The ‘Golden State’ strikes gold Champaign-Urbana

By Courtney Pischke

The Beach Boys were way ahead of their time when they recorded “California Girls.” There seems to be something about that west coast state that keeps University students tuning in for more. Fox’s latest “dramedy” about mature high-school kids living in a wealthier part of California – Orange County, or The OC -has taken Illinois by surprise.

“I love the drama and the story lines,” said Rachel Sianta, junior in LAS. “Everybody has so much fun and, of course, [Seth] Cohen is hot.”

The two main characters, Seth Cohen and Ryan Atwood, become two unlikely friends – with the former a little nerdy and the latter a bit rebellious. Marissa Cooper and Summer Roberts, whose primary concerns are teen drinking and relationship drama, are the objects of the boys’ affections. Cohen’s parents must undergo an intense lawsuit filed against Seth’s grandfather, who is married to Marissa’s mom. Keep in mind that Marissa’s mom has also slept with Marissa’s ex-boyfriend, Luke. Confusing? That’s what Sianta thought at first.

Although they did not watch The OC last season, Sianta and her roommates said they decided to give Orange County a chance at filling in the vacancy left behind after NYC’s Friends ended.

“I needed something to replace my Thursday night slot, and I had heard good things about The OC.”

To catch up with the show’s twisting plot, which basically involves who’s sleeping with whom, Sianta bought Season One on DVD. Since then, she said she was constantly lending out her DVDs to fellow sorority sisters also interested in familiarizing themselves with the plot before Season Two began.

Sianta is not alone.

“My best friend from back home just got her boyfriend the last season on DVD so he could get up to speed,” Sarah Davy, junior in LAS, said. “They watch the new season together every Thursday night.”

It must be something in the California water that attracts so much TV attention. From the Olsen twins’ debut on Full House to the popular high school hit Beverly Hills 90210, Midwestern folks love watching their warm-weathered friends.

While the cast is rather attractive, the show has attracted viewers using more than sex appeal. The show’s racy themes of underage drinking, teen pregnancy and adultery appeal to both sexes. The OC posters, music soundtracks and other fan paraphernalia are common in many apartments campus-wide, both for the ladies and the gents.

Cathy Coleman, a senior in elementary education, said she is reminded every day of the show’s sneak preview when Season Two showed at Foellinger Auditorium earlier this fall.

“They were giving away cool prizes, I got an OC mouse pad,” Coleman said. “It’s the 90210 of today, I’m so excited because there’s a new girl coming to the show – so now there will be a blonde, a blondish-brunette, a redhead and a dark brunette.”