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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Tree Hill, Season 1 Review

I did not archive all of my reviews, so this is about the earliest I have.  Between seasons 4 and 5, OTH took a long break to figure out how to do a 4 year time warp.  During that time I wrote reviews of each of the first three seasons as well as episode 3.16.  I will be posting those reviews tonight.  Seasons 5-8 will go up after that as I have time.  I will put the season finale of season 8 up as soon as I write it this weekend even though it will be out of order.

So, here we go...

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Due to new episodes of OTH being put off until January, I have been rewatching the prior 3 seasons; S4 is not out on DVD yet. After finishing each season, I will be writing a review of that season. Here is Season 1, written last week. Season 2 will be up in a litle bit.

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Ok, as I said, here is my review of Season 1.

Let's start with the obvious that my review of the
season is obviously going to be colored by the fact
that I seen every episode. Can't really avoid it,
although I will try to avoid referring to future
events.

Lets start at the beginning, with Lucas Scott.
Introduced as a wonderful basketball player and
seemingly more or less perfect guy with a wonderful
best friend in the person of Haley James and several
friends (Skillz, Fergie, and Junk) who he plays
basketball with, while their friends Mouth and Jimmy
(who disappears after an episode or two) do
commentary. He is very attracted to a silent, broody
cheerleader in the form of Peyton Sawyer, who happens
to be dating his half-brother Nathan Scott. As if
that is not complicated enough, his mother has a
platonic relationship; almost an emotional marriage;
to Keith Scott, the brother of Lucas' father, Dan
Scott. Dan's wife, Deb, is not in the picture at
first. And that is mostly established within the
first few minutes of the pilot.

I remember that when OTH came on for the first time, I
was hooked almost instantly. I had just recently
started to watch teen dramas, and had discovered that
I really enjoyed them; despite the fact that I was 25
at the time. I liked the complicated relationships
that were set up very quickly, loved the way the
different worlds melded, and loved the clear
delineation between good and bad.

That delineation lasted for a few episodes, but rather
quickly blurred after that. As Nathan adjusted to
Lucas' presence in his life and as his relationship
with Haley continued, he slowly became less and less
like Dan and more and more human. I remember thinking
at the time that I loved that Nathan kept screwing up.
He would take a few steps towards being a better
person and then would lose a few because he pulled an
absolute stupid. That really showed that he was not
some superhuman who could change overnight, rather he
had to constantly struggle to become the person who he
could be. That was Nathan's storyline throughout
Season 1. The struggle to become a good, solid
person. A person whom people could depend on, even
though he would keep on screwing up.

Lucas' storyline was in some ways a mirror image of
Nathan's. Lucas started off as a really good guy, but
once he was introduced to the world of popularity, he
fell. Now, I'll grant that he was still probably
better than 95% of guys out there, but for him, it was
a big fall. He screwed up left and right, but in the
end, he found his bearings. The fact that by the last
episode Lucas and Nathan were really good friends
shows how far they both came in a very short period of
time. We also started the love triangle of Brooke,
Peyton, and Lucas that would last until Season 4 in
one form or another. I hate love triangles so I'll
say no more about it than I have to.

Brooke's storyline is in some ways the most
interesting. Seemingly introduced merely as a friend
of Peyton's and the queen of Slutville, Brooke very
quickly became indispensable to the show. Like Summer
on the O.C., Brooke moved from a secondary character
to mian character in just a few episodes. While I
could not stand her at first, once episode 1.07, "The
Search for Something More" rolled around, I really
warmed to her. Yes, she could be shallow, slutty, and
very materialistic, but she also had a heart of gold
lurking in her chest. At first, I actually cheered
for Brooke and Lucas to pair up once Peyton blew her
shot. But over time, I didn't like it as much. Once
episode 1.17, "To Wish Impossible Things"; aka "The
Boytoy Episode"; played, I instantly fell for Mouth
and Brooke as a pair. They are so completely
different, but that seems to be really good for
Brooke. She treat Mouth differently than she treats
any other guy. I loved watching the two of them
together. Then, once we hit the end of the season and
Brooke turned from righteous anger against Lucas and
Peyton to sheer bitchery, I started to dislike her
again. She never recovered her former high status in
my eyes for the rest of the season.

