Thursday, May 12, 2005

The OC: Revelations come from the strangest places sometimes….

Tonight I forced myself to watch The OC, so that after weeks of hype, I could try to figure out why on earth George Lucas was guest starring as himself.

Before I get into the analysis of the Lucas sighting, allow me to say a few words on the OC.

Man, what a boring show. I mean granted I’ve never made it through an entire episode before, and maybe it’s the sort of show you need to be in the loop on, but still. I certainly don’t begrudge people their guilty pleasures, but this would-be soap opera is not audacious enough to be a true entertaining melodrama, nor is it clever and interesting enough to actually be an engaging and intelligent drama. Give me Days Of Our Lives any day of the week over this show. At least Days has no pretensions about what type of show it is, and takes its license as a soap, running wild with it. I’d rather watch a plot involving mystery islands, parallel universes and circus tigers on the loose, than stare at a bunch of twenty five years olds pretending to be juniors in high school and going to prom. The OC clearly comes from the 90210 school of thought that pretty people and luxurious sets and props are enough to make a show compelling.

Anyway, back to George Lucas. His appearance was first alluded to in the plot, when two of the leads in the show, Zak and Seth, met with an associate about the start-up comic book that they’ve created. The associate tells them that George Lucas has expressed an interest in their comic book and is interested in developing it into a full-length feature film. The bad news is that Zak and Seth are also told that only one of them can attend the dinner meeting that has been set-up with the legendary filmmaker.

Thirty minutes later in the episode, George Lucas finally shows up.

The scene is set at a swanky restaurant, where Lucas, Seth, (played by Adam Brody), and Seth’s manager/agent(?) are ordering drinks. First off I’d like to add that they shouldn’t have included the character of Seth and Zak’s manager in the scene. She added nothing, and felt intrusive and awkward.

Seth is obviously agog at his close proximity to Lucas, and clumsily starts off by yammering on about his choice in beverage and asking him how he came up with the idea for the light saber.

Then Seth gets down to the nitty gritty. You see, in order to come to the dinner he had to miss his own prom. In turn since both he and his comic book partner could not go to the dinner, he let his comic book partner, Zak go to the prom with his love interest.
I know it sounds complicated, but bottom line is this Seth kid starts feeling bad about missing his own prom and asks Lucas if he went to his own prom when he was a teen.

Lucas, who first cannot believe his ears when he first hears the word prom. Goes on to say this:

“Actually I didn’t. I spent my time being creative. Drawing ewoks. Jar Jar binks.”

Ok two things. First, this kind of makes me sad and yet endears me to Lucas in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. He once was a geeky little outcast, who stayed at home and drew aliens. If this is true, and something tells me it is, I feel sad that he didn’t go to his prom, and probably felt himself a social outcast who lived in the corners of his imagination.

Secondly, (and this is the inevitable one, two punch that is part of my personal relationship with George Lucas) could it be coincidence that the two creatures he names as having drawn years in advance, were two of the characters he got the most crap for?! Now I don’t have any beef with the Ewoks myself, but I know a lot of people do. Critics of the Ewoks maintain that they were an obvious move on Lucas’ part to pander to the child audience. Not only were they too goofy and silly, but there seemed to be no real reason or purpose for them to be in the movie or the Star Wars universe.

As for Jar Jar Binks, well, he is probably the least beloved Star Wars character of all time. So when Lucas references drawing seminal inspirations for the Star Wars saga as a teenage boy, he does not confess to sketching the Millenium Falcon or R2D2, or Jabba the Hut. No. He brings up the kiddie stuff. Sometimes, I just don’t get this man.
(Granted he may not have necessarily written his own lines in this episode, but surely they would have changed the line for him if he’d asked them to, I mean he’s George Lucas for God’s sake)

When Seth hears that Lucas didn’t go to his prom either he heaves a sigh of relief. But wait….Lucas wasn’t finished. GL goes on to say:

“I do regret not going to my prom. The prom is a great American tradition. It’s important to experience the things of being a teenager, when you’re a teenager. I went off and made my film American Grafitti. I never had the experience of prom and I had to make a movie about it. I felt hopelessly inadequate without having done it myself. Not having been part of that pivotal moment in teenage life, uh, I felt very sad and uh alone.”

Ok, this is the part where I turn to mush on my sofa. Maybe it was that soft geek inflection in his voice when he said the word alone. Maybe it was the pained look in his puppy dog eyes. But boy, this moment really broke my heart.

And then all of a sudden I knew. I knew why George Lucas had agreed to be on the OC. He was trying to make up for the fact that he was never one of the popular kids. Lucas was trying to make up for that (as he implied he did with American Grafitti) by guest starring in a show with all the cool kids. A show about “cool kids” for the “cool kids”.

Lucas’ naked sadness and retro-teen angst was almost too much for me to bear. It is difficult for me to believe that the OC was just putting me on here. That Lucas is not as tortured of a soul as he seemed in the one hundred and two seconds that he was on screen. But I don’t buy it. In a weird way, I think this was him reaching out to people. Trying to tell all us wayward pissed off fans, that all he’s ever been, all he’ll ever be – is a geek, and that all he wants is love and acceptance.

Aw Lucas, you can come over to my house and hang out if you like. We’ll make popcorn and watch Star Wars….uh….as long as they’re not the Special Editions.

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