• Justin O

How The O.C. Killed Postmodernism Part 4

Today, I want to focus on Ryan. Where does he fit into this narrative? Ryan is us. He is the easiest character to latch onto. We can put ourselves in his shoes. We experience The O.C. through him. When Ryan arrives to Newport we arrive. It's as new to us as it is to him. And it's supposed to be. Every relationship he had, every experience. We put ourselves in them. Ryan represents our journey into new modernism. Often undervalued is the relationship between the creator and consumer. What we see on the screen or read in a book only exists if we consume it. Otherwise it's just words, it's just pictures. Without Ryan, this relationship isn't fully expressed. Without Ryan, the show wouldn't exist. Without Ryan we have no vehicle to take us through postmodernism. Brief character description is in order. Ryan Atwood is an underprivileged teen from Chino Hills California. He is brought into the Cohen residence after Sandy is appointed to defend him after he was arrested as an accomplice to a robbery. He eventually becomes a full fledged member of the Cohen family after a few episodes. And as a result , so are we. The O.C. aired in a post 9/11 world. We didn't know if we could ever go back to the way things were. So much like Ryan entering the new world of Orange county, we were entering a new period. Postmodernism was dying. The only question was what was next. Ryan spends the majority of season 1 infatuated with our catalyst for change Marissa Cooper. But even despite his love for her, there is much resistance stopping them from truly being together (or staying together). It's almost as if the show wanted to keep their relationship difficult. Doomed from the start. And it isn't until her death that Ryan is left with no choice but to change. We are looking ahead but Ryan is almost a completely different person after Marissa's death. And so were we. I think after 9/11, things got real. There was no more need for cynicism, no need for secrets. Things were happening and they were serious and it was fine that we started taking it seriously. But like Ryan, we didn't know how to act. The world was our own Newport Beach. I know a lot of this is jibber jabber but I hope you are following a little bit. There is so much more to talk about. I wonder how many of these there will be. It's as much of a journey for me as it is for you. But I'm enjoying every minute of it. #popculture #postmodernism #theoc

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