The location: The Studio.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A.You don't get to see it. (Well, you do, but you aren't supposed to know you're seeing it...)

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Many different places.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. All the time. It is the inside of the Cohen house. It is the pool house & its blue infinity pool we see all the time... If a scene is shot indoors, there's a good chance that it was shot on a set inside a soundstage at this studio.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The show is shot at Raleigh's Manhattan Beach Studios, the only studio located in the South Bay (a very convenient location for the producers of "The O.C.", when you consider that most of their prime filming spots are in the South Bay). Manhattan Beach Studios was also the place where they filmed the hit shows "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal" and "CSI: Miami".

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. You'll find Raleigh's Manhattan Beach Studios tucked away near the southwest corner of Rosecrans Ave & Aviation Blvd, in Manhattan Beach, California.

    But you won't see the small studio from that corner. When I say "tucked away", I mean it. The official address is 1600 Rosecrans Ave., but to drive past the studio, you'll have to turn south (from Rosecrans) down a small street called Redondo Avenue (it's called Douglas Street on the other/north side of Rosecrans), which is just west of Aviation Blvd.

    Driving south on Redondo Ave, the studio will be on your right (west) side. There are gates out front to stop you from pulling into the studio, so don't plan on visiting the set anytime soon without an invitation. There are no studio tours, and you won't get in unless you have official business there.

    There are 14 large sound stages at the studio, vast barn-like structures where movie makers can create whatever sets they want to fool you into thinking that you're somewhere you're not.

    In the case of "The O.C.", you'll find the show's permanent sets (such as the pool house & pool) inside two sound stages (27 & 28) at the north end of the studio, near Rosecrans. These two stages back up against a small shopping center on the west side (the center contains an upscale market named Bristol Farms and a good restaurant named Houston's), and if you peek around the east end of that center, you can see the back of Stage 27 (its number is painted on the wall).

    (So, are you curious why there is a Stage 28 when there are only 14 sound stages on the lot? It's because Raleigh runs another, older studio in Hollywood, and their first 14 numbered sounds stages are on that Hollywood lot - so they started numbering the new stages at Manhattan Beach at #15.)

    As well as filming inside the sound stages, quite a few scenes have been shot very close to the studio.  (No reason to travel far from home when you can film in your own back yard...)  For example:

    • The exterior of the mall (in "The Mallsipode") was shot at Manhattan Village mall, a block or two west of the studio.

    • The South Coast Plaza garage scene (where Marissa is arrested for shoplifting) was filmed in the multilevel parking garage at the studio (just south of stage 26).

    • The scene at the soccer field (supposedly at the Harbor School) was shot at a park next door to the studio.

    • The scene at the tennis court cafe was filmed at a country club right next to that park.

    • Many of the "Chino" scenes were shot in a residential neighborhood about a mile to the east of the studio.

    • The scene where Sandy and a business associate are walking through an outdoor parking lot (talking about hiring Jimmy), was shot in the outdoor parking lot on the west side of the studio (you can see the nearby Office Depot in the background).

    • One of the series' many golf scenes appears to have been shot at the Marriott golf course, next door to the studio.

    • The unique Newport Group building (where Kirsten worked) is located just two blocks east of the studio.

    • In Episode 3 (of Season 4, "The Cold Turkey", Ryan watches as Sandy drives away from the Newport Beach Civic Center with Volchok in his car. Sandy's car was actually exiting the south side of the studio parking structure (the camera was facing west). They put up a fake sign near the exit, reading "2222 Civic Center Road".

    • In Episode 10 of season 4 ("The French Connection"), the Seattle hospital cafeteria (where Seth has lunch with Dr. Roberts, and they talk about Seth marrying Summer) was actually the studio cafe, on the ground floor of the parking structure.

    • In the very same episode, the parking lot and front doors to the northernmost building at the studio (north of stage 28) were used the fantasy scene where Ryan runs into the TV studio at the last moment and kisses Taylor.

    • In the show's final episode ("The End's Not Near, It's Here"), that same building front and parking lot is used for one last appearance by the studio's exterior - it's in the scene where Kaitlin confronts Frank at his workplace, yelling at him for running out on Julie. Once again, the nearby Office Depot store (at Redondo Ave & Rosecrans) is clearly visible behind Kaitlin.

    Here is a map link to the studio.

    Here is a link to my Seeing-Stars page about the studio.

    And here is a link to the studio's official website.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

By Episode - By Category - By Geographical Location - Clickable Map - Aerials

THE O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
All other photos & text are Copyright  1999-2024-Gary Wayne and may not be used without written permission.

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