Unsolicited O.C.

Samaire Armstrong as ‘Anna Stern’ in “The O.C.”Of course, when you buy DVDs second-hand, it’s always a good idea to check the case before you leave the shop, to make sure that the right disc is in there… I forgot to do that this time around, and somehow ended up with an unexpected extra! For some reason a single disc from the first season of soapy teen dramedy The O.C. had snuck in along with the flick I’d intended to purchase… and when I went back a few days later to return it, the shop assistant basically threw up her hands, saying there was no way to figure out where it had come from, and that she didn’t want anything to do with it. Bizarre. So, I took it home and gave it a spin. In the final episode of the four that I watched, ‘Seth’ (Adam Brody), a socially awkward geek is desperate to escort a mean, shallow, hottie named ‘Summer’ (Rachel Bilson) to the Debutante Ball… and fate actually does throw them together, much to her disgust… but at the last moment she gets a better offer, and ditches him, so he ends up escorting new-girl-in-town ‘Anna’ instead. I thought the actress who played Anna was very cute and funny, and I’m not surprised to learn that the fans demanded she return as a recurring character.

Checking her out on Wikipedia, I now realise that she’s the exact same actress I thought was “cute and funny” as Ari’s assistant in Entourage… and as ‘Juliet Darling’ in Dirty Sexy Money. I’d never made the connection between all those performances before, but now I can see that Samaire “sah-MEE-rah” Armstrong is a talented comic actress. Apparently her major screen debut was as one of the conjoined twins in Not Another Teen Movie, which can’t have been an easy gig since they were joined at the head. Ouch. The whole parody/spoof “movie” thing has been driven into the ground recently by incompetent profiteers, but Teen Movie was a genuinely smart, funny and affectionate take on the target genre, with a mind-bogglingly talented young cast, many of whom have gone on to great things since. It also spawned my favourite promo video of all time, namely Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Tainted Love”. Goth Gangstas up in the crib! Love it.

Samaire Armstrong as 'Juliet Darling' in "Dirty Sexy Money" (S1)I felt that Dirty Sexy Money went a bit blah towards the end of the first season, and the finale was a ridiculous and desperate dash to throw as many cliff-hangers in the viewers’ faces as possible, so I won’t be too heartbroken if Ch4 decide not to pick up the second season. I kept meaning to blog about the show at the time, but never really got around to it. Basically, I felt the same way about it as I did about Will & Grace… I loved the bits where insanely rich people acted like OTT, operatic clowns and monsters, but hated all the down-to-earth, “I want to build a playground for these blind kids” hand-wringing and the “Gee, Desperate Housewives was a hit, let’s do something like that” murder mystery plot. I just wanted to watch The Darlings bitch and preen, because they had such a great cast (Donald Sutherland is always a joy to watch) and such absurd characters. I wanted to see more comedy, and much, much less drama. Ah well, it was a great showcase for Miss Armstrong, so I shouldn’t complain.

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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