California, here she comes! The O.C. alum Ben McKenzie revealed that his 7-year-old daughter, Frances, is now hooked on the teen drama.
The Junebug actor, 44, shared the development to former costars Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke during the Tuesday, May 9, episode of their “Welcome to the O.C., Bitches” rewatch podcast.
“I haven’t been working in the last couple years because I’ve been doing this stupid book thing, and so they [the kids] think that their mom is cool because she’s in movies, but they’re not aware of my work,” McKenzie explained to fellow guest Josh Schwartz, who created The O.C.
He continued: “So, I let Frances watch The O.C. at 7 years old … bad idea, bad idea. She of course loves it. Like, absolutely loves it. I had to cut it off after two episodes because I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I forgot about the smoking.’ I remembered the drinking. And there’s cocaine.”
The Texas native — whose debut book, Easy Money, will be released in July — wed actress Morena Baccarin in June 2017 after two years of dating. In addition to Frances, the pair share son Arthur, 2. McKenzie is also the stepfather of Baccarin’s son Julius, 9, whom she shares with ex-husband Austin Chick.
Although the Southland alum described letting his daughter watch the series that gave him his breakout role as “terrible parenting,” he noted that Frances “really wants to continue watching” the show. “It’s adorable and really weird to watch it with your daughter,” he said.
In addition to admitting that he’s sharing The O.C. with the next generation, McKenzie humored his costars’ musings about unexplored romantic connections on the show.
“Let me tell you, all I’ve done this whole time is just pitched a Summer [and] Ryan love story line,” said Bilson, 41, referring to her and McKenzie’s characters.
The Gotham star replied, “Dude, why didn’t we ever do that?” Schwartz, 46, objected to the idea, noting that Adam Brody’s character, Seth Cohen, was Ryan’s best friend and Summer’s love interest.
“Look how quickly he’s willing to just throw Seth under the bus,” the television producer quipped.
Clarke, 54 — who played Julie Cooper on the Fox series — added that she and Bilson had realized upon rewatching the show that “Seth is kind of annoying, actually.”
She continued: “He’s super self-centered and then all of a sudden, we’re like, ‘Ooh, Ben’s got great hair here. Ooh … did you see his muscles on this?’”
After McKenzie admitted it would’ve been “kind of cool” if his and Clarke’s characters had gotten together at some point — even though Julie was his girlfriend Marissa’s (played by Mischa Barton) mom — Schwartz chimed in again.
“I love how Ben just has no moral compunctions about getting with any of the female characters,” he said. The 88 Minutes actor playfully shot back, “Now that I’m married, I can only live through my work.”
Baccarin previously shed light on her romance with McKenzie during an exclusive interview with Us Weekly in March 2019. “It’s been really wonderful to be with a partner who wants to be in it as much as I do, and I think you can go from there,” she said at the time, noting that their idea of a perfect evening is some simple quality time together.
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“We both love, like, a chill night where, even if the kids are home, we put them to bed, and we can actually sit and have a conversation with each other without being interrupted, which is really nice,” she shared. “It’s nice to just get a chance to spend some time with each other.”