After nine emotional (and sometimes overdramatic) seasons, One Tree Hill recently signed off for the very last time. The show premiered in September 2003, when I was in the 8th grade and now, in my senior year of college, I feel like I’ve said goodbye to the friends I grew up with.
Back then, I had to hide my Tree Hill obsession from my parents, who thought I shouldn’t be watching a teen “soap opera.” But I couldn’t resist. Every Wednesday at lunch my friends and I would gossip about the fight that Lucas and Nathan had or how Brooke was so mean to Haley. Through their teenage romances, high school drama and family problems, these characters became our extended group of friends. Watching Haley and Nathan’s budding romance was addictive. And we wondered if Lucas would ever be accepted by Dan, the father who abandoned him in favor of a life with Nathan.
I religiously watched these characters grow up.
I wanted to be Brooke Davis and be best friends with Haley James. I wanted to be able to meet a rock star and have a music career (even though I am in no way a great, or even good singer). I wanted to have a parent like Karen who would always be understanding (not that my parents aren’t great. Hi Mom!). And, probably most of all, I wanted to date Nathan Scott.
One Tree Hill set standards for what “cool” is. When Brooke, Peyton, Nathan, Lucas, Haley and the rest of the Tree Hill gang played a version of scavenger hunt, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my friends. I started making “Senior Year Predictions” like Lucas and Haley. And as they grew up, we saw that things like being kind to strangers and being a parent was something to strive for. If Peyton Sawyer could be a mom, anyone can!
Then there was the music. Yes, OTH was about basketball, but it was also about music and being a platform for new artists. Let us not forget that Gavin DeGraw is famous because his song “I Don’t Wanna Be” played in the opening credits of OTH. There were guest appearances from people like Sheryl Crow, Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. One Tree Hill became a platform for the actors, too, to launch music careers, which let fans interact with the show in a totally different way.
But, most importantly, the storylines are what we tuned in for. One Tree Hill had a way of dealing with issues that anyone could relate to in a meaningful and nonjudgmental way. The show explored bisexuality before anyone really understood what that meant. It wasn’t afraid to shed light on bullying through an intense and emotional school shooting, which is to this day my favorite OTH episode. These are issues that teens and young adults couldn’t see anywhere else and we all trusted our friends in Tree Hill to show us that there is no obstacle too big to overcome.
So, after saying goodbye to the last original WB show (remember when it wasn’t the CW?! Old, right?), I thank creator Mark Schwahn for bringing Tree Hill to life. It was a truly great adventure these past 9 years and something I, for one, will treasure.
Tips on life after One Tree Hill:
1. Rewatch the show from season 1(available to stream on Netflix)
2. Listen to my One Tree Hill hits playlist on Spotify
3. Start watching a new show. Some of my favorites are Happy Endings or Parks and Recreation