Four episodes to bring back the memory of warmer days

By Jessica Zischke | 1/31/13 9:00am

The sub-zero temperatures to which we’ve all grown accustomed in the past weeks have made it hard to remember that warmth even exists. So here are four TV episodes from the ’90s and early ’00s that will bring the sunshine right into your room — no need for that sunlamp — and evoke summer vibes within minutes. Grab a beach towel, some sunscreen and your coolest sunglasses and prepare to be carried away with the tide.

"Sunset Beach" — Season 1, Episode 1 (1997)

The first episode of this soap opera introduces the audience, and protagonist Meg Cummings (Susan Ward), to the “beach that romance built,” aka Sunset Beach, Calif. Between shots of the ocean and sunset, Meg, a young woman who lives in Kansas, discovers her fiancé Tim (Dax Griffin) cheating on her with the maid of honor on the morning of their wedding day.

Of course, the logical solution is for Meg to drive off in his red convertible and hop on a plane to California, where a man whom she met online is living. Although it’s a fairly soapy show, the ’90s fashion will make you cringe (in a good way…kind of) and as the waves crash you may even fool yourself into thinking that you too are on Sunset Beach and that “tonight may be your night.”

"Summerland" — Pilot (2004)

If the title alone isn’t enough to bring the smell of the ocean right to your dorm room, then this episode will do the trick. Although it’s significantly longer than many pilot episodes — about 80 minutes total — the story that it follows will keep viewers entranced through the closing credits.

After their parents die, siblings Bradin (Jesse McCartney), Nikki (Kay Panabaker) and Derrick Westerly (Nick Benson) leave their home in Kansas and everything familiar to live with their “cool aunt from California.” Their aunt Ava (Lori Loughlin of Full House) and her roommates — best friend Susannah (Merrin Dungey), lost love Johnny (Shawn Christian) and existential surfer Jay (Ryan Kwanten) — must adapt to life with children. As one can imagine, this makes for a few awkward run-ins at first, often with one of the many women Jay entertains. This first episode follows the group as the characters deal with their new lives and try to make things work as best as they can.

"Boy Meets World" — Season 4, Episode 1 “You Can Go Home Again” (1996)

Although this episode doesn’t have many panoramas of oceans or footprints in the sand, it includes every American teenager’s dream — a drive across the country and, of course, finally seeing the world’s largest yogurt cup.

As summer comes to a close, Cory (Ben Savage) and Eric Matthews (Will Friedle) must return home from their road trip. Eric questions what’s waiting for him at home since he was not accepted to a college, and plans to stay in the pit stop town they visit only three hours from home. Of course, Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) passes wise words on to Mr. Matthews (William Russ), which he then passes to Eric, who finally decides to go back home.

"The O.C." — Season 1, Episode 2 “The Model Home” (2003)

After Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) takes Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) into his home, his wife Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) struggles to adapt to the change. Although their son Seth (Adam Brody) is enjoying finally having a friend in town, Sandy and Kirsten decide that it’s best for Ryan to be taken to child services, where they will attempt to locate his mother.

When Seth catches Ryan trying to run away before the Cohens can bring him to child services, he takes Ryan to a model home that his mother’s company stopped working on months ago. Next-door neighbor Marissa (Mischa Barton) catches them in stealth mode and joins in on the plan. Viewers will be transported back to the last weekends of summer, full of budding romances, final parties and afternoons spent on the pier.

Jessica Zischke