This past Monday marked the tenth anniversary of Fox’s The O.C., the increasingly weird and intermittently wonderful teen soap that introduced the world to the questionable charms of Seth Cohen, Ryan Atwood and the ever-troubled Marissa Cooper, a literal girl-next-door gone so horribly, horribly wild. The show’s mix of meta-commentary and achingly sincere emotional melodrama – Ryan loves Marissa but can’t help her as she self-destructs in front of his eyes! – was, for someone like me who sneaked in episodes of Dawson’s Creek like some dirty little secret back in the day, an utterly irresistible combination. Here, finally, was a show that I could embrace and adore, unapologetically.
Well, almost unapologetically.
The start of something for TIME that I started, then abandoned in favor of something else, this week.