Long before Emily Thorne kicked off her Hamptons revengenda, another shoreside drama welcomed an outsider into their world.
Although there was far less bloodshed on this primetime soap opera, and it was set on the opposite coast, the core plot lines and characters match up almost perfectly. California, here we come, right back where Revenge started from — The O.C.!
Let’s break down five reasons why the shows run parallel:
1. Life’s a beach!
On both hit shows, during the warm months, all of the characters flock to the nearest beach. On The O.C. that meant having fun with friends or getting assaulted under the boardwalk, and on Revenge, it means awkwardly running into your estranged mother, the woman you bought your house from, or a crazy person holding a gun. Either way, it’s a beautiful scenery with messy issues underneath.
2. Different names for the same thing.
There is a character match-up for everyone on the show. Brace yourself for some role-swapping!:
Ryan Atwood is Emily Thorne
Marissa Cooper is Daniel Grayson
Seth Cohen is Nolan Ross
Summer Roberts is Ashley Davenport
Anna Stern is Padma Lahari
Trey Atwood is Fauxmanda Clarke
Julie Cooper is Victoria Grayson
Jimmy Cooper is Conrad Grayson
Kaitlin Cooper is Charlotte Grayson
Dawn Atwood is Kara Wallace Clarke
Frank Atwood is David Clarke
Johnny Harper is Declan Porter
Theresa Diaz is Jack Porter
Kirsten Cohen is Lydia Davis
Sandy Cohen is Michael Davis
Oliver Trask is Tyler Barrol
It’s overwhelming, but we put a lot of thought into this. The gender-swapping aspect comes in because like Ryan, Emily is an outsider to the Hamptons. She came in and assimilated into the culture, failing to get on Victoria’s good side, much like Ryan tried to do with everyone in Newport Beach — especially Julie Cooper. Marissa Cooper had a troubled past (much like Daniel Grayson), but changed her ways when she met Ryan. The two formed a friendship before they got together, and that solid base kept them together until Marissa’s — SPOILER ALERT! — untimely death.
A few of them (like Jack and Declan) don’t perfectly align, but we had to shift a few things to make the main love triangles work. No, Ashley isn’t interested in Nolan, but Padma fits as Anna, Seth’s geeky, perfect match. (In this situation, we’d rather have Seth choose Anna, though …) The most important part is that the Victoria-Lydia-David-Kara-Conrad mess all works out. Julie, who grew up in a trailer park, married into money, but Jimmy was still in love with Kristen. Victoria clawed her way to the top through Conrad, but he was still hot for Lydia. And as for Kara and David’s counterparts? Kara’s a psychotic, addicted-to-something mess (like Dawn), and Frank and Julie end up together, making David and Victoria’s affair match up slightly.
However, it is of note that Nolan Ross and Seth Cohen align perfectly. Both are tall, look great in suits, fumble with relationships, are awkward more than not, and rattle off snarky remarks and puns like nobody’s business. And although Nolan isn’t a comic book-style nerd, they both love a good pop culture reference!
As for the B-characters, Theresa Diaz was Ryan’s childhood love who got away, yet pops back into his life later on. It’s a stretch, but hello, Jack! Kaitlin, Marissa’s rebellious younger sister, and her boyfriend Johnny fit Charlotte and Declan, and there’s no doubt that Tyler Barrol and Oliver Trask would become besties in therapy. And lastly, Ryan’s dysfunctional, impulsive, crazy criminal brother, Trey — who he later shoots after a heated fight — is obviously Fauxmanda. Revenge foreshadowing, anyone?
3. Lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Both shows revolve around rich people hosting soirees and fundraisers while drinking their weight in wine. For Kirsten Cohen, that meant running a committee of ridiculous, vain women (not-so-affectionately dubbed “Newpsies”), and for Victoria Grayson, it means barking orders at others until it is done perfectly. The McMansions of The O.C. could go toe-to-toe with Ems and Victoria’s Hamptons homes — especially if we were comparing pool houses alone.
4. Mike Kelley!
This man deserves his own section for creating the best show currently on television (Revenge) and writing and producing episodes of the best show that used to be on TV (The O.C.). That’s right — Mike spent a few years in good ol’ Orange County, lending his own revengey twists to the West Coast drama.
5. Odds and ends.
While writing this story, we brainstormed a ton of comparisons. Check ‘em out (Revenge first, then The O.C.).
Ridiculous deaths - Lydia (almost) by falling off a balcony; Johnny by falling off a cliff
Shootings - Tyler pulling a gun at the beach party; Donny pulling a gun at a house party — and generally, Oliver going crazy! (See: “I’m so stupid!” GIF.)
Insane in the membrane characters - Kara Wallace Clarke vs. Oliver Trask
Overdosing, pill-popping characters - Charlotte Grayson vs. Marissa Cooper
Pool houses - Daniel Grayson vs. Ryan Atwood
Divorcing couple who only cares about money - The Graysons vs. The Coopers
Big bash where things went awry: Fire & Ice Ball vs. Cotillion
Local hangout: The Stowaway vs. The Bait Shop (and The Yacht Club for the fancy folks)
Big houses: Grayson Manor vs. McMansions
Affair hot spots: The South Fork Inn vs. The Mermaid Inn
Boats named after childhood loves: The Amanda vs. The Summer Breeze
Will-they-won’t-they couple: Daniel and Emily/Jack and Emily vs. Marissa and Ryan/Summer and Seth
Yes, the moods of the shows are different — one centered around teenagers’ drama and the other around avenging and payback — but you have to admit that the similarities are there! Do you think the two shows are alike? Sound off below!