Friday, January 10, 2014

"Where everything's safe..."

Some of you might know the quote you see, others might not. I suppose it depends on how many episodes of One Tree Hill you've seen or how close of attention you paid.

The show started years ago, and ran from 2003 to 2012. But really, I didn't start watching until a few months after the show aired its final season, during my freshman year of college. Since then, I've watched and rewatched almost every episode. Because like the sign from Karen's Cafe, the show has become that place for me, in many ways.

 Now, I'm sure that there are plenty of fan girls out there who think One Tree Hill and immediately think of who they would prefer Lucas choose. Peyton or Brooke? And who is the favorite couple on the show? Naley? Leyton? Brucas? Brulian?

While that's all well and good and exciting, it's not the root of the reason why I watch.

Honestly, every time I tell someone my favorite show is One Tree Hill, I tend to get the same responses.

1. Isn't that a Soap Opera? No. It isn't. Soap Operas have bad acting. 

2. That's a lot of Drama. Yes. I know.

3. (from the conservatives) Don't the kids swear and drink and have sex out of wedlock? They have their cuss word of choice, but the other two, I will later explain the purpose of. 

Those are the big three. But this show caught my attention because it's the first show to really have a conscience. Where the characters face what so many of us do... making right and wrong decisions and then facing the consequences of whatever choice they make.

the teens who engage in premarital sex must face the reality of risking pregnancy and how teen pregnancy can change your world.

the ones who drink aren't shown to be smart. Drinking is shown to be that risky, rebellious sort of behavior, that doesn't leave you in a great position the next day. Even when they are grown, Nathan tells his brother, "The darkness doesn't have any answers" in reference to Lucas' drinking to numb pain.

The cussing, well, I don't cuss myself. Let me make that clear. I figure that there's better adjectives out there. When deciding whether or not to watch the show, you have to decide if use of the A and B words bother you. But the cussing caps out there.

But here's the upsides to the show... the reasons why I love it.

Remember what I said about being a show with a conscience?

Nathan and Haley make the conscious decision to wait until marriage for sex... and they do.

The sanctity of marriage and the seriousness of it is shown through Nathan and Haley, and Lucas' engagements to Lindsey and Peyton. Haley reminds her brother-in-law that marriage is a serious commitment, because whoever he commits to, he's committed for life. But Haley lives out her advice. She and her husband face many challenges, but remain faithful to one another. Literally through richer and poorer and in sickness and health. When the two of them say, "I love you," they follow up with the words, "always and forever."

The creator, Mark Schwahn originally intended it to be a sort of retelling of the biblical Cain and Abel through Lucas and Nathan and their father Dan. But after the pilot episode, the story quickly began to change and grow as the characters did. The story really changed to one that asks the question, "what happens when your dreams die?" and is it possible to have a new dream?

Nathan, Dan and basketball... the NBA

Haley, Peyton and music... recording

Lucas and writing... publishing

Brooke and fashion... her own label

Mouth and broadcasting... television

Does your identity change when your dreams do? I think we see this best through Nathan. His father lived in regret and bitterness when he lost his dream of playing basketball. He faces the same struggle when his temper gets the better of him and he is severely handicapped. His therapist tells him that part of keeping his marriage healthy is pursuing his dreams, because his family can be proud of him when he does. But what Nathan finds, is that he has two dreams, one, is to play professional basketball, the other dream is rather new, but even more wonderful - his family. He decides that above all, his family is his dream, and he can't lose that dream.

Bitterness versus forgiveness also took a strong theme in the story. Envy separates Dan from his brother, Keith Scott. But his sons struggle with the same bitterness and strive to be different. When his actions come back to haunt him, Dan hopes to make amends.

In the end, after his sons harbored so much bitterness against Dan for the wrongs he committed, one of them concludes that he wishes he hadn't wasted so much time hating his father.

I really resonated with something Haley said in the fourth reason:

"Sometimes I feel incredibly disconnected, really uncomfortable in my own skin. Kind of, like I don't fit in to this world. Like I was born at the wrong time, and I don't belong." (Pictures of you - 4x13)

I used to say that I should have been born in the 1800s. On second glance, it really wasn't simpler times, but the sentiment is the same. I think we all wake up sometimes and just feel this sense of insecurity. 

From a biblical standpoint, you can read this quote and think of the brand, "Not Of This World." And that is certainly a part of it. 

but for me... it's just feeling awkward and out of place and unsure of yourself. Acting confident on the outside when really, you have no idea what is going to happen. Sometimes that insecurity shows more than others. Sometimes we hide it well. 

In the show, Lucas is a writer... I think I relate to him more than I admit. Actually, I've never been able to relate so much to tv characters before. But anyways, whenever Lucas finds his world to be more than he can handle, he tends to retreat. He leaves town for a short while, or hides in his house. Anything. Just to get away where life is simpler and not so hard. 

Believe me when I say I would do the very same. Sometimes even simple problems bring my strength to its end and I just crumble. I'm not very good at hard. If I could, I would just leave it all behind for a time and surround myself with everything that's simple and concrete. What's known. 

That's what I do when I come home from college, honestly. I don't think I really explain that to the people in my life. And not to say its right, but when I come homes, sometimes I just want to really treat my time like a true vacation. Not a care in the world and living on my own time because its easy. That's selfish. I know it. But don't we all hope for easy? The real challenge is facing the music. But for those of us who struggle with that, support systems are everything.

I suppose my mind works a little differently from everyone elses. That's the disconnect. Often, I just want someone to believe in me. To REALLY believe in me. 

That's what I see in Nathan and Haley. Nathan's dreams are unbelievable. How many people strive to play in the NBA? But Haley, he has Haley! And she believes that he is capable of achieving his dreams. Even when his dreams change or he has to let them go. She still believes in him. And I really hope I can find someone like that someday. Because for Nathan and Haley, belief is give and take. He believes in her and her music all the same. I hope I can believe in someone just as much as they believe in me. 

And its not believing you can do anything and everything. It's knowing you aren't gifted with everything, but focusing your success on the things you're gifted with. Knowing you'll never... like Nathan... be a very good dancer. But not placing your self-worth there. I don't need someone to tell me I can be jack of all trades and master them all. But encouraging me in being competent, but cheering me on in the areas I do excel.

That's what I see in this show... Past all the drama and bad choices... there's a heart in this show. And I can see myself in it. 

So the next time you ask me why I love this show - I'm really not a big fan of teen dramas or couple shipping. That's all cheese - but I am a fan of putting words to those feelings and choices we all face. 

There is only one Tree Hill.


But just to make a point. I LOVE Naley and it was Peyton all along

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