cover image Welcome to the O.C.: The Oral History

Welcome to the O.C.: The Oral History

Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Alan Sepinwall. Mariner, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-334279-8

In this juicy look behind the scenes of the television series The O.C. (2003–2007), creator Schwartz and executive producer Savage discuss with Rolling Stone editor Sepinwall (The Revolution Was Televised) the making of the popular teen drama. Tracing the show’s path to air, Schwartz and Savage recount pitching Warner Bros. a Romeo and Juliet-esque drama set in Orange County, Calif., about the “daughter of this rich family’s gardener” who falls in love with the well-off Ryan Atwood. At the studio’s request, they reconfigured the pitch to make Atwood a “kid from a rough-and-tumble neighborhood” and his love interest a privileged “girl next door.” Ben McKenzie, Adam Brody, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, and other key cast members chart the show’s rise and fall, beginning with a triumphant first season that earned the “core four” an immediate fanbase (Bilson recalls having to rescue then-boyfriend Brody from a mob of fans after they appeared on MTV’s Total Request Live). The interlocutors also expound on The O.C.’s missteps, with Schwartz expressing regret for killing off Barton’s character at the end of season three (“I very quickly realized, Oh my God, what have we done? I think we made a terrible mistake”). The insider perspectives are refreshingly candid and offer new insights into what went into making the much loved show. The O.C. fans won’t want to miss this. (Nov.)