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Tree needs to be axed

By Matt Fowler

Section: Arts

February 1, 2008

dc02010803.jpgAt a young age I had nightmares about a song that my family friend used to perform around a campfire late at night. The song, as I would later find out, was called “The Cat Came Back.”

Not coincidentally, the lyrics follow the story of a man who no matter how hard he tried could not get rid of his feline friend. Where am I going with this? The television equivalent to that cat (not to mention another one of my sleep depriving nightmares) is none other than Mark Schwahn’s One Tree Hill.

Starring the seemingly always squinting Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill has defied the odds. What started off as a teen drama about two estranged half brothers that play high school basketball quickly evolved into the most pretentious hour-long show in recent history.

Storylines involving stalkers, drug addicted mothers, and sex tapes are just some of the gems (note the biting sarcasm) that a viewer will be treated to when tuning into this “epic” story.

What has kept this show on air? Maybe it’s the constant product placement of Sunkist (the soft drink), maybe it’s the music stars that appear on the show, or maybe it’s just the excellent writing that keeps the devoted fan base (preteen girls and my oldest brother) coming back for more. Nevertheless, One Tree Hill has defied the odds and has entered its fifth season more grating than ever.

The new season of One Tree Hill fast forwards four years into the future. Afraid things have changed? Not to worry, the writers have made sure that despite skipping over the college years everything has remained almost exactly the same for the characters of One Tree Hill.

Sure, the teenagers viewers knew and loved now have jobs (and new haircuts) but really, nothing other than that has changed. It is still the same show that telegraphs its plot twists and makes viewers squirm from awkward onscreen banter between characters (specifically between former spouses Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush). It is still the same show that makes viewers yearn for far superior programs that premiered in the same year but were cancelled unjustly by wicked network executives with no taste whatsoever (I’m still just a little bitter about the cancellation of The O.C.). Despite all this, One Tree Hill remains one of the mainstays of the CW’s lineup.

As the writers strike drags along many people have ended up reasoning with themselves that it is alright to add One Tree Hill into their weekly television diet. The strike is not an excuse.

While the list is growing thin, there are still enough mid season shows premiering to satisfy even the most demanding television addict. Lost will be returning within the week, Eli Stone (a new Greg Berlanti drama) is premiering soon, and the stellar Friday Night Lights still has some episodes left before it ends prematurely. What if those offerings do not seem appealing? Honestly, do me a favor. Do some homework and help exonerate this cat from my life.

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