I wrote about bi-representation in noughties film and TV — from The O.C. to Buffy The Vampire Slayer — and how it shaped my sense of self as a teenager.
California Here I Come
I was a shy teenager with a handful of bookish friends, but when I turned 14 I latched onto a girl who was very different to me. She loved talking about boys and make-up and the kind of lives we’d have as adults, all things I hadn’t contemplated at that age. Her defining feature was her long blonde hair, which she’d spend hours straightening until it laid flat down her back in a silvery wave. Our friendship was built around MSN messenger conversations and popular TV. In 2004, that was The O.C.
The O.C. is an American teen drama series created by Josh Schwartz that first aired in the UK on Channel 4. It follows the story of brooding teen Ryan Atwood as he’s adopted by a wealthy family in Newport Beach. His step-brother Seth is nerdy and verbose with a hopeless crush on popular girl Summer. Ryan is attracted to Marissa, Summer’s best friend, who is as troubled as she is beautiful and just happens to live next door. The improbability of it all is part of its appeal. Growing up in a small city in the northeast corner of England, the golden sands of California felt far away. Anything was possible in Orange County.