Monday, May 29, 2017

The O.C. Mystery: Was the model home Ryan was staying at really set on fire?


Recently in The Official O.C. Reddit subreddit a user hopesdead asked a great question: What happened to the model home set? While researching this very question we stumbled on some mystery worthy information!

In season 1 episode 2 "The Model Home" Ryan decides to skip out on going to a foster home and hideout into the night. As Ryan is leaving Seth catches him and talks Ryan into camping out in one of his mom's housing developments instead. Marissa also tags along since she has a car and all. They quickly gather all the "necessary supplies" including a tent to sleep in, loofah, many candles, a stereo, putting green and food. Later in the episode Marissa leaves a party that Luke and his boys were hanging out at and heads straight to Ryan. Luke getting increasingly suspicious of Marissa's infatuation with Ryan decides to tail her all the way to the model home. When Marissa confronts Ryan about wanting to stay the night with him Ryan says they are from two different worlds and if she stayed over it would only make things harder. Ryan tells her to go!


Marissa runs out of the model home balling crying, Luke and his boys witness the whole thing as they hideout in the shadows. Marissa drives away and then Luke and his boys head into the house to find and beat up Ryan Orange County style!


During Luke and Ryan's confrontation and beat down a large array of candles get pushed over setting parts of Ryan's indoor campground on fire. Ryan gets ferociously gang beaten and falls down to the ground. Luke and his boys notice the flames getting higher and they decide to bail. As Luke is going down the stairs he realizes that he cannot leave Ryan laying there to get burned alive. Luke's conscious kicks in and Luke picks Ryan up and carries him outside leaving him on the dirt driveway, he tells Ryan "Run!". This is a turning point for the viewer, we start feeling like this Luke guy has a heart and a conscious.

As you can see the bottom blue arrow represents where Ryan is supposed to be staying in. The arrow at the top represents the pool that the gang first hung out at, the pool that Seth skateboarded in. Later in season 3 the pool is used in the season finale.


Then we are showed this aftermath scene of the model home as Seth and Sandy check things out. The room that Ryan was supposedly staying at and the garage area to the left are seen burnt down and destroyed.

Now the question is: Was the interior fire real and was the exterior of the house really set on fire for the show?

Our initial theory is that the room that the fire broke out in was filmed inside a set in a controlled environment and that the flames were real. Although they did film at the actual model homes interior and exterior, the room that the fire flared up was somewhere else. Then as far as the model home's exterior really being destroyed, we doubt it really was, we guess that CGI was involved. Because logistically why would they destroy a several million dollar home!



On the flip-side while analyzing photos of the actual houses window detail and comparing them to the interior room Ryan was staying in, they match (one window with 3 rows of 2 windows) This begs the question that The O.C. producers somehow got the builder of that home to O.K. them setting a few medium sized controlled fires within the newly built house. Seems like this request would be a stretch but the owner of the house sure did seemed fond of them using it in multiple episodes. Never the less if you review the episode, the flames look very real unlike what were about to show you next..


If you look closely while Luke carries Ryan out of the house, the camera pans up to the window in which was suppose to be where Ryan was staying. You see a burning window, the fire looked great but it does have a slight CGI vibe to it. Upon further research if you go to the credits of the episode there is a listing for "Digital Visual Effects" - it was done by Look! Effects Inc., they specialize in awesome special effects including fire. Normally the O.C. required few effects so this was a huge hint to solving half of this mystery. Then by luck we stumbled upon Look! Effects Inc. fire reel and by golly we have a match! After watching several other fire projects in the clip we saw a familiar window, it's the model home! Watching the clip above gives you an idea of how the special effects company pulled off such a realistic fire effect, using several layers of fire and smoke. Since we have learned that the exterior flame effects were faked we can assume that the scene of the aftermath of the fire has also been CGI'd.



For now this particular O.C. mystery will stay unsolvable but under constant speculation! However we do know now that the exterior fire was completely faked and can assume the exterior aftermath was destroyed with the help of slick CGI and smoke effects! The only question now remains did they actually set fires within the model home walls or was that done on a controlled environment sound stage? Regardless we are happy to share the exclusive info we were able to figure out. Part of the problem with an older TV show is lots of the info regarding it has been either forgotten or under lock and key! Please stay tuned for further mysteries and possible solves! Also feel free to tweet us any type of questions you may have, who knows we may even publish an O.C. Mystery article in your honor!