Haley had what was probably the weirdest journey. At
first, I was afraid that they were trying to turn her
into Joey from Dawsons' Creek; aka the girl in love
with the best friend who is in love with another girl.
Fortunately, they rather quickly moved on from that
possibility, much to my delight. She was approached
by Nathan to tutor her, and it was obvious what his
plans were. But somewhere along the line, his goals
changed. He started to see that Haley was a girl he
really liked, and she started to warm to him. Then
Brooke interfered....grrr.... But she made up for it
by getting them back together. Than Nathan; who was
going good for a bit; screwed it up by refusing to
acknowledge her in front of his friends. But, Haley
and Nathan patch up their difficulties, and proceed to
have their relationship grow more and more intense as
the season goes on. Also interesting to see is Haley
relationship with Peyton. These two very different
people grow very close as they bond over Nathan and
Lucas. I have to say that I really enjoyed that.
Just as a future reference, I do wonder if this
closeness is the reason for Peyton's being such a
bitch to Haley in the third season. In this season,
we establish that Haley can sing and loves to do so,
which becomes important later. The other interesting
Haley relationship is her relationship with Lucas.
While it is strained several times; generally over
Nathan; they can always repair the damage, which is
wonderful to see.

Peyton is next. The broody cheerleader. "An enigma
wrapped inside of a puzzle in a bitch" as I believe
she put it. Initially dating Nathan Scott, then drawn
to Lucas Scott, this appeared to be another love
triangle that never really occurred; fortunately.
Peyton is probably the most screwed up member of the
teen group. Don't get me wrong, I love her to death,
but she is a walking bundle of ISSUES. She can be
absolutely wonderful, but she also has a lot of
problems. Fortunately, she doesn't turn to drinking
too often, or else Marissa comparisons would be made
here. I think that I was most intrigued by the whole
Jake/Peyton/Nikki dynamic. Nikki was an inspired
creation and an absolute bitch who rivaled Dan at
times in her sheer and unadulterated cruelty and mind
games. Like Lucas/Haley, the Brooke/Peyton friendship
is severely strained and even broken for a brief
period, but like true best friends, they find a way to
make it up and keep their friendship.

And now for Dan. Probably the most inspired character
in the entire show. A bitter man who fathered two of
our main characters. A devious and vicious man who
can play mind games like they are going out of style.
The domineering father who wants what he thinks is
best for his son; well his legitimate son anyway. A
misunderstood man who really was turned evil by the
machinations of others. All of these images of Dan
were presented in the first season; and I probably
missed a few. Seeing that this is a drama, someone
needs to stir up the pot, and that character is
generally Dan. He can screw with your mind and you
might never realize it. He can say one thing and mean
something else entirely, but not be lying; or so he
says. As a villain, he is probably one of the est out
there, and that is thanks in no small part to the
wonderful actor who lays him with such wonderful
cruelty, Paul Johansson. Dan's subtle manipulations;
and his more blatant ones at that; are things I am
forced to admire, even as I hate them. The man has a
flair for manipulation that is only rarely matched by
any other character.

Keith Scott at first seems like just like somewhat of
a lovable goof who is in love with Karen. But over
time, you see that he has depths that are virtually
limitless, including his simultaneous dislike and love
of his younger brother. He may be a blue collar guy,
but he has a wonderful heart. I do understand why
Karen chose not to marry him, but I do feel sorry for
him.

Karen Roe. An interesting character, who mainly plays
second fiddle to Lucas and Dan. While she has some
story lines of her own, mainly dealing with either
Keith or Larry. You have to admire this woman. She
had a child when she was 18 and proceeded to establish
her own cafe and become a successful businesswoman,
while raising a relatively issues-free son. Have to
admire her guts.

Deb, like Karen, mainly plays second fiddle to her
son, Nathan and to Dan. She is the mother who was
never around much and is trapped in a loveless
marriage because she wants to stay together for her
son. Then once she decides to divorce Dan, she an Dan
start a war with each other that causes Nathan to pull
away from both of them. Sometimes I feel sorry for
her and sometimes I don't. I was very happy to see
her and Karen establish such a solid friendship.

There are so many other characters I could write
about, but they are so secondary that I don't want to
take the time or space. If anyone wants my thoughts
on other characters, please ask.

To finish this off, I want to go with my favorite
lines and episodes. My favorite episodes were "Spirit
in the Night" and "To Wish Impossible things". Both
episodes were hilarious, had wonderful stories, and
were just overall very good. My favorite line is in
"To Wish Impossible Things". When Haley is bidding on
Lucas, Peyton says, "That's a creepy threesome." And
of course, anytime Nathan gives a long sappy speech to
Haley about how much he loves her. I can never get
enough of those.

Will repeat this for seasons 2 and 3 when I finish
watching them. Enjoy!