Why Watch One Tree Hill?

By Katja Kramer

Picture of Katja Kramer
Picture of Katja Kramer

I have started, finished, hated and loved many TV shows, but there is not a single one that could ever compete with my all-time favorite: One Tree Hill. Knowing how underrated and overlooked it is genuinely upsets me as it is a show truly everybody should watch. That is not only to be entertained, which is why most people watch TV shows in the first place. Certainly, One Tree Hill is one of those that are extremely enjoyable in that matter; although to this very show, there is much more than just its entertainment value.

With the plot starting in their high school days, the show follows the lives of a group of teenagers along with a multitude of other characters as they face various struggles, overcome them and finally turn into adults worth looking up to. Now, this might sound like any other teen drama and superficially speaking, I am not going to argue. This particular coming-of-age drama, however — with its variety of captivating storylines, its outstanding characters and its crucial life lessons — is like no other.

Undoubtedly, One Tree Hill has storylines some might deem overused — love triangles, teenage parenthood, creepy stalkers faking their identities — but other than that, through nine seasons, an extraordinarily broad range of topics and plots is explored. In high school, we witness the characters discover and express their talents, struggle in Math class, deal with immense pressure from the outside world, grieve a fellow student’s suicide, try to find where they belong and much more. In adulthood, they are exposed to a variety of other challenges and realities of life: from a couple facing severe marital problems to another character suffering from infertility. Basically, One Tree Hill offers everything to keep its audience hooked — while also, to some extent, having it relate to specific situations and identify with the characters — and more: unexpected friendships that give us hilarious moments; teen marriage; kidnappings; cold-blooded murder; the excruciating depiction of losing a loved one. What really makes these storylines, though, is the people that are inherent to them; without these remarkable characters the plot would not work nearly as well.

This directly brings me my second argument to watch One Tree Hill: the characters. To know them is to love them or in some cases, you love to hate them. Major or minor, doesn’t matter — every character is an essential part of the story; every single one is complex and every single one we enjoy watching unfold. It is undeniable that One Tree Hill has given us some of the most memorable fictional characters of all time. To name a few minor characters, we have reoccuring musician Chris Keller whom we on the one hand are annoyed by, but who on the other hand, is incredibly amusing; we have Coach Whitey Durham whose wisdom never fails to give us goosebumps; we have Quentin Fields whose name alone brings tears to my eyes. For some of the most exceptional character developments, we have Brooke Davis and Nathan Scott. We also have Dan Scott who, to me, is perhaps the greatest villain ever created for despite being a downright awful person, he still manages to make me feel for him at times. Every character is unique, special and almost every one is lovable; whenever I realize I haven’t rewatched One Tree Hill in a while, I start seriously missing them. And as once a character on the show said, “if you miss [someone], that means you’re lucky” — that means they are “worth missing.”

Speaking of quotes, a third reason why everybody needs to watch this show: all the life lessons. No work of fiction taught me as much as One Tree Hill. There is probably not one episode which does not contain at least one quote to relate to or live by and that is true until the very end. It would not only be impossible to list them all, but pointless too — one needs and deserves to have the full breathtaking experience of hearing them delivered by the characters and in the exact contexts they occur. I am convinced that everything I learned from this show and its characters shaped an overwhelming part of who I am today; for this, I remain forever grateful.

A little bonus argument to watch the show: the music. Along with basketball, music is a major theme in One Tree Hill; in fact, every episode except the pilot is named after a song and even its title was given to it by U2’s “One Tree Hill.” The soundtrack is amazing and makes an essential component of the show.

I could swoon over One Tree Hill indefinitely, but truth be told, I know my words will not do any justice to it in the long run; it’s just one of those things one needs to see and experience for oneself and I really hope everyone will. No other show portrays love, friendship, loss and growing up in a comparable manner. No other show teaches you as much about some of the most important things in life: to never let others define your worth; to always be yourself and stand up for that person; to never stop believing in love, friendship and dreams; to face your fears and not be afraid to make mistakes; to never give up and at all times know that no matter how hopeless a situation might seem, there is always a brighter tomorrow. While I could easily name plenty of remarkable TV shows off the top of my head, no other show is as worth watching as the timeless masterpiece that is One Tree Hill.

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