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Encyclopedia > Oliver Trask
Oliver Trask

Taylor Handley as Oliver Trask
First appearance The Best Chrismukkah Ever (episode 1.13)
Last appearance The Truth (episode 1.18)
Cause/Reason Mental Instability
Information
Gender Male
Age 18 (last appearance)
Occupation Student
Episode count 7
Portrayed by Taylor Handley
Created by Josh Schwartz

Oliver Trask was a highly controversial fictional character who appeared during the first season of the FOX series The O.C. He was played by Taylor Handley. His name was likely taken from X-Men villain Bolivar Trask as Seth is shown in the show to be a fan of comic books. Image File history File linksMetadata OliverTrask. ... The Best Chrismukkah Ever is the 13th episode of the FOX television series, The O.C.. The episode was written by Stephanie Savage and was directed by Sanford Bookstaver. ... The Truth is the 18th episode of the FOX television series, The O.C.. The episode was written by Allan Heinberg and was directed by Rodman Flender. ... Freshman and Sophomore redirect here. ... Taylor Laurence Handley (born June 1, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California) is an American actor. ... Josh Schwartz (born on August 6, 1976 in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American screenwriter and television producer. ... Alice, a fictional character from the work of Lewis Carroll. ... For the animal, see Fox. ... The O.C. is an American teen drama television series that originally aired on FOX in the United States from August 5, 2003, to February 22, 2007, running a total of four seasons. ... Taylor Laurence Handley (born June 1, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California) is an American actor. ... The X-Men are a group of comic book superheroes featured in Marvel Comics. ... Bolivar Trask is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. ...

Contents

Biography

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Oliver Trask is a rich kid who lives in the penthouse of a hotel. His parents own a chain of hotels, and apparently leave him unsupervised. He left his last school, Pacific High, because a girl took out a restraining order on him, after he became obsessed with her. Oliver eventually attempted suicide because she rejected him. He meets Marissa at therapy, and falls for her, inventing a fictitious girlfriend, Natalie, to make her feel safe, and sorry for him. Marissa Cooper is a fictional character on the FOX television network series The O.C., shown nationally in the United States. ...


During his time on the show, he gets arrested for attempting to buy cocaine, fakes an attempt at suicide, and winds it all up by threatening to shoot himself if Marissa doesn't leave Ryan and stay with him. Throughout all this, Ryan and Luke are the only ones wise to his wicked ways. Ironically, both had previous relationships with Marissa. Ryan and Marissa temporarily break up as a result of Oliver's interference. Ryan Atwood was a fictional character on the FOX television series The O.C., played by Benjamin McKenzie. ...


Effect

Oliver's appearance lasted only a few episodes - from "The Best Chrismukkah Ever" (Season 1, Episode 13) to "The Truth" (Season 1, Episode 18). However, the character's actions had long term implications. Already existing trust issues between Ryan and Marissa were exacerbated by the conflict over Oliver's true colors. It is argued by Seth in "The Ties that Bind" (Season 1, Episode 27) that Marissa's relationship with Oliver may have driven Ryan to seek solace with Theresa, resulting in the scandal over Theresa's pregnancy and marriage that arises in the final episodes of the show's first season.


The Portrayal of Mental Illness

In an early episode, it is mentioned that Oliver was previously diagnosed with depression. However, he also exhibits many of the criteria for borderline personality disorder, as listed in the American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Borderline personality disorder is a disorder of emotion regulation and those who are borderline have been found to have high co-morbidity rates with depression and other affective disorders, as well as high rates of abuse, neglect, or separation as children (NIMH: Borderline Personality Disorder). Oliver’s parents own multiple hotels around the world and are often away from home, so much of his life has been spent away from his parents and on his own. He claims to constantly feel like everyone he is close to eventually rejects him and he says “everyone who knows me for more than five minutes ends up hating my guts” (The Links, 2004). Clinical depression (also called major depressive disorder, or sometimes unipolar when compared with bipolar disorder) is a state of intense sadness, melancholia or despair that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individuals social functioning and/or activities of daily living. ... Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined within psychiatry and related psychological fields as a mental health disorder characterized primarily by emotional dysregulation, extreme black and white thinking, or splitting (believing that something is one of only two possible things, and ignoring any possible in-betweens), and turbulent relationships. ... The American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional organization representing psychology in the US. It has around 150,000 members and an annual budget of around $70m. ... The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association The poopDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States. ...


Like others with this disorder, he has an unstable and false image of both himself and his relationships with other people (BehaveNet®). Many of his actions are executed in order to make others like him, and he tries especially hard to keep Marissa as his friend, to keep her from leaving him. One way he does this is by recurrent suicidal gestures and threats. In one instance, Oliver claims to swallow a bunch of painkillers, knowing that Marissa will become worried and pay more attention to him. Oliver believes that he and Marissa are meant to be together, and he does everything he can in order to make that happen, including transferring schools, lying, and actively trying to ruin her relationship with Ryan (The Rivals, 2004).


Additionally, he meets the criteria, because his mood fluctuates very rapidly, going from depressed states to relatively happy ones, and he occasionally has trouble controlling his anger, as in the above-mentioned case of him repeatedly hitting himself in the head. Lastly, he shows signs of impulsivity in his willingness to spend a lot of money on his friends and in his drug and alcohol use.


Controversies in this Portrayal of Mental Illness

While his behavior may indicate that he has a mental illness, the portrayal of this disorder may not be considered entirely accurate, because it is so exaggerated. Someone who is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder only has to meet five out of the nine criteria listed in the DSM-IV-TR (BehaveNet®), and Oliver meets at least seven. In addition, the behaviors that match the criteria are often extreme examples, like his use of cocaine (The Third Wheel, 2004). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries. ...


Oliver is depicted as dangerous. When Marissa uncovers his lies about his feelings for her and the fact that he made up Natalie, his supposed girlfriend, he breaks down, holding Marissa hostage in his apartment with a gun (The Truth, 2004). He points the gun at her, tells her that he is in love with her, and threatens to shoot himself in the head when she wants to leave. This intense situation is great for an increase in drama for the show, but the majority of people with mental illnesses actually pose no threat to others. A person with borderline personality disorder is more likely to harm himself than someone else (Understanding Personality Disorders), and although the show does emphasize Oliver’s desire to hurt himself, he also appears to be a threat to Marissa.


Societal Ramifications of this Portrayal of Mental Illness

The portrayal of Oliver Trask, which emphasizes his deceptive and dangerous nature, is an example of how the media helps to create the stigma that surrounds those with mental illnesses. The creation of a stigma begins with the labeling of differences and negative stereotyping (Link and Phelan 2006: 528). Additionally, slang terms, like crazy or nuts, may be introduced as ways to both describe and emphasize these differences, as well as to devalue the stigmatized individual.Some of the stigmatization is also a consequence of the “stripping” process that Erving Goffman describes in his 1961 book Asylums. For example, by the end of his time on the series, Oliver has been “stripped” and his mental illness becomes his defining characteristic (Goffman 1961: 148). Social stigma is severe social disapproval of personal characteristics or beliefs that are against cultural norms. ... Erving Goffman Erving Goffman (June 11, 1922 – November 19, 1982), was a sociologist and writer. ... The term asylum can mean: a psychiatric hospital political asylum a 1985 album named Asylum by KISS a sociology book by Erving Goffman studying total institutions A band from Preston, http://www. ...


The kind of stigmatization that results from the labeling process of the mentally ill can lead to avoidance, rejection, and discrimination by the rest of society (Link & Phelan 1999: 365). The mentally ill become thought of as different from everyone else. Because of this portrayal, people with borderline personality disorder and depression may be more closely associated with the psychotic and dangerous reaction that Oliver exhibited.


Rumors

Rumors having pegged that Oliver would come back during the season finale of the second season were untrue (though in the second season finale, after Seth hears a door bell ring he quips: "With the way things are going right now, I bet that's Oliver." This could have been a reference to these rumors, but was more likely due to how badly things seemed to be going for the characters.) After the finale for that season aired, rumors then arose that Oliver would return in the third season with Kirsten, who was in rehab for alcoholism. However, this also proved not to be true. As the show progressed, and Oliver's love interest, Marissa, was killed off, it appeared more unlikely that Oliver will ever make a return. There were also more rumors that Oliver possibly might appear in the third season finale and again it did not happen (though, once again Oliver was mentioned by Ryan). The final show came around and Oliver never returned, however, he was mentioned in the first, second & third season finales. Kirsten Kiki Cohen (née Nichol) is a fictional character on the FOX television series The O.C., played by Kelly Rowan. ...


Episodes

Oliver appeared in the following 6 episodes of the first season of The O.C.: The O.C. is an American teen drama television series that originally aired on FOX in the United States from August 5, 2003, to February 22, 2007, running a total of four seasons. ...

  • “The Best Christmukkah Ever” December 3, 2003
  • “The Countdown” December 17, 2003
  • “The Third Wheel” January 7, 2004
  • “The Links” January 14, 2004
  • “The Rivals” January 21, 2004
  • “The Truth” February 11, 2004

For further information see: List of The O.C. episodes The following is a list episodes from the FOX television series, The O.C.. A total of 27 episodes were aired for the first season of , 24 for the second season, 25 for the third season, and 16 for the fourth season. ...


Atomic County

Oliver appeared in several of the Atomic County shorts. He eventually joined the league of villains.


References

BehaveNet® Clinical Capsule™: Borderline Personality Disorder


Goffman E. 1961. Asylums. Essays on the Social Situation of Mental patients and Other Inmates New York: Doubleday Anchor.


Link, Bruce G. and Jo C. Phelan. 1999. “The Labeling Theory of Mental Disorder (II): The Consequences of Labeling.” Pp. 361-376 in A Handbook For the Study of Mental Health: Social Contexts, Theories, and Systems. Edited by Allan V. Horwitz & Teresa L. Scheid. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Link, Bruce G. and Jo C. Phelan. 2006. “Stigma and its Public Health Implications.” Lancet 367: 528-529


NIMH: Borderline Personality Disorder


Understanding Personality Disorders

THE OC
EPISODES   |   CATEGORY   |   BROADCASTERS  |   SONGS  |   WEBSITE
Primary
Characters
Ryan Atwood | Kirsten Cohen | Sandy Cohen | Seth Cohen
Jimmy Cooper | Julie Cooper | Kaitlin Cooper | Marissa Cooper
Caleb Nichol | Summer Roberts | Taylor Townsend | Luke Ward
Secondary
Characters
Dawn Atwood | Frank Atwood | Trey Atwood | Taryn Baker | Lance Baldwin
Rebecca Bloom | Carter Buckley | Gordon Bullit | Sophie Cohen
Theresa Diaz | D.J. | Holly Fischer | Lindsay Gardner | Johnny Harper
Alex Kelly | Charlotte Morgan | Hailey Nichol | Neil Roberts | Anna Stern
Zach Stevens | Veronica Townsend | Oliver Trask | Kevin Volchok
Places Newport Beach | Orange County | Chino | Berkeley | Providence
Music Mix 1 | Mix 2 | Mix 3 | Mix 4 | Mix 5 | Mix 6
Related Atomic County | Chrismukkah
Key Creators Josh Schwartz | McG | Stephanie Savage | Allan Heinberg
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Oliver Trask - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1433 words)
Oliver Trask is a fictional character who appeared during the first season of the FOX series The O.C. He was played by Taylor Handley.
Oliver believes that he and Marissa are meant to be together, and he does everything he can in order to make that happen, including transferring schools, lying, and actively trying to ruin her relationship with Ryan (The Rivals, 2004).
The portrayal of Oliver Trask, which emphasizes his deceptive and dangerous nature, is an example of how the media helps to create the stigma that surrounds those with mental illnesses.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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