When The O.C. ran for four seasons on FOX in the 2000s, Seth Cohen was the audience’s dream guy. He was sensitive, funny, and had quirky tastes in comics and movies. Years later, fans can look back and objectively say he wasn’t always the best guy, especially in the early seasons of the show.
Seth Cohen made a lot of questionable decisions during the course of the show, especially concerning his love life. Most of the worst things he did throughout his time on The O.C. were directly related to his romantic relationships.
10 Seth Lied To Summer And Anna On Thanksgiving
In the first season, Seth was in for a surprise. Both Summer and Anna showed up at the Cohen house during the family’s Thanksgiving dinner preparations. While Anna showed up at the front door, Summer snuck in through the pool house.
When Seth realized both girls were interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him, he led them both on. He kept them in separate areas of the house, talking and making out with them, but never letting on that they were both there. When Summer and Anna found out by meeting up in the middle of the house, they were furious with him.
9 He Consistently Made Ryan’s Problems About Him
Seth and Ryan had a lot of heart-to-hearts. Many of those conversations would start centered on the latest drama in Ryan’s life. There was a lot of this thanks to dating Marissa, Ryan’s brother being in jail, and his parents never quite showing up for him. Seth, somehow, always managed to turn the conversation around.
The direction Seth turned those conversations? Right on toward his own problems. If the two were talking about Ryan’s girlfriend, it turned into a conversation about Seth’s girl troubles. If Ryan had a bad day at school, Seth’s had to be worse. It was always about Seth.
8 He Only Picked Anna Because She Showed Up
When Anna and Summer both attempted to date Seth, things got awkward. They decided he needed to choose and the other girl would bow out gracefully. Seth refused to make a choice, ending up with neither girl — until New Year’s Eve.
On New Year’s Eve, Anna ditched Summer at a party and decided to go see Seth. Seth, simply because Anna was there, decided to choose her. While he and Anna were good friends, they didn’t have the same chemistry, and it didn’t last, hurting Anna’s feelings in the process. He should have just been honest with her.
7 He Made His Girlfriend Feel Like A Third Wheel
Despite Seth having always felt like an outsider in Newport, he had a habit of alienating people in his life. He often focused all of his attention on one person, not realizing he was pushing other people away. It was most common in his relationships.
While dating Anna, he tried to maintain a friendship with Summer, frequently leaving Anna out of the loop when all three of them were hanging out. It made Anna feel like a third wheel. He also would push Summer aside in favor of Ryan once he and Summer were together. Seth didn’t understand that he was often in the wrong in those situations.
6 He Left Newport And Didn’t Stay In Touch
When the first season of The O.C. came to an end, Seth was faced with a frustrating bit of news. Ryan, his new best friend, decided to return to Chino and try to work things out back home. Seth decided he just couldn’t stay in Newport anymore without Ryan and took off on his sailboat for the summer.
If Seth was truly alone in the world and Ryan was the only one who understood him, taking off from Newport wouldn’t be a bad thing for him. The trouble was that Seth’s family (who never treated him badly and strived to be understanding) was there, as well as his new girlfriend. He and Summer were figuring their relationship out when he suddenly left her behind.
5 He Lied About His Comic Book Publisher
Seth’s love for comics was obvious from the first episode of the series. He thought he could make that love a career path when he started writing the Atomic County series with Zack illustrating. By some miracle that typically only happens in fiction, the two high schoolers had a publisher interested in their comic.
The person assigned to facilitate their work was Reed Carlson. Seth allowed Summer to believe that Reed was a guy, when in reality, she was not. Seth hoped to forgo a jealous Summer, but didn’t realize a lie by omission was still a lie.
4 Seth Wasn’t Interested In His Mom’s Intervention
Kirsten Cohen was under a lot of pressure as her father’s second-in-command at the Newport Group. She juggled her work with her social obligations and family commitments as best she could. When Kirsten got stressed, she juggled everything with a bottle of wine.
As the series progressed, Kirsten became more and more dependent on using alcohol to cope with stress. Her family and friends staged an intervention, though it was one Seth didn’t care about. He stood in the background impatiently, just waiting for everything to be over. He clearly didn’t care that his own mother’s life was spiraling.
3 He Burnt Down The Newport Group
To be fair to Seth, burning down a building was a complete accident. However, he should have exercised some caution.
When he began to experiment with recreational drugs in the series, Seth brought a joint with him to the Newport Group headquarters. He left it lit and unattended, and a fire slowly spread throughout the building. It was definitely one of the worst mistakes he made on the entire series.
2 He Sabotaged Summer And Zack
Zack and Seth became friends and bonded over comics in Season 2. Zack even worked with Seth on Atomic County. But that didn’t mean Seth was above sabotaging him.
Zack was the boy Summer moved on with when Seth left her with no warning to go sailing for three months. Despite Seth having other relationships as time went on, he continually inserted himself into Zack and Summer’s. He repeatedly got in between them, slowly ruining their relationship, leaving Summer free to return to him.
1 He Made Summer Feel Dumb
Summer Roberts began the series as a seemingly shallow daddy’s girl with very little common sense. But over the course of the The O.C., she showed herself to be a loyal friend, a fast learner, great with power tools, and an environmental activist. Unlike what the writers would have the audience believe in the first season, Summer was definitely not dumb.
Seth apparently didn’t get the memo that Summer began to study more and apply herself as the first season of the series wound down. By the time they took the SATs and began preparing for college in Season 3, Summer’s test scores were better than his, which he just couldn’t understand. Seth continually talked down to her and made her feel stupid just so he could feel smarter.
NEXT: The OC: 5 Times Seth And Ryan Were Friendship Goals (& 5 Times Summer And Marissa Were)