How The O.C. Killed Postmodernism Part 3
Today, I'm going to step away from the plot and characters of the show. Because The O.C. also did something very important, it changed our perception of cool. The show totally brought about this geek chic style. It suddenly became cool to listen to indie rock, it became cool to sport vans, chinos, and a plaid shirt. Being intellectually curious, liking comic books, reading Chuck Klostermam. All of this became acceptable. The geeks became mainstream. The O.C. was hipster before being hipster was a thing. Seth is the biggest contributor to how culturally significant the O.C. became. First, he was one of the first hipsters on primetime t.v. He listened to weird music, read interesting books and comics, dressed differently. While the "Chads" wore Lacoste,Seth rocked Paul Frank. And the world folliwed suit. Even today, the hipster style isl "in". It's actually the norm now. But at the time of the O.C., this was all new. I'll even go so far as to say that Seth Cohen changed how women characterized "hotness". I swear even today, the hot guys are the Seths. The Timothy Chalamets. These skinny, somewhat awkward guys with the tight pants and geeked out wardrobe. And music. Well the O.C. changed that too. Much like how the early 90s saw the rise of indie film, the early 2000s, thanks to the O.C., saw a huge surge in popularity of indie rock. Let's look at some bands that became relevant due to appearing on the O.C.: Bright eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Killers, Imogen Heap, Sufjan Stevens, etc. There's more. But the point is this type of music became hip. And it remains hip today. Death Cab is mainstream now. There's a scene in Season 1 where Seth realizes that he is not that "weird" anymore. In the scene Seth discovers that Marissa and he listen to the same music. This is important. The look of shock and disgust on Seth's face is very telling. If the popular girl listens to the same music as me, does that make me unique? The shift in what we define as cool happened after the O.C. hit our t.v. screens. Seth realizing that he isn't "special" is indicative of the impending death of postmodernism. Because if Marissa likes it, if it is mainstream, then how progressive is it. Does it rebel? I'll leave you with a quote from David Foster Wallace: The next real literary "rebels" in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that'll be the point. Maybe that's why they'll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today's risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the "Oh how banal". To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. Here's to the rebels.