HomeLife Style‘The O.C.’ Creators Are Right Back Where They Started From

‘The O.C.’ Creators Are Right Back Where They Started From

If you had to do it over again, would you still kill Marissa?

SCHWARTZ There was a vocal minority online that had grown frustrated with the Marissa story line. That in conjunction with a lot of network pressure to kill a main character as a way to spike viewership drove the decision to kill Marissa. The night that the show aired, we heard from a whole other swath of the audience that loved the show, watched every week, didn’t feel the need to log into a forum to analyze it. For a lot of people, Marissa was the character they were watching for, Mischa was the actress they found the most exciting and Ryan and Marissa were endgame. We violated that in one fell swoop. It’s now part of the legacy of the show. We’ve had to accept it. It hasn’t stopped us from killing other young women in other shows that we’ve done.

Have you learned nothing?

SCHWARTZ We haven’t. But here we are: It’s 20 years later; people still want to talk to us about the show. The legacy feels really secure to us now, and we can appreciate it.

Do you see the influence of “The O.C.” on subsequent shows?

SCHWARTZ “Laguna Beach: the Real Orange County” was a result of the show, which then led to “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” which has now spawned an entire franchise, which we should have seen coming and gotten a piece of.

SAVAGE Marc Cherry has told us that he doesn’t think he would have been able to do “Desperate Housewives” if it weren’t for the success of “The O.C.,” in that regard of doing something that had a lot of humor and voice to it.

Nearly all of your subsequent projects are about adolescents and young adults, and “Looking for Alaska” and “City on Fire” are set in the same time period as “The O.C.” Did you get a little stuck?

SCHWARTZ We love coming-of-age stories. Fashions change, technology changes, vernacular changes, but emotionally, they are truly universal. When you make something for an audience of that age, they love that forever and love it deeply. It’s just a really exciting time. Everything is heightened. Everything feels like life or death, and sometimes it is. And probably we’re still subconsciously working through some [expletive].

How do you feel about “The O.C.” now?

SCHWARTZ Grateful and proud. Which sounds simplistic, but it was a 20-year journey to get there.

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