One Tree Hill has been one of the most popular young-adult dramas on television since 2003, but until a month ago, I’d never seen an episode, despite hearing positive reviews from several friends over the years.
Last month I finally took the plunge and settled in for a One Tree Hill marathon. I’ve made it through all of Seasons 1 & 2 and I plan to continue to watch every episode up through the current Season 8 on CW. The first two seasons feature stars Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz.
The verdict so far? I find the storytelling compelling and the characters enjoyable, but the writing on One Tree Hill is subpar. Time and again, I find myself yelling at the TV: “Yeah right! There’s no way that would ever happen in real life!”
You have to be willing to suspend your common sense quite a bit to get into many of the show’s far-fetched storylines. Here’s my review of what I’ve seen so far.
Apparently there are no seniors at Tree Hill High
It’s hilarious how Nathan and Lucas are the superstars and unquestioned leaders on the basketball team, even though they’re juniors. Brooke heads the cheerleading squad, even though she’s a junior. Peyton runs her own music venue and books big-time major-label acts, even though she’s still a junior.
There are evidently no seniors at this entire school.
Almost every episode has a fistfight
Lucas, the so-called “good kid,” gets into fistfights with just about every dude he meets, with no repercussions. I’ve counted at least five incidents where he’s thrown punches at someone in the first 40 episodes of the series. Lucas and Nathan – teammates, mind you – even got into a brawl on the court during a basketball game. If that happened in real life, the players would likely be suspended for the rest of the season. In One Tree Hill world, that offense didn’t get them so much as a slap on the wrist.
Lucas gets into a fistfight with Felix. Later that night they talk civilly to each other. That’s complete fantasy.
And then there’s Nathan and Haley getting married in high school. And Keith proposing to Jules after only a couple months of casual dating. And the entire cast constantly getting into bars without being carded. And Mouth, the complete dork, somehow being accepted by the popular clique. None of these One Tree Hill plots is the slightest bit realistic.
Other shows did it better
I just want some realism in my drama. Shows like Freaks & Geeks and My So-Called Life managed to portray the adolescent/young adult experience in a manner that truly reflected reality. One Tree Hill, at least through the first two seasons, doesn’t come close to that.
The girl that Lucas sleeps with at the bar just happens to be Jake’s ex. The girl Lucas meets at the mall just happens to be Felix’s sister. The amount of “coincidences” is just too ridiculous to believe, even for a small town.
One Tree Hill Newbie Review Summary
That criticism aside, I do enjoy One Tree Hill. The show is entertaining and the twists and turns of the plot make me want to keep watching to see what happens next. I just wish One Tree Hill could at least try to pretend that its world of exaggerated young adult characters could actually exist in real life. I’m optimistic that over the next few seasons, things will improve in that regard.
One Tree Hill Review Sources