Schwartz Shares 'O.C.' Highlights and Lowlights
Creator loved Chrismukkah, hates Johnny
What were some of his favorite episodes?
"The pilot, just because I wrote it in my boxer shorts and I had no idea what would come of it and there was just that purity to it," Schwartz responds quickly.
He continues, "The Tijuana episode, episode seven, because for me it summarized the spirit of the show, that it could be funny and real and also operatically tragic. You had a Luke and Holly Jager-shot grind-out on the dancer floor, a club-wide brawl, a 'Sure Thing'-style road trip sequence, Ryan and Marissa fighting over Ding-Dongs and cheese sticks at the vending machine at the dive motel, Seth and Summer realizing they hate each other but they're an old married couple and then you had Marissa's O.D. It encapsulated the spirit of the show and hit all the notes."
He also salutes "The Rainy Day Women" from season two and "The Summer Bummer" from season four, as well as show's various episodes celebrating Thanksgivings, Easters and, of course, Chrismukkah.
"I always loved our holiday episodes. I think we did holidays really well. We didn't get to Sukkoth, which is a great regret of mine, or Yom Kippur, but who wants to watch people atone for an hour?"
Asked for least favorite episodes or story arcs, he's a bit more pragmatic.
"There are no episodes where we leaned too much on the comedy that I really regret, but there are some maybe the melodrama overtook the show," he hedges. "There's certainly the Johnny run from season three. That's probably the one I'd like to have back."
And what important lessons has he learned since beginning his run as an inexperienced twentysomething network showrunner?
"We had a great extended cast of characters and lot of those people we let go and tried bring in newer characters and tried to keep the world fresh and turning, and I think there was a lot of potential to be tapped in some of those characters that left the show early. I'm thinking of Anna and Luke and Haley and Jimmy and Caleb, though Caleb had a good run."
Were there any storylines that Schwartz wished they'd been able to pursue?
"There's very little, story-wise, that I think we left untapped," he says, after a couple seconds thought. "The thing we never did was mix and match our couples. You never saw Seth end up with Marissa and Ryan's dating Anna while Summer's with Luke. We never went that version. I think it would have been interesting. That ties in with my earlier point that if you have a canvas of characters that people are really responding to, you keep them around and figure it out."
With two pilots -- The CW's "Gossip Girls" and NBC's "Chuck" -- in the mix this spring, what has Schwartz learned about dealing with networks?
"That if you don't believe in something, say 'No,' because if you do something they ask you to do and it doesn't work, they don't really remember that they asked you," he says. "Just try to make the best show possible and not worry about the other stuff -- the numbers, the ratings, the other stuff -- but that's not gonna make a good show."
"The O.C." series finale airs Thursday (Feb. 22) night on FOX.