The 1990s and 2000s were a great time for teen TV shows. As much as we loved One Tree Hill, 90210, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, nothing could compare to The O.C. It had everything: Seth Cohen (AKA Adam Brody), amazing clothes, Seth Cohen, highly quotable lines, Seth Cohen, Chrismukkah and the #relationshipgoals-worthy Seth and Summer.
The O.C. also had a lot of amazing celebrity cameos. You might not have fully appreciated all of them the first time you watched the show, but they’re even better when you rewatch it now. There were some pretty famous faces on the Californian teen drama. Although some only had a line or two on the show, they went on to have some major careers.
If you haven’t rewatched The O.C. in a while, it’s worth copying Ben McKenzie‘s (aka Ryan Atwood) tradition of watching the show every year to appreciate where some of our favorite stars of today were a decade or so ago. To make sure you don’t miss any of the stars’ appearances, click through the gallery to see some of the best celebrity cameos from The O.C.
1. Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde has appeared in everything from The Change-Up to Cowboys & Aliens to Rush. But do you remember her days on The O.C.? If you don’t, it might be because the normally brunette Olivia was a blond… with a distinctive purple streak in her hair… and a certain butterfly tattoo on her arm. Starting to make sense now? Yup, Olivia was Alex Kelly, Marissa’s (and Seth’s) girlfriend. When she wasn’t with Marissa she was running the Bait Shop, aka the coolest club in Orange Country and being a badass.
2. Paris Hilton
The O.C. was known for being totally on top of all aspects of pop culture, including sometimes poking fun at itself. Given that the 2000s were also The Simple Life era, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that heiress-singer-designer-actress(?) Paris Hilton made an appearance on the show. She played Kate, a random girl at a party. She was pretty easy to recognize given her signature blond locks, deep tan, pink outfit, and flower-accented ponytail. And then there was that memorable moment when she took a selfie before selfies were even a thing with a then-trendy camera flip phone.
3. Chris Brown
Chris Brown is well-known for his singing, but his acting? Not so much. That’s why you might have missed his appearance on the teen drama. Chris played a nerdy band geek in a grown-up Kaitlin Cooper’s class. There was a speech about the benefits of thinking like animals, an interesting homework request, and some awkward teenage chat. We’ll let you watch the episode to see whether or not Chris flexes his singing muscles…
4. Cam Gigandet
Cam Gigandet had a reoccurring role on The O.C. when he joined the cast in 2005 as Kevin Volchok, or Volchok to all of those in the know. He had a passion for surfing, smoking, causing trouble and not wearing a shirt. It would be a few years before he would pop up on our radars again as the ponytailed vampire James in Twilight. That’s right Twihards, that makes two Twilight vampires on The O.C... and that’s not all.
5. Nikki Reed
Nikki Reed had a bigger part in The O.C. compared to some of the other celebrities on the list, but we understand if you missed her. Before Nikki found massive fame as the icy blond Rosalie Hale in Twilight, she was Sadie Campbell in season three. Sadie was the cousin of surfer dude Johnny Harper (remember him?) and love interest of Kevin Volchok and Ryan. She was a brunette on the show and, no, the role did not involve vampires of any sort.
6. Ashley Benson
This is just one of three Pretty Little Liar that made it to Orange County. Before Ashley Benson was Hanna Marin in PLL, she was a rival of Kaitlin at the Harbor School during season four of the show. We don’t want to spoil her part, but let’s just say that there was the usual dramz on The O.C. just like there was on Pretty Little Liars — only in Orange County, the drama involved a pool party.
7. Jaime King
Is it starting to feel like almost every celebrity was on The O.C. yet? Jaime King was another one who added an O.C. cameo to her resume. Jaime played Mary Sue and there was a particularly memorable moment involving her, Seth Cohen, a bikini, erm, Nana, and a bottle of whipped cream. Yeah, you know what we’re talking about.
The cameo occurred back in season two when Seth and Ryan were visiting Nana at the beach house during the good old Spring Break of 2005, of course. Who would have predicted that Jaime would end up working with Rachel Bilson aka Summer on Hart of Dixie years later?
8. AnnaLynne McCord
Here’s another time when fandoms come together. This time it was The O.C. meets 90210. Just a few years before AnnaLynne McCord played Naomi Clark in a slightly different part of California, she was in Orange County stirring up some drama. AnnaLynne’s character didn’t get a name, but she was involved in a pivotal scene in season three that affected how good prom was for Marissa. Hint: Not good.
