After nine seasons, One Tree Hill comes to an end, but its memory will last forever. From high school to adulthood, there have been many iconic moments, characters, quotes, sets and more. Here are just 50 things I loved and will miss about the series.
#50 The Theme Song
“I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately.” Music has always been an important part of the show, and it’s impossible to hear Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” without picturing Lucas, in a hoodie, dribbling a basketball across a bridge.
#49 The River Court
Only one set has stood the test of time and lasted all nine seasons, and that’s the famous River Court where Lucas played basketball, the seniors left their mark after graduation and where Dan Scott celebrated his final moments in his mind.
#48 Lucas and Haley’s Rooftop Mini Golf Course
Times were simpler back then, and platonic BFFs Lucas and Haley’s rooftop mini golf course was a wonderfully quirky representation of their friendship.
#47 Lucas’ Blacked-Out Last Name
When Lott first joined the Ravens, he wanted nothing to do with his father, so he blacked out the name on the back of his jersey as a symbolic way of denouncing the man who abandoned him.
#46 Tutor Girl
Before Haley James Scott grew into the woman she is, she was just Tutor Girl, Brooke’s playful nickname for the tragically unhip smart girl. Back in high school, Brooke had a way with nicknames.
#45 Haley’s Crackerjack Bracelet
“Don’t say I never gave you anything.” Those were Nathan’s words when he gave Haley a bracelet from a box of Crackerjacks in their first tutoring session, which might also be viewed as their first date.
#44 Nathan and Haley’s First Kiss
After a romantic night crafted by Brooke ended in disaster, Nathan tried to apologize, but Haley assured him nothing he would do could surprise her. So he kissed her for the first time, this sealing their eternal love.
#43 Haley’s “23” Tattoo
Haley knew she’d be with Nathan forever very early on, and to symbolize that love, she got a tramp stamp with his jersey number. But it’s the smallest, sweetest and romantic tramp stamp.
#42 Brooke’s Naked, Backseat Surprise
If there’s one thing Brooke will be known for, it’s her old stand-by move of showing up in the back of a guy’s car, completely naked, as an icebreaker.
#41 Lucas and Nathan’s Night of Being Kidnapped
The constant friction between the two brothers came to an end when they were kicked off the team bus and got kidnapped by their rivals. They were also stripped down to their boxers and forced to fight each other, but at the end of the night, Nathan and Lucas worked through their issues and started to become friends and brothers.
#40 The Boy Toy Auction
Who wouldn’t love the idea of buying the men of Tree Hill High for a night? The fact that this was a school-sanctioned event was absurd, but Nathan’s strip tease with the words “Boy Toy” written across his chest is an image fans won’t soon forget.
#39 Peyton’s Drawings
Peyton poured her heart out through her drawings, and none was more touching than the series of red traffic lights with the message “People Always Leave,” referring to her mother’s death in a car crash.
#38 Peyton’s Webcam
Nine years ago, the idea that this girl would have a webcam broadcasting her bedroom at all times was cool and trendy. Of course, it eventually became a very, very bad idea.
Mouth’s basketball podcast, the site is real and their constant presence helped support the team.
#36 Coach Whitey
Teen dramas don’t need compelling older characters, but the wise old basