When The O.C. premiered in August 2003, it quickly became The Teen Show Of The Moment. The story of Ryan Atwood, a secret nice guy pretending to be a bad boy who was taken under the wing of the wealthy Cohen family, was compelling and entertaining. We all loved seeing Ryan and Seth become BFFs, Ryan fall in love with Marissa Cooper, and Seth finally win over the girl of his dreams, Summer Roberts. This show aired for four seasons and was truly a dream to watch, although it had its ups and downs like anything else. For the most part, though, it captured the hearts of teenagers (and their parents, who couldn't help but watch too) and it has gone down in history as a really solid classic teen drama.
Like a lot of other teen shows (and TV shows in general, of course), The O.C. had a lot of drama that took place off camera... and it's all just as juicy and fascinating as when Marissa met bad boy Volchuk or Seth's parents had some marital problems. Ready to find out what went down behind the scenes? Read on to find out 15 behind-the-scenes secrets about The O.C.!
15 Mischa Barton Once Insulted The Show
Yup, this really happened... even though it sounds like something that could never actually happen. How could the star of a TV show say something so mean and so harsh about it? Although it doesn't make any sense, it's the truth.
In an interview with Elle magazine, Mischa Barton called The O.C. "stupid." She was talking about letters she got from fans who went through tough times and said that the show helped them get through it.
She said, "Are you joking? The O.C.? Surely there are more important things in life than my stupid show."
Umm... what?! You definitely know that it's not a stupid show. In fact, it's probably one of your favorites since you watched it as a teenager and, therefore, it has a special place in your heart.
14 Mischa Barton And Rachel Bilson Apparently Weren't BFFs
It would be easy to assume that since Summer and Marissa were the very best of friends on this teen drama, then the friendship would extend off-camera, too. After all, you always hope that the cast of your favorite show actually gets along IRL. Hearing anything other than that just sucks.
Well, apparently Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson weren't exactly BFFs in real life. In fact, it sounds like they had a lot of bad blood between them and could have been the subject of a song like Taylor Swift's. Mischa insulted Rachel in an interview once and said that she was a different "sexy" than she was. Rachel never said anything harsh in response, though, so it seems like this wasn't technically a feud, it was just some mean comments.
13 Two Actors Were Going To Play Ryan Before Ben McKenzie
Who was going to play Ryan Atwood? There were actually two different actors who were chosen before Ben McKenzie was, and there are both super famous.
First, it was Garret Hedlund, but he left to be in the movie Troy. That casting choice would have made sense since he and Ben McKenzie definitely look very similar. After that, the network was interested in casting Chad Michael Murray, but he said no.
Fun fact: CMM then started starring on One Tree Hill. It's definitely tough to picture anyone other than Chad as Lucas Scott on OTH and it's definitely impossible to not think of Ben McKenzie as Ryan, so this seems to have worked out for the best. It's always cool to learn about behind-the-scenes casting decisions like this.
12 Seth And Summer Were In Love IRL
Sometimes when you watch a television show, there is a couple that is just so sweet, so cute, and so adorable, that you wish that the romance was actually real. It just seems so impossible that those two actors couldn't actually feel those things about each other, and you always assume that if two people are pretending to be in love, they're going to fall for real.
Well, Seth and Summer fell in love for real. Yup, they really did. Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody were together for the whole series.
Sadly, they're not a thing anymore, although he did end up with the star of another teen drama: Leighton Meester aka Blair from Gossip Girl. Rachel was with Hayden Christensen for ten years and the two have a daughter, Briar Rose, but they broke up in 2017.
11 Rachel Bilson Was Originally A Guest Star
It's pretty much impossible to picture The O.C. without Summer Roberts (and, therefore, Rachel Bilson). Summer was just such a funny character like her name suggests, and such a breath of fresh air. She was always there for comic relief and her valley girl persona was super charming. You just knew that there was a nice girl waiting to come out and, eventually, she revealed herself to be much sweeter than her popular girl persona seemed to suggest.
As it turns out, Rachel Bilson was only going to be a guest star on the show, not a series regular. But that changed (thankfully). After the seventh episode of season one, she was upgraded to series regular.
Phew, right?! If she was merely a guest star, who's to say if she and Seth would have fallen in love? That just coudn't be.
10 Ben McKenzie Wasn't An Actor When He Got The Role
Ben McKenzie did an incredible job as Ryan. When he started living with the Cohens, you could tell that it was really tough for him to adjust to being part of one big happy family. Since he had such a broken family life, he just wasn't used to that. When he had to get used to dating popular girl Marissa and dealing with the fancy school and The O.C. in general, he truly was a fish out of water. So you probably assumed that he had been a professional actor before... but that's not really what happened.
Actually, Ben McKenzie was a telemarketer when he was cast as Ryan. It's pretty cool to learn that since it just goes to show that you just need one big break and your career and life can totally change.
9 Christmakkah Almost Had A Different Name
If there is one thing that The O.C. is known for, especially among millennials, it would be the holiday that became just as famous as the actors. That's Christmakkah, of course. Maybe you were even inspired to celebrate it yourself or you have an annual party. It's a pretty fun thing.
Since Seth's dad Sandy is Jewish and his mom Kiersten is not, the family decided to merge Hannukah and Christmas and call it Christmakkah.
