‘The O.C.’: Rachel Bilson Divulged What She Loved Most About Character Summer Roberts

Rachel Bilson is reflecting on her time as Summer Roberts in The O.C. The star, who was on the TV show from 2003 to 2007, has opened up about her relationship with her character, the show, and the impact it had recently. She revealed her favorite part about Summer Roberts, giving new insight into the character almost 20 years later. Here’s what she had to say.

Rachel Bilson in a strapless black dress and ponytail
Rachel Bilson | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

Rachel Bilson started ‘The O.C.’ as a guest star then became a lead

Bilson was part of the huge phenomenon that was The O.C. She played Summer Roberts, who was introduced as Seth Cohen’s (Adam Brody) crush. She also was portrayed as the best friend to Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). Bilson started as a smaller role but made such an impression that she was bumped up to series regular.

Series creator Josh Schwartz couldn’t get enough of Bilson’s chemistry with the cast and how real she made her character. He decided to make her a series regular after one specific episode.

“She came in and she was just not what you expected in that part,” Schwartz told the LA Times in 2005. “She was adorable and funny and smart, which was a really fresh way to go with that character. And the more we gave her to do in the first couple of episodes, the more she kept nailing.”

Schwartz continued: “Finally, in the episode with the Tijuana road trip, we watched a scene between her and Seth in the diner and knew: This girl is amazing. Let’s make her a series regular.”

Rachel Bilson loved how ‘fearless’ Summer Roberts was on ‘The O.C.’

RELATED: ‘The O.C.’: Will There Be a Reunion Soon? Rachel Bilson Says She’s ‘Open to It’

Bilson had a love for the character, too. She told Nylon in an interview her favorite thing about her role on The O.C.

“This is kind of a generalization, but what I am admiring in Summer is how fearless she is and how she’s always herself,” Bilson said. “Even though she’s a little b*tchy or whatever in the beginning, I feel like for girls watching, there’s something cool about the fearlessness to her — sticking up for her best friend and just totally being unafraid to say whatever is on her mind.”

“I have a daughter, so I’m like, ‘All right, well that’s cool,'” she continued. “I like how much she grew — where she started and where she ended. There could not be more growth.”

Summer started as a stereotypical high school girl who was interested in fashion, makeup, and hanging out with her best friend. As the series went on, Summer became a more fully realized person with ambitions and goals beyond her initial interests. She eventually went to Brown University, and ended up marrying high school sweetheart Seth Cohen.

Rachel Bilson currently has a podcast with Melinda Clarke

Now, Bilson is looking back on all the nostalgia with series co-star Melinda Clarke on their podcast, Welcome to the OC, B*tches!

The two have been watching the show back, as they have on stars from the show and even the series’ creator, Schwartz. As of mid-May, the two have gone through four episodes of the show, giving their thoughts along the way.