For more than two television seasons, Orange County has enjoyed the free publicity (and definite article value-add) provided by relatively low-rated but culturally influential Fox dramedy The O.C., which week after week portrayed the county as an incredibly glamorous teen playground where the spoiled children of successful citizens party by the beach, haunt shopping malls, and listen to arena-headlining indie rock bands in tiny venues friendly to underage music fans. Today's LAT notes that the tourism boost "The" O.C.'s experienced could be imperiled by the cancellation that seems inevitable for the struggling series, as fans like this one may no longer crisscross the globe to briefly live out their TV-inspired dreams:
Aboard "The O.C. Experience Tour" boat, Emma spotted something that tore her attention from the surrounding yachts to the Balboa Fun Zone.
"Oh my God! That's the Ferris wheel that Ryan and Marissa had their first date on!" she yelled, referring to two main characters on the TV series "The O.C." "I have to go on, Mum." [...]
"It makes you dream of living here, in this beautiful atmosphere," said Emma, who sported oversized sunglasses like the show's female characters and begged her mom to buy a pink sweater "like Marissa's." "It was my first look into the lifestyle over here. It's a teenage fantasy."
We fear for the health of the local tourism industry should Fox yank the show from its schedule; where one can now gape at colossal Ferris wheels while taking an idyllic ride on an Experience Tour boat, in the coming post-The O.C. era, reputable companies will undoubtedly be shuttered, replaced by drifters wandering the beach who brusquely demand pocket change to not recreate fans' favorite moments from the series, like gunning down the visiting teens in self-defense, or taking them to the edge of a rocky outcropping overlooking the ocean and pushing them to their death.