It's hard to imagine this show without that epic, magical holiday... and it's hard to believe that it almost had a different name. But that's totally true. It was almost called Hannamas.
Yeah, that doesn't sound the same, so it's awesome to know that Christmakkah was the name that won in the end.
8 Mischa Barton Told Everyone Marissa Was Going To Die Before It Happened
When Marissa Cooper passed away in the season three finale, it was a super shocking and really tragic moment. Ryan held her in his arms and was so heartbroken was just really tough to watch. You had fallen in love with them as a couple and it was hard to say goodbye. Okay, okay, she was a fictional character, but still. You really did grieve that loss.
It turns out that Mischa Barton told the media about her character's death... an hour before the episode aired. Yes. One hour. She appeared on Access Hollywood and said,
"It's true. My character dies. I think the show is moving in a new direction—this was a great opportunity for everyone. My character has been through so, so much and there's really nothing more left for her to do."
That's the kind of interview that an actress gives after the episode airs, right?!
7 The Network Thought Seth Was Too Dorky At First
Seth Cohen is an absolutely beloved character. He's sweet and nerdy and just so great. The fact that he loves his parents and embraces who is he is just so endearing.
Apparently, the network wasn't a big fan of Seth when the pilot was being worked on. As Josh Schwartz said in an interview with TV Guide, "The way the note was relayed to me was, 'Could the Cohens have had an abortion?' In the network's defense, the character of Seth may have been a little bit more annoying than he ended up being ultimately, but it was a bit harsh." Whoa. You probably think that Seth is the best and definitely not annoying. He's the opposite of annoying. If he could have been your high school boyfriend, you would have been super happy.
6 Seth Was Almost A Cool Kid
Yes, this apparently almost happened: Seth Cohen almost became a cool kid.
How can Seth Cohen be Seth Cohen if he's not an adorable dork? How is that even possible? Thankfully, it didn't happen and he didn't become part of the popular crowd. It was so great to watch a character who was on the outside and who eventually became cool because of his friendship with Ryan and his romance with Summer. It was a real coming-of-age story since this happened to some of us in high school. We didn't always hang out with the same people and sometimes we moved social groups entirely. Seth is just so perfect as a nerd and it was really cool and nice to see him embrace who he was without chasing popularity.
5 There Was Almost A Spin-Off About Anna
Remember Anna Stern? She was played by Samaire Armstrong and she and Seth were super cute.... except for the fact that Seth and Summer belong together and you knew that the two of them absolutely had to date and fall in love. Yeah, except for that one small detail.
Anna was from Pittsburgh and after dating Seth and then telling him to go after Summer, she moved back home. Apparently, there was an almost a spin-off of The O.C. that starred Anna.
You probably would have watched that, right? After all, it's always fun and intriguing when there's a spin-off of one of your favorite shows. It sounds like it was just an idea and maybe something that the network wanted, but it didn't end up happening.
4 Adam Brody's Audition Wasn't Great
Adam Brody is such a good actor and has starred in so many awesome things since his time as Seth Cohen on The O.C. How do you think his audition went? Do you think that it was a total slam dunk and he was hired on the spot?
Apparently, that's not what went down at all. Here's what did: he didn't know his lines. Yes, really. He couldn't say all of his lines and had to return for another audition. As the story goes, Josh Schwartz loved him and knew that he could be a really awesome Seth, and so he was glad when Adam Brody returned and did a good job. That's interesting to know and thankfully he was given the role. It's hard to think of anyone else in that role.
3 The Pool House Wasn't Real
There are a lot of settings on The O.C. that really bring back some warm and fuzzy feelings. You probably get nostalgia just thinking about the pool house behind the Cohen family home... but here's some news: that was actually just a background.
Yes, it's true: that wasn't actually real. This might be wild to hear and you might want to run and watch an episode that features the pool house right now to see, but it's true.
Of course, this is a fairly common thing that happens in Hollywood, and you can't always assume that what you're seeing on a TV show or in a movie is actually real. Just part of that magic, right? Thankfully, this did look real... probably so real that you thought it was, well, real.
2 The Cohens Almost Had A Different Name
It's hard to imagine The Cohens not being, well The Cohens, but they were reportedly almost called something very different: The Needlemans. Yes. That sounds very different from what their name ended up being.
According to a few different online sources, this was almost the name of this beloved family.
The showrunners also said at the ATX Television Festival reunion in June 2016 that the Cohens could have been called The Newmans.
So it seems like those were two names that were in the running. The Cohens just has such a great ring to it, right? And you love Seth Cohen. It's just such a perfect name. Thankfully they went with the Cohens, and that's just another reason why you adore this teen drama so much, even all these years later.
1 Arcade Fire Said No To Playing On The Show
The O.C. was also known for featuring a lot of bands playing at a club that the characters went to. The show also had a lot of music, mostly from indie bands, since that was the kind of music that Seth was into (and that the showrunner and creator, Josh Schwartz, was into).
Apparently, Arcade Fire was the band that Josh really, really wanted to be on the show, but they weren't having it. They said no and wouldn't do it. The reason? They didn't want their music to be licensed which is what would have happened. Definitely an interesting fact. Sure, there were a lot of awesome bands who appeared on the show, but it would have been really cool if Arcade Fire had been one of them.