The OC Creators Reckon They Could’ve Avoided Marissa’s Death But It’s A Bit Fucking Late, Dolls

marissa cooper death

It’s been 20 years since The O.C. graced our screens for the very first time and of all the decisions they’ve made — from style to music to the character that was Seth Cohen — killing off Orange County’s golden girl Marissa Cooper had to be the worst.

Watching Ryan carry a lifeless Marissa one last time as a car blew up behind her is harder to watch than Lindsay’s character development of the time Kirsten kissed Jimmy. Don’t come at me for spoiling things — you’ve had 20 years to catch up.

Anyway, the creators of the show are now saying they think they fucked up by killing off Marissa and YA DON’T SAY.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage said that two decades have helped them reflect on their decisions, including killing off a main character.

“I think the 20 years since it happened has given everybody a little bit of grace and mercy to be able to feel vulnerable, be honest and not pretend that everything was perfect—and that was exactly how we wanted it to be,” Savage told Vanity Fair.

The pair — who are promoting their upcoming book Welcome To The O.C.: The Oral History — said that they were continuously trying to match the success and hype of each season. In doing so, characters left the show as quickly as they entered it.

“I think we talked about this in the book—we didn’t always keep the people around as long as we should have,” they said.

“Whether that was Luke or Anna, there were a handful of characters that if we had a mulligan, we would’ve kept around longer. They were really terrific actors and fun characters, and the audience really embraced them.”

Anna? Absolutely. I think about her pendulum earrings for homecoming daily. Luke? Don’t really miss him. Chris Carmack‘s in fine form on Grey’s Anatomy these days, though.

miss u bb

Anyway, that conversation led to a conversation about Marissa. After all, she only lasted three seasons.

“It’s something that we regret, and looking back on it, we wish we could have come up with a different solution,” Schwartz said.

“We didn’t see an alternative path at the time, which is why we went down that road.

“But obviously in hindsight, there were lots of other ways we could have written the character off the show — and given Mischa [Barton] the break that she needed and wanted — that still would’ve allowed for that character to return.”

Look, I’m not mad just disappointed. But acknowledgement is the first step and I’m glad these life-ruiners are at least doing that.

They said that killing Marissa “did not feel good” whereas killing off Trey had a bit of positivity within the sadness of, you know, someone drying.

“It did not feel like that audience had been served or respected in the way that we always wanted and aimed to. Immediately, we had regret at that point,” Schwartz said.

“We were also under tremendous pressure to do something with that level of drama. Killing a series regular came down from the top. If we wanted a season four, we’d have to do something like that.”

To be fair, I was getting pretty bored in Season Three. Was that the one with Sadie? See, I can’t even remember much past Season Two.

But Marissa shouldn’t have carked it and I’ll die on this hill — preferably not one that my car rolls down and catches fire ultimately leading to my premature death.

Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Instagram or TikTok.