It’s officially been 10 years since The O.C.’s emotional finale aired on the small screen, which makes you wonder where all that time went so quickly. It seems like just the other day we were chilling in Newport Beach with the fab four. But now they’ve all moved on with their lives (as have we, kind of), so we decided to speculate what our favorite characters are doing now, 10 years later.
1. Ryan Atwood
Oh, my sweet, puppy dog-eyed Ryan. The once-inmate is now a UC Berkeley grad and architect, though his life is predictably as dramatic as it was 10 years ago. For someone so passive and quiet, he sure does know how to make the worst life decisions!
Ryan reconnected with Taylor at Seth and Summer’s wedding, though their passionate fling quickly fizzled out after he ran into Kaitlin Cooper while visiting the Cohen’s for a Christmas party. Kaitlin spent the evening seducing him, per the Coopers’ tendency to keep it in the family, and Ryan took the bait. Some call it “delayed grief,” Ryan calls it “chemistry.” He broke things off with Taylor, who threatened to burn down his house, and proposed to Kaitlin less than a year later.
Ryan now lives with his wife and two kids in a luxury Berkeley house they can’t really afford, though Kaitlin refuses to compromise her standard of living. She constantly stresses Ryan out by maxing out their credit cards; Ryan constantly stresses Kaitlin out by bringing home random homeless teenagers to live with them.
He’s still convinced he’s a hardass, but the only think he’s punched in a long time is his rewards card at the local fro-yo place.
2. Seth Cohen
Seth is still married to Summer, which is no surprise to anyone. Though you won’t catch either of them without a wedding ring, they still have their on-and-off again tendencies, with Summer moving out of the house at least once a year after the two supposedly “split”, only to move in again a few weeks later. They can’t help it if they’re fated.
Seth continued to follow his comic book dreams and is now an artist and writer for a small but deeply-loved webtoon called “The Monsters of Newport Beach,” featuring a young Jewish superhero who fights the entitled, corrupted water beasts of his hometown. He often uses this as an outlet to make sense of his past traumas, which he finds much more helpful than therapy.
He now lives a few houses down from his parents with his wife and son, an awkward ten-year-old named Kale (yes, like the vegetable) who would rather watch Marvel movies than interact with living beings. “Like father, like son,” Sandy laughs every time Seth catches him buying new cosplay gear from a credit card he stole from his mom’s purse.
Not surprisingly, Seth is still a big fan of sailing. Every now and then he manages to get some time alone and heads out to sea. Each time he stares wistfully out at the horizon and dreams of sailing away and never coming back. He’s already plotted how to fake his death and picked out a new identity for himself.
“Maybe next time, buddy,” he murmurs to himself before heading back to shore.
3. Summer Roberts-Cohen
Despite going through an hippie phase in college and working for the Global Environmental Organisation Regarding Greenhouse Emissions, Summer has reverted back to her typical Newport persona: materialistic, gossipy and a little bit vain. What? It’s been 10 years. You can’t expect her to give up a life of luxury for good!
To be fair, she still does her part. She works with Berkeley schools to encourage greener campuses and returns to her hometown to hound the Newpsies about energy-saving initiatives. She immerses herself in her activism in an attempt to distract herself from her family issues, such as the fact that she isn’t quite sure how to connect with her son, despite dating an adult version of him for the majority of her life.
Despite what anyone says, her Instagram claims she’s still madly in love with her husband, who’s her #mcm at least three times a month.
Summer still keeps in close contact with Taylor Townsend and Kaitlin Cooper (only partially because they’re in-laws). She also pays homage to Marissa Cooper every year on her best friend’s birthday by finishing off a bottle of wine or two and excessively Tweeting about the “#GoodOldDays.”
Summer knows every Taylor Swift lyric and calls the starlet her “feminist icon.”
4. Sandy Cohen
Sandy is now a tenured law professor at UC Berkeley, which is good news for him since he’s taken to skipping his own class more than once per semester. Usually because it’s a beautiful morning and he wants to catch some waves while he can.
Sandy’s also struggling to come to terms with the fact that he’s the father of a preteen again, which he probably should have seen coming once his wife gave birth to Sophie Rose. He isn’t sure how to deal with her newfound sass and always says that if he hears the word “whatever” come out of her mouth one more time, she’s going to regret it. He never does anything about it, though — Sophie Rose is definitely the favorite child.
Sandy and Kirsten’s relationship has been as rocky as always for the past 10 years, though the two continue to prevail through their self-created drama and somehow remain one of the most solid couples in the family. They’ve already proved they can get through, well, just about everything.
Sandy’s constantly inviting his sons over for some father-son bonding time, though Seth and Ryan are both wary of spending too much time alone with him. They get tired of his unwarranted relationship advice pretty quickly, though to be fair, they could both probably use it.
For the most part, Sandy is doing OK. He recently took up veganism, and he will tell anyone who listens.
5. Kirsten Cohen
Kirsten is still the CEO of her dating service NewMatch, though the business began struggling once Tinder started growing in popularity. She sees it as a blessing in disguise, since so much of her energy has gone toward raising Sophie Rose. Turns out being a Mom is harder than she remembers.
Unfortunately, all the stress in Kirsten’s family life and business endeavors led her to start drinking heavily again, which became a problem after she showed up to a PTA meeting drunk. She has since then sought treatment for her alcoholism and is heading down the road of recovery for the second (but certainly not last) time.
She often fantasizes about retiring with Sandy and moving to a private island, though the dream is usually ruined once she remembers she has eight more years before she’s legally allowed to leave Sophie Rose behind.
Kirsten’s favorite pastime is Snapchatting pictures of take out food that she pretends she cooked. She always promises to give her friends the recipes, then promptly “forgets.”
6. Julie Cooper
While Julie seemed like she might turn her life around by going to college, things didn’t quite go as planned. Though Julie graduated with a business degree and high honors, she quickly threw away her hard work but falling back into her old patterns. This includes dating her daughter’s teachers, dating her daughter’s exes and a bad attempt at dating her daughter’s husband that went terribly awry.
After a short falling out with Kaitlin, she went back to dating exclusively rich men and eventually ended up marrying the CEO of a tech company. That’s not to say that her business degree went completely unused — she now helps her husband’s business with its finances (and secretly stashes some of the money away for herself).
Despite treating most of the people in her life terribly in the past, almost everyone has forgiven her since. She maintains a close relationship to her daughter and her son-in-law and often outstays her welcome when they invite her over for special occasions. She also somehow managed to salvage her friendship with Kirsten, despite turning their once-co-owned business into a prostitution ring. It’s a mystery to most people how anyone still puts up with her.
She’s garnered quite the social media following as well, gaining fans by “telling it how it is” and posting semi-nude photos whenever she gets the chance. Her favorite Instagram filter is Toaster and no one can really understand why.
7. Taylor Townsend
It didn’t take Taylor long to realize she was too big to stay in Newport Beach. After officially ending things with Ryan (and having a slight nervous breakdown over it), Taylor moved back to Paris and began teaching English literature at a university there.
Her husband, Jean Paul, is a classic Parisian poet, which is what drew her to him to begin with. She loves telling the story of how they met at a café and then kept running into each other “as if it were fate,” though he often corrects her: she stalked him for several weeks before he gave in and officially asked her out.
Taylor’s fabulous French lifestyle is the talk of all her old Newport friends, who enthusiastically praise her over Facebook messages and religiously like every photo she posts, then talk mad shit on her whenever they’re all together.
Sometimes she fantasizes about flying back to California to confront Ryan about everything — and maybe finally win him back. She usually just laughs off the thought as she eats another croissant, because no matter how many carbs she eats, she never gets fat.