When a new year rolls around, it can be good to try something new. On Christmas, my cousinsLinds and Dano, sisters in their early 20stold me one of their favorite shows is One Tree Hill. Id seen a few scenes, but had never gotten into it enough to watch an entire episode. (The fact that its been airing opposite Lost this season just might be why.)
Melding UPN with the WB brought the show a nice ratings hike on CW, where it follows Americas Top Model. Now, CW and Sunkist are sponsoring a Bring One Tree Hill to Your Town contest. Viewers can submit a 30-second video for a chance to have an episode of the series shot in their hometown. Details and rules can be found at http:cwtv.com/thecw/cw-sunkist, but the deadline is Jan. 7, so if you want to enter, you better hurry.
With all this One Tree Hill hoopla, I figured it was beyond time for me to give the show a serious look. I knew going in it would be difficult to follow all the subplots since its a long-running serial, so I didnt expect to understand everything. But it didnt take long to realize Nathan and Lucas were the half-brothers at the center of the story. Much of the episode I saw revolved around a pivotal high school basketball game, so the girlsall in cheerleader uniformsblended into one. Only their hair colors helped separate them at first.
Then, the cheerleaders had a funny, yet pointed, scene as they drove to the game. They role-played, spouting digs about each others flaws, which led to a slapfest between two girls when one of them took it too far. That scene alone conveyed some differences in the superficially similar characters.
What I didnt expect was how well the show would contrast the teens problems with those of the adults. (I really enjoyed seeing Northern Exposures Barry Corbin as the basketball coach. That guy can play subtle dramatic momentshis character standing alone surveying the damage of a car crashevery bit as deftly as he does comedy.)
Yes, the teens problems were heightened beyond reality, but according to my cousin, Linds, thats the appeal: We all went through drama in high school, and even though ours was never as dramatic or huge as whats going on on the show, its fun to slightly compare it. I also think that its a mini soap opera, which always attracts and addicts people.
Dano enjoys constant surprises stemming from the ever-changing relationships among the core characters: Theres usually a big twist every show, which really keeps you in suspense and excited to see the next show. It also makes it fun for the real-life sisters to speculate on upcoming events.
Linds says, One thing I love most about the show is that at the end, someone talks and sums up the meaning of what is all going onif you listen, it can really mean a lot to you and a part of your own life.
Verdict: Ill probably tune in again.
And to anyone entering the contest, let me know if you win!
Programming note: One Tree Hill airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CW.
From the Jan. 3-9, 2007, issue