Alexa, play "Hallelujah" by Imogen Heap.

By Isabel Jones
Aug 03, 2020 @ 10:30 am
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Mischa Barton, Benjamin McKenzie
WB/Everett Collection

Today in news I really would’ve liked to receive in 2007: Ben McKenzie thinks Mischa Barton’s departure from The O.C. was “odd.” If by “odd” you mean “I cried for a week and still cannot watch the season 3 finale without breaking into a fit of sobs," then yes, same.

The actor, who starred in Fox’s teen drama from 2003 to 2007, opened up about his years on the show during an episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing.

“There’s no easy transition from sleeping on the floor of your friend’s apartment in the Valley, driving a $500 car you bought off the Pennysaver to ‘Hey, you’re going to be one of the leads of a new show that just happens to hit the zeitgeist and take off,’” McKenzie said of his rise to fame.

"It was a rocket ship," the actor said of The O.C., one of his very first acting credits, "and I think we all kind of hung on for dear life.”

As for that fateful season 3 finale, in which a shellshocked Ryan Atwood (McKenzie) carries a dying Marissa Cooper (Barton) from a car engulfed in flames, cradling her body as she utters her final, breathless words … ? Well, “it was odd,” Mckenzie said, “very odd to have someone who was in it from the beginning leave, but you know, it was dramatic in all the O.C. ways.”

So, did he approve of his onscreen love interest’s final bow? “It gave her a proper sendoff, hopefully,” he allowed.

Don’t forget, McKenzie left Newport Beach with more than just a few white tank tops and a level 10 brooding skill. It was on The O.C.’s very set that he met his future wife, Morena Baccarin. Though, to be fair, it would be nearly a decade before they actually started dating.

“I really just honestly wanted to say hello and meet him,” Baccarin told PeopleTV in a previous Couch Surfing episode, explaining how she approached McKenzie’s trailer at the time. “And he doesn't even remember the encounter so that just goes to show you how far below the scale I was at this point.”

Unmemorable introduction aside, they’re married now and share a 4-year-old daughter, so it all worked out! The power The O.C. has …