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Harvard Returns to the OC

Residents of Pforzheimer House gather to watch the season premiere of the hit Fox television show “The OC” in the Holmes JCR last night.
Residents of Pforzheimer House gather to watch the season premiere of the hit Fox television show “The OC” in the Holmes JCR last night.
By Brendan R. Linn, Contributing Writer

Still exhausted from Tuesday’s elections, Harvard students tuned in to the sunny alternate universe of South California, last night, gathering in common rooms to watch the season premiere of “The O.C.”

Named for Orange County, a wealthy county adjacent to Los Angeles, the popular Fox drama drew 10 million viewers per episode last season and may be Harvard’s most popular show.

Laura C. Settlemyer ’05 was planning a champagne reception before the premiere of “The O.C.,” as well as a celebration afterwards at the Eliot Stein Club.

“[My roommates and I] were the original ‘O.C.’ party,” said Settlemyer, who is also a Crimson editor. “We started watching it early last turned into this weekly thing that everybody went to. It was something that brought us together.”

She has heard of several “O.C.” gatherings on campus, Settlemyer said, and there is even competition among them for viewership.

“In one class I’ll hear, ‘Dude, we’re having the party,’ and someone else will say, ‘No, it’s in our room.’ ”

The show first aired two summers ago on Wednesdays, but this season Fox moved it to Thursday nights — the week’s most competitive time slot.

The premiere may not have had the academic impact of Tuesday’s election, which forced some classes to reschedule exams, but at least one course did have to accommodate the show. English 177, “Art and Thought of the Cold War,” moved back its 8 p.m. screening of Lolita by one hour so as not to conflict with the 8 p.m. start of the “O.C.”

“We changed the time in response to the popular demand that the screening not conflict with...‘The O.C.,’ to which many of you are apparently addicted,” course TF Namwali Serpell wrote in an e-mail to the class yesterday.

Harrison R. Greenbaum ’08 was planning to attend a friend’s viewing party in Stoughton Hall.

“[They] have this really awesome projector and a big-ass 10-foot screen.”

Greenbaum said that the shows’ escapism makes it popular among Harvard students.

“It has rich people, gorgeous houses and places,” he said. “The worst outcome is someone has too much sex.”

Greenbaum is listed as the “special events coordinator” for “We Love The O.C.,” group, which boasts nearly 50 members.

Michael A. Codini ’08, who is from Laguna Beach in Orange County, said that the program was not representative of his home.

“I watch the show because it’s [based] around my area...but it doesn’t reflect the people and places.”

Codini said it was hard to rate “The O.C.,” “I wouldn’t call it cinematically great.”

Donald M. Coates ’07 was organizing a reunion for the group that watched the show last year in his suite.

“This year we bought a 46-inch TV for our room,” Coates said. “Our initial plan was to take a shot every time we saw cleavage.”

Bill I. Fradin ’05 approved of the season premiere, in which Seth returns after running away from home, and Theresa lies to her boyfriend Ryan about an having a miscarriage so that Ryan returns to the O.C.

“Every episode, something shocking happens to every character...[this one] was a little depressing, but the end was awesome.”

“It’s a lot more social than the elections,” Fradin said. “No one wanted to watch the elections with me and my Republican roommates.”

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