So what if The O.C. fizzled out almost just as fast as it became a pop culture phenomenon? Off of the strength of one super-sized, twenty-seven episode season alone, Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl, Chuck) cemented his at times hilarious, at times genuinely affecting nighttime soap opera as a significant entry in the high-school television drama pantheon and the aughts era of TV in general.
What helped make The O.C. such an instant classic (while giving us reason to stick around after it went off the rails somewhere around the middle)? That's a list unto itself, but the lynchpin of the series was breakout character Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), the endearing, neurotic, comic-book-loving emo geek with a wit unseen elsewhere on TV and eyes for the most unattainable girl in school: Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson).
While adopted brother Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) is the de facto main character, Seth and his heroic quest to wife Summer steals the spotlight almost instantly, to the point where four seasons, two love triangles and a Wonder Woman costume later, it's crazy to remember that Roberts wasn't originally a main cast member.
Out of pure nostalgia for the show, which aired its final episode almost four years to the date, Complex has compiled a condensed history of one of TV's most entertaining courtships, in GIFs, for your viewing pleasure. Click through for A Timeline of Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts' Relationship on The O.C.
Compiled by Frazier Tharpe (@The_SummerMan)