Autumnreeser_theoc_s4_240_4As much as I like The French Connection, why does nobody ever talk about John Frankenheimer’s French Connection 2? It’s not as good a movie overall, but Gene Hackman’s performance, particularly the scenes where he goes cold turkey, may be superior.

That has nothing to do with Thursday’s (Jan. 11) episode of The O.C., also titled "The French Connection." It was, however, a Taylor-centric episode and Autumn Reeser is far cuter than Gene Hackman.

The episode was also a good break from the wild and wacky adventures of press tour, even though it was slightly gloomy by recent O.C. standards. All the pairings I like started to show strain — Taylor and Ryan, Seth and Summer, even the business partnership of Kirsten and Julie. The only couple getting closer was the one that interests me least, Muppet Babies castmates Kaitlin and Will.

Some highlights:

  • Great to see Henri Lubatti, so fantastic on Showtime’s Sleeper Cell, as Taylor’s ex Henri-Michel and I’m intrigued by A Season For Peaches, the novel described as "Bridges of Madison County meets The Notebook meets porn," particularly the events on page 47, which caused Taylor to protest, "Ryan, even if I was that limber, you know I would never do that in the Chunnel."
  • Good to have Michael Nouri back temporarily and who doesn’t like a little Grey’s Anatomy-based humor, in this case, Dr. Roberts’ urgent call for "a man who’s been impaled by what appears to be a unicorn," a fine stab at that other McShow on that other McNetwork with all the silly McMedical cases.
  • Melinda Clarke’s so good that I bought her sadness at having Kirsten find out about her brothel, even though it was rushed and contrived. Peter Gallagher’s so good that I excused his absence for 90 percent of the episode because of a fine out-of-left-field Jerry Lewis impression. Rachel Bilson’s so good that I’ll follow Summer on her third or fourth "I just don’t know who I am" journey of the season.

    Some lowlights:

  • Nope. Not buying either Chris Brown: Actor, nor the badly integrated subplots with Kaitlin. Speaking of the Muppet Babies cast of The O.C., did everybody recognize Kaitlin’s prep school Baby Bilson roommate from last season as Robin’s younger sister on HIMYM? More importantly, did anybody realize that the actress in question is Lucy Hale from FOX’s kiddie American Idol flop American Juniors? I didn’t either under two seconds ago.
  • The plot with Henri-Michel and Taylor being all intellectual and stuff blurred the line between lampooning Euro-pretentiousness and just being obvious and pretentious.
  • If it weren’t for Bilson, those scenes with the Newpsie-weds would have been extra-shrill.

    Thoughts on the episode? And be sure to check out our press tour coverage

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg