On Wednesday, One Tree Hill will conclude its ninth and final season, bowing into TV oblivion—but before it goes off to syndication purgatory or takes up residence on the 2 for $20 DVD shelf at Target, I’d like to take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from the past nine years.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it meant to be. The awesome thing about a series as long-running and that features as diverse and sizable a cast as One Tree Hill is that there’s a little bit of something for everyone. These are the moments that stuck out to me. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below!
That '40s Show
Season 6, Episode 11: “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)”
“We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)” was written by Chad Michael Murray as his homage to 1940s noir film. The Tree Hill gang got jazzy at Karen’s Café, manifested as a swanky nightclub in Lucas Scott’s overworked brain’s dreamscape. Dan played the villainous rival club owner, Haley the sultry singer, Brooke the down-on-her-luck lady in red, and Lucas himself appeared as the Rick Blaine of Tree Hill. And maybe the period costumes and retro cars were a little jarring at first, and maybe I spent half the episode trying to figure out what was going on (you know, when I wasn’t drooling over the throwback wardrobe), but it was fun, right? It was fun, insightful, and a playfully imaginative analysis of the roles that the residents of Tree Hill played at the time.
"I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy..."
Season 3 (various episodes)
One of the weirder storylines of series' run, Peyton’s relationship with Pete Wentz severely strained my ability to take One Tree Hill seriously, and maybe that was the point. Or maybe The WB just wanted to milk all of that pent-up teen lust for the Fall Out Boy frontman before the band blew through its popularity and the network had to figure out who the new “cool” band was. I’m going with the former, because I like a show that can poke fun at itself. Or at the very least, acknowledge that this is a silly storyline.
On the bright side, that shot of Pete and the ladies putting on their make-up in the morning will never be anything less than amazing. I love a guy who can apply his own eyeliner.
A New Brand of Puppy Chow
Season 6, Episode 18: "Searching for a Former Clarity"
Back when Dan Scott was a super villain with a bad heart and before Rachel turned to the black market to solve that pesky problem, Dan tried to get a heart transplant the normal way... only to see his shiny new ticker get chomped on by a dog in the waiting room.
It was hard to feel bad for the guy when I was laughing so hard. Not to mention the fact that he was still pretty much a raging douchebag at the time.
Peyton Takes a Stand
Season 2, Episode 10: “Don’t Take Me for Granted”
In Season 2’s “Don’t Take Me for Granted” (years before the debut of Glee), Peyton’s tentative friendship with new girl Anna Tagarro was tested when rumors of her sexuality began to spread through the halls of Tree Hill High School and Anna seemingly ditched her in response to them. Anna revealed that the reason she'd left her old school was due to similar gossip, and she didn’t want to bring them down on Peyton at Tree Hill. Anna confided in Peyton that she was, in reality, bisexual, and Peyton decided to stand up for Anna, herself, and “the next girl” by wearing a T-shirt on which she'd spray-painted the word “dyke.” She argued with the principal when he ordered her to change into something more appropriate, pointed out that no one had mentioned removing the “inappropriate” word from her locker, and finally, when ordered a final time to remove the shirt, whipped it off in the hallway and walked out in her bra. Booyah.
It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's B-dazzled, Baby Mama, and Shutterbug!
Season 8, Episode 14: "Holding Out for a Hero"
Brooke, Quinn, and Haley decided to don superhero personas to help out a high school girl who was being bullied by the Mean Girls. Oh, and Brooke developed an obsession with the movie Kick Ass (excellent choice, Brooke, one of my personal favorites). The trio took on the local bullies in stilettos and push-up bras and the visual of them carefully picking their way through the bushes was so ridiculous that it was brilliant. Kinda like the actual movie Kick Ass.
Okay, so Kick Ass was based on a graphic novel. I’d read a B-dazzled graphic novel. Just saying.
The Breakfast Club Comes to Tree Hill High
Season 4, Episode 13: “Pictures of You”
Okay, so I’m a sucker for playing the “let’s analyze the headspace of fictional characters” game. Also, anything that even vaguely looks like it was influenced by The Breakfast Club—which, to an extent, is anything post 1984 that’s willing to dabble in the few archetypes most high school populations can be segregated by at first glance. At Tree Hill, a teacher stated that the groups were Jock, Prom Queen, Geek, Friendly (code word for “slut”), and Loner. The students placed one another in each group, most were unhappy with where they ended up, and the teacher randomly paired everyone off in unlikely match-ups, and tasked everyone with taking honest photographs of their partners for publication in the yearbook. Lucas spent an hour with goth girl Glenda and revealed his novel-in-the-works. Brooke and Chase discussed the insecurities behind her confident façade. And the pictures themselves? Well they were works of art.
Jimmy Edwards’ Funeral
Season 3, Episode 17: "Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them"
I know the school shooting that led to Jimmy’s death is the type of moment that tends to make these kinds of lists; it should, because "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept" was an intense episode that frankly discussed an issue that is still very much front and center in a lot of schools all over the country. I’m going with the aftermath as my memorable moment, though. After all, it’s the aftermath of the tragedy that lasts the longest. Before Keith’s real killer was revealed to be Dan, everyone in Tree Hill assumed that it was poor Jimmy Edwards, including Lucas Scott. Lucas and the others embodied the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance and it was a small, solemn group of Ravens who joined Jimmy’s mom, the sole other person in attendance, at his funeral. One Tree Hill was, at times, very silly, with its Pete Wentz hook-ups and Rachel Gatina on the cover of Maxim before she was old enough to vote, but when it decided to be a serious show for serious viewers, well, One Tree Hill wore many hats over the course of nine seasons.
Haley James Scott’s Graduation Speech
Season 4, Episode 20: "The Birth and Death of Day"
There were a lot of beautiful moments at Tree Hill High’s graduation ceremony. I appreciated the Rachel shout-out because yeah, she’s a horrible person, but I never really thought she enjoyed being a horrible person. On that note, I would have loved Rachel getting her own chance at a redemption story. I mean, c’mon, Dan got one.
Anyway, there were some aww moments, and then Haley got up to the podium to give her valedictorian speech... pausing halfway through to giggle and apologize because she was in labor. Her little “oopsie” face when Nathan stood up to claim Daddy Duty sealed the deal.
Now it's your turn! What are your most memorable OTH moments?