11. Marissa & Oliver
Okay, this was admittedly less of a romance and more of a deeply creepy one-sided obsession, but no O.C. list would be complete without a reminder of just how terrible Oliver was. Despite being a nightmare of a human being, Marissa had a way of attracting way-too-intense attention from dudes–remember Johnny in season three? (If not, sorry for reminding you.)
Oliver was so obviously insane from the start that he made everybody else in the show seem stupid for not noticing, and that goes double for Marissa, who had to be threatened with a gun before she cottoned onto the crazy.
10. Seth & Alex
If you'd forgotten these two ever dated, you're not alone. Seth's relationship with Olivia Wilde's tough-talking bartender Alex was kind of a hollow rebound from Summer, designed to prove that he had game. Or something. It was never really believable that the wise-beyond-her-years Alex would be into Seth, who–no matter how much you love him–was not what you'd call emotionally mature.
9. Summer & Zach
Summer didn't fare much better with her season two rebound, mostly because it was painfully obvious that she wasn't over Seth. Zach was cute, and it made sense that Summer would go for "a non-neurotic WASP version" of her ex, but you can't really root for a relationship that feels so much like a stopgap. Seth and Zach fighting over Summer got old pretty fast, and Zach skipping town to work for George Lucas worked out for the best all around.
8. Marissa & Volchok
For a relationship that was basically "enemies with benefits," Marissa and Volchok actually had some things going for them. Volchok probably understood her self-destructive streak better than anyone, and him falling asleep in front of The Sound of Music in a bid to win her over was kind of great. But there's really no getting around the fact that… y'know. He killed her.
7. Seth & Anna
These two should have been perfect. It was hard not to root for Anna in the early days of season one, when she emerged at Cotillion being all "Confidence, Cohen" and forced Seth to man up. But despite being Seth's absolute dream girl on paper (she drew him a comic book!) Anna suffered from the fatal flaw of not being Summer, and these two had no spark at all once they got together. That airport goodbye is still a tearjerker, though.
6. Ryan & Lindsay
The best of season two's bad-romance trio (Salex and Zummer being the others) never gets the credit it deserves. Okay, that's maybe because the whole thing became a bit creepy after the revelation that Lindsay is Caleb's daughter—even though Ryan't not a Cohen by blood, it's close enough to incest that Ryan and Lindsay's spark never really recovered. But Lindsay's charmingly awkward, down-to-earth quality made her a surprisingly good match for Ryan, and this pair should have lasted longer than they did.
5. Ryan & Marissa
A mixed bag, we can all agree. Ryan and Marissa's star-crossed relationship was so fraught with drama that it was exhausting to watch—and yet when they were actually together, they were a surprisingly solid couple. Between Marissa's ride-or-die loyalty to Ryan and Ryan's endless patience with Marissa's melodrama, they overcame a lot together. And you can't argue with the spine-tingling tragedy of Ryan carrying Marissa's body in the season three finale, just like he did that time she overdosed in Tijuana. (Seriously, these guys took drama to a whole new level.)
4. Marissa & Alex
Okay, so Marissa was never realistically going to end up with anyone other than Ryan, but her chemistry with Olivia Wilde definitely made us wonder. After the lameness that was her fling with DJ the pool boy, Alex was a breath of fresh air who briefly made Marissa seem genuinely fun, and they shared some of the show's most romantic–and most sexy–moments ever. We're forever bitter at the writers for how they sold this relationship short in the end, abruptly turning Alex into a jealous creep just to force Marissa back to Ryan.
3. Ryan & Taylor
Who would have seen this coming? Though Ryan definitely had a thing for high-maintenance women, borderline unstable overachiever Taylor Townsend seemed like a bridge too far, especially given how flat-out awful she was when she was first introduced in season three. But one of the many awesome things season four did was completely rehabilitate Taylor, making her smart, sympathetic and an unexpectedly perfect sparring partner/confidante for Ryan as he reeled from the loss of Marissa.
2. Seth & Summer
Life is what happens while you're making other plans, and the same often goes for great fictional couples. Summer was originally planned as a one-note minor character, a crush Seth would grow out of, and Ryan/Marissa were to be the show's uncontested power couple. But Rachel Bilson was way too good not to be made a series regular, and her chemistry with Adam Brody was way too good to waste, and so Seth and Summer's charged bickering gradually developed into a layered and adorable romance.
1. Sandy & Kirsten
It's not even close. In a show packed with trophy wives and messy divorces, Kandy singlehandedly made us believe in marriage. Okay, they had their rough patches (let's all just agree to forget that most of season two's cheating storyline ever happened), but they worked through them together, with so much mutual love and trust and respect. They're the definition of relationship goals.