An odd thing about The OC
is how externally driven its plots are. It seems that most of the conflicts come from recurring characters interacting with the core cast rather than the core cast interacting with each other. For example, Trey is the latest in a long parade of recurring characters coming out of someone or another's past: Ryan's ex-girlfriend/mother of his child, Rebecca, etc. Yet they've never done an episode where Sandy pays more attention to Ryan than he pays to Seth, and yet that's an obvious one: from the beginning Sandy made clear he used to be like Ryan. You'd expect that at some point he'd gravitate to the kid he understands better, and that Seth might feel threatened.
Various people have remarked how fast The OC
burns through plot territory, lacking triangles, as it does. Is it that they don't trust that their core cast are interesting enough? But there's no way to make them interesting enough if you don't give them their own plots!
To paraphrase John Rogers
, they're really sucking on the recurring character crack pipe...
While I believe that there has to be a certain amount of internal conflict, one show that I stopped watching a long time ago was Smallville for this very reason. Every week Clark Kents 'best' friends turned against him or he turned against them, somebody broke somebody else's trust, blah blah blah. By the end of the show everything was alright, everyone was sorry. Next week...same thing.
Overuse of regular character conflict exhausts itself too quicky, external characters allow the regulars to band together, play off each other's strengths and 'bond'.
As in all things, there needs to be balance.
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