Marissa Cooper

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Marissa Cooper is the name of a character on a television show, by the name of The O.C. With all of the serious things in this book, how did a night time soap opera targeting angst ridden teenagers get in here. I'm fifty one and just about to turn fifty two. I certainly don't fall into the producer's target market. It is not my favorite TV show. It is not even in the top ten of my favorite TV shows. Marissa Cooper is a pretty girl. Not the world's best actress, since her background is in modeling, but she managed to pull it off passably. You ask if I have the hot's for her, I say I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers, but she isn't really my type. Then why the hell bring it up, you wonder.

I think it is because of all the reasons that this shouldn't be a show that I like, yet I do, that must say something about who I am. First let me say the series has been taken off the air at FOX. It ran for four seasons, and Marissa was only in the first three seasons. The last season is still available on iTunes, but don't bother. After they killed off Marissa, the show nose-dived. That was probably why it didn't get a fifth season. The whole series is available on DVD, and somebody is bound to start doing reruns soon. So if you didn't see it, keep an eye out for it.

Wikipedia says the show was one of the most popular new dramas of 2003. They credit much of its success to their practice of taking totally unknown bands and singers and featuring their work in the show. At the end, they'd announce who it was, and what album the song was on. By feature, I don't mean it was a segment unto itself. They would weave the songs into the soundtrack of the story, much like any movie soundtrack. But they kept finding good stuff every show, and it was masterfully matched to the storyline. I don't think the music aspect was the reason for its success, but it certainly didn't hurt. As an old fart, who used to be way into the music scene, I was interested in what the new generation was interested in. The artists the show found, were so good, I bought a couple of CDs.

The story takes place in Orange County, California, thus the O.C. It follows a group of high school students from pretty well to do families, and a juvenile delinquent a lawyer brings home to live with his family. With so many shows, movies, plays, books and so on, the character development stops there. This brings us to why I fell in love with the show. The characters in the storyline are more like real people than most I've seen. Our lives are in a constant state of motion until we die. We don't fit neatly into little nicely labeled boxes such as debutante, drop-out, geek, or anything forever. Marissa is one of the beautiful people of the rich families in the O.C., but when her mom gets a divorce, she ends up living with her mother in a small trailer barely big enough for one. Marissa is a tragic beauty. Things happen in her life and with the choices she makes in men to keep her fighting against depression.

The rich lawyers son, Seth, is pretty geeky. He is into comics, far past when most people give them up, but he is an artist who draws them as well. He falls for the terminally cute Summer, who for the first couple of seasons has the closest to a predictable character. But in the end, Seth and Summer hook up in a way that is believable and gives depth to her character. In one of the seasons, the attorneys wife realizes her problem with drinking and ends up in rehab. The fight she has to battle the addiction is realistic. The good boy Seth experiments with marijuana. The shallow Summer, becomes involved with an environmentalist, and truly gets involved with issues that matter.

What I've described is just a well done show, with an interesting storyline and well written characters. I'm fifty and far from being in high school, but I identify with the poor bad boy taken in by the rich, and the pretty Marissa constantly fighting with depression even though it seems like her life is enviable. When my mother and father divorced I was around thirteen. I didn't see it coming and they were too busy dealing with their own issues to really see what was going on with me. My mother had a complete nervous breakdown, and had to be carried away by the guys in white coats. I lived with her for six months while she progressively went down the road of madness. I spent part of the time with my father, who wasn't rich, but was the Innkeeper of a Holiday Inn and had many perks that most don't enjoy. I would throw a pool party and invite the whole 8th grade class of 100 plus students for a pool party with hot dogs and sodas. Then to be reunited with my mother in her parent's house, which was a wood frame hose on a north Mississippi dirt farm. I was a geek and a hippie, yet was accepted by the cheerleader crowd because they needed my artistic talent.

Life isn't clean, linear, or very predictable for most of us. It is the challenges and how we deal with them that shape us into the people we are. Now at age fifty two, I live in constant pain so intense that most of you can't even image it. Even through all the codeine and morphine, the pain never stops. A news program showed a person with a similar condition and said that untreated, the pain level would be similar to giving birth every eight minutes. That now shapes who I am, and what words I write in hopes of leaving something for posterity.


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