If you think the ladies of Wisteria Lane have problem lives, it's nothing compared to the kids in Orange County ("The O.C." (search) to you!)
"The O.C." is back Thursday night at 8 p.m. EDT on FOX. When last we saw them, Ryan's (Benjamin McKenzie (search)) brother, Trey (Logan Marshall-Green), had been shot by Marissa (Mischa Barton (search)), but only after Ryan started beating Trey up after he found out that he'd tried to rape her. (Whew!)
Meantime, all the kids are about to return to Harbor High for their senior year. (Remember what happened to "90210" when those "kids" were no longer roaming the halls? And started thinking about college? Exactly.)
Anyway, I don't remember a whole lot of shooting (of the bullets kind) on "90210" like there is on "The O.C," which is always good to keep 'em coming back for more.
You'll be happy (or maybe not) to know that when the show returns, Trey is still clinging to life, with no question about how-the-hell he'd pay those hospital bills if he ever wakes up.
Worse -- who do you think is going to get accused of shooting him? Angel Face or Troubled Teen? Exactly.
Of course, Julie Cooper-Nichol (Melinda Clarke), and Jimmy (Tate Donovan), are not about to let Marissa take the fall -- even if she did do it. Something in a well-placed bribe, perhaps?
Kirsten Cohen (Kelly Rowan) is still in the fancy dry-out tank. What's great fun is that who do you think just happens to be in there, and seems ready either to stalk her or propose to her?
Why it's none other than -- yes! - the actress formerly known as Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager").
And back again of course is good, old Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher). The man is truly a saint for putting up with his messed-up wife who may never want to leave the drunk tank.
But really, think about it. What are Kirsten's choices? Go home to The Three Musketeers: the unhappy, nerdy son, the accused gunman foster kid and the annoyingly understanding husband, or hang with Seven of Nine and get in trouble and mischief yourself? Exactly!
While the show is losing some of its luster -- and really, how long can a good thing last? -- it's still lots of fun. I especially get a kick out of the fact that Benjamin McKenzie is nearly 23, which is about six years too old to be entering his senior year, and yet he pulls it off.
I just don't necessarily want to hang around when they go off to college. That is always as much a jump-the-shark moment as the European vacation or the adopting of the 4-year-old nephew.
Editor's note: Right after "The O.C." is the premiere of the new show "Reunion," also on FOX. "Reunion" follows six high-school grads from 1986 to the present. Each episode takes place in a new year and reveals clues about which of them murdered one of their friends, two decades later.