“You know, it’s been said that we just don’t recognize the significant moments of our lives while they are happening. We grow complacent with ideas or things or people and we take them for granted. And it’s usually not until that thing is about to be taken away from you that you realize how wrong you’ve been – that you realize how much you need it, how much you love it. God, I love this game.”
I love this show. I assume you do, too, and that’s why you’re here. I must say that I was humbled and honored by the outpouring of support from One Tree Hill fans regarding my last blog, pleading with the CW to give us a season 8. In fact, your support has compelled me to be a little more forthright about my motives for saving this show in the first place.
There are not a lot of things I’m willing to campaign for, but when I find something I’m passionate about, it’s impossible for me not to share that. If I find a good thing, I want others to find it, too. Usually, I’ll dispense music suggestions to anyone who will listen, but I have thrown myself into promoting One Tree Hill with a similar tenacity.
Of course, music and One Tree Hill go hand in hand quite nicely, which may explain why I’ve been able to relate to it so strongly. The writing is truly fantastic. The stories are compelling. But there is something about One Tree Hill that can’t be put into words, and something that can only be grasped by watching it – One Tree Hill has heart.
The truth is, I’ve only been watching One Tree Hill for about two years. I have no TV reception in my apartment – not a single, solitary channel – and no internet, either (I am typing this from my office after everyone else is long gone). But, I do have Netflix and a DVD player. So, when I wanted a show to watch, I remembered hearing how great One Tree Hill was, and I knew that Bethany Joy Lenz (now Galeotti) was in it. I was familiar with her prior work and thought she was amazing, so armed with that information and little else, I slipped the first disc of season one into my DVD player.
By episode 3 (“Are You True?”), I was completely hooked. When I finished season one – and after picking my jaw up off of the floor – I remember saying aloud, “And that was only the FIRST SEASON!” While watching season 2, Netflix accidently sent my discs out of order. I had a good system going, where every day I put a disc in the mail, and every day I got a new one. So, when I logged in to my account and saw that I was getting disc 5 before disc 4, I freaked and called customer service. That poor guy who answered the phone – I had to wonder how many people called him daily saying things like, “But you don’t UNDERSTAND! What am I supposed to do tonight?” My co-worker, Kelli, who has since started watching One Tree Hill as well, took pity on me and found somewhere online where I could watch the disc 4 episodes with Japanese subtitles, and sound that didn’t match up with the picture. Still, I was elated and stayed at work until past 10:00 watching them online. Then, I went home and watched disc 5 that was in my mailbox. The next day, I ordered all the seasons online.
Beyond sheer enjoyment of the show, there was something else at work. I was really struggling, personally – not in any way that I could explain even if I wanted to, but there were nights that I was so racked with anxiety that I couldn’t even fall asleep. But I discovered that if I visited Tree Hill for a while, I could ease the tension, calm down, and fall asleep. That method still works on a bad day, or even on a good day when I just want to relax. In sharing that, I know I am telling many other stories besides my own. I have heard a lot of fans attest that One Tree Hill has seen them through some difficult times, and I dare say there are not many (if any) other shows that can do that. So to Mark Schwahn, show creator, Lindsay Wolfington, music supervisor, and every single producer, director, writer, actor, and crew member involved in making this show, allow me to say: “Your art matters. It’s what got me here.”
OTH Cast – “Feeling a Moment”
“Most of our lives are a series of images; they pass us by like towns on a highway. But sometimes, a moment stuns us as it happens and we know that this instant is more than a fleeting image. We know that this moment, every part of it, will live on forever.”
There is plenty to love about One Tree Hill, and I’m sure every fan has his or her own set of favorites. I am hoping you will all share your own in the comments below. For my part, nothing beats Nathan and Haley. “Always and forever.”
