I remember when I first heard that if
One Tree Hill came back for a fifth season, it was going to jump ahead four years (technically four and a half years, according to the episode title). I immediately thought what a great idea this solves the classic TV problem of having a group of friends all attend the same or a few of the same nearby fictitious colleges. Plus, there would be the added bonus of allowing the actors to play closer to their real ages. After seeing this plan put into action tonight with the two-episode season premiere, I definitely think this was the best way to go.
Of course, there is the whole "What year is it?" question. Did they graduate high school in 2007, so now it's January 2012? I think this is really a moot point I look at is as one of the many ways TV plays with time that we accept as viewers. After all, in the past, each season
OTH was on the air only counted as one-half of a school year for the characters. So I can accept that we're seeing life in the present day of 2008 in Tree Hill. (Nice touch how the State Champions sign has no year.)
So what is present-day life like for the gang? A little depressing. But I don't mind, as postcollege life can be like that it can be hard finding a job, and you may find that the real world doesn't meet your ideals and expectations. The person with the biggest mountain to climb would be Nathan of course (and wow, does he scruffy). At first I feared they were copying off of
Friday Night Lights, which is an excellent, but very different show from
OTH. However, while Nathan's injuries are apparently career-ending, they thankfully aren't so severe as to leave him paralyzed permanently. Nathan didn't drive that fateful night, but why couldn't he walk away from that fight?! I guess because he is Dan Scott's son, and as such he inherited some of his father's pride, stubbornness and knack for violence. And so history repeated itself, with another Scott missing out on a promising NBA career because of an injury. Though at least Dan's injury occurred during a game (it was a knee injury, wasn't it?) the guilt Nathan feels over the brawl is clearly eating away at him.
On the flip side, it looks like history won't be repeating itself in terms of what kind of dad Nathan will be. Nathan had two of the worst parents imaginable, and he had me worried there for a while when he was constantly drinking and not participating in Jamie's life too much. Nate doesn't always do the right thing at first, but he usually comes around in the end. I loved how he talked to Jamie about facing your fears during that final scene, and then they faced them together as they went down that hill.
The four-year flash forward was very beneficial in terms of the character of Jamie (Jackson Brundage), because let's face it, babies don't usually have too big a part in TV shows. With Jamie being four and a half, he gets to be a real character, with dialogue and story lines! Plus he's adorable (especially in that superhero cape he likes to wear my little cousin does the same thing), though he looks a hell of a lot like his Uncle Lucas (I'm not implying anything here story-wise, just stating a fact about the casting).
I'm totally buying Haley as an ultra-responsible, albeit harried, mom. Her intimidating first days of teaching also rang true, at least according to stories I've heard from friends who are teachers. I's so glad that Nathan and Haley's marriage survived the college years, although Nathan's accident has definitely strained things. My favorite scene of the night was when Haley threw the bottles, called Nathan "Dan," and finally tore into him about how selfish he's been acting before threatening to leave him. One thing I hope doesn't happen is a cliched plot line with the hot nanny, as Brooke and Peyton seemed to fear I don't want to see Nathan flirting with or hooking up with nanny Carrie (Torrey DeVitto).
So while Nathan and Hales are still together, Lucas and Peyton are not. That's a shame, because I always rooted for them as a couple (expect for that time last year when they got overly cutesy, tossing cookie dough at one another). But having all the couples that were together four years ago still intact would have strained believability. So why exactly did this twosome go their separate ways? The details on that are still sketchy, but hopefully more will be filled in during the weeks to come. The flashbacks helped a little, but not too much. They were already apart the night of Lucas' book signing, which also proved to be a fateful night because that's when Lucas got closer to his editor and now girlfriend Lindsey (Michaela McManus). I know that Brooke thinks Lindsay's "pretty great," but she's still too new for me to decide whether I like her. I'm gonna hold off on making any judgements about her for now.
So how are things with Lucas' other ex, Brooke? Well, she's the most successful of the crew by far (with published author Lucas a close second though I don't understand why he used people's real names in his novel...but I digress). The head of Clothes Over Bros really does seem to have it all: wealth; fame; success. But apparently Brooke is so unhappy living her fabulous live in New York City and jetsetting off to Milan that she's escaped to Tree Hill and wants to try and run things from there. Out of all the characters, the plot devices used to bring her back home seem the most overreaching.
Nevertheless, Tree Hill just wouldn't be the same without Brooke Davis we need her there. So I'll buy into her "it's lonely at the top" story. I've heard rumors that material possessions and career triumphs aren't enough to make one happy. But you would think she'd give herself a little more time to try and find happiness in the Big Apple. After all, like the reporter said, she's only 21 (another math question: even if someone didn't turn 18 until the September after they graduated high school, four and a half years later they would be 22...I know, another moot point, so I'll drop it). And how great was it to see
Melrose Place's Daphne Zuniga cast as Victoria, Brooke's...handler/manager? I'm not quite sure what her official title is, other than Bitchy Lady. But I love that she's so dismissive and nasty every show needs a bad guy, and Dan's currently in jail. Casting a vet from another prime-time soap is like a respectful nod to soap history.
In contrast to Brooke's charmed life, most of the other characters are struggling as they make their first steps into the working world, and that's a nice touch of realism. Granted, many of them have fun jobs because this is a TV show working in fashion, music or broadcasting just lends itself to more exciting television than having characters working in insurance, investing or accounting. But I like that Peyton was only the assistant to an assistant (before she quit), and that Mouth has to do entry-level grunt work. I'm sure the crappy jobs won't last long, but it's a nice real-world touch for now.
I also liked how they reestablished a connection to Tree Hill High, with Haley working there as a teacher and Lucas and Skills as basketball coaches. It's only fitting, since the school and basketball were such a big part of the show during the first four years. Will we one day get a visit from Coach Whitey? I hope so. As for the other missing parental figures: Karen's touring Europe with Lily; Deb wasn't mentioned; and as Nathan said, Dan's still in jail. Paul Johansson's name was still listed on-screen in the beginning of the second episode though (looks like the opening song is gone, as is the popular trend nowadays), and he did direct the second of tonight's two episodes. He's such a good actor, and evil daddy Dan knows just how to push Nathan and Lucas' buttons, so I'm hoping we get to see him soon, too. As for missing alumni, it looks like Rachel, Bevin and Chase are out, at least for now. But as far as
One Tree Hill goes, I'm in for the fifth season. Hope you are too!
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I remember when I first heard that if One Tree Hill came back for a fifth season it was going to jump ahead four years technically four and a half years according to the episode title I immediately thought what a great idea this solves the classic TV problem of having a group of friends all attend the same or a few of the same nearby fictitious colleges Plus there would be the added bonus of allowing the actors to play closer to their real ages After seeing this plan put into action tonight with the two-episode season premiere I definitely think this was the best way to goOf course there is the whole What year is it question Did they graduate high school in 2007 so now its January 2012 I think this is really a moot point I look at is as one of the many ways TV plays with time that we accept as viewers After all in the past each season OTH was on the air only counted as one-half of a school year for the characters So I can accept that we