Ranking the 22 Absolute Worst Characters on The O.C.
Can you believe it’s been ten years since The O.C.’s final drama-driving chapter? We definitely can’t—it’s as if Mischa Barton never competed on Dancing with the Stars, Benjamin Mckenzie never turned 38, Adam Brody didn’t settle down with Blair Waldorf, and Rachel Bilson never took up with Anakin Skywalker. Ahh, what a time to be alive.
As much as we miss those four years of O.C. madness, there are a couple characters we wouldn’t dare invite to our fantasy reunion—in fact, there are 22 of them. The series wouldn’t be what it is without them, but we would’ve made a couple edits to their screen time.
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Scroll down below for our definitive list of the worst of Newport Beach’s many shady characters.
Oliver Trask (Taylor Handley)
Any true, or even casual O.C. fan will tell you, Oliver Trask is the worst thing to ever happen to the series. Yes, worse than the road raging “surf Nazi.” Volchok’s character flaws were never glossed over by any of the Newport Beach crew—even Marissa knew what she was getting into. Oliver, however, managed to turn Ryan’s friends against him in an elaborate ploy to steal his girlfriend. (EVIL.) Despite his inherent awfulness, Oliver ended up creating one of the most exciting story lines in the show’s four-season run—plus everyone learned a valuable lesson: always trust Ryan Atwood. ALWAYS.
Kevin Volchok (Cam Gigandet)
Surprise, surprise, the man who killed fallen O.C. golden girl Marissa Cooper and tarnished the bulk of season three with his unchecked aggression is not a standup guy. I hold Volchok 100% responsible for the series’ ultimate cancellation. Booooo.
Trey Atwood (Logan Marshall-Green)
Like Ryan Atwood himself, we held out hope that Trey would follow in his brother’s footsteps. Spoiler alert: he so didn’t. Trey takes advantage of everyone in Newport Beach, including his brother’s girlfriend (!)—in short, he’s the anti-Ryan.
Johnny Harper (Ryan Donowho)
Okay, unpopular opinion, but Johnny needed to go. To me, Johnny was Oliver pt. II—just another whiny obstacle standing between star-crossed lovers Ryan and Marissa. Silver lining: without Johnny, we never would have heard the amazing Sufjan Stevens song that played at his funeral.
Jess Sathers (Nikki Griffin)
Oh, Jess… Trey’s drug-dealing moral equivalent and sometime girlfriend was welcomed into the series’ narrative after being found unconscious in the pool. Somehow, this was a totally appropriate introduction to Jess Sathers.
Eddie (Eric Balfour)
Theresa’s ex and presumptive baby daddy crashes Newport parties, punches Ryan in the face, and gives Theresa a black eye. Game over, Eddie.
Charlotte Morgan (Jeri Ryan)
Conning rehab-goers? That’s pretty low, even for the depraved money-grubbing residents of Newport Beach. Charlotte literally pretended to be an alcoholic to get to Kirsten’s money—eek! Even the show’s creator, Josh Schwartz, found the story line pretty ridiculous. “We were told to add this Jeri Ryan character to the show that we had no idea what to do with, Schwartz told Vulture, “We were just told we had to add an adult female character. It went nowhere, and we had no plan for it, and it just didn’t fit the show.”
Donnie (Paul Wesley)
Though Donnie may have a way with “the honeys,” he’s really not the kind of guy you want hanging around. He shot Luke, after all!
Holly Fischer (Ashley Hartman)
Marissa’s “BFF” made fun of her dad and hooked up with her boyfriend. Good riddance, Holly!
Kaitlin Cooper (Willa Holland)
After about a year away at boarding school, Marissa’s lil’ sis’ returned to The O.C. as a literal different person (the precocious tween played by Shailene Woodley was replaced by wild child Willa Holland) and consequently became the worst. After Kaitlin’s initial return in the third season, Holland became a fourth season regular—signaling to audiences everywhere that the series was far past its prime.
Dean Hess (Eric Mabius)
Harbor’s Dean of Discipline was out to get well-intentioned bad boy Ryan, and he was carrying on an affair with a student (Taylor Townsend). BAD MAN.
Jodie (Emmanuelle Chriqui)
Alex’s (Olivia Wilde) ex interfered in her relationships with both Seth and Marissa. Ugh! Luckily, Marissa and Alex exact their revenge by stealing a sentimental necklace from her bedroom. BOOM.
Reed Carlson (Marguerite Moreau)
Reed, who helps publish Zach and Seth’s comic book—sorry, “graphic novel,” Atomic County, causes some major riffs between Seth and Summer. Byeeeee!
Grady Bridges (Colin Hanks)
The Valley star puts the moves on teen soap-obsessed Summer while she’s dating Seth—um, ew!
Gabrielle (Nichole Hiltz)
The fact that a twenty-something model was dating Kirsten’s dad is a travesty unto itself—but worse yet, Gabrielle and Ryan’s fling drives Marissa to sleep with Luke! If you connect the dots, Gabrielle’s interference basically leads to Marissa ODing in Tijuana. Go home, Gabrielle.
Theresa Diaz (Navi Rawat)
Let me count the ways… Not only does Theresa disturb the peace (and love!) between Ryan and Marissa, she also lies to Ryan about the baby he’s vowed to raise, and judges him for leaving Chino. WHAT. A. JERK.
Lance Baldwin (Johnny Messner)
This ghost from Julie Cooper’s desperate past (read: she starred in the epically titled The Porn Identity) comes back to blackmail the now wealthy Mrs. Cooper Nichol. We later learn Lance isn’t all bad, and then he and Julie share a magical moment set to the strum of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” but still, he hammered the final nail in Julie’s already questionable reputation, and for that there are no second chances.
Taylor Townsend (Autumn Reeser)
Ryan-Taylor politics aside, I think we can all agree that Ms. Townsend was one of the most obnoxious residents of Newport Beach.
Lindsay Gardner (Shannon Lucio)
She’s perfectly nice, I guess, but we really can’t forgive her for breaking Ryan’s (and Kirsten’s!) heart.
Taryn Baker (Kimberly Oja)
The Newpsie Queen desperately needed some damage control.
Rachel Hoffman (Bonnie Somerville)
Sandy’s presumptuous co-worker tried to seduce him one late night at the office—not cool.
Matt Ramsey (Jeff Hephner)
Matt was one of many unfortunate cogs in Sandy’s weird turn as the C.E.O. of the Newport Group following Caleb’s death. Also, he took teenaged Ryan to a strip club—we object.