The O.C. was a primetime teen melodrama starring Ben McKenzie, Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, and Rachel Bilson. It’s funny to think the series almost did a crossover episode with this popular series starring Jason Bateman.
‘The O.C.’ is a teen drama
Josh Schwartz created The O.C., a show that sought to combine youth’s angst through the lens of a compelling love story and a comedic commentary on popular television tropes at the time. The story centered around Ryan Atwood (McKenzie), a rough-and-tough kid who was adopted by the Cohen family and given another shot at life.
While the show’s target audience was teens, Schwartz wanted it to have mass appeal for all. He took care in casting the entire show, from the young unknowns to the adult stars.
“We wanted to make it very clear that the adults were going to be just as important in this world as the kids,” Schwartz told Daily Beast in 2013. The O.C.‘s adult cast with staying power included: Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Tate Donovan, Melinda Clarke, and Alan Dale.
‘Arrested Development’ is a meta-comedy series
The O.C. was self-aware, but it didn’t tap into the same comedy used in another popular 2003 series.
Mitchell Hurwitz’s Arrested Development focused on the dysfunctional and spoiled Bluth family, who relied heavily on their son Michael (Bateman) to pick up the pieces after the family patriarch is imprisoned. Aside from the star-studded cast and unique comedic timing, Arrested Development also became known for Ron Howard’s narration.
The stars of ‘The O.C.’ almost guest starred on ‘Arrested Development’
Both The O.C. and Arrested Development debuted the same season in 2003 on the FOX network. As such, Hurwitz pitched the idea to bring some of The O.C.‘s cast onto Arrested Development to star as themselves.
The idea made sense — both series take place in modern-day California, so it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely that their worlds might collide. Still, Schwartz passed on the idea.
“Mitch Hurwitz asked if our actors could come on his show to play themselves as the stars of The O.C.,” Schwartz shared with Uproxx while celebrating the show’s 10-year anniversary. “I was worried that was one layer of meta too many, so I said no.”
As interesting as the crossover would have been, the audience attracted to Arrested Development was wildly different than those watching The O.C. So, Schwartz followed his gut and the crossover never happened.
‘Arrested Development’ made jokes about ‘The O.C.’
The self-conscious, fourth-wall-shattering humor in Arrested Development allowed the show’s writers many liberties when it came to crafting comedy. One of the recurring jokes on Arrested Development was the Bluth Family’s use of the term “the O.C.” in reference to Orange County.
When one of the Bluths used “O.C.” to describe the area, Michael Bluth would reply with: “No one calls it that” or “Don’t call it that.” That joke wasn’t lost on Schwartz, but in his opinion it didn’t provide the groundwork for a crossover that would have had mass appeal.
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