website. I've mentioned here and there about how I got turned onto various shows in my youth. Well, the summer before The O.C. premiered, I was pretty excited about the new teen series. It was the first summer I worked, making my TV time more precious than ever. I tuned in for the series premiere, thinking that it had some promise. I liked the idea of a kid caught stealing cars and getting kicked out of his house had a place to turn to, even if the environment was going to be just as tempting. I felt bad for Ryan when his house was empty and Sandy drove him back to Newport. But, the show didn't really "click" for me. Just as well, really. That week I left to return to college, where I didn't have a TV for another year. Because it was a new show, people would talk about The O.C. as much as they were talking about Friends, which was entering its tenth and final season. Still, the discussions about Ryan and Marissa being together or Oliver and Theresa moving to the OC didn't draw me in for more than a second episode. I just wasn't very enthusiastic about the series, though I tried. I saw "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" and some other random episode but otherwise just co-existed alongside the show's popularity, filling my recreational hours with ER and 7th Heaven instead.
The O.C. didn't run for eight or ten years like many "successful" teen dramas tend to, puttering out after three full seasons and a truncated fourth. Still, it was a success. In fact, Duke University recently offered a small seminar entitled, "California Here We Come: The O.C. & Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America." What does that mean? Well, take a look at an excerpt from the course description:
We’ll explore the “hyper self-awareness” unique to The O.C. and analyze Californian exceptionalism and singularity in history and popular culture, girl culture, 21st century suburban revivalism, the indie music scene, the meta-series, and more. We’ll go on the excessive journey of the foursome that captured the hearts of millions and changed teen television dramady forever.
The course also used Laguna Beach, The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Hills, and Gossip Girl to explore the depiction of these areas and the people who live there. Now, I've only been to Orange County once (to go to Disneyland, as Anaheim is there... most people think Anaheim is in LA), so I'm certainly not qualified to make any comments regarding the depiction of the people there, but it sounds like an interesting class to me nonetheless! What do you think - would you take it?

If you want to peruse some of Duke's other interesting offerings, look here. And, The O.C. isn't the only show you can take a class about... Bishop Auckland College has a class to prepare students to compete on Britain's X-Factor
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