Friday, February 16, 2018

Why Did The O.C. Get Cancelled?

On Febuary 22nd 2007 the last episode of The O.C. aired. The O.C., a show that was once known for its very fast pace and somehow 25 plus episode seasons ended on a mid season note on episode 16 of it's 4th season. The O.C. was wildly successful so why did it get cancelled?

At birth, The O.C. initially aired on Tuesday nights. Then after a handful of successful season 1 episodes, the network switched the time slot to Wednesday nights and the show stayed in this slot throughout the remainder of  season 1. Season 1 carried a very solid 9.48 million viewers (on average) a crazy success! The show and it's actors literally exploded through the stratosphere and became a cultural phenomenon instantly! The O.C. was fresh, exciting and hilarious! Josh Schwartz (the creator of The O.C.) alone wrote 14 of the 27 episodes of season 1!

Then some things started to change. Who remembers when this happened? You know, when the network switched The O.C's time slot from Wednesday to Thursday at the beginning of season 2, our beloved Wednesday night time slot was lost forever..

The airing switch-up caused some confusion for dedicated watchers of the show. Season 2 of The O.C. was doing pretty well with a nice 7.44 million viewers (on average). Josh Schwartz wrote 7 episodes of season 2. Season 2 was still as fun as season 1, the addition of some new charters, new places for the characters to hang out and yes a tad more drama added something special to the show. I mean who didn't appreciate Seth having to become the Bait Shop janitor!? What about the epic scene where Marissa Mmm-Whatcha Says Trey!?

Then season 3 arrived. Yes we know - season 3 is sort of like The O.C.'s red-headed step child that nobody wants to fully accept, not that many fans really liked it. It has been said that the story lines were stale/predictable/less creative than seasons 1 and 2. In fact many fans would have been open to another Oliver story line vs the very tired Johnny Harper plot. Despite season 3 and its negatives we think that there was still many gems to be found especially if you kind of filter some of the less than savory clutter. Once again Josh Schwartz's contribution to the show dwindled, Josh only wrote 4 of the 25 O.C. episodes in season 3!

From a ratings standpoint and the networks opinion - season 3 was the beginning of the end. Average viewers went way down to 5.83 million almost loosing half of its original season 1 audience. Ironically those kind of numbers spells a big hit for cable TV these days but the early 2000's was a different time.

Then there's season 4, The O.C.'s last chance to get back to it's witty light and fun story lines that made people love the show in the first place! Despite the shows writing being infinitely better, the viewers just weren't following at this point, 3.96 million viewers on average for the entire season. Josh Schwartz again only wrote 4 episodes wrapping up season 4 and the show as we know it - forever. To clear things up season 4 was a saving grace for fans, it just really satisfied in a way season 1 and 2 did. The writers did the best they could with the very short network order of 16 episodes the final season.

So why the cancellation? Was it only because of ratings and changing of air dates? We believe the show got cancelled due to multiple complex factors.

The shows downward spiral into ratings null was probably because of season 3's finale, lots of people were very attached to Marissa and refused to watch the show once she was killed off.

The other obvious reason could have been because people were getting bored of season 3's repetitive story lines and figured the show wasn't going to get any better therefor decided to not even partake in season 4.

We find it odd that the birth father of The O.C. (Josh Schwartz) wrote less and less of episodes as the seasons of his first baby progressed. Was he out of ideas or was he crippled by making choices on where to take the show next? Was he too focused on his next idea the TV show Chuck? Below is the top 10 episodes by views. Is it not ironic that out of the top 10 episodes by millions of views - Josh Schwartz was involved in 6 of the 10?

We can assume that Josh Schwartz felt a certain pressure to give the fans what they wanted or to satisfy the opinion of his elders in the field. It is well documented that Josh spent lots and lots of time reading various O.C. message boards which probably pushed him into infinite creative hibernation. People wanted this and that to happen and would gripe about the direction of the series. But the truth is that Josh Schwartz was super young, only 26 when the show was first picked up. The O.C. was his first big success and we believe he did an excellent job by adding in some very creative writers to help out - even though some of those writers tired the plots.

Let's face it watcher counts/ratings aren't everything especially in the days of original series on Netflix/Hulu but when it comes to a cable TV show's survival, ratings really go into consideration. I mean it was the early 00's and The O.C. was competing with a ton of huge reality shows! Also a 9pm timeslot is pretty late considering the shows top demographics, teenagers!

The O.C. was a very fast mover, meaning the shows plots would often be full circle wrapped up with a ribbon quicker than captain oats can nay. Other shows in the same genre often dragged out the same drama and plots for weeks. The problem with a fast moving show like The O.C. is that the writing and stories get exhausted quickly. Leaving less and less creativity to scrape up and mold something new and exciting.

Then there's the whole internal politics stuff that went down behind closed doors. It has been confirmed by Tate Donovan (actor that played Jimmy Cooper video above) and Cam Gigandet , actor that played the villain Kevin Volchok, that some of the young actors in the show had bad attitudes when he was on set. Click the links for more on that. To their defense most of the young actors on the show didn't have much fame before The O.C..Their overnight fame was huge and the actors were getting TV and movie offers left and right but were often unable to take most of them due to The O.C. hectic shooting schedule and contracts. The young new to fame actors didn't necessarily know how to handle fame which caused them to get a bit mixed up in it all.

Out of the core 4 Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper) was the only actual teenager when the show aired, the other 3 - Adam Brody, Benjamin Mckenzie and Rachel Bilson were clear in their 20's. Lets face it you definitely go through changes from ages 17 to 20 years old. Mischa Barton apparently was purposely getting to the OC studio later and later and it's been said that some of the actors were forgetting their lines purposely out of disinterest and boredom.

Adam Brody has been quoted to have been scared of getting typecast as the adorkable geek if he were to stay on the show for too long. Additionally Adam Brody dated Rachel Bilson and broke up with her all the while working on the show, which had to be pretty awkward and difficult for the both of them. There is also a definite change in Adam Brody's performance quality and depiction of Seth Cohen in the later seasons. Adam appears to be more agitated, sarcastic and void of that early Seth Cohen delivery.

The show lost it's musical tone when the background music composer was switched out at the end of season 2. Did anyone catch that? A new composer was hired on, one that changed the feeling of the show in a darker direction albeit went well with the darker writing. The music in season 1 and 2 was a character within itself, it was light and fun but when we lost that tonality - the show started changing the way scenes felt even though the actors stayed the same.

Interestingly enough The O.C. was tested and aired on Wednesday nights yet again during the fourth season while the very successful show "Lost" was on a hiatus. This was a last ditch effort  to attract more viewers to watching the show but the network quickly realized that this move was a big fail. They then switched it back to Thursday nights! Talk about a wild bipolar ride FOX!

Josh Schwartz has been quoted after the show ended to having a few regrets too - writing out certain characters (Luke and Anna) and moving the show too quickly. Furthermore at the end of the third season Josh and the crew didn't even know if they were going to be awarded a 4th season.

Most of season 4's ratings were around 3.5 million viewers with the finale totaling up a whopping 6.5 million viewers. When the show ended, countless online OC blog sites and message boards attempted to petition for the show to return, but sadly failed. So all this to say that our beloved O.C. ended and was cancelled for a multitude of above reasons - some may not even be fully known but more truth shall come out as the years go by. We will be diligently be waiting for E's True Hollywood Story on The O.C.!

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