One Tree Hill certainly cannot be criticized for being a fluffy teen drama. It tackles serious real life issues head on. We recently saw Peyton’s birth mother lose her battle with breast cancer. Discussions about sex and divorce have been a part of the show from the beginning. But is there a time where a weighty theme crosses a line into exploitation and something to be ashamed of? Or is addressing that factor enough that it can discuss a serious issue while raising awareness to the problems involved?
When I first heard the episode “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept” would be about a troubled teen bringing a gun to school, I was not happy. I am a member of the club that believes there are some tragedies in life that need not be exploited to boost ratings. Sure, we live in a culture obsessed with tragedy and awfulness, but that doesn’t mean we should be competing in a game over who can get the most money from telling the worst story. That being said, I expected this episode to be yet another way for the media to cash in on the likes of Littleton, Colorado, or Jonesboro, Arkansas.
However, for the most part One Tree Hill did a pretty decent job. The writers made sure to show a human side to the troubled teen and didn’t make it full of the clichés alone—though there were plenty of them thrown in for good measure. Several characters commented that “he’s a good kid” upon discovering the armed student is Jimmy. If someone is going to turn on you in such a drastic manner, it probably won’t be someone you expect. Perhaps that was one of the points, that we should pay attention to the individuals around us. But at the same time, we cannot expect to pal around with every person with whom we come into contact.
I did enjoy that Brooke and Peyton, as well as others in the episode, made comments as to the media circus events like a school shooting become. When interviewed for the news, Brooke tells the reporter she should be ashamed of herself. Peyton comments on how all the so-called experts will come in and attempt to make sense of it all, that there will be reporters, psychologists, and analysts. They all make an extremely valid point. When was the last time someone doing something great made the national news? Sure, we know there are people doing good all the time; perhaps you are one of them. But something makes us tune in when the story reeks of calamity.
So why do I feel this episode of One Tree Hill was only pretty decent? Well, the ending ruined it. In fact, I feel as though the ending went against the entire point and purpose to the rest of the episode. The audience won’t be thinking about what Jimmy did and why or how they could make sure it doesn’t happen to them. They will be worried about Keith and if Dan killed him or not. And while Dan is definitely the villain in this show, he isn’t so demented as to exploit a school shooting to kill his brother and get away with it. So now, instead of wondering what the impact of Jimmy’s actions will have, the show’s audience is going to wonder if Keith will live to marry Karen and adopt Lucas or not. Keith had just come back to the show after a pretty long disappearance so I fail to see the motivation behind ending a pretty serious episode with an act of sibling rivalry to cheapen everything that took place before.Powered by Sidelines