The O.C. Wiki
The O.C. Wiki

"The Debut" is the fourth episode in the first season of the Fox drama series The O.C.. The episode aired on the twenty-sixth of August, in 2003.


Now that Ryan is staying with the Cohens, he must attend the Cotillion Ball, where Newport's finest young ladies enter society. Luke's jealousy results in Ryan escorting Marissa. Jimmy becomes a suspect of a fraud investigation and Holly's dad decides to confront him at the Ball in front of everyone.


At the Cohens', Sandy and Kirsten ask Ryan if he wants them to be his guardian. Ryan is delighted and agrees, but has to avoid getting into trouble, as he is in a probation period and Child Services is watching him.Season1episode4asdg.gif

At the pool house, Kirsten, Ryan and Seth discuss what they need to buy for Ryan's permanent stay, which reminds Kirsten to buy a tuxedo, for Newport's annual cotillion. Ryan has to go because it is family tradition and Ryan is now part of family. Marissa, along with her boyfriend Luke and her best friend Summer, meet Ryan at the fitting area, who announces the news that he is staying in Newport. Summer asks Marissa, the lead debutante, to set her up with Ryan. Summer asks Marissa, if she mind the fact that wants to be coupled with him, but Marissa says no, and denies that she is interested in Ryan.

Meanwhile, Jimmy thanks Sandy for the loan, but seems to be hiding something. Sandy finds out just what this is when an officer from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division informs him that Jimmy has been stealing money from his clients in order to cover his personal debts. Sandy breaks the news to Kirsten, who asks Sandy not to make it public until she asks Jimmy if it is true.

Ryan decides not to go to the cotillion because he does not want to cause trouble. But he changes his mind after helping Marissa fasten her dress.

At the Cooper house, Kirsten talks with Jimmy about the warrant. Jimmy tries to defend himself, but Kirsten tells him that he committed a crime. Just then, Julie walks in and asks Jimmy which card should be used for a pair of new shoes and Marissa's tennis lesson. Jimmy reluctantly makes a recommendation, showing Kirsten that he cannot say no to his family. Kirsten tells Jimmy that he needs help, but Jimmy wonders if there is someone out there willing to.


Ryan and Seth go to rehearsal for cotillion, where Ryan is taken aback to discover that he must dance at the function. Instead of Summer, Ryan is set up with Anna Stern, who is also a newcomer. Summer has to pair up with Seth.


Ryan and Anna do not know how to waltz, and Marissa demonstrates how to dance with Ryan for Anna. There is obvious chemistry between Marissa and Ryan that a jealous Luke and even outsider Anna can sense. After rehearsal, Ryan rejects Marissa's invitation to a party, but gives in to Marissa's prodding. Seth accompanies Ryan to the party, hoping to lock up Summer for cotillion. However, at the party, Luke punches Ryan in the gut for talking to Marissa.

Jimmy's problems start to grow as client Greg Fischer, Holly's father, begins asking him for money out of his account. Meanwhile, Sandy rejects Kirsten's suggestion that he represent Jimmy, deriding Jimmy as a spoiled brat.

Both Marissa and Ryan decide not to go to cotillion because of the tension between Ryan and Luke. Sandy decides likewise, despising a society that sees Jimmy as a golden boy. However, after Marissa discovers that Ryan is not attending cotillion, they both decide to go together. Seeing this, Sandy changes his mind about going as well.


Meanwhile, at cotillion, Seth tells Anna that Ryan is not coming. They chat and find out they have a lot in common. Summer blows Seth off for Luke, which upsets Seth. Anna comforts him and asks him to be her escort. Later, Ryan and Marissa arrive together. A furious Luke sees them, breaks up with Marissa, and leaves. Ryan asks if he can be Marissa's "white knight," and she agrees, much to the chagrin of her mother, Julie.

Cotillion finally begins. Everything is going right, until Greg confronts Jimmy and discovers Jimmy does not have his money. An infuriated Greg punches Jimmy in the jaw and beats him on the ground, to the shock of everyone in attendance. Sandy tries to pull Greg off Jimmy, but gets a punch in the jaw for his efforts. Ryan finally gets involved and subdues Greg. As other attendees pull Greg away from the scene, he shouts to one and all that Jimmy is a thief.

In the aftermath of the brawl, Seth and Anna build up their friendship when Seth discovers that Anna is going to sail to Tahiti, Seth's lifelong dream. Marissa is very upset by the fact that Jimmy was beaten up. Luke goes back to mollify Marissa, but she needs some time alone.

Memorable Quotes[]

Sandy: I got a two-time drug offender they want to deport. 15 years old.

