Does anyone in Orange County actually dress like the characters on The OC? Finding out was my prime motivation for unwrapping this seven-disc set (released Aug. 23). God knows I wasn't in it for the commentary tracks; they're included on only two episodes ("The Rainy Day Women" and "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't," both written by creator Josh Schwartz). And while the show's debut year offered witty dialogue and loopy, compelling plots, all Schwartz and company could manage during the sophomore season was boring redheaded stepchild Lindsay, one-note bisexual vixen Alex, ex-and-future convict Trey, and—surprise, surprise—a drinking problem for a major character. It's a miracle no one was abducted by aliens. At the start of the behind-the-scenes featurette "The OC: Obsess Completely," Schwartz admits: "We did so much last year, we have nothing left for season two." No kidding.
The real meat is in "Beachy Couture," a fashion featurette that I hoped would explain why costume designer Karla Stevens has made poor little rich girl Marissa (Mischa Barton) the worst-dressed TV character since Carrie Bradshaw. While Stevens doesn't go there, she does acknowledge a conflict with Schwartz over bad hat choices. At a safe distance from the decision-making process, Melinda Clarke (who plays bitchy dish Julie) and Kelly Rowan (downward-spiraling mom Kirsten) freely poke fun at the show's fashion. Clarke calls it "flip-flop chic," while Rowan jokes that bad boy Ryan (Ben McKenzie) has inspired a fad: "Wife beater sales have gone up." Meanwhile, Stevens dissects Summer's conversion from couture clone to neoboho vintage shopper as though The OC were Hamlet. And I guess it kind of is: Hamlet for iPod-owning, Abercrombie-wearing teenyboppers. Peter Gallagher says mothers have told him The OC is the only thing that connects them to their daughters. And while "To be or not to be . . . trendy" isn't the most stimulating question for moms and teen girls to contemplate together, it sure beats another trip to the mall.
ALSO OUT AUG. 23, the equally insubstantial A Lot Like Love stars Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. More serious are the audacious Korean revenge drama Oldboy, the civil-rights documentary Home of the Brave, and the stylish British ganger flick Layer Cake. A Rogers and Astaire collection includes Top Hat and four other classic musicals. From TV land, there's a new Futurama package (rumors say the series is to be revived soon).