You’re so goddamned livid right now. The DVR is fucking up, again, and keeps looping the first few frames of tonight’s episode of The O.C., which you had set to record because you were in Queens visiting your old friend from college. Well, not so much a friend, but an ex-lover. Girlfriend, whatever. You broke it off with Claudia before graduating, you recall, and that worked out fine until she moved to Astoria and called you up saying how nice it would be to visit her using the fucking 7 train. As if, man, as if. That line on the map is fucking purple, and you look that homo shit right in the eye, and renounce it like there never was a Bravo Network. But you had a momentary relapse and went out to some goddamned Greek restaurant to have a catch-up dinner with her. Fuck, it was tedious, and she kept talking about how Manhattan real estate was so over-rated, but at least you knew you had your DVR slated to capture The O.C. to its 80-gig harddrive. The grape leaves were worth it, though, as was your knowledge that you had hours of available recording time free on your machine.
At least you think you did; the tech/sales guy on the phone wasn’t entirely certain, but then again, he was working out of some fucking province in India. So you’re now back at your place in Gramercy. And you’re feverishly gripping the goddamned all-in-one remote, and trying to get the episode to play, because it’s approaching midnight and you need to get into work tomorrow before 8am. PLAY, goddamnit. Peter Gallagher’s face is frozen in some actorly-contortion, and the image keeps flickering back and forth between two consecutive frames of video. The DVR’s interface is just hanging there onscreen, its cutesy late-’90s fast-forward and rewind arrows just taunting you with their promise of television on your terms.
You hit the exit key rather ungracefully, and you’re now out of the onscreen programming guide. You were almost clumsy in your haste to remedy this shit. Got to be more pro-active, responsible. Rational. Calm.
You select tonight’s episode again. And it jumps to the credits, the fucking end credits. 1:00:01, it says on that cutesy little bar at the base of your 32-inch television screen. That’s just what you needed, right, for it to be midnight and Point Pleasant to come on and taunt you with its insipid content. It’s not nearly as inspired as The O.C.. You fucking have to find out what’s going on with that Mexican gardener boy, and Julie Cooper’s reconnection with Mischa’s dad, and that hottie bartender. Yeah, the hottie bartender. Blond. And fucking bisexual. You read online that there’s going to be some lesbian shit in upcoming episodes, and, despite your general protestations of all things homo, you can, and will, make an exception when it comes to some tongue-kissing action between Mischa and the blondie.
But these Point Pleasant title sequences are just hanging there, teasing you. You put your hard-on away. You bring up the dialog box, the one that says, “Play from the beginning,” and, fuck, fuck, it does just that. You are content. Peter Gallagher appears onscreen again, only as he’s speaking fluidly, now, that single-frame grab you were subjected to moments ago seems so much more appealing. Almost Emmy-winning in caliber. He’s going to wreck the rich motherfuckers in Newport! Low income housing, he’s saying, low income housing. Tell that shit to Claudia, maybe, because, fuck, Astoria pissed you off tonight. And now you’re distracted, so you try to rewind a minute or so. And, again, the screen fucking freezes. Fuck you. Time Warner Cable is getting a curt little phone call first thing in the morning tomorrow. You’ll be at your desk, and your friends will be talking about The O.C., and you’re going to hate them for that.
Actually, I’ve never seen The O.C.; I’m sure it’s pretty good.
The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.
Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, now collected in a limited-edition DVD box set, retailing for $34.97 at your local Best Buy. Formatted for Region-1 players.