How One Tree Hill Saved Me From Myself
Toward the end of summer in 2008, I lost my job. It was a terrible experience made even more terrible by the fact that I’d actually hated my job. Initially, of course, I walked away feeling psyched. Awesome! I thought. This is an opportunity for a fresh start! But in reality I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, or even what I’d planned to do the next day. Some people would probably go to a museum, or take a walk in the park to collect their thoughts. Others would simply dust themselves off and dive right back into the job search. Me? I found One Tree Hill.
Part of my conundrum when I was let go was realizing that I didn’t want to stay in the industry I’d been in. I felt clouded; I needed direction. I also felt semi-broken, due to the fact that I’d stayed so long at a job I despised and felt completely dispensable when given the boot. I’m not going to go so far as to say I was searching for meaning in my life, but it was an awkward time.
I lost my job about a month before my boyfriend and I moved in together, and everything around me, from my home to my day-to-day routine, was changing. I decided to take a few months off to re-discover what I really wanted to do in my career. During this time, I reasoned, I would paint and decorate the new home I shared with my boyfriend. It would be like flying to India and going on an ashram, except that I would never leave my house! Instant clarity!
I quickly figured out that clarity doesn’t come with several gallons of paint from Home Depot and endless days spent by myself. Day 1 was a little lonely, Day 2 was a little boring, and Day 3 was downright depressing. So I turned on the television to keep me company. At first it was the news, maybe a little bit of Ellen… It’s weird to watch daytime TV out of college and still feel like a worthy human being. After flipping through what felt like thousands of channels, I settled on One Tree Hill on the SoapNet channel. I’d never seen it before, but I used to be an avid fan of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 (which also plays on SoapNet) and Felicity, so I figured what the hell, I’d give it a shot.
Speaking of shots, the episode that was on was the very tense “school shooting” episode ("With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept"), and I had no idea WTF was going on, which made the show even more compelling. I was hooked.
Each day I found myself looking forward to the two-hour block of One Tree Hill on SoapNet. They played in order, as they do to this day, on a loop. Once the end of Season 6 wraps up (which is the final season that feature Hilarie Burton and Chad Michael Murray), the whole show just starts over again with the pilot. I’m assuming it’s a licensing thing, and SoapNet just doesn’t have authorization to play Seasons 7 and 8 (which recently ended on The CW), but as far as I’m concerned there are only six seasons to the show because I’ve only ever watched these episodes.
Watching One Tree Hill in this way became a little addictive. I wasn’t watching the episodes on Netflix or through some other means where I’d have the ability to skip commercials. It was essentially like watching all the shows as they originally aired (with commercials), except sped up to a twice-daily dose of drama. Not only did the show help me forget about my directionless life, it also got into my head in a big way.
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