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We just went for it." By the show's fourth episode, it was clear that Schwartz and Savage had created something magical.
The episode titled "The Escape" was a defining moment for the series.
But no one could have imagined that a hyper self-aware primetime soap starring veteran actor Peter Gallagher, Mischa Barton, and a cast of relative unknowns would become a cultural phenomenon.
exposed the morally bankrupt lives of the beautiful and wealthy inhabitants of Newport Beach, California -- and it reshaped what a teen soap could be in the process.
And yet, during the show's initial ascent into the pop-culture stratosphere, Schwartz had no idea what the fuck he was doing.
They were looking for summer programming, which at the time, was unusual. The first season of had 27 episodes, which is pretty much unheard of by today's standards.
When teenage nerd Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) welcomed teenage delinquent Ryan Atwood (Ben Mc Kenzie) into the family, he invited us in, too: "You're a Cohen now.
Welcome to a life of insecurity and paralyzing self-doubt." For many, the show's incandescent first season remains unparalleled.
It not only featured one of the show's most melodramatic moments -- who recall exactly where they were and how they felt on the night Barton's Marissa OD'd on painkillers in Tijuana?
-- the episode also established what worked: the chemistry.