'The O.C.': An open letter to Mischa Barton

154844__mischa_lDear Mischa Barton,

Are you crazy? Or crazy like a fox? Rumor has it that it was at least partially your own decision to permanently escape The O.C. — which, seemingly, you did in last night’s glacially paced season finale. When we last saw your Marissa Cooper character, she was ashen, bleeding from the head, and fading into the afterlife after being run off the road by some ex-boyfriend who looked a little like Paul Walker after 15 blows to the head with a tire iron.

Anyhow, with The O.C.‘s ratings falling this season, and creator Josh Schwartz’s script last night filled with plodding, meta-dialogue and inane music-filled montages, I can sort of understand your decision. On the other hand, given the fact that you can barely sell me on Neutrogena face wash — let alone convince me there’s not a motherboard and a series of green and yellow wires right beneath the surface of Marissa’s skin — you’ve got some hard questions to ask yourself. Like, for instance, how can you avoid becoming David Caruso 8.0? (In case you’re too young to remember, the guy who takes off his sunglasses — a lot — on CSI: Miami once prematurely exited NYPD Blue to try to become a movie star. And if you check his IMDB page, you’ll see how that endeavor turned out.) That said, because you first caught my attention as Evan Rachel Wood’s lesbian love interest on the ill-fated Once and Again (and if memory serves, you were kind of awesome in the role), I’m secretly rooting for you — to the point that I’ve come up with a three-step plan to save your career:

1) Try not to give off the impression that you’re a vacant scene-ster. I imagine it’s hard to avoid invites from gals like Lindsay and Paris and Tara Reid (okay, maybe not that hard), but you don’t read about Keira Knightley or Scarlett Johansson dancing on banquettes at Bungalow 8, do you?

2) Build some movie cred, and work with actors and directors who might be able to teach you something about your craft. (Richard Attenborough’s upcoming Closing the Ring, with Shirley MacLaine is exactly the kind of project I’m talking about.)

3) Finally, try not to alienate your O.C. fan base. What’s that? You completely spoiled the Marissa-death season finale by spilling the beans to Access Hollywood? Ah, well, maybe two out of three will be enough to keep you from signing on for season 14 of The Surreal Life? Best of luck in your endeavors.

Your fellow Neutrogena user,

Michael Slezak

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Comments (63 total)
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  • Maeve

    Whose brilliant idea was it to kill off Marissa? Michael says that it was partially her idea. Okay, I guess I can understand this coming from the girl who dated trash-mouthed Brandon Davis. But who on the OC staff thought it was a good idea to kill her? Yeah, a lot of people will be talking about Marissa dying, and then that quiet down in about a week…and then no one will be talking about it when the OC comes back in the fall. And guess what? The viewers don’t want to see a show without Marissa. She may have been really annoying, but I hated Brenda Walsh, and when she left 90210, it left a void.
    I watched this show last night with 2 friends and we all decided we are not going to watch it anymore.

  • Devin

    Let’s face it, as much as people hated Marissa (or Mischa Barton’s acting), she kinda was the show. I mean, ever since the beginning I figured one day Ryan and Marissa would end up together and the show would end. The finale just ruined the chances of that ever happening. This is probably the most tragic thing to happen to the show. The first season will always be the best. I can’t imagine an O.C. without Marissa.

  • Wilma

    FOX and Josh S. decided the death of Marissa’s character, not Mischa. Me and my friends will boycott the show without her. Barton and McKenzie are The OC.

  • Jennie

    Marissa Cooper is the OC and to tell you the truth. Next season will go down the drain and got to hell while Marissa go to heaven. Get that…

  • Anna

    SOOOO glad they got rid of her. She was definitely the weak link on that show. I hated most of her story lines and kept wishing they would get rid of her… and my prayers were answered! Now I can look forward to next season (that Taylor chick is going to be a regular! love her) and don’t have to worry about the neverending saga of Marissa (and Mischa Barton’s wooden acting).

  • Theo

    Our whole family has watched the OC from the start. We fear that Mischa’s departure may have a devastating effect on next season. The realtionship between the 4 kids, was the driving force of this program. We love Mischa/Marissa and wish her ONLY the BEST of everthing. We still love the show and plan to watch next season.

  • Basssinger

    Mischa was great on Once and Again as the burguning lesbian. I was so pissed when the series got canceled. Seeing both Evan’s and Mischa’s career continue roling was icing, but The O.C. star burst start lead to it eventual and predictable fade.
    Good Luck Mischa!

  • kat

    I can’t believe you all thought Marissa rocked. Well in one respect you all are right: she was a rock… dull, boring, kinda just sat there… her character was so boring I wanted her to shut up every time she was on air… good riddance… Good luck to Mischa, she’s gonna need it…

  • Lynny

    I am so glad Josh Schwartz is taking the show back from his writers who nearly killed it this past season. Getting rid of Marissa was key and sending Sandy Cohen back to the public defender’s office is a big step in the right direction. I hope it will get back to it’s former glory.

  • JKS

    I haven’t watched a show jump the shark like this since… Taylor and Katherine ended up as the final two on American Idol.

  • jaime

    I think it was a good idea…i have been a loyal fan of the OC even during its bad times..have only missed 2 episodes in the 3 season run…absolutly love this show! I would have to agree with some others, sometime Marissa would get on my nerves and am kinda glad they did kill her off in a great way. Cant wait to see what the new season holds for everyone else and am glad Josh is taking control of the writing.

  • Jakeem

    I believe too many people confuse Mischa with Marissa, who had to be one of the toughest TV characters to play because she was a serial victim. Mischa is a pro who can light it up whenever she’s given more than one note to play.
    For instance, on an episode of the 2002-2003 FOX series “Fastlane,” she was dazzling as a spoiled Paris Hilton-like heiress who gave her undercover cop bodyguards fits. I wouldn’t be surprised if her performance in that got her the role of Marissa in the first place.
    Mischa Barton will be just fine, folks! It’s “The O.C.” that may become moribund very soon!

  • Shana

    I never really liked Marissa so I’m not that upset she died. It would’ve been more dramatic if I hadnt known it was going to happen. Anyway, I just don’t see how they’re going to have “the OC” in Rhode Island? I don’t get how it will work unless they all give up their coleges to stay and go to some lame school in Newport like 90210 did. So stupid. It should have been like Felicity and only done high school and ended with graduation. Oh well. We’ll see. I’ll give it a try in the fall but it’d have to be amazing or i’m gonna stick to Grey’s Anatomy on Thurs nights.

  • Erik

    If Mischa didn’t want to be there, why make her stay? She got the big, flashy exit she wanted and that’s much better than having to sit through any more scenes of her “acting.” I’m thrilled she’s gone.

  • Dylan

    I think the show has maybe 2 years left in it anyway. Marissa is the kind of character that is integral to the show but not so important that it can’t withstand her departure. Marissa’s death should have been more exciting though. It’s sad to think of the finale in the future no Ryan and Marissa. At least Taylor is coming back full time in the Fall. She is not only hot but hilarious too.

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