These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Base Breaker - Taylor Townsend, post-Heel-Face Turn. She's either loved for her personality post-Character Development and promotion to the main cast in Season 4 (and for replaced Marissa as Ryan's One True Love), or hated for those exact reasons.
Crack Pairing: "The Chrismukk-huh?" explores Sandy being married to Julie who is having an affair with Che
Crowning Music of Awesome - One episode usually consists of about five indie-rock gems, but "Hide and Seek", "Hallelujah", "Dice", "Life's A Song", "Something Pretty", "Running Up That Hill", "A Bad Dream", "If You Leave", "Champagne Supernova" etc. "California" is a given.
Designated Villain: Marissa and Summer immediately dislike Taylor the first time she appears in the show, and it seems like the audience is expected to dislike her too. However, since we haven't actually seen Taylor do anything villain-like, it just comes across as Marissa and Summer being bitchy for no good reason.
Ensemble Darkhorse - Taylor Townsend went from a minor villain, to a recurring friend of the main characters, to a main character herself, to Ryan's girlfriend.
Oddly, Summer Roberts. She was originally just suppose to have a small role in the pilot, and ended up being the main female lead of the entire series.
Alex Kelly is definitely one of the most popular characters but Executive Meddling made go away.
Kaitlin, even people that hate Marissa seem to love her.
Fan-Preferred Couple - While Official Couple(s) Ryan and Marissa and (especially) and Seth and Summer are very popular in the fandom, many fans continued to ship Marissa with her short lived bisexual love interest Alex, long after she had dropped off the face of the Earth. It is also never made clear whether or not Taylor and Ryan ended up together, but the fans are nearly unanimous that they did.
The Seth/Anna shippers would like a word with you.
This troper fondly recalls Seth/Ryan eclipsing any het pairs in popularity at several points during season one and two. This was addressed within the show as well as outside. Addressed as in nearly confirmed.
Ryan and Summer have become more popular in recent years
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment - Chris Brown's three-episode guest spot in Season 4 as the young fifteen-year-old Kaitlin Cooper's nerd boyfriend is slightly odd to rewatch now.
Of course this is nowhere near as bad as seeing the late Johnny Lewis who possibly murdered someone as nerdy Chili
Growing Back The Beard - Season 4 for bringing back the comedy, focusing back on the core characters, and being without the acting talents of Mischa Barton
Harsher in Hindsight: Taylor's "I would like to take a moment of silence to remember Marissa Cooper." in "The Shape Of Things to Come"
Johnny falling to his death, when Johnnie Lewis who played his best friend, did die by falling.
It's Popular, Now It Sucks - Kaitlin Lampshades this in season 3 with "Death Cab's playing on The Valley now? Never Listening to them again.", which also doubles as a Fandom Nod, as both the show & Death Cab's fandoms voiced similar complaints when they appeared on The OC.
Jerkass Woobie: Kaitlin is kind of a bitch but she goes through a lot including being excluded from her own family for nearly two years and having her mom forget her birthday. That's not even counting the the deaths of Johnny and Marissa
Les Yay: When Summer discovers Taylor in her bed at Brown, Taylor's first question is "Wanna snuggle?"
Narm: Marissa shooting Trey. The creators obviously meant for this to be a dramatic moment, but they inadvertently replaced all the drama with unintentional hilarity by the sudden and out-of-place activation of Imogen Heap music as soon as the bullet hits Trey, followed by slow-mo as Trey slowly figures out that he's been shot. Adding to the unintentional hilarity is the fact that the looks on everyone's faces looks less like "Oh my God," and more like "Hey, do you know where that music is coming from?" The clip has to be seen in order for its hilarity to be completely understood: . All together now: Mmmmmmmmmmmm.....whatcha SAAAAA-AAY!
Also, Marissa's "emotional" meltdown in season 2's The Distance.
Marissa: "Do you wanna know what's bothering me? Do you?! Do you really wanna know what's on my mind?!"
*15 seconds of solid screaming, combined with a swelling violin soundtrack and Mischa Barton hurling lawn furniture into a swimming pool*
Never Live It Down: People still treat Ryan's wifebeater from early season one as synonymous with his character in season 4.
And Oliver. Who was kind of an intended Scrappy, except not really - his personality and arc was always meant to go the way they did, which for fans and critics alike equalled Epic Fail. If nothing else, the writers certainly acknowledged the viewership's dislike towards the Oliver Arc, if taking jabs at it several times is any indication.
Jimmy was supposed to be the cool parent for Marissa, but he generally came off as bland and unlikable. The writers took note and started featuring him less and less.
Seasonal Rot - Season 3, by many. Some say Season 2 as well. If you watched the show for Mischa Barton or the Ryan/Marissa romance, Season 4.
Ships That Pass In The Night: Some fans like to use Jodie and Summer as a Beta Couple to Marissa and Alex. They may have met during the week that Jodie stayed in Newport, even though this usually isn't a factor. This is probably because (at the time *After Anna and before Taylor*) Summer was the only other prominent female teen character.