Fictional characters on TV and in movies sure spend a lot of time talking about “always” and “forever,” but very few of them actually follow through with it. And while I am a little too cynical about love in general, it’s really only because I want it to be great, and I see too many people settling for less. I, meanwhile, have always been a sucker for a fairy tale: Ariel and Eric, Darcy and Elizabeth, Nathan and Haley. But the thing I love about Nathan and Haley is how imperfect they are. Most of the time, we go to a movie or read a book and see a couple struggling through their dating relationship, and they finally make it to the altar just before the credits roll with music that leaves us with that “happily ever after” feeling. With Nathan and Haley, however, we saw them as the unlikely pair that fell in love, and then they were married by the end of season one – at the ripe old age of sixteen, no less. So the six seasons since have shown them making huge mistakes and hurting each other, but deciding through everything that their marriage comes first, and the more problems they face, the more love they need to have to get through it. “And, that’s what true love really is. It’s not this fairytale life that never knows pain, but it’s two souls facing it together and diminishing it with unconditional love.”
Nathan and Haley – “Brand New Day”
Coming in at number two on my “Why I love One Tree Hill” list is Dan Scott. I love him and I hate him and that is what makes compelling drama. He is also the master of one-liners that make me chuckle like a supervillain. Dan Scott is, after all, the most lovable villain in entertainment history. TV.com recently did an interview with James Lafferty, wherein he confessed Dan Scott to be his favorite One Tree Hill character:
Dan Scott, hands down….Paul Johansson has just masterfully performed [the role of Dan]. When he comes on the screen, I’m glued because of the way he plays that character. There are so many different colors of Dan Scott. And [he's] written so well, first of all. That’s where it starts. Then you’ve got somebody like Paul Johansson who can execute it so well. Not everybody can play such a villain and, at the same time, get the audience to care for them. To emotionally invest in them. It blows my mind. I love Paul as an actor and a director and a friend, and I love the way he plays that role.
I completely agree with that assessment, and I am definitely “emotionally invested” in Dan Scott. At the very beginning, he was just so overwhelmingly cold-hearted and mean that it was hard to see anything else. But I remember the moment when that changed. In the season one episode titled “The Living Years,” Nathan goes to the beach house to tell Dan that he isn’t sure that he wants to play basketball anymore, and wonders if the problems in his family all center around him – if, in fact, Dan should have chosen Lucas instead of him. Then, with Ryan Adams’ “The Shadowlands” playing in the background, Dan gets teary-eyed and says, “Nathan, you have to know, whatever you do, whatever you decide, you’re my son, and I am proud of you. I love you.” And, oh boy, did I cry. I mean, if the devil himself says “I love you” and means it, that’s a moment when it is OK to cry. And since then, anytime Dan is the least bit earnest or kind – and heaven help me if he is sad – I am ready to climb in my TV, give him a hug, and tell him it’s all going to be OK. Not bad for a murderer. And don’t even get me started on “Grandpa Dan.”
We’d be here all day and into next week if I tried to list every single thing I love about this show, so this will not be an exhaustive list. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I enjoy the relationships on One Tree Hill. And by relationships – I don’t necessarily mean romantic ones. In fact, other than Nathan and Haley, I have never gotten extremely invested in any Tree Hill romance. Sure, I like some more than others, but I prefer the family relationships: the volatile connection between Dan, Nathan, and Lucas; the loving connection between Karen, Keith and Lucas; and certainly the father/son bond that Nathan shares with Jamie, in spite of his own messy childhood.
Then there are a whole host of friendships – “Real friends…the kind of friendships we used to believe in” – that have always carried the characters through the toughest of times: Lucas and Haley, Haley and Brooke, Brooke and Peyton, Peyton and Nathan, Nathan and Clay, the James sisters, and the list goes on and on.
OTH Cast – “You Found Me”
“This all means nothing if you can’t knock down the shot.”
My favorite friendship, though, is the one that developed between Nathan and Lucas, as they built a bond as brothers that will last forever. After all, One Tree Hill was originally a story about these two brothers who were at best, strangers, and at worst, bitter enemies. And yet, through their mutual passion for basketball and their love of the same woman (albeit not the same kind of love), they learned to be brothers and best friends. They also had their ups and downs along the way, but I believe their relationship was cemented in the finale of season four. That is not to say that they wouldn’t face any struggles (as obviously they have since then), but that no matter what happened, they would remain brothers first and foremost.
When that chapter of One Tree Hill came to a close at the end of high school, there seemed to be few options: either cancel the show or concoct ridiculous storylines to send all the principal characters to the same college, and present “One Tree Hill: The College Years.” Everybody knows that the college years never pan out for “teen dramas,” and it would have been such a shame to walk away from a good thing. So, once again, One Tree Hill reinvented the wheel and stepped forward in time, skipping college altogether and reuniting its now-adult characters back in Tree Hill four years, six months, and two days later. It was a bold and risky move, but it paid off by revitalizing the show and giving each character new obstacles to face and new people to meet.
