“Somebody told me that this is the place,
Where everything’s better and everything’s safe…”
Today marks the 11-year anniversary of One Tree Hill’s debut on the CW, which was then known as the WB network. For so many people, including myself, it was more than just a TV show. It felt like an extension of real life. The characters were honest, they had struggles, and sometimes life wasn’t that fairytale picture they had imagined.Yet, for as many big story lines that they had — Crazy Nanny Carrie, Dan shooting Keith in the hallway of Tree Hill High, car accidents, a dog running away with Dan's heart, Psycho Derek, and stalker Xavier--One Tree Hill was about the quiet moments. It was about the little victories, the simple things that life brings us every day — The talks with good friends, being part of a team, family being there for one another, forgiveness, finding the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and embracing who you are. Tree Hill became a real place to all us. It was the one place you could count on week after week for nine seasons, knowing that some of your favorite people would be waiting for you as soon as you turned an episode on. The series wouldn’t have been the same without any of the main characters. They each had their own strengths and weaknesses, but we learned something from every single one of them. I realize there were a lot of characters over the years, but this is a breakdown of a few of my favorite characters and that I feel most people could connect with: Brooke Davis taught me what it means to be enough. Though, she struggled with that during her high school years, she eventually became exactly who she was meant to be. She reminded me that sometimes you have to go through a lot of heartache and it might take a little time, but waiting will make your dreams coming true that much sweeter. Someday, you really can have it all - The career and the family. You deserve the best! Don't settle for anything less than that. Peyton Sawyer reminded me that it’s okay to need people. Yes, sometimes they leave. But, sometimes they come back. Sometimes she was moody and pushed people away, but when she let people in, great things happened. She also reminded us of the importance of music and what a strong, healing force that can be in our lives. She reminded us of passion and art; finding a deeper meaning in it all. Haley James Scott reminded me to dream big. She was the "good girl," and taught us that it's okay to be a little different or to be someone that society finds “weird.” It’s okay to do your own thing. It’s also okay to take a chance on someone (in her case, an athlete), because they might really surprise you. She reminded us what it means to be loyal to your friends and family, no matter what situations you might be faced with. And she sure was faced with a lot (i.e.- Nanny Carrie, Dan and Deb, alleged cheaters, and getting married in high school). Nathan Scott taught me that you can rise above whatever crappy hand your dealt in life. You don’t have to be labeled by your family or anyone else. You don’t have stick to the status quo, just because everyone else wants you to. You can be the one who changes it all and makes a better life for your own family. Lucas Scott was a leader. He reminded all of us to do the right thing, even when it was difficult. Sometimes he fell short of that, but he had a good heart and always set out to do what he could for his family and friends. He reminded us that everyone has a story to tell and there's a reason that we are the way we are. He always reminded us to look a little deeper. Julian Baker reminded me that good guys are still out there. He was the answer to so many lonely nights for Brooke. But, aside from being the rock of his and Brooke's family, he was driven. He was a visionary and was so passionate about his filmmaking. If nothing else, he was always there to make you smile, whether it was with the way he high-fived or the way he didn't always know how to bond with the guys. "If you want everyone to come back every week, you have to care about the people," said Mark Schwan, creator of One Tree Hill. I'd say he did a good job, because even though the show isn't on anymore, people are still tuning in and wondering what these characters would be up to. Tree Hill is still there, and you feel that if you were to take a trip there, you'd see the Scotts or Bakers walking down the street. That's how it should be. Like I said, One Tree Hill was more than just a TV show. It came at a time when I needed it most. I was in my Freshman year of college; things were changing all around me. We weren’t kids anymore in the safety net of high school; we were each embarking on our own journeys. That can be exciting, but it was also weird to start alone. One Tree Hill reminded me to not mourn what was over, but to celebrate what we had. Little did I know, it would also introduce me to a lot of wonderful friends, through Twitter and other One Tree Hill fan events I attended during the last season. This wasn’t just a show to entertain people. It told much bigger stories than that. It made you feel like YOU were part of something. And I'd say we were. This show was ahead of its time. It was pushing boundaries before that was a "thing," and was the little show that could...And did. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="63360,63359,63358,63357,63356,63355"]
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