For all The O.C.'s many villains, none has been debated more than Oliver Trask (played by Taylor Handley). Fans know the story well: In season 1, Oliver meets Marissa (Mischa Barton) at therapy, slowly starts inserting himself into her life, wins over her friends with concerts and trips to Palm Springs, and then wedges himself between beloved couple Ryan (Ben McKenzie) and Marissa. The whole thing ends with a very dramatic scene in which Oliver holds Marissa captive, Ryan bangs on a door, and mayhem ensues.
When the show was on, O.C. fans absolutely hated Oliver, and they made that hatred known, so much so that the show wrote in a meta Oliver joke or two. In the season 3 finale, before Marissa leaves town, she's looking back on her time with Ryan and apologizing for all the craziness when he responds, "I wouldn't have done it any differently. Except maybe Oliver." She then says, "Me too."
But when Adam Brody recently went on Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke's podcast, Welcome to The O.C., bitches!, he defended the arc. "I remember [series creator] Josh [Schwartz] saying that he really regretted the Oliver character," Brody said. "Because the audience was so pissed off and they hated him. I don't know if he still feels this way or not, but at the time, and for a few years after, he was like, 'That was the worst mistake.' He felt bad."
Brody, on the other hand, feels like the fandom's response to that character is why the story worked. "My feeling is no, no, not at all. That's amazing. You want them tearing their hair out," Brody said. "That's maybe a high point of the show period."
Everett Collection (2) Adam Brody and Taylor Handley on 'The O.C.'
Brody was also asked on the podcast about his least favorite stories, at which point he brought up season 2's "The Mallpisode" — "I just remember thinking, 'Oh no, this is feeling so untethered from what it was'" — and he went on to discuss the speed at which the series burned through story. "More than anything we went through a lot of story, maybe a little fast, and I think kind of burned out a little because of it," he said. "On the flip side, that's why the first season is kind of magic."
Brody does have some thoughts on the Seth-Summer relationship, though. "For our characters, Seth and Summer, the audience really liked them together, but I felt like even though it was fun to do because it was easy to act, we kind of ended up being on a sitcom, I felt like, for the second half [of the series], where it's like we break up in the beginning of every episode but we're back together by the end, and so the stakes don't feel that high," he said. "On a sitcom it'd be okay, but for an hour drama that needs to be taught and tense, it didn't have that. And I felt like, still feel like, if we would've stayed apart for a year and the audience [was] dying to have them back together, I think could've wrung some more out of that."
(He also suggested that they could've sent Marissa away, possibly to rehab, rather than kill her at the end of season 3.)
Speaking of Seth and Summer, Bilson took a moment on the podcast to thank Brody for helping her when she was still learning about the world of acting. "You taught me how to act well," she said. "You made it so comfortable to just, like, go for it and not be afraid. Everything you did and working with you really made me have the confidence to kind of like do whatever I wanted and go for it. I just want to say thank you. I was never better than when I was acting with you."
His response? "It was my pleasure, and it was such a joy. Look, I take the compliment and at the same time, in the pilot, you made it your own instantly and everyone fell in love with you. I felt like we were sparring so well together so fast."
Listen to Brody's episode above.