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The Girlfriend is the sixth episode of season one which aired September 9, 2003.


Kirsten's father, Caleb Nichol, comes to town with his new 24-year-old girlfriend, Gabrielle. Marissa isn't ready to pick between Luke and Ryan, but when she walks in on Ryan with Gabrielle, she chooses Luke. Summer's growing feelings for Seth begin to show.


The Cohens are preparing for a visit from Kirsten's father, Caleb, a visit Sandy is dreading. Out back, Ryan also worries about meeting Caleb as he had recently burned down one of his model homes. When Caleb arrives with his much younger girlfriend, Gabrielle, the situation becomes tense.

Luke drops by Marissa's house after getting his stitches out of the gunshot wound, offering her a stuffed bear and promising her emotional support during her parents' divorce. Marissa isn't sure if they should get back together, but Luke convinces her to hang out with him.

Sandy and Kirsten discuss the big birthday plans with Caleb, and Kirsten and her dad argue about the redesign of the house. Caleb sarcastically comments that she doesn't need to consult him on an architect, as she didn't consult him on adopting Ryan. Caleb then says he will be "scaling back" Kirsten's responsibilities with the business so she can "spend a bit more time…with her new son."

Next door, Julie returns from the stables, having just said goodbye to their daughter's horse, China. Julie is thinking of wanting divorce Jimmy, after all. Ryan drops by to invite Marissa to Caleb's birthday party. Luke is there and thanks Ryan for taking him to the emergency room and calling Marissa.

At home, Sandy advises Kirsten to quit to stand up to Caleb.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Ryan continue their bonding session when Marissa drops by to talk. She tells him Luke wants to get back together with her, but she doesn't know what to do. Ryan, a bit upset, asks her to tell him when she decides on who she wants to be with.

Later, Marissa commiserates with Summer, asking her why Ryan couldn't help her with her relationship problems. Summer replies that it's her choice, not his.


Cruising down the bike path, Seth and Ryan see the girls sitting down for lunch. Seth jumps in and Summer takes him to get salsa. Ryan apologizes and asks Marissa to Caleb's party. She replies that she's already going, but with Luke.


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Meanwhile, Summer asks Seth if he'll be her date for the "awesome party" for his grandfather. Seth wonders if she wants to go with him, or just wants to go.

Sandy again advises Kirsten to quit, stating that she can open the gallery she's always wanted to. After family dinner, Sandy implores Kirsten to talk to her father. Caleb comes in to see what's going on, and Sandy says they're thinking of moving. Caleb and Sandy argue over who has the right to speak for Kirsten and just whose house Sandy thinks he's living in. In the end, Caleb says he expects Kirsten's resignation in the morning.

During a conversation in the pool house, Gabrielle tells Ryan that she's bored with Caleb and slides her hand down Ryan's leg; they soon begin to make out. Before it can get serious, Caleb arrives and asks Gabrielle to leave. The next day in the pool, Seth asks Ryan what Gabrielle's story is, and Ryan admits to the tryst.

On the night of the party, Caleb arrives and Kirsten tries to explain about the other night, to an unsympathetic response. Gabrielle immediately spots Ryan and resumes flirting with him. The Coopers, Luke, and Summer arrive. Ryan spots Luke and Marissa flirting at the bar and starts flirting with Gabrielle to get revenge.


Jimmy shows up to the party intending to ask Caleb for a job, which Julie thinks is a terrible idea. In the bathroom, Summer sees that Marissa has chosen Luke. Gabrielle finds Ryan in the pool house. She knows he's hurt by Marissa. After a bit of small talk, Gabrielle throws Ryan on the bed. Marissa, finally deciding and looking for Ryan, finds Gabrielle on top of him. Devastated, she immediately leaves. She tracks down Luke and drags him out of the party.

Jimmy corners Caleb, who rebuffs him. He then offers to take Julie to dinner. Elsewhere, Summer finds Seth get into a fight about her fixation on wealthy men. She is nonetheless charmed by the fact he remembers her poem from sixth grade, and kisses him.

Sandy confronts Caleb about his relationship with Kirsten, telling him that he is disturbed by the fact that he needs his daughter more than she needs him, which nearly turns into a fight. Nevertheless, Caleb and Kirsten reconcile.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle consoles Ryan, while Marissa loses her virginity to Luke. Afterwards, Luke drops Marissa off at home, where Ryan is waiting for her. She tells him that he is too late and heads inside.