One Tree Hill: Season 7 Review

“I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately. All I have to do is think of me and I have peace of mind.” These are the lyrics to the theme song of One Tree Hill, and I believe that they embody the spirit of the show. One Tree Hill is full of spoiled, self-centered people who do not care how their actions affect anyone besides themselves, and they spend most of their time complaining about how tough and unfair life is to them. They are overgrown middle-schoolers with credit cards. I have no sympathy for these people, and I cannot understand how this show lasted for seven (now going on eight) seasons.

At the beginning of the seventh season, One Tree Hill has lost leading characters Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Peyton (Hilarie Burton), and the season focuses most of its attention on Nathan (James Lafferty) and Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti), the basketball/pop singer power couple, Brooke (Sophia Bush) and Julian (Austin Nichols), and Millicent (Lisa Goldstein).

New characters for the season include Haley’s sister Quinn (Shantel VanSanten), Nathan’s agent Clayton (Robert Buckley), and Brooke’s new model Alex (Jana Kramer) who are written for the soul purpose of more couple’s drama. There are a lot of other minor characters that have a little screen time like sports reporter Marvin “Mouth” McFadden (Lee Norris), Skills (Antwon Tanner), Lauren (Allison Munn), Miranda (India de Beaufort), and Grubbs (Mike Grubbs). Paul Johansson also returns as Dan Scott, Nathan’s evil father, and he is married to Rachel Gatina (Danneel Harris) and has his own televangelist-style self-help show.

If One Tree Hill sounds convoluted and confusing, that is because it is. I get the feeling that the creators did not have faith in the supporting characters who were stepping up now that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton have left the show, so they threw in a lot of new characters to create the illusion of plotlines and plausible new love triangles. After watching all the way through this season, I had a little sympathy for a few characters, but I don’t think I was sympathizing with the “right characters.”

My biggest complaint is with Quinn and the show’s attempt to turn her poor ex-husband into a villain. Quinn shows up in Tree Hill because she has left her husband David (Scott Holroyd). David did not do anything to deserve Quinn’s abandonment. He begs her to go to marital counseling and desperately wants to fix their marriage, but Quinn’s response is to go home with Clayton. While she does not sleep with Clayton right away, she does start a new relationship with Clayton before her divorce has even been finalized.

Why does Quinn treat her husband with such disregard? David took a year off from his dream of producing a documentary and worked a better paying job so that they could afford their first house. What a horrible man, thinking of their future and sacrificing so she could live in the same level of comfort as the rest of her family. What was David thinking? He should have paid closer attention to the show’s montages of Quinn taking pictures of people down at the beach. She is obviously a free spirit who cannot be tamed or tied down (except by a sports agent who lives in an expensive apartment with his own pool).

One of the biggest problems with the whole seventh season of One Tree Hill is the writer’s impatience. They create in one episode what should be built up over several episodes or a good fraction of the season. One of the main plot-lines involves Millicent becoming a fashion model for Clothes over Bros, and within about 3 days, Millicent is a cocaine addict who calls her friends “b**ches” and treats her boyfriend like crap. Most shows would build Millicent’s downfall over an entire season or several seasons like Kirsten’s alcoholism in The O.C., but the One Tree Hill writers are too eager to bring in fresh drama whether it makes sense or not. The season’s biggest offender in this regard is Katie Ryan (Amanda Schull) who shows up on the tail end of the season so she can shoot Quinn and Clayton and give the season finale a cliffhanger ending. Katie is only known as the crazy girl, and she shoots Quinn and Clayton, two of the new cast members this season. Is anyone supposed to care when Katie shoots them? I know that I turned it off at the end of season 7 and had no desire to know what happens in season 8.

I don’t hate all rich-people-behaving-badly soap operas, but One Tree Hill exposes and magnifies all the weaknesses of the genre. There are too many characters, and most of them are lucky to get screen time, not to mention development. I have heard that couples grow stronger through adversity. If there was one positive element of watching season 7 of One Tree Hill, it was that my husband and I are stronger for having made it all the way through.

EXTRA SLAP IN THE FACE

During season 7, legendary ‘80’s director John Hughes died. One Tree Hill decided to dedicate an episode to John Hughes by recreating scenes from Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, Home Alone, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. John Hughes is one of my all-time favorite directors. He pushed past the stereotypes of jock, geek, and freak and created unforgettable characters. Watching the cast of One Tree Hill play dress-up and wink broadly at the camera made me sad. Their John Hughes tribute paled in comparison to the real deal, and the One Tree Hill team is still here while John Hughes is gone. How is that fair?

THE ONE TREE HILL DRINKING GAME

If anyone out there is forced to watch One Tree Hill for any reason, my husband and I came up with a drinking game to make it more bearable.

Take a shot when…

  1. A scene opens with a shot of a character brooding.
  2. A character makes a completely irrational decision. (Example: Katie meets Clayton and decides to dress up as his dead wife like a creepy reverse Vertigo.)
  3. There is a montage to a sad song with shots of characters looking off into the distance substituting for dialogue.
  4. A girl uses “b**ch” as a greeting.
  5. Someone announces they have incurable cancer.
  6. Someone gets in a fight and falls into a swimming pool.
  7. Skills uses poor grammar or outdated slang. (He is the show’s only African-American character, so the writers thought he needed to say “dawg” a lot. I actually had a flashback to the film Crash when the television producer said that an African-American character didn’t sound “black” enough.)
  8. Hailey sings one of her generic pop songs.
  9. Hailey sings a cover of a much better song.
  10. Hailey and Nathan’s son mugs for the camera in an “Ain’t I cute?” moment.

DVD BONUS FEATURES

There are quite a few special features including audio commentary for several episodes, a featurette on the new season, clips of winners of a One Tree Hill contest visiting the set, and a featurette on Sophia Bush guest directing an episode. Fans might enjoy seeing behind the scenes of One Tree Hill, but for me, I didn’t want to watch the cast and crew pat themselves on the back for a sub-par show that should not have been renewed for another season.

"One Tree Hill: Season 7" is on sale August 17, 2010 and is not rated. Drama, Romance, Television. Directed by Bethany Joy Galeotti, Gregory Prange, Joe Davola, Les Butler, Mark Schwahn, Paul Johansson, Peter B Kowalski. Written by Mark Schwahn, Terrence Coli, Mike Herro, David Strauss, John A. Norris, William H. Brown, Mike Daniels, Shaina Fewell, Karin Gist, Renee Intlekofer, Nikki Schiefelbein. Starring Antwon Tanner, Bethany Joy Galeotti, James Lafferty, Jana Kramer, Lee Norris, Lisa Goldstein, Paul Johansson, Robert Buckley, Shantel VanSanten, Sophia Bush.

Aug
30
2010
Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.

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