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Ojai, California

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Ojai

Town marker, proudly advertising Ojai's favorite son

Ojai was a single name applied to two different, but related, geographic areas. Primarily, it meant Ojai, California, the home town of Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers. But it also was used to indicate the Ojai Valley, the larger area in which the town was situated. Located in Ventura County, California — some 20 miles distant from Norris — the town proper was fairly small and dominated by traditional Spanish-American architecture. The surrounding valley was, at the time of the two series, a sparsely-populated rural area. Steve's parents were long time residents of the town, while Steve himself bought a ranch in the valley a couple of years after his bionic replacement surgery. (Population Zero, The Bionic Woman, Jaime's Mother)

Ojai CA

Ojai, California

A few episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man were consequently set in Ojai. Notably, in "The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II)", Steve believed that taking the memory-deprived Sommers back to Ojai might help her to recover from the cryogenic surgery which resurrected her. Instead, it triggered painful memories of her life with Steve, which proved life-threatening.

After a time recuperating in the OSI's Colorado Springs facility, Jaime once again returned to Ojai — this time better able to deal with her fleeting memory of the region. (Welcome Home, Jaime). Her time in Colorado was so successful, in fact, that she was now able to take up full-time residence in Ojai. Thus, unlike The Six Million Dollar Man, many episodes of The Bionic Woman were at least partly set in Ojai, or its immediate environs, due to Sommers' "home base" in the series being a renovated building on the Elgin farm.

Residents of the Ojai Valley

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 This person is most probably a resident of the Ojai Valley, but could be a resident of greater Ventura County
  2. This individual may be a resident of the Ojai Valley, given his familiarity with locals, but is more likely resident in Ventura, the county seat.
  3. Just how many of Jaime's kids come from the Ojai Valley is unclear, given the small size of the Valley relative to the total area served by the Ventura Air Force Base.

Deconstructed

  • The real world fact of Ojai's location in Ventura County is established by the Sheriff's uniform patches in Claws, and implied by Jaime's employment at the fictional Ventura Air Force Base School.
  • Among the elements of Ojai that were fictionalized for the series included its location close enough to a major air force base for Jaime to be able to commute between the base school and the Ojai Valley (and make use of Ventura's medical facilities when her bionics failed early on), and in Welcome Home, Jaime (Part II) a somewhat urbanized, even gritty downtown area is shown, despite the real Ojai of the time having no equivalent.
  • Jaime Sommers' tennis career is a nod to the real-life love affair Ojai has with tennis. The area annually hosts the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, the world's longest continuously-held tennis tournament. The event, affectionately known as "The Ojai", covers participants aged 14 and up, which helps to foster the development of local talent. Had the series explored her youth more, Jaime would likely have been shown to have been involved in the event (or a fictional analogue of it) at around the time of her parents' death.
  • The tennis courts seen in The Bionic Woman (episode), The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II) were likely those in Ojai's downtown Libbey Park.
  • The larger "Ojai Valley" is explicitly referenced in the series by the The Ojai Valley News, an important part of the plot of "The Bionic Woman".

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