Ryan doesn't really seem all that bothered about Theresa losing the baby at the start of the second season. Or when he finds out she lied about it.
No-one other than Marissa is really bothered by Johnny's death.
Justified at the start of season 4 following Marissa's death - the season starts six months after the death, so the only people still struggling to move on are those who were closest to Marissa, i.e. Ryan, Summer, and Julie.
Awesome Music: 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.
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.
Seth/Ryan eclipsed 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.
Sandy & Kirsten are arguably the most popular pairing on the show, with anyone who dared to try & come between them being hated by the fandom.
Fridge Brilliance: If Harbor is such a prestigeous school, why don't they have uniforms? It's not hard to imagine that parents had the uniform abolished so their kids could wear their expensive wardrobes, considering the type of society Newport is generally depicted as.
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.
Summer once told Anna that Seth would eventually dump her because all guys eventually get bored of her. The sad part is, she was right. Seth had a mental breakdown when Ryan left to take care of Theresa and the baby, and instead of leaning on his girlfriend for support, he sailed away to Oregon to go live with Luke. And he didn't tell her.
Any scene featuring Kirsten drinking, especially in times of stress, before her alcoholism story line in season 2
Marissa overdosing in early season 1 can be quite difficult to watch if one learns about her actress Mischa Barton getting drugged in early 2017. Her psychiatric evaluation the following episode serves as this after Mischa Barton admitting she was in psychiatric care in an episode of Dr. Phil.
As of Season 2 of Arrow, Marissa's sister basically grew up to become Hetero!Alex.
Chris Brown being was upset that Kaitlin offered him weed. Let that sink in for a minute.
In one of the final episodes of the series, Seth comments that he should become a critic since he loves watching movies & telling people how bad they are. A few years later, there would an explosion of internet critics who watch bad movies purely to riff on them & tell people how bad they suck; with Seth's snarky personality, it's not hard to imagine him being one of them.
Ryan & Marissa's fathers are both Hercules - Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper) voiced the character in Disney's 1997 animated film, whilst Kevin Sorbo (Frank Atwood) played him in the unrelated live-action Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It gets even funnier when you realise Julie Cooper had children with both of them.
Morena Baccarin's guest appearance becomes doubly hilarious since she became Ben McKenzie costar on Gotham which led to the two dating and getting married in real life.
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?"
Memetic Mutation: Overdramatizing murder scenes with slow motion and Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek." Explanation In the climactic scene of the second season finale, "The Dearly Beloved", Marissa shoots Trey Atwood in the back to stop him from killing Ryan. As soon as the bullet hits, "Hide and Seek" begins playing, inadvertently replacing all of the drama with unintentional hilarity thanks to the sudden and out-of-place soundtrack.
Oliver Trask, who bypassed being a Love to Hate villain & became outright hated. Whilst it was in part because, after roughly half a season of build up to the Ryan/Marissa relationship it was promptly torn apart by Oliver, his hatedom extends beyond the Marissa/Ryan shippers. This is largely because the entire Oliver arc reduced the general intelligence of the entire cast (Marissa, especially) so they wouldn't believe Ryan's skepticsm and draw the arc out for 6 episodes, and Taylor Handley's portrayal of the character wasn't subtle enough for the Manipulative Bastard he was supposed to be. And he had stupid hair, too. It's telling that over a decade after his last appearance on the show, Oliver is still appearing in "Worst Character" polls.
Johnny Harper. He was introduced at the start of the third season and began falling for Marissa, with the writers clearly hoping fans would take to him & create a Ryan/Marissa vs. Johnny/Marissa shipping war. However the fandom didn't take to him, and began to turn against the character as it seemed that was he receiving more screentime each week. In the years after the show's cancellation, Johnny's arc has become the scapegoat for the third season's drop in quality & is ultimately blamed by some members of the fandom as what ultimately killed the show.
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, before writing him out midway through the second season after he spent the majority of the season just floating around on his boat.
Most of Ryan's love interests get this treatment, except for Taylor. Marissa is probably the most-liked of them. Theresa is probably the most-hated.
Seasonal Rot: Season 2 is considered to be weaker than the first season, whilst Season 3 is widely derided by the fandom. If you watched the show for Mischa Barton or the Ryan/Marissa romance, Season 4 could also count.
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.
Sophomore Slump: Many, but not all, thought Season 2 felt increasingly lackluster and in some cases desperate (especially with Marissa's Suddenly Sexuality) in comparison to season 1, and Word of God even stated that the number of plotlines they used for the previous season created a bit of a black hole for season 2. The gloomy Season 3, however, was even more universally derided.
Julie continuously sleeping with Luke counts as statutory rape.
Ryan and Caleb's Season 1 twenty-something girlfriend hooking up.
Hailey and Jimmy's entire attempted relationship. Hailey even admitted to having a crush on him when she was 8. Jimmy was heading to college at that time. Even worse when you consider he proposed to Hailey. It should be noted, however, that Jimmy was oblivious to Hailey's crush on him until the start of the their relationship.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Marissa dies, and then... Season 3 promptly ends. Season 4 picks up several months later, skipping out the funeral & everyone's reactions to the news.
Jimmy Cooper. The viewer is supposed to feel sorry for Jimmy, as they watch his life rapidly falls apart in the first half of season one; however, the reason this happens is that Jimmy had mismanaged his family's money on the stock market, and then embezzled from his clients to keep up appearances & try to get back the money he lost in the first place. Subsequently, it's hard to disagree with Julie when she decides to divorce him & outright tells him that maybe he belongs in jail. It gets even worse retroactively, since Jimmy's actions are eerily similar to the actual stock market crash that occured a few years after the show finished.
Marissa Cooper, in the wake of the Oliver arc. Having Marissa be blissfully ignorant of his increasingly creepy behaviour towards her was one thing, but having her repeatedly ignore Ryan & Luke's pleas for her to stop being so trusting of Oliver, to the point she was trusting him over her lifelong bestfriend? Whilst the show wants the viewer to feel sympathy for Marissa over Ryan not immediately taking her back, the viewer may find it somewhat cathartic seeing her get rejected.
Win Back the Crowd: Season 4 for bringing back the comedy, focusing back on the core characters, and being without the acting talents of Mischa Barton. Ultimately, the damage was already done & the show was cancelled before the end of the season.