While promoting her new movie Booksmart, director Olivia Wilde reflected — as so many of us do — on her season-two arc in The O.C. Wilde played the very cool bisexual bartender Alex Kelly who briefly dated Mischa Barton’s Marissa Cooper. It was a time, Wilde says in a new interview with Elle, when everyone on the show was pretty pleased with themselves for bringing a queer character into a cultural juggernaut of a series. “We thought we were so woke in 2003!” Wilde said while laughing. “So much has changed; it’s incredible.” And the director is right. So much has changed. Shirts come in sizes larger than “half.” The zippers on our jeans extend beyond a single inch. People love full eyebrows now, and Wilde can make a great teen comedy that stars girls and has a gay lead. Alex Kelly walked so Booksmart’s Amy could run — and humiliate herself during a formative sexual encounter.
Olivia Wilde. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images