“It was so not romantic.”

By Isabel Jones
Apr 26, 2021 @ 11:11 am
THE O.C.: The Most Iconic Kiss on The O.C. Was "So Not Romantic"
Credit: Warner Bros/Getty Images/Instyle.com

In the 92-episode history of The O.C. there is no moment more pivotal, iconic, romantic, and satisfying than the rain-soaked Spider-Man kiss between Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) and Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) in season two's "The Rainy Day Women." This is fact (though Marissa and Ryan's New Year's kiss is admittedly a close second).

Allow me to set the scene: we're 14 episodes into season 2 (LOL, RIP 20-something episode seasons), there's a rare rainstorm in Newport Beach, and Seth and Summer are somehow still broken up following Seth's exit to Portland at the end of season 1. Summer has a new and perfectly nice boyfriend, Zach (Michael Cassidy), and she's preparing to travel to Italy with him for his sister's wedding. Seth, wallowing after another failed attempt to win Summer back, dons his only protective covering against the rain (a Spider-Man mask) to climb the roof so that he can fix the satellite dish and watch TV. Summer, arrested by the sight of a Seth Cohen-esque young boy playing with a Captain Oats-esque toy horse at the airport, breaks up with Zach and makes her way to the Cohen house to see Seth. Seth, who's tied a rope connecting himself to the chimney, inevitably slips and finds himself hanging upside down outside, calling out for help. Matt Pond PA's cover of "Champagne Supernova" swells as Summer hears Seth's cries and runs to him, rolling the bottom of his mask up for the perfect culturally referential kiss. Cue: every viewer vicariously falling in love. 

Well, I am sorry to shatter the illusion, but it turns out that the pinnacle of onscreen romance was, on the contrary, "so not romantic" to film. 

Bilson, who's launching rewatch podcast Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! with co-star Melinda Clarke, recalled shooting the now-iconic scene with her then-boyfriend, Brody

"We were on a soundstage, and it's pouring rain inside, and Adam's upside down, water's going up his nose, he can't breathe," Bilson recounted to InStyle. "It was like the most unromantic setup ever."

And the mechanics of the upside down makeout are challenging, at best. "Trying to kiss someone upside down, and your lips are moving opposite … it's just so awkward," she remembered. 

THE O.C.: The Most Iconic Kiss on The O.C. Was "So Not Romantic"
Credit: Warner Bros

Still, Bilson counts the scene among the "more fun moments" of the series. 

"Adam Brody was so amazing in that role," Bilson later gushed about her real-life ex. "[The show] kind of introduced the geek-chic thing — Seth, that character becoming a male lead."

"We experienced something very intimate for four years, and you really get close no matter what," Clarke, who played the incomparable Julie Cooper, said of the dynamic between her and her fellow O.C. alums. "So even if I don't talk to Rachel for five years, 10 years, we kind of go right back to the relationship that we developed way back when."

There was a brief attempt at an in-person reunion, but the universe had other (much less fun) plans.

"A couple summers ago we had a group chat going. We were all going to get together at Peter [Gallagher's] — Adam and Ben [McKenzie]. And we were like, 'Well who's got Bilson's number? Let's get Mischa [Barton]!'" Clarke shared. "But it just didn't happen. I'm kind of that mama Mindy where I'm always trying to wrangle everybody, and it was a conversation, and it just never really happened ... Pandemic happened."

While the podcast isn't quite an ensemble bagel brunch at the Cohens', it will reunite Bilson and Clarke with some of the show's most valuable players, including creator Josh Schwartz.

"I don't know if there will ever be a reboot of The O.C., but if this is the best we can do, let's do it," Clarke said of the motivation behind the podcast. 

As for that pie-in-the-sky reboot? Clarke has some ideas. 

"I keep saying that I think Julie would've campaigned to be on The Real Housewives of Orange County. That's what she's doing now. She's a reality star, and a psychic."

Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! launches on April 27.