One Tree Hill
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teen soap has all the questionable ingredients.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
As is typical for primetime TV soap-style shows, the series is more about high drama between characters than it is about conveying positive messages. In the show's world, money heavily influences your station (both in school and in life), characters frequently find themselves in conflict with others, families are dysfunctional, etc.
Positive Role Models
Characters get caught up in all kinds of typical soap opera behavior, including lying, manipulation, cheating, etc. These themes become more pronounced in later seasons of the show as the characters age. Some of the cast members are committed parents.
Violence & Scariness
Early episodes feature high school boys getting into fistfights and shoving each other on the basketball court. Later episodes feature people stalking one another, getting shot at point-blank range, and drowning. Moderate amounts of blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Early episodes feature main teen characters buying condoms and whipped cream. Promiscuity/reckless sexual activity is sometimes implied. Adult characters are sometimes shown in bed, and in various stages of undress.
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Moderate profanity on the level of "ass" and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcoholism and drug addiction is a theme during various seasons of the show. In early seasons teens sometimes drink alcohol; drug use is a subject -- but it's not advocated (an athlete who takes amphetamines collapses, a high school girl at a college party is slipped a date rape drug, etc.).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this teen drama features all the expected storylines of a primetime soap, including sex, divorce, death, parenthood, and murder. Watch for salty language ("bitch," "ass"), gun violence, and themes pertaining to addiction in later episodes.
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One Tree Hill
Based on 20 parent reviews
One Tree Hill = 2 Thumbs Up.
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What's the Story?
ONE TREE HILL is a dramatic primetime soap opera featuring a premise borrowed from Dickens: Brothers who grew up separately, their father denying the existence of one, end up as stars of the same high school basketball team. Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) grew up poor, raised by a sweet but downtrodden single mother. Nathan (James Lafferty) grew up wealthy and pampered. They compete for athletic stardom, girls, and the right to wear the family name "Scott," even though they both hate their overbearing father. Caught between the two is Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton), while boy-obsessed cheerleader Brooke (Sophia Bush) and Lucas' best pal Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) also get caught up in the romantic drama. As the characters get older, they struggle with problems brought on by adulthood, and by the new love triangles that they find themselves in.
Is It Any Good?
The series offers a variety of dramatic plots that range from the romantic to the violent and slightly bizarre. Early episodes focus on more teen-related issues, like premarital sex and coming from broken homes, but later plots feature an older cast dealing with marriage, parenthood, and careers, as well as stalkers, murders, and other mature themes.
The grittier storylines, as well as the departure of some of the main characters in later years, may not appeal to fans of the show's earlier seasons. But One Tree Hill still has the potential to appeal to a new generation of teens. As a result, parents may want to consider tuning in with them -- and using some of the topics for a conversation starter.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the various subjects touched on throughout the series, including sex, the emotions and responsibilities associated with being in romantic and familial relationships, forgiveness, and how much slack you should allow a person in a relationship.
How are TV shows able to appeal to viewers over the years? What shows, aside from this one, have remained popular after the main characters have departed?
- Premiere date: September 23, 2003
- Cast: Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Sophia Bush
- Network: CW
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: March 31, 2022
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