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Episode 3 "The Debut"

TEMPERS ARE PUT TO THE TEST ON  'THE O.C.' AIRING AUG. 26 ON FOX

Ryan becomes a member of the Cohen family when Kirsten and Sandy decide to take full, legal responsibility for him. At rehearsal for an upcoming Cotillion, Marissa sets Ryan up to escort Anna, and Summer is regretfully partnered with Seth.

When the dancing stops, the drinking begins and all of the kids gather for a pre-Cotillion fiesta on the beach. As in a previous episode, Seth and Ryan arrive to an unwelcoming crowd and problems arise when Luke eyes Marissa and Ryan together, but Ryan resists the desire to fight.

Meanwhile, Sandy is approached by the SEC who explains that Jimmy is the subject of a fraud investigation and Kirsten's $100,000 loan to him has placed the Cohen family in the spotlight as well.

At the Cotillion, Sandy's, Jimmy's, and Ryan's tempers are all put to the test in the "The Debut" episode.

debut1.jpg
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR EPISODE PICTURES

The Debut
August 26, 2003
Welcome to the family

Sandy and Kirsten agree to become Ryan's legal guardians. However, there's one condition: Ryan has to promise to stay out of trouble. No more fights.

Coming out
Now that he's a member of the family, Ryan has to participate in traditions like the debutante ball. At the deb staging area, Ryan runs into Marissa, who is happy he'll be sticking around. Luke is less than pleased. Kirsten offers up her boys to escort any unattached girls. Summer starts salivating at Ryan, and Seth starts pining for Summer. This could get ugly.

Jimmy unmasked
Back at Casa Cohen, Jimmy apologizes for not talking to Sandy before he borrowed money from Kirsten, but avoids any specifics on why he needed it. Later on, an SEC agent confronts Sandy in his office - does he know Jimmy is being investigated for fraud? Sandy tells Kirsten, then says they have to out him to the community. Kirsten asks him to wait until she has a chance to talk to Jimmy. When she confronts Jimmy, she's interrupted by a bitchy Julie, who continues to live large. Jimmy can't say no to his family, so she goes off to spend more money that they don't have. Kirsten tells Jimmy he needs help.

To go or not to go
Ryan wants to skip the ball -- he doesn't think he can stay out of trouble if he's in the same room with an obviously hostile Luke. Seth tells him some poor lonely girl will be depending on him, and if Ryan wants to bail, he'll have to tell Marissa himself. Ryan goes over to do just that - only to find a radiant Marissa in a half-done-up dress. Ryan is definitely going.

Meet the debs
At the rehearsal, Summer pounces on Ryan as her escort, only to find that Marissa has promised him to someone else -- Anna, an edgy new chick from Pittsburgh. Summer is left dateless, but a delighted Seth is there to pick up the slack.

Tension builds
Marissa demonstrates the waltz position with Ryan for Anna, and sparks fly while Luke glowers at them. Anna knows exactly what's going on. Also, she realizes her escort is "Newport's most wanted" -- which she seems to think is the coolest thing ever. Meanwhile, Kirsten wants Sandy to help Jimmy with his legal troubles. Sandy refuses - he's got nothing but contempt for someone who had everything handed to him but manages to piss it away. At a pre-deb cookout, Luke accuses Ryan of hitting on his girl - though Marissa was the one who approached Ryan. Ryan announces he won't fight, so Luke sucker-punches him. True to his word, Ryan doesn't fight back.

Going to the ball - or not
Ryan decides not to go to the ball - he doesn't want to cause any more trouble. Sandy decides to skip it as well - he doesn't want to participate in a society event that lionizes the likes of Jimmy Cooper. (Seth, on the other had, is rarin' to go.) Next door, Marissa tells Mommy Dearest she doesn't want to go. Julie storms out, muttering dire things about Marissa's future. Jimmy tried to bow out too, but Julie pulls rank - he's going, dammit.

Rally!
With Marissa out of the picture, Summer swoops in on Luke. Seth slinks off, depressed - despite the fact that he'd been having a great conversation with the gorgeous Anna. But Marissa changes her mind - she tells Ryan that she'll go if he does. When they arrive, Luke stalks off. Ryan offers to be Marissa's escort, despite Julie's protests. Anna asks Seth to be her escort. He agrees. Now that Luke is gone, Summer is dateless. She tries to steal Seth back, but he develops a spine. Go Seth!

The debut
Everything goes well, until one of Jimmy's irate clients confronts him about his money. Jimmy admits he doesn't have it, and gets pummeled. Sandy tried to save him, and he gets smacked down, too. Ryan steps in - so much for the no fighting rule. The client is ushered out, yelling, "You're a thief!" Marissa goes to Jimmy, but Julie just sits there, hoping no one notices her.

Aftermath
Seth goes off with Anna, who may be his perfect woman. Ryan tries to comfort Marissa, but he doesn't have any answers. Luke appears - he came as soon as he heard. He offers to take her home, but Marissa says she needs to be alone. Uncharacteristically, Luke doesn't blame Ryan for this, and Ryan ends the episode without getting knocked out.

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