A recent lull in new television shows we wanted to watch brought my teenage daughter and I back to the halls of Tree Hill High School in North Carolina. The show One Tree Hill debuted in 2003 and ran for nine seasons — four in high school, spanning the characters’ junior and senior years.
When my daughter entered high school four years ago, she found her experience was nothing like One Tree Hill for many reasons. I understood my daughter’s sentiment. My memories of high school are not similar to an OTH storyline, and that’s what made it so fun to watch. I would have loved to go to high school there!
1. Nathan and Lucas
Brothers from another mother, Nathan and Lucas Scott are the ultimate high school hunks. Hot, hot, hot! Guys want to be them and girls want to date them. Nathan starts off as a bad boy, but when he meets his true love, Haley, he becomes a better man (swoon) — but not quite. He still gets into a lot of trouble. Conversely, Lucas is introduced as a good boy who gets a little wild when he meets Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer — a love triangle that runs through the entire four years of high school. Which one would I crush on if I went to Tree Hill? I’m definitely Team Nathan, but I am sure I would not have turned down a date with his brother.
2. Peyton’s bedroom and the door
Peyton had an awesome bedroom for a high school girl. So many moments happened in that room, from gossiping with Brooke to Nathan painting her toenails. Best of all, her Dad let her paint it in any color she wanted. At one point she chose a dramatic red — perfect for discussing and crying over her many angst ridden teen romances — and this became the name of grown-up Peyton’s company: Red Bedroom Records. One of my favorite parts of the room was the door where she and Brooke write the names of their loves in chalk. “He’s on the door, Peyton. He is on the damn door under me!” Brooke shouts at Peyton in the final scene of the third season when Peyton says she has feelings for Lucas.
3. Coach Whitey
Whitey is the type of coach you know athletes remember and come back to see long after they have retired their high school jerseys. He is a blend of tough and tender, a mentor who truly understands your potential, both as an athlete and as a person. He wants to win, badly, but not if it means breaking the rules or missing an opportunity to teach young athletes a valuable lesson. Who wouldn’t want a coach like Whitey Durham?
4. Clothes Over Bros
Brooke creates her clothing line, the awesomely named Clothes Over Bros, while still in high school, as a way to distract herself from her failed romance with Lucas. You go girl! I would have just hit the Ben & Jerry’s, but that is a way more productive and totally fabulous way to get over a guy, especially one who dumps you for your BFF.
5. Karen’s Cafe
Not only is this a great place for an after-school latte and muffin — probably at half price since you know the owner, Lucas’s mom — but at the suggestion of Haley and Deb, they decide to hold an open mic night. The people singing don’t turn out to be off-tune extras. This cafe hosts Sheryl Crow and Gavin DeGraw.
A typical high school evening plan for myself or my daughter means hanging out with friends, either at someone’s house or going out for something to eat. Hanging in a basement is not happening in Tree Hill. In season two, Peyton opens up a nightclub, Tric, where teens can hang out. Yep, they have their own nightclub where groups like Jimmy Eats World and Fall Out Boy perform.
7. Mouth and Skills
Everyone, guys and girls, needs someone they can trust — especially in high school. In Tree Hill, the guys you can count on are Mouth McFadden and Skills Taylor. Both Mouth and Skills are friends of Lucas’ from the River Court, but when he moves on to the more popular clique, they more than come along. Mouth is the guy girls feel comfortable telling their secrets to — from romantic drama to catty friends. Although he pines to be someone’s special someone, he settles into and thrives in the role of “best guy friend.” By series’ end, he is happily married to Millicent, who is mature enough to appreciate you don’t want to marry the bad boy that makes you crazy. Skills is all around cool — a friend and a baller — and he gets the girl, too.
8. State basketball champions
Although Nathan almost blows it for the Tree Hill Ravens, they end their season as the state champions for the first time in the school’s history. The whole school is there to support them. There are cheers, tears, confetti and a heartfelt confession from Lucas. When he tells Peyton, “It’s you Peyton. When all my dreams come true, the one I want next to me. It’s you. It’s you, Peyton,” the high school me just swoons.