“The OC” Character Power Rankings


Now, we’re always committed to giving you the best sports “coverage” we can, but we like to do it with a pop-culture twist…or at least culture that was pop 10-30 years ago. And with the Sox at Chavez Ravine this weekend, HTTA is in an LA State of Mind.

Keeping with the theme, there is nothing more “LA” than The OC. You can have your 90210, Melrose Place, 90210 reboot, Laguna Beach and The Hills….and shove ’em where the California sun don’t shine. The OC is the quintessential California-based teen drama for the ages, and there is no debate.


Rich family, street kid, Uber-wealthy evil patriarch with hot con artist wife, everyone- and I mean EVERYONE- is really, really, incredibly good looking, theme song you’ll never forget…you can’t ask for anything more.

Now, I present to you the OFFICIAL* The OC Character Power Rankings:


marissa cooper

10. Marissa Cooper

Mischa Barton is either a really great or really terrible actress, because you could tell just by watching Marissa that the person playing her was also a trainwreck. She was so bad that they had to pivot from her being a main character, and it caused her to leave the show. Her being killed off was probably a top 10 TV Moment of 2000-2010 for me. Shout out to her for some make-out scenes with a little-known Olivia Wilde, though.

julie cooper

9. Julie Cooper

Typecast gold-digger/ con woman, has several chances at redemption, usually fucks them up, then in the end there are some signs she’s human only after she loses everything. Necessary for the show, but doesn’t rate highly with this critic.

kirsten cohen

8. Kirsten Cohen

Not Kristen, but Kirsten. Lest you forget she’s a rich white girl. She’s torn between her rich daddy- who provides her with seemingly endless capital (and guilt)- and her do-good husband. She turns to alcohol and to starting a dating service business to try and make her own way in this world. Good mother, decent character, but not carrying the show.

Jimmy cooper.jpg

7. Jimmy Cooper

This guy wasn’t even a regular cast member throughout half the show’s run, but everytime the writers needed a reason for drama, pencil this guy in. He checks all the boxes

  • Used to date Kirsten and impregnated her with a baby she aborted
  • Had two crazy daughters and I assume a loveless marriage with Julie
  • Formerly successful businessman guilty of embezzlement
  • Terrible father, but lovable deadbeat…literally lived on a boat- so typical
  • Played by the always awesome Tate Donovan


Now we’re getting into the heavy hitters…the guys and ladies who carried the show to what it was

caleb nichol

6. Caleb Nichol

Every problem can be traced to him. He’s Kirsten’s dad, he married Julie, Marissa’s stepdad. Everyone hates him and relies on him simultaneously. Everything is chaotic due to him, and when he dies it gets worse. Another actor that is PERFECT for the role, btw. Casting killed it on this show.



5. Taylor Townsend

WAAAAY to high a ranking, but as a man in my 20’s watching a teen drama, I was waaaay into Taylor Townsend. (I checked, she’s only a year younger than me…it’s cool). You can ask Mrs Le Cap…I still make reference to Taylor Townsend, too frequently. To be fair, it is a perfect TV name.

She was only in probably half the episodes of the show, but she added drama to the Seth/ Summer relationship. Started as a villain, became a loveable part of the group. And worked her way into Le Cap’s heart.

seth cohen

4. Seth Cohen

Every fan of the show liked Seth, but some loved him. Consider me in the former. He’s quirky and weird, but he provides the only comic relief in the show- and he is good at it. But there is just no way a kid- even a spoiled rich kid- grows up around these people and is so naïve…it’s just not possible.

Side note, I can’t believe this guy didn’t become bigger after this show…he had some real heat.

ryan atwood

3. Ryan Atwood

He’s the “Street” kid with the nightmare family life brought into the “perfect” Cohen family, and embarks on a 4 year journey to lose the massive chip on his shoulder. He’s as integral to the show, even though he broods and mumbles through almost every scene. He’s always there as the family goes through their “issues” to give them a “yeah, but you still have MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, so quit whining” look. Which is really the whole point of the show, right? No matter how screwed up their life is…they’re better off than you. That’s why you’re watching.



2. Summer Roberts

Summer and Seth.. Some effed up stuff goes down….quick cut to Summer and Seth bantering about comic books or indie music to bring you back to normal.

I was also a huge Summer fan…still a card carrying member of #TeamBilson.

If Marissa was the pretty, popular, perfect, unattainable girl in school, Summer was the down-to-earth, self-doubting, girl next door who just needed some self-confidence to shine. Put it in these terms, Marissa would end up a twice divorced bartender who people will say “she used to be pretty, but she looks rough”…and Summer will be the one who goes onto a successful life and family, who will always looks younger than she is. Funny…these two actresses ended up as basically the Hollywood versions of that.


1 Sandy Cohen

As if there were ever a doubt. Top 10 TV dad in history, and if you don’t agree, you’re wrong. He’s a classic educated, do-gooder lawyer, who seemingly resents everything about his father-in-law and his shady ways, but clearly has no problem living in a 4,000 Square foot home on a public defender’s salary. This guy is so cool and charming, he can play it both ways, and NOBODY questions him on it. He even brings home some rando kid, who will probably steal from them, and almost instantly, everyone is like “Yeah, this was the right move”. Incredible.

During the run of The OC, Bennygloves and I had regular discussions about the merits of growing our hair like Sandy Cohen- Benny was far more successful in his attempts, truth be told. For 3 years I didn’t button my top button while wearing a tie. When my kids are teenagers, I’m going to sit down and re-watch the entire run of the show, so I can have an answer to WWSCD.

All time great TV character, played by an underrated(?) Peter Gallagher…again, casting department KILLED it on this show.


Now that you’re in a California mood…on to Game 3.

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