The O.C.
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The O.C. was a teen dramedy focused on the lives of the super rich in Newport Beach, but it was also so much more than that. It was hilarious, devastating, and yielded some pretty important life lessons. It also gave us Summer Roberts, the bubbly brunette who goes from hilariously bitchy teen queen to empathetic princess in about . . . two episodes. While Summer could have so easily been another vapid, two-dimensional popular character, she quickly became a lovable and feisty teen icon. Summer was beautiful, ballsy, and the best friend imaginable; teaching us all a lot about girl power and sticking up for what you believe in. There are perhaps a hundred reasons why Summer was, and still is, the mid-2000s girl-power icon, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to just a few of our very favorite reasons.

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She’s super smart
Like, super smart. I mean, it was very clear from the start that she was talented at manipulating, scheming, fashion, and quick-fire wit. But then it turned out that she was also academically smart enough to overtake super-geek Seth Cohen’s score on the SAT. His nerdy, insecure breakdown ensued, but I was internally cheering for Team Summer. Renaissance woman.

She knows how to look after herself
Summer’s mom left a long time before the series started, an event that seems to have upset her but not enough to leave long-term damage. Her dad is her rock, but is gone all day long performing cosmetic surgeries for the good women of Newport Beach, going on really long vacations, or disappearing. Consequently Summer is left alone in her huge house most of the time, doing everything for herself (and even her step monster) without a single complaint. Well, most of the time. Summer also knows how to take care of herself when it comes to all arguments and fights, smacking down even smooth talker Seth Cohen or super-sad Marissa.

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She looks after everyone else, too
Summer Roberts was always one thing: an absolutely incredible friend. Her empathy led her to constantly look after messy Marissa, driving her home and questioning her drinking and lack of good dinners. When she was in competition with Anna for Seth, she left the race and gave Seth a telling off for leading Anna on and hurting them both. The two then became best friends and bonded over Golden Girls, duh. When Taylor Townsend was left without a home because she was hiding from her mom, Summer took her in. When Julie had no money and Summer’s dad left her, Summer took her and Caitlin in. There are hundreds of examples, but Summer is basically Mother Theresa, in couture.

She’s funny
If there’s anything that’s going to get you through hard times, it’s a sense of humor. Summer was always one of the funniest characters in Newport Beach, delivering devastating comebacks and bantering with the best of them. The best of them being Seth, of course.

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She wants to save the world
We wouldn’t blame Summer if she just wanted to shop, lounge by the pool, spend her dad’s money on clothes and kiss Seth Cohen. That’s all I’d do in her shoes. However, what she does is go to an Ivy League university and work through her grief by attempting to save the world and all of the animals in it. She later realizes that that there’s room for compromise, and allows her love of fashion and her world-saving ways to co-exist.

She does whatever she wants
Most importantly . . . Summer is our girl-power icon because she does whatever she wants, without hurting anyone else. After a brief time where Summer cared enough about what the world thinks to refuse to date Seth, she got over her insecurities and fears in a major way. If Summer wanted to hang out with Seth, go shopping, save the world, go to Brown, steal a rabbit from animal testing . . . she did it, no matter what anyone else told her to do. You go Summer. Thanks for inspiring our 15-year-old selves, and our grown up selves too.

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