When the show One Tree Hill began, it was an unconventional show. It had the Dawson’s Creek feel of a group of teenagers growing up in a small town in North Carolina. However, there was an added bonus of two brothers that are rivals on the basketball court and off. Lucas Scott, played by Chad Michael Murray, was the laid back brother from the wrong side of the tracks with the ability to be a great basketball player. Nathan Scott, played by then newcomer James Lafferty, was the younger brother who had it all, including a really bad attitude. He had the money, the rich and successful father, and the girlfriend that Lucas lusted after. Peyton Sawyer, played by former MTV VJ Hilarie Burton was the misunderstood cheerleader with a hidden Goth side. Peyton and Nathan’s relationship was very volatile and they broke up constantly, which was why it was so easy for Peyton to fall for Lucas. Add in Peyton’s wacky, rich and slutty best friend, Brooke Davis, played by Sophia Bush, and Lucas’ best friend, Haley, played by Bethany Joy Lenz, and you had a group of pretty kids with a more realistic set of problems than a lot of kids have on television.
As the first season progressed, relationships changed like chess pieces. Peyton had a slight fling with Lucas but broke it off because she wasn’t ready for anything more than physical. Nathan befriended Haley to get back at Lucas for joining the basketball team but their relationship soon became more, and Lucas decided that it would be fun to date Brooke instead. At first, I believe that the producers, and writers, had intended to put Peyton and Lucas together. However, there was an added kink when Chad Michael Murray started to date Sophia Bush in real life. Like all real life couples who work together on television, they pretty much didn’t have a choice.
The character of Brooke had been pursuing Lucas on and off throughout the show, but the viewers were hoping for Peyton and Lucas to get together. But when Brooke and Lucas got together, there were more fireworks. Sophia Bush is remarkable as Brooke, the misunderstood rich girl whose parents are never around. She makes Brooke the person that you love to hate and hate to love. Brooke was vindictive and mean and sometimes cruel, especially to Haley, whom she called “tutor girl.” She was the bitchy cheerleader that everyone loved to hate. However, they started to give her feelings and by the end of the first season, she was a martyr. Lucas decided that he should cheat on Brooke with Peyton and they kept it a secret until Lucas broke up with Brooke and she seen them on Peyton’s web cam. Then, Brooke thought that she was pregnant with Lucas’ baby. Suddenly, One Tree Hill became a teenage soap opera.
The second season became even more dramatic for the teens, and in real life with Chad and Sophia. The couple had gotten engaged and on the show, Brooke and Lucas were not friends. In fact, Brooke had a new love interest when a character by the name of Felix, played by Michael Copon, moved in. Brooke had also become broke and she realized that she would have to move out of her big house, while Felix showered her with all of the gifts a formerly rich girl could have. With her relationship with Felix, Brooke ventured into a journey of becoming another person. She ran for student class president and cleaned up her act, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. She also reconciled with Peyton, who had developed a new set of problems. In the first season, she had befriended, and fell for, Jake Jagielski, a fellow teammate of Lucas and Nathan’s who was also a teen father. Towards the end of the season, Jake’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter came back into his life, threatening to get back into the baby’s life at all costs. Because of that, Jake had to leave and that sent Peyton into a depression. In that depression, Peyton helped Lucas’ mother, Karen, played by Moira Kelly, open a nightclub, dabbled in drugs and became a lesbian when she started to become affectionate with Felix’s sister, Anna, played by Daniella Alonso. Karen, which was a shock to me, started a relationship with her teacher, Andy Hargrove, played by Kieren Hutchinson.
The show went off base when it went away from the basketball aspect of the show and then, it became overly dramatic, with Lucas’ heart condition and Nathan marrying Haley only for her to leave to become a rock star. Haley’s kiss with Chris Keller, played by the unattractive and untalented singer Tyler Hilton, and her decision to leave Tree Hill to pursue her career was so off character, you would’ve thought that she was Brooke or Peyton. Peyton was also on an off-character destructive path. She went from brooding artist to drug addicted lesbian, and that was very off base because she was apparently in love with Lucas the year before. I believe that the producers and writers of the show were trying to make this storyline similar to the one that Alyson Hannigan had on Buffy The Vampire Slayer but failed when the fans were disgusted with it. Lucas, in a move of indecision, decided that he was in love with Brooke instead of Peyton. Towards the end of this season, Haley decided that she wanted to come back to Tree Hill, Nathan was back on the right track after trying to kill himself via race car, Lucas told Brooke how he felt about her when she was on her way to California, Jake was leaving Peyton again and Nathan and Lucas’ father, Dan, played by Paul Johansson, was having another near death experience. Felix and Anna were on their way out when it was revealed that Felix had painted a derogatory label on Peyton’s locker and that Anna was bisexual. This season was very disappointing, despite the marriage of Chad and Sophia towards the end of the season.
