Episode 9: After a couple episodes that could have been centered in Anywhere, USA, The O.C. starts a thread that is ripped from actual local headlines. It seems that the Balboa Land Trust (think Bolsa Chica Land Trust) has retained Sandy Cohen's law firm and Sandy specifically to fight the Balboa Heights development (think Bolsa Chica mesa development) because it threatens the ecologically sensitive Balboa Wetlands (think Bolsa Chica Wetlands). The twist: Sandy's wife Kirsten is the project developer, running the company owned by her father, who is obviously patterned after Donald Bren (as opposed to Bolsa Chica's former developer, Donald Koll). Since Bolsa Chica lies outside Huntington Beach, The O.C. producers deserve kudos for finally venturing beyond Newport Beach's borders to reel in a real countywide issue. Might we suggest they explore future storylines involving an assistant sheriff's son on trial for allegedly taking part in the videotaped gang rape of an unconscious underage girl on a pool table (complete with pool cues); a once-proud district attorney's office self-imploding amid its chief's cronyism, paranoia and close ties to a reputed mobster; and, of course, the whereabouts of Mark McGrath's career.
LINE OF THE WEEK: "Sailing is like sooooo not the fastest way of getting there." Summer, unimpressed upon hearing that Anna spent the summer sailing to Tahiti.
THE O.C. FOX/CHANNEL 11. NEW EPISODES 9 P.M. WEDNESDAYS. ENCORES 9 P.M. THURSDAYS.