One Tree Hill

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
One Tree Hill TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Teen soap has all the questionable ingredients.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 72 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Moderate profanity on the level of  "ass" and "bitch."

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.).

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySamjcrisci April 11, 2016

Beyond any words describable

First off, I've never cried so much over any TV episode. This show really hits home. It reaches a deep part of your soul and introduces you to all of the p... Continue reading
Adult Written byvllygrlten April 18, 2010

Life lessons are a major part of the script of each episode, well worth allowing preteens to watch

I think that sometimes people who see this will automatically assume that this is not age appropriate for young teens or preteens. However, if you really listen... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byj-14 March 2, 2009


im 13-15 years old(i wont give my age)
and i have been watching ONE TREE HILL since it started and i love it im litterally in love with it
i never really tho... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhoneyyyy February 27, 2021

best show ever!!

THIS SHOW IS SOOOOOOO GOOD!! I started watching it on Hulu when I was 12, and I wish I had started it sooner!! They do include some sexy scenes, gun violence, t... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories about teens

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