Kirsten: Sandy, he needs help.

Sandy: Jimmy Cooper? He stole from his clients, he stole from his friends, and then he had the nerve to borrow $100,000 from us to cover it up.

Kirsten: He was trying to provide for his family.

Sandy: Yeah. Boats, ponies...

Kirsten: So, you'll defend a two-time drug offender, but you won't defend...?

Sandy: Yes. My clients are kids who have no hope, no guidance, nothing. Jimmy Cooper is just another spoiled Newport brat who had everything handed to him.

Kirsten: Like me.

Sandy: No. Not like you. You would never lie. You would never steal.

Kirsten: I would like to think that, but the truth is there isn't anything that I wouldn't do for my family.


Seth: So do you think that I'll get to see you again?

Anna: No.

Seth: Oh, okay.

Anna: No, it's just... I know this might sound kind of... whatever... but I'm spending the rest of the summer on a sailing trip. To Tahiti.


Ryan: (playing video games with Sandy) Okay, now you're stabbing me. Just don't touch any of the buttons, follow me through the forest, and, uh, maybe we'll both make it out of here alive.

(later in the game)

Ryan: You just stabbed me again.

Sandy: Oh. Sorry.


Anna: Wait. Are you the kid from Chino who steals cars and sets people's houses on fire? So you're saying I'm making my debut into society with Newport's most wanted?

Ryan: Is that gonna be a problem?

Anna: I can't wait.


Marissa: Anna just moved here from Pittsburgh.

Summer: Pittsburgh? Ew!


Marissa: Oh, well, actually, Summer, Ryan's already been promised to someone else.

Summer: I can't believe this. You gave him to someone else? Who? Who's pathetic enough not to have a date the day before cotillion?

Anna: Actually, at this point, that would be you.


Sandy: Fellas, you mind?

Seth: Oh. Uh, if this is about the vase...

Sandy: Which vase?

Seth: Nothing. Let's go, Ryan.


Kirsten: (to Ryan) We should clean all this out so that you'll have room for some of your...right. You don't have any stuff. Which means we've got to go shopping. For clothes and shoes and underpants.

Seth: Mom, don't say underpants.


Anna: Could you be any more pathetic? Lone figure, sitting on the floor, wondering if he's going to be lonely for the rest of his life.

Seth: Oh, hey, your sensitivity, it's really...nonexistent.

Anna: You know what your problem is? You're not a man.

Seth: Again, not appreciating the brutal honesty.

Anna: Do you know what girls find sexy?

Seth: Nope. Uh, wait, let me guess. Dudes who play water polo?

Anna: Confidence!


Anna: I mean, whatever you think about the whole superhero movie genre, at least it's getting people to read the original source material.

Seth: I cannot believe that you read comic books. I mean, you're a girl.

Anna: What is that supposed to mean? And I call them graphic novels. In fact, if more people did, maybe the whole form wouldn't be so marginalized.

Seth: I couldn't agree more.


Ryan: You didn't tell me there was dancing.

Seth: Well if I told you there was dancing, I'd be here by myself.

Ryan: Because I really don't dance.

Seth: Neither do I. I just move well.


Kirsten: Seth, we need to talk to Ryan.

Seth: Okay...if this has to do with the rug, though, I just want to tell you that..Ryan had nothing to do with it.

Kirsten: What about the rug?

Seth: I'm going to go now.


Ryan: Your mom bought me some new clothes. Which she didn't have to do.

Seth: Right, because we all know you can get a lot of mileage out of a tank-top.


Seth: Turns out that I'm quite skilled at getting a date, provided it's not for me.


Ryan: Guess I don't really fit in, huh?

Sandy: Oh, I got news for you. Nobody does. I guarantee you--every single person at that cotillion feels like a fraud. They've all got secrets and they're all terrified the guy next door is going to find them out.

Ryan: So, what's your secret?

Sandy: Sometimes, when the sun's coming up and the surf is good, and I haven't pissed my wife off quite as much as I have today, I kind of like this place.
(they look at each other)

Ryan: You just stabbed me again.

Sandy: Oh, sorry .


Holly: Yeah, it's at my house. I do it every year for Cotillion.

Seth: You didn't do it last year.

Holly: Yeah we did.

Seth: (long pause) Ouch.


Seth: You know, you're a really... good barbecuetionist.


Seth: (to Ryan) Wow. You just got your butt kicked and you didn't even fight back. Dude, you really are a Cohen.


Seth: Dude, you're a Cohen now. Welcome to a world of insecurity and paralyzing self-doubt.


Sandy: (to Ryan) Waltzing and orchids, what could be more you?



Recurring Roles[]

Guest Stars[]