9. Amber Heard
The O.C. may have cast every teenage and twentysomething blond in Hollywood during its run. In season two, we were treated to a cameo from Amber Heard when she played a sassy shop girl. She may not have had a name or a major part, but she definitely had a major attitude. Sample line: “Someone should get a restraining order against that coat.” Yup, ouch.
10. Paul Wesley
Yeah, it’s another vampire from a different series on The O.C.. Prior to becoming the dark and mysterious Stefan Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, Paul caused quite the stir in season one of The O.C. He played Donnie, the dude who worked at the Crab Shack with Ryan. It might not be his most lovable role, but it was definitely memorable… even if it wasn’t for the best reasons. Watch it.
11. Bella Thorne
Fun fact: Bella Thorne was only six years old when The O.C. first graced our televisions. Despite not being old enough to attend Harbor School, Bella still snagged a role as a younger version of Taylor Townsend. Taylor was usually played by Autumn Reeser and was a memorable type-A personality who had a love of polo shirts and sweaters draped over her shoulders. Bella played an adorably nerdy version of her with oversized glasses. Awwww.
12. George Lucas
Fans of The O.C. will remember that Seth loved Star Wars almost as much as he loved Summer. And Seth (as well as all of the Star Wars–The O.C. fans) received a major treat when the mastermind of Star Wars, George Lucas appeared in an episode during season two. It’s not a spoiler to say that Seth basically lost it and that the Force was very strong with all of us in that episode.
If you thought the previous cameo was the most random, think again. Steve-O from Jackass fame somehow managed to get a cameo on The O.C., too. Dude went from pranking people, injuring body parts and spending a great deal of time in his underwear to posing as a marine and doing shots with Seth Cohen. In The O.C. literally anything can happen.
14. Janel Parrish
Rounding out some of the most memorable Pretty Little Liars cameos is Janel Parrish. Janel’s cameo is even better because she appeared alongside Ashley Benson in the show when they were both 16 years old. (That’s the back of her head, on the left, in the photo of Ashley.) Here, we can see her more clearly as one of Ashley’s, aka Riley’s friends/hangers-on named Leah.
15. Jeffrey Dean Morgan
You might know Jeffrey Dean Morgan from his roles in Supernatural as John Winchester/Azazel or Grey’s Anatomy where he played Denny Duquette. But did you know he also has a The O.C. credit under his belt? In season two of the TV show, Jeffrey played Joe Zukowski. You might not remember the character’s name, but you will probably remember his beard and how it competed for attention with Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher)’s luscious eyebrows.
16. Jackson Rathbone
Twilight gives Pretty Little Liars a run for their money when it comes to appearances on The O.C.. There was another vampire from Twilight on The O.C.! Jackson Rathbone, who played the blond and beautiful Jasper Hale in the massive Twilight series, made a brief appearance in Orange Country as Kaitlin’s one-time boyfriend from when she was at boarding school. You’ll have to rewatch the teen drama to see if Jackson interacts with any of the other future Twilight stars. No spoilers here.
17. Max Greenfield
We may have been obsessed with Seth and Summer’s relationship but Sandy and Kirsten Cohen’s (Kelly Roman) marriage was also #relationshipgoals. And a throwback The O.C. episode recounting how the two met allowed us to get a cameo from Max Greenfield of New Girl and Veronica Mars fame.
The jury is still out on whether Max had the eyebrows to fully fill the part, but the overall consensus was that we are happy for the cameo.
18. Chris Pratt
Before he was the lovable Andy Dwyer on Parks & Recreation, before he took over the galaxy as Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the behemoth Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Chris Pratt was Summer’s hippie friend at Brown University, Winchester “Che” Cook. If you missed the hilarious cameo, it was during the divisive season four of The O.C. *Spoiler alert:* It also involved him wearing a knitted beret and maybe some naked guitar playing. Do we have your attention now?
19. Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley wins the award for one of the earliest cameos on The O.C. She played Marissa (Misha Barton)’s little sister, Kaitlin Cooper. In fact, she appeared in the pilot episode. If you don’t remember the adorable little Shailene it’s because Kaitlin was promptly sent away to boarding school. When she returned later in the show, Kaitlin wasn’t just all grown up. Shailene had also been replaced by actress, Willa Holland. Things didn’t work out too badly for Shailene considering her roles in Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.
20. Lucy Hale
For our final major PLL appearance, we’ve got Lucy Hale. A lot of the cameos were blink-and-you-would miss them, but Lucy was memorable. She appeared in the show as Kaitlin Cooper’s roommate, Hadley Hawthorne and her parents owned the trailer park that was the residence of the Cooper family at one time. She also had some questionable manners, especially when meeting Marissa.