Mischa Barton said farewell to THE OC in May, giving the cold shoulder to the TV show that made her a star. Or that's what FOX wants you to think. More likely, the show's writers and producers worked out a mutually acceptable deal with Mischa and her people to kill her character off.
Why would they do this? Well, besides the Kool-Aid drinking middle-school girls who adore her, no one else can identify a redeeming value in her acting. She is awkward in front of the camera, delivering lines like my grandma reading a buffet menu from her seat at the slot machines twenty yards away, and her movements are gangly-armed and disorienting. "But," you might say, "She is quite attractive". Yes, Mischa Barton is beautiful, but so is everyone else on the show.
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Mischa did not abandon a show she was keeping afloat, as many people would like you to believe. Of course, this spin is understandable. Had Mischa actually been publicly "fired", the embarrassment levels would be quite high for both parties. Now, with the whole Mischa-leaving-to pursue-a-film-career angle grabbing hold in the media, no one takes a PR hit and a nation of fans can secretly rejoice.
Could she have stayed on?
When the writers and producers started running out of ways to hide the black hole that was her on-screen presence and realized that the character's well had run dry, they had no other choice but to ax her. Dead weight on a plot-driven show like THE OC is a death wish, especially if the dead weight is a star. For Mischa, leaving the show was likely very easy. She has a number of films lined up and has movie star aspirations (aspirations that will probably go unfulfilled).
What does this all mean for THE OC? A renaissance, a rebirth, a clean slate to rebuild both it's reputation and a fading fan base after an up and down last two seasons, where constant mediocrity overwhelmed the occasional bright spot.
Nothing personal Mischa, but good riddance.