Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dear Mark Schwahn, creator of One Tree Hill

[2017.11.14] Amidst allegations of sexual harassment I gotta say that I am somewhat disappointed in creator Mark Schwahn. It kinda puts my whole childhood in a different perspective. You can read about what happened here, but I wanted to add this note, that despite the fact that I loved an grew up with this series I in no way condone that kind of behavior and am most definitely disgusted by it. I can only hope that this does not happen on the set of his new show, The Royals, because I care for that one as well... But I'm not very optimistic.
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For those of you who don't know One Tree Hill, allow me to recap the initial story.
Dan Scott was a very talented basketball player, but come high school senior year he got his cheerleader girlfriend Karen Roe pregnant. He had to make a decision between his career and Karen. He chose college, but luck would have it that he got his college girlfriend, Deb Lee, pregnant as well. Karen gave birth to Lucas, whom Dan never claimed and was brought up by his big brother, Keith Scott. While Deb gave birth to Nathan, and they all moved back to Dan's hometown: Tree Hill.
Dan turns out to be a jealous homicidal maniac who murders Keith for being with Karen; Lucas and Nathan made up and become really good brothers. At the end of season 1 the main mission is for everybody to get rid of Dan, one way or another...
Lucas has a best friend, Haley James, who after tutoring Nathan falls in love with him. Nathan used to be a cheating jackass, but he changed his ways because he loved Haley, the two get married at the age of 16 and by senior year Haley was pregnant with their son.
Lucas on the other hand was trapped in the love triangle between him and two best friends, Brooke Davis and Peyton Sawyer. Even if at first his love brought him to Brooke, everyone really felt that his soul mate was Peyton, and the two do come together and get married as well.
By the end of season 8th, Nathan and Haley have their boy and a little girl; Brooke gets married too, to a director by the name of Julian Baker and they have twins to raise; Lucas and Peyton are long gone; and Dan is out there somewhere on parole, because he got time off his prison sentence for good behavior.

Dear Mark Schwahn!
If my research, and the DVD extras and the CW comments are correct (and they are) you are the creator/executive producer/writer of one of my favorite TV series: One Tree Hill.
I am writing this letter on a blog, because I am fully aware that in the long run my opinion does not matter. Also, if I sent this to you, nobody would read it and instead of a normal communicative letter, it would come off as a hate-mail (trust me, my letter are ALWAYS misinterpreted!). And, on the most important note, I am pretty sure that the last 13 episodes of season 9 are already written, so one angry fan's complaint will not change anything.
The reason for this little entry is also a quick review of your series. Also, you've made a couple of decisions that REALLY pissed me off, so now, I'm going to discuss them thoroughly!
I remember the first time I saw your series. It was the summer of 2005 and on an Italian TV station (RaiDue) in the afternoon they were airing re-runs of both Roswell and Felicity. And, among them, there was One Tree Hill. The first episode I saw was season 1, episode 6 "Every Night Is Another Story", and my first thought was "Oh my God, that's Charlie from Dawson's Creek! (Chad Michael Murray)" I fell in love and had to see more, by this time in America already the third season was premiering and I was watching the first two seasons on DVD.

First off is, a minor problem, but still important: Lindsey Strauss, the character played by Michaela McManus. I just didn't see the point of it. (Reader! Lindsey was Lucas's girlfriend after a four year jump at the beginning of the 5th season.) The watcher is finally happy that he and Peyton are together, and it was obvious that they would get back together and I just didn't see the point of hurting that poor girl! Also you showed us that she is a really nice girl! You know how bad I felt because they hurt her feelings? It was awful! I understand that you needed the tension, the suspense on whether or not this love that the fans have been cheering for since the first season will happen or not (of course it did). But if you show us that Lucas was mad, because Peyton wouldn't marry him, keep him mad! Don't make a man out of him who needs somebody by his side, NO! Make him the Lucas you made him, the one who waits for true love and the 'one for him'. I just found this weird and unnecessary.

The second is... yeah. This one drives me mad. Remember Katie Ryan, played by Amanda Schull? (Reader! Katie was a psycho who fell in love with Nathan's agent Clay and tried to kill him and his girlfriend Quinn, the latter being Haley's sister.) My problem was, that she reminded me of someone... she was just like another character, wait, who am I thinking about? She was a bit like Derek, played by Matt Barr. (Reader! Derek was a psycho who fell in love with Peyton and tried to rape her!) Oh, no wait, I know who I am thinking about: Nanny Carrie, played by Torrey DeVitto. (Reader! Carrie was a psycho who fell in love with Nathan and tried to steal his son.) Oh, no wait, IT'S BOTH OF THEM!
Talk about creative block, in the run of 8 seasons you used the "Melrose Place Psycho" cliché THREE TIMES!!! I understand that, again this is what catches the watchers, but my god, LEAVE THIS PEOPLE ALONE, let them be happy! I should be glad Lindsey didn't turn out to be a psycho, judging from your writing, it could've gone either way...

The third point is what made me not watch season 8. I watched two episodes, and then I saw the trailer for the third and I decided that that was it. You crossed the 'screwing-around-with-the-fans' line for the last time with me! I always gave you the benefit of the doubt, but not this time. Reader, from season 1 the main conflict was, that Dan, because of his marriage never got to be a big time basketball player. He forced it onto Nathan who, realized that maybe he doesn't love it that much. He stops playing, but gets back to it, because he misses it and understands that he didn't do it for his father, but for himself. All through the eight seasons, he gets into several accidents and he is told that he can't play anymore. He becomes f*cking paralized at the beginning of season 5 and, surprise surprise, he makes a comeback!
OK, fine, I went with it, I mean why not? But all through the series he was warned, that 'he will never play again' and he is like goddamn Superman, he always makes a comeback even if it is medically impossible! So, 8th season: Clay, the agent gets shot and Nathan offers his kidney. The doctor tells him 'you will never play again', that's where I said "F*ck You One Tree Hill." He had a car accident, came back he had a knee injury, he came back; he was paralyzed, he came back and NOW you're going to pull the same shit on us with the stupid kidney? No way...
Thankfully I later on found out that Nathan actually can't play anymore, the miraculous comeback from the paralyzed state maybe wasn't so successful after all which, I thank you for, but I also had to notice that it was somewhat convenient for the plot... but anyway, thank you for remembering that he had a freaking piece of glass in his spine! So he does have to stop playing but the fact that you would even raise that sentence 'you can't play anymore' is offensive! We know James Lafferty (Nathan) is a really good player, you are always going to give him a ball because he is good for stock footage! And after 4 comebacks, we are not going to believe you, it's just not good for a cliffhanger anymore!

The season DVDs. Of course, I understand that this is not exactly your area of expertise, and you are not involved in the making of the boxes for the season DVDs', but I just need to ask a question. This is regarding season 4. (click here to see the DVD!) For all the seasons they used a cast photo (check out all the DVDs here!) except for this one. Now, I noticed, because I always look up photo-shoots, that they didn't do a cast picture for season 4, and OK, I understand. But I also know the seasonal pictures and those on the cover of season 4? THEY ARE ALL FROM SEASON THREE! Peyton's, Brooke's, Haley's, Nathan's, not to mention Lucas', that is FROM SEASON 1!!! It's a shame, because even if there wasn't a cast photo of season 4, you guys took the CW advertisement/promo pictures which, ironically have the same green color background like the DVD box, so would it have been so hard to use them?
Also, as far as DVDs go, people like 2 kind of commentaries: (1) where the director speaks about how the movie was made, which is interesting if you want to be a part of show business. (2) the star's commentary about, literally NOTHING regarding the filming process of the show! Now, guess which one the One Tree Hill audience prefers! On the season 1 DVD you put a commentary by the teen and the adult group on the last episode of the season. And it was A W E S O M E ! You wanna know how many times I re-watched and listened to it? Because it is wonderful, they do tell you stories about the shooting but being a fan of such a show, you just want to get to know the actors, hear stories, you want to know whether if they are friends in real life too like the series. I don't care about how hard the shooting was of an episode! Leave me alone! At least when a couple of actors talk along with you Mr. Schwahn, sometimes they make a couple of jokes, but that's not nearly enough! "Season 2, commentary by creator and producer...", yeah, who cares? I ain't listening to that!

But, it is also important to say, that this series is awesome because even if it can't avoid some clichés, it totally avoids basic rules that were made up during the creation of 40 minute drama series. One of the most common ones is that if somebody dies, or moves away we never talk about them ever again! And that's just stupid. Of course, there are some characters you forgot as well Tree Hill, but at least when somebody died you didn't pretend they never existed! Like Keith, you never forgot, or when Karen moved away, she always wrote letters, or when Lucas moved away, Haley kept on writing to him. There was continuity, you could rely on your fans, which many shows don't do and they are stupid not to.
Also Mr. Schwahn, you brought love back. And that is the most important. I remember, my parents got married when they were 22 years old and they have been married for 35 years now and they are still very happy. I remember Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley) saying on the DVD commentary that she hopes they will break Haley and Nathan up because she doesn't want young fans to think that if they got married at 16 it will be happily ever after. And I understand what she meant, but it actually gives you hope, that despite the stupid generalization of the 21st century that marriage isn't important anymore, and you should wait, and career is more important, you focus on the fact that love is important. Nobody wants to be alone and if you find that person in your high school, so what? In the end every story ends in 'you never forget your first love', whom usually you meet in high school.

The story was original, usually conflict among men has no rational base, this had. These were kids with damage, actual, touchable damage you can relate to ( the beginning), and you made us fall in love with them. I saw the first episode of season 9, let me tell you, if there is going to be another psycho, I'm going to strangle you Mr. Schwahn! And of course, the 8th season all together had as many exciting stories as 1 episode from season 1... but still it was fun. I am sad that it comes to an end, but it is time, and as long as I re-watch the old episodes, One Tree Hill will never end for me. Looking forward to the last season!

            Thank you reader, and thank you Mr. Schwahn.
            Yours faithfully

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Lucas Scott - Chad Michael Murray
Nathan Scott - James Lafferty
Haley James Scott - Bethany Joy Galeotti
Peyton Sawyer - Hilarie Burton
Brooke Davis - Sophia Bush
Dan Scott - Paul Johansson
Keith Scott - Craig Sheffer
Karen Roe - Moira Kelly
Deb Scott - Barbara Alyn Woods
Julian BakerAustin Nichols
Marvin 'Mouth' MacFadden - Lee Norris
Skills - Antwon Tanner
Rachel Gatina - Daneel Harris-Ackles
Quinn James - Shantel VanSanten
Clayton Evans - Robert Buckley 
Chase Adams - Stephen Coletti
Coach Whitey Durham - Barry Corbin
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