The series centers on Ryan Atwood, a troubled youth from a broken home who is adopted by the wealthy and philanthropic Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. Ryan and his surrogate brother Seth, a socially awkward yet quick-witted teenager, deal with life as outsiders in the high-class world of Newport Beach. Ryan and Seth spend much time navigating their relationships with girl-next-door Marissa Cooper, Seth's childhood crush Summer Roberts, and the fast-talking loner Taylor Townsend. Story lines deal with the culture clash between the idealistic Cohen family and the shallow, materialistic, and closed-minded community in which they reside. The series includes elements of postmodernism, and functions as a mixture of melodrama and comedy.