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‘Hidden Palms’: Like Raymond Chandler in the O.C.

Greta from Hidden PalmsCourtesy of CW

Think of all your favorite teen shows — The O.C., Dawson's Creek, yes, even Saved by the Bell — and now think of those shows on crack. Hidden Palms, brought to you by Dawson's and Scream franchise creator Kevin Williamson, exists in a bizarro world of long-canceled soaps. The show, which debuted last night, has the requisite new kid on the block (played by the same actor who embodied O.C. psycho Oliver), the smarmy prepster (also an O.C. alum, who showed his softer side as Summer's rebound guy), the mysterious hot girl, the token peppy (and preppy!) minority, and the nerdier girl who falls in unrequited love. And MILFs abound in the California sun — plastic-surgery techniques have certainly improved since Cindy Walsh's time. So what's the catch? Some guy named Eddie has died in this rich-kid paradise! And now we're on a journey toward finding out why. Each week, we'll gather clues and theorize about what happened.

Clues:
1. Eddie lived in new kid Johnny's room before Johnny moved to Palm Springs. For background, we learn that Johhny used have slicked back hair and liked math, then his dad shot himself, and now Johhny is a recovering alcoholic, has messy hair, and likes to take photographs. Edgy!

2. Cliff (smarmy prepster) used to play horror-movie-like pranks on Eddie. Now he resorts to leaving a severed, rubber hand for Johnny. "People come here to die," says Cliff. We can't take him seriously; the guy was obsessed with comic books on The O.C.

3. According to Cliff, Greta (mysterious hot girl) led Eddie on and "screwed with his head" because Eddie was in love with her. Greta looks like Jessie Spano. Johnny looks like Pacey. We're getting confused. Where are we? What time is it?

4. Cliff says that Eddie's death was "an accident." Yeah, right. We're more interested in another mystery: Does Greta have a perm?

5. Cliff and Greta have a conversation in which they discuss the need to keep the circumstances of Eddie's death a secret. Later, tears are shed over the secret.

6. Cliff kicks a little dog. PETA is all over this one.

Theories:
1. Greta and Cliff are actually brother and sister (half, that is). They had an incestuous affair, Eddie found out, so they had to kill him. The dog that Cliff kicked witnessed the murder, which is why it hates him. Nerdy girl Liza knows what happened but is helping Cliff cover it up.

2. Eddie killed himself, but only after Cliff threatened to kill Greta if he didn't. (Eddie and Greta were in love, and Cliff couldn't stand not having her to himself.) Eddie took the high road and hanged himself in the room in which Johnny now lives. Luke Perry makes a guest appearance to reveal the truth in the final episode. His hair looks great.

3. Eddie is actually alive! He's living in, um, the basement of the church in which Johnny attended an AA meeting but has to stay hidden because nerdy girl Liza wants to kill him. Because … he ruined one of her science experiments! Yes! Cliff and Greta know he's alive but can't tell anyone. In an interesting twist, Eddie is played by Dustin Diamond.

Scenes from next week: Cliff tells Johnny, "Eddie killed himself!" Exciting news that's probably not true. —Emma Rosenblum