The description of this episode reads “Seth conspires to hide Ryan in a vacant house in an unfinished development.”
Even for the moneyed class, this is a stretch.
We open with another song singing about California. This show is two songs away from being a Red Hot Chili Peppers album. Ryan and Seth are floating in a pool while Irritated Gwyneth Paltrow talks to her dad about a housing development. Seems she has a job that involves consciously uncoupling people from their money.
She still doesn’t want Ryan living with her so Eyebrows is going to call Child Protective Services and get him into The System in the morning. He says Ryan will go into foster care but it’ll be hard to place him at his age. I didn’t think foster care worked that way? Adoption, yes. Admittedly, I have never had to deal with CPS so I can’t really speak to that.
When Ryan almost collides with Irritated Gwyneth Paltrow, things become a little more clear. I don’t think she’s afraid of him. I think she wants to fuck him. I know that’s skeezy and gross, but that’s how that collision played. It probably played that way because Ryan is 16 but Ben McKenzie was fucking 25 years old in 2003.
Ryan suddenly realizes that he’s being played by a 25-year-old man and does not need to worry about CPS or weird uncomfortable moms so he decides to
go to a bar run away. Seth stops him and is like “TAKE ME WITH YOU, RHETT! DON’T LEAVE ME HERE SURROUNDED BY YANKEES!” Seth hatches a plan to save Ryan by donning a Bruce Wayne Turtleneck:
and secreting him away to Irritated Gwyneth Paltrow’s grossly oversized model home. But not before they run into Marissa, who is always standing at the bottom of her driveway hoping people will come talk to her. Since she is deeply lonely on a cellular level and craves a genuine human connection, she offers to drive the boys to wherever it is they’re going.
Seth’s plan of having Ryan live in an under construction model home is so stunningly stupid most 9-year-olds would stop and say “…I don’t think this is going to work?” But he’s the same guy who thought he could take a girl he’s never spoken to sailing around the world because he likes her.
They decide to get the most California of fast food – In-n-Out – and go skateboarding in the unfinished pool. HOT TAKE: In-N-Out is overrated. Yeah, I said it. Hamburger Habit has a better burger and practically everywhere else has better fries. However, In-N-Out milkshakes are awesome. Marissa and Ryan connect over their trainwreck mothers and criminal fathers.
The next day, Seth and Marissa try to avoid the cops/Truck Fuck while Ryan does this:
What kind of show is this? The pilot was more “drama” yet this episode seems heavy on 1980’s sitcom tropes – Eyebrows almost catching Seth before he leaves with Ryan, both Marissa and Seth getting stopped by various people when no one is supposed to figure out what they’re really doing (set to background music!) What tone is this show going for?
When they finally get to the model home Marissa gives Ryan a mix CD that she made him, complete with matching cover.
They go to grab some food at a local diner and who should show up but Truck Fuck and his friends. Again, we have another sitcomy moment when the boys try to sneak out the back only to slam into a waiter and draw everyone’s attention. Truck Fuck calls Seth a “queer” because that’s the only insult he knows and Seth comments on him shaving his chest, which turns into a nice little display of Toxic Masculinity in front of the entire diner. Ryan steps in and punches him and then they run away.
When they all get back to the model home, Irritated Gwyneth Paltrow and Criminal Dad show up together. They have A PAST. He needs $100,000 and she’s just like, “oh, you need chump change! I’ll get that out of the cushions of my couch and bring it over in a wheelbarrow.”
Man. The things I would do with $100k. You know what I would love to do but it would require me falling over a bag of money that just happened to be lying in the street to accomplish? I’d like to get enough money to live on for a year and focus strictly on writing. Virginia Woolf said that a woman needs money and a room of her own in order to write. I’ve got the room, I just need to make it rain. Somehow.
Marissa is finally realizing that her friends are assholes so she leaves a party just as Ryan is lighting all the candles in his “room” that he needs to vacate before morning. Oh no. Is this the part where Marissa and Ryan bang because he’s “leaving?” Already? It’s only episode 2!
Luckily Ryan knows that we can’t ruin the dramatic tension yet so he kicks Marissa out without touching her. Truck Fuck, who followed her, sees that she went to see Ryan and he’s doing the Mad Jock Underbite as he glares at him. Of course, Truck Fuck has to “do something” about this slight that doesn’t involve talking and listening so they fight. And burn the model home to the ground. During the fight Ryan is knocked unconscious but Truck Fuck is an asshole not a murderer so he rescues him. I assume this is so he can beat him senseless another day.
When Eyebrows and Seth get the call about the house, they stop their “search” for Ryan and head over. That’s when Seth has to tell his parents that Ryan has been sleeping there for an entire day. Meanwhile, Ryan is trying to hitch a ride but the only person who stops for him is Truck Fuck. They go back to Eyebrows house where Ryan is immediately arrested but Truck Fuck, surprisingly, admits that it was an accident and that he was there.
The episode ends with both Ryan and Truck Fuck getting taken to the police station for questioning. How is this supposed to move the story forward? Irritated Gwyneth Paltrow already hates Ryan and him burning the house to the ground isn’t going to make her like him any more. How will we get to the part where she’s accepted him and he’s living in the OC dealing with relationship drama? Unless there’s a “I’ll blackmail you!” moment or she hits her head, I don’t see how this will logically work in a way that will make the premise of the show make sense again.