With the end of season six, we saw another chapter come to a close with the exit of original characters Lucas and Peyton (Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton), which was met with some opposition from longtime fans of the show. Now, I do not want the comments section on this blog to break out into a brawl, Brooke-and-Peyton-Prom-Night-at-Hater-High-style. However, I would like to explain why I am OK with those departures, and still see a bright future for One Tree Hill. Namely, Lucas and Peyton got their “happily ever after” story and literally rode off into the sunset. I don’t have any trouble believing or understanding that they would want to go and sail the world with Karen, Andy, and Lily. Yes, I am sure that Peyton misses Brooke, and Lucas misses Haley and Nathan and Jamie, but no more than Lucas had surely been missing his mother during the years they had spent apart, or being able to watch Lily grow up. Characters aside, sometimes actors move on and do other things, and sometimes a story ends and the writers see fit to wrap it up and move on. Whatever combination of those things (or maybe something else entirely) that happened in this case, we have no further control over it.
However, we may still have some control over whether the current One Tree Hill gets to have an 8th season. I can only imagine how disappointed I would be if Nathan and Haley were the ones gone instead of Lucas and Peyton, but I would like to believe that I’d still support the show that gave me those characters and so many other storylines that moved me through the years. Some “Leyton” fans haven’t been watching season 7, and I’d say they’ve missed out on a lot of great new characters and storylines featuring the old and the new. However, because One Tree Hill is such a compelling show, many of you who name Lucas and Peyton as your favorite characters have stuck with season 7 and been rewarded by a lot of excellent storylines.
Season Seven – “I and Love and You”
OTH Cast – “All the Right Moves”
My favorite season 7 moment so far (aside from Nathan Scott putting Jake Ryan to shame) came when Bess Armstrong reprised her role as Haley’s Mom, Lydia James. It was a quiet, bittersweet exchange between Nathan and an ailing Lydia, wherein we saw the bond that had obviously developed between them during Nathan and Haley’s almost nine years of marriage:
Lydia: You’re taking good care of my daughter. I remember the day you came to ask our permission to marry her. You were so nervous. But I looked into your eyes and I just knew.
Nathan: What did you know?
Lydia: That you were gonna change my daughter’s life. And I was right.
Nathan: You are responsible for raising the woman who changed my entire world. I’ll never forget that, Lydia. Thank you for saying yes.
So, no matter your favorite character or couple or your stance on this season, we are all fans of One Tree Hill. And if I could impart a little wisdom from Nathan Scott, “I wear that uniform just like they do, so it doesn’t matter if I’m playing or not, it’s still my team. We win as a team and we lose as a team.” So, whether are not your favorite couple is on the proverbial court this season, One Tree Hill is still your show, and you’re still a part of it. So I think we should focus on the ways in which we share a similar passion for this show, and consider how we want One Tree Hill to be remembered – not as a show that was cut off mid-story, but one with a lasting legacy that we can all share. With that in mind, please share your favorite moments, quotes, actors, directors, characters, or songs from One Tree Hill in the comments below. And don’t forget to tune in tonight!
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound up in sorrows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures.”
On the next blog, I’ll throw out some ideas on things I’d like to see happen before One Tree Hill goes off the air for good, whether that’s at the end of season 8 or the end of season 18. (The end of season 7 is simply not an option.)
In the meantime, I’d like to send out special thanks to the folks over at One Tree Hill Blog, who posted several of the videos shown here to help us get through the hiatus. (I would also like someone to explain to me how you do it! I think I could manage to compile the video, as I’ve done some of the photo slideshows with music for weddings and the like, but where do you get all those clips?)
Here are a few other videos that I didn’t embed in the post above, but that I thought you might enjoy seeing:
Tik Tok (OTH Cast)
Things I’ll Never Say (Brucas)
The Best Years of Our Lives (Leyton)
The Freshmen (OTH Cast)
One Last Chance (Naley)
Missing You (Naley circa Season 2)
P.S. – The rudimentary Photoshop art came from me, so be gentle.