The third season brought back the setting of the basketball court, but it also answered a lot of open questions. The separation of Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush made the show more viewable because I believe that people tuned in to see how they would act together. In the beginning of the season, Lucas and Brooke were “non-exclusive” until Lucas caught her with Chris Keller. Then, he gave her the cold shoulder until she showed him the letters that she had written but never sent. Brooke was also living in the apartment that Nathan and Haley had moved out of in the previous season, now that she was rich again. Haley was public enemy #1 with almost everyone, including Nathan and Peyton. Peyton was bitter again, seeing as that her one true love was gone. Karen was heartbroken that Andy left Tree Hill and that her one true love, Keith Scott, played by Craig Sheffer, had disappeared after his wedding to Jules, Dan’s hooker, didn’t happen. Peyton also gained a new mother named Ellie Hart, played by Sheryl Lee, who was just like Peyton. However, it was revealed that Ellie had breast cancer. She died before the season ended and Peyton went on a mission to help other breast cancer patients. This season was quite forgettable, except for the moments when the stars were promoting breast cancer awareness and when the new girl Rachel, played by Danneel Harris, fought with Brooke. This, however, was also quite cheesy because it was reported, many times, that Danneel Harris was brought on in case Sophia Bush wanted to leave, due to her sudden split with Chad Michael Murray. That did not happen.
The only memorable episode, to me, was the episode of the school shooting. In that episode, Lucas’ old friend, Jimmy Edwards, decided to hold the school hostage after getting beaten up for his comments on the time capsule, which had been mysteriously released. Before this episode, the show would end on peculiar notes, as if each episode was the end of the series. It didn’t necessarily mark the end of the season, but it marked the end of their innocence because nothing was the same after that. Out of the possible casualties that could’ve happened, and probably should have to make the show more memorable, only Peyton and Keith was shot. Peyton, the ultimate victim, was shot in the leg and as she was bleeding to death, she told Lucas that she loved him and kissed him, even though he was dating her best friend and the three of them had already fallen out because of Lucas and Peyton’s infidelity once before. Keith, who had just returned a few episodes before, managed to save Lucas and Peyton, and he even managed to get Jimmy to open up. However, Jimmy killed himself and Dan killed his own brother, believing that Keith had tried to kill him. Lucas went into a deep depression after Keith’s death and he pushed Brooke away, with the excuse that she wasn’t in the school so she couldn’t relate.
Peyton also gave Brooke a bit of the cold shoulder, but that was eased when Brooke moved in with Peyton after she gave the apartment back to Nathan and Haley, who had reconciled. By the end of this season, Peyton had gotten some fun with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and went to see Jake, but was sent back to Tree Hill after proposing marriage to Jake and having him turn her away because she said that she loved Lucas in her sleep. Nathan and Haley were getting remarried. Karen told Dan that she was pregnant. Dan was plagued by guilt when it was revealed that Keith wasn’t the one that tried to kill Dan. Rachel shunned Mouth, played by Lee Norris, for Nathan’s uncle, who was infuriated when he found out that she was only 17. Brooke and Peyton fell out again when Peyton told Brooke that she was still in love with Lucas. Then, Brooke finally let loose on Lucas at Nathan and Haley’s wedding. In the last episode, Nathan and Haley nearly collided with Nathan’s uncle and Rachel, and the limo that Nathan’s uncle was driving crashed into the water. Lucas learned that Karen was pregnant, but someone else was as well, and Nathan took heroic measures to save Rachel and his uncle.
This season started out fine, even though there was some speculation that the show wouldn’t be coming back because of the WB merging with UPN to make the CW network. Chad and Sophia’s separation last season and Brooke and Lucas’ breakup at the beginning of this current season made it possible for them not to work together that much. Peyton gained a brother and as soon as her web cam was back in business, she also gained a stalker pretending to be her brother. Then, her real brother came to town and not only was he a marine, but he was biracial as well. I liked the fact that Peyton’s brother was biracial, but I was upset that he wasn’t on nearly as much as the stalker was on. When he was on there, he was only the military guy who was like Peyton’s personal security. Brooke befriended Rachel, which was seen in last year’s season finale, and her calamities with the wild child were boring at best. Haley told Nathan that she was pregnant and has been through many complications since then. Nathan’s mother, Deb, played by Barbara Alyn Woods, was back on prescription medication and Dan was still plagued by guilt over Keith’s death. Then, Brooke and Rachel stole a test and it was revealed that Brooke did a sex tape with Nathan while he was still dating Peyton. The prom was coming up in the last episode that aired on February 21st and at the end of that episode, Peyton’s stalker returned.
What will happen to the show and the characters that I know and gotten to relate to? Will the last few episodes make or break the show? I really don’t know, but I will stay tuned because I really hope that the show will continue for another season. However, I also know that shows have shelf lives and that this show might have an even shorter one. It is revealed on Wikipedia that the show’s creator, Mark Schwahn, has stated that the show would fast forward a few years if there is a fifth season, making the characters college graduates. I hope that this works.