Sunday, July 22, 2007

Checking in with...One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill: Season 4, Episode 16 "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love" (F-)

My first time tuning in to the new CW television network since the series premieres of the short-lived "Runaway" and the "Girlfriends" spin-off "The Game" was not a promising experience. I watched a few episodes of he first season of "One Tree Hill" and then a good chunk of the second season. I think it started off well, generally as a better dramatic show than "The O.C." but far less entertaining. In the middle of its second season, it started getting really bad. By the third season premiere, it was awful in the same way that "Smallville" became so despicably terrible that it was nearly unwatchable due to the inane sense of the storylines.

Returning to the show, it seems like very little has changed. Nathan and Haley are still struggling to maintain their marriage despite the odds not being in their favor, and Haley's being pregnant only means that they are pretending to be happy for a bit. Lucas is still conflicted over his feelings towards Brooke and Peyton, and those two "best friends" are occasionally at each other's throats due to their jealousy. The Most Ridiculously Evil Character Ever, Dan, has people rightfully trying to sabotage him while others somehow think that he is a good person, like Karen in this episode. Mouth is by far the most likeable character, who everyone talks to about their problems.

All that has really changed is the addition of a few characters I do not recognize. Some mysterious girl witnessed Evil Dan shooting Keith in the school shooting episode. Another girl, shockingly enough, trusts Mouth more than anyone else, and encourages him to come with her on some adventurous voyage in New Orleans. And some psychotic stalker is obsessed with Peyton and has tracked her down to her home to try to get her to have the perfect prom date with him.

All of the storylines not involving Peyton are just uninteresting and hardly worth a mention, so I will skip right to discussing Peyton's plotline. The stalker is supposed to be insane, but he more than often comes off as comical (a la Oliver from "The O.C." which was one of the most pricelessly hilarious storylines in recent TV history). "One Tree Hill" has always tried to pretend it can be classified as a variety of different genres, an area in which it clearly fails. This episode is proof of that. The action, if it can be called that, plays out exactly as one might expect: the stalker takes his time in tormenting Peyton, Brooke comes over to make peace, the stalker captures her, recites the obligatory "no one can hear you" threatening line, Peyton convinces the stalker to let her kill Brooke, Peyton stabs the stalker, and a chase ensues.

And of course, afterwards, they go to the prom, because what else would they do? To rip off "The O.C." even more, Brooke makes an attempt at Luke's joking "Welcome to Portland, bitch," making fun of his previously recited "Welcome to the O.C, bitch." Brooke's token "clothes over bros" takes on a painful new life with something like "clothes over pyschos" (the exact phrase escapes me). No good.

I apologize for the rant, but this miserable excuse for a show brings out such things in me. I am fairly certain, however, that curiosity will get the best of me and sometime soon I may return for another despicable episode of "One Tree Hill."

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