Here's a ton of facts about The OC you probably never knew

7 min read

These are the best behind-the-scenes stories we've ever heard about The OC.

1. Josh Schwartz was only 25 years old when he started writing the show.

2. Peter Gallagher aka Sandy was the first actor cast.

3. Producers hated Adam Brody's first audition - apparently he didn't bother to learn his lines.

seth cohen

4. The actor who plays Luke, Chris Carmack, is referred to as "Abercrombie & Fitch" as an insult because he used to model for the brand.

shailene woodley

5. Rachel Bilson was only supposed to appear as a guest on the show.

6. So was Melinda Clarke aka Julie Cooper.

7. It's only in the 14th episode that Bilson and Clarke are actually in the opening credits NOT as guests.


8. The actress who played Kirsten, Kelly Rowan, is actually only 14 years older than Adam Brody in real life.

9. You know when Taylor realises she likes Ryan, and he tells her they should just be friends? She says to him, "Ryan Atwood, mon ami, sounds terrif"? Well, in the last episode, she repeats the exact phrase when he makes the same suggestions just before kissing him.

10. The Cohen's name was originally going to be 'Needleman'.

11. It was supposed to be kept a secret, but Mischa Barton revealed Marissa would die in the final episode… One hour before it aired. Ouch.

12. In the episode Family Ties, Seth refers to himself as vomiting "like that girl from the Sixth Sense" - that girl was played by Mischa Barton!

13. Chad Michael Murray turned down a role in The OC so he could play Lucas in One Tree Hill.

chad gif

14. "Welcome to the OC, bitch" was not actually scripted.


15. Ben McKenzie aka Ryan Atwrood was working as a telemarketer before he got cast.

16. That pool in the Cohen's place is actually super shallow - 4 feet deep to be precise. The actors had to film any scenes in the pool standing on their knees. #awks

17. Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody dated for the entire run of the show. 

seth summer gif

18. For a bit, Josh Schwartz was planning to write a spin-off show focussed entirely on Anna.

19. The inspiration for Princess Sparkle? Josh Schwartz's dad worked at Hasbro.

20. Schwartz also kept Princess Sparkle and Captain Oats as a souvenir after the show ended. 

captain oats princess sparkle

21. Adam Brody is actually petrified of boats. Like, has a serious phobia of them. So that scene where Seth sails off into the sunset? That's a 40 year old stunt double.

22. In the very last episode where Taylor meets Summer in the arrival room, there's man with a sign saying "Schwartz". That's a reference to writer Josh Schwartz.

23. The show was called The OC and not 'Orange County', because there was a movie released called Orange County a year before the show premiered.

24. In the episode The Night Moves, we find out that Julie used to sing "Night Moves" to Kaitlin as a child. In another episode The Heartbreak, that same song plays in the background when Julie and Luke start up their affair… It also plays in Luke's car when he sees Caleb proposes to Julie in The Proposal… Favourite song much?

25. There's a "Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship" at Berkeley Law School now. Apparenlty students call it 'The Sandy' or 'The Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship For Lawyers Who Dare To Dream.'

sandy cohen gif


26. Ben McKenzie binge watches all four seasons of The OC to this day.

27. Josh Schwartz has Seth's comic book Atomic County framed on his wall.

28. Chrismukkah was almost called Hannamas. CAN YOU IMAGINE?



29. Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan, Ben Mckenize, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson are the only five actors to appear in all 92 episodes of the show. 

30. Arcade Fire refused to appear on The OC because they didn't want to licence any music.

31. Tom Hanks' son Colin Hanks plays the star of The Valley, which is the show within The OC.

32. When Seth learns that Lindsay is his half-aunt, he says "You're a Cohen. Welcome to a world of insecurity and paralysing self-doubt"… He also used this line when he welcomes Ryan into the family in The Debut.

33. In the episode The Rainy Day Women, Sandy asks Rebecca whether she wants "ding dongs or cheese sticks" when they're stranded in a cheap motel. Ryan offers Marisa the exact same options in The Escape, when they're also stranded at a cheap motel.

34. Writers were initially going to make Seth part of the popular crew. But they changed their minds and decided to make him the outcast.

seth gif

35. When Kaitlin Cooper leaves in season 1 to head off to boarding school, she is 11-years-old. When she returns in season 3, she is 15. So she aged four years in 18 months. Oops.


36. Shailene Woodley plays younger Kaitlin! She is only 5 months younger than Willa Holland, who ended up playing the older Kaitlin.

shailene woodley

37. The waiter in the pilot episode and "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" is also the same guy who lives in the Cohen's house in the last episode.

38. Can you imagine Ryan being played by anyone else? Garrett Hedlund almost got the role. Who's Garrett Hedlund? This is Garrett Hedlund:

garrett hedlund

39. Writers considered pairing up Ryan and Anna, Luke and Summer, Seth and Marisa. WEIRD.

40. The two finalists for the role of Marisa were Mischa Barton and… Olivia Wilde! Writers thought Wilde was too strong to play the emotional wreck of Marisa, so they brought her back as Alex.

alex gif

41. Tate Donovan, who plays Jimmy Cooper, and Peter Gallagher are still really good mates.

42. In the episode The O Sea, Trey asks for two Seven and Sevens at the bar. This is the exact same drink that Ryan orders in the very first episode and the same one his mother asks for in The Gamble episode. Must run in the family…

43. Josh Schwartz has been told that the show was the inspiration behind Laguna Beach and The Real Housewives.

44. The Cohen's pool house back drop was… wait for it… Just a painted board… *Sobs*

45. In the alternate universe episode, a poster in the shopping mall says Johnny Harper is the "Pacwest Surf Star". Johnny was Marisa's friend who was run over because of Ryan, and therefore couldn't compete in the surf tour. Ryan didn't exist in the alternative world though, so Johnny was never run over, and thus the surf star.

johnny gif


46. Death Cab For Cutie got mentioned so often in the show because Adam Brody and his mates were massive fans of the band.


47. When the show was first written, Ryan was originally going to be Sandy's illegitimate child.

ryan gif

48. That iconic song by Phantom Planet almost wasn't used for the intro. 

49. Tate Donovan voiced Hercules in the animated Disney film, as well as in the video game Kingdom Hearts II.

Written By Emily Whitham