Let's take a trip backwards through time, to the last night in 2003. It's a place called "Orange County." A troubled young lady named Marissa Cooper has just told her juvenile delinquent boyfriend, Ryan Atwood, that she loves him, for the first time.
Ryan has just responded to Marissa's declaration by saying "Thank you." This is where the New Year's Eve episode of The O.C. should have ended.
Instead, we are taken along for an outlandish FLIGHT OF FANCY at the behest of Hailey Nichol, a 25-year-old woman who is manically preoccupied with whether or not her 17-year-old nephews will say "I love you" to other teenagers this New Year's Eve.
Oliver Trask, who lives in the penthouse of the Four Seasons Hotel, invites Marissa (and, inadvertently, Ryan) to the New Year's Eve party he's hosting there. There will be crudités and evil intentions.
Ryan does not want to go to the party because sometimes when Marissa goes to parties she ends up dead. Marissa wants to go to the party because she is mad that Ryan didn't say "I love you" and because she is troubled. Storm clouds gather.
With the Cohens headed to their swinger party (that story is for another time), Hailey tries to usher the boys out of the house so her rager can begin. She counts down from 10, instilling panic and foreshadowing the actual countdown yet to come.
Just as Ryan and Seth are about to leave, that TV/movie party thing happens: 100 people, all of them whooping, arrive at a front door at once.
Meanwhile, our young heroines Marissa and Summer have arrived at the Four Seasons, where many early-aughts fashions are on full display.
And Oliver teaches Marissa about this hip drink you probably haven't heard of, but it's called a "mojito."
At the Cohen's, Hailey has locked her nephews into the pool house for their attempts to shut down the party. The pool house does not lock from the inside and is a very dangerous and unsuitable place for anyone to live.
At this point, our countdown begins. Ryan looks at his watch and says, "43 minutes." [Until midnight.] That means it is now 11:17 p.m (PT).
Hailey, afraid of a tough girl with black hair, decides to ask her teenage nephews for their help ending the party after all. Ryan: "There's a girl who's going to want to kill me if I don't get to her in 39 minutes." 11:21.
After clearing out the party, Ryan, who is always able to tell the time because he wears a watch, proclaims he has 31 minutes remaining. It is now 11:29.
"I hope I can get to her on time!" says Ryan, but he literally cannot. With no traffic, it takes approximately one hour to get from Newport Beach to the Four Seasons. It is New Year's Eve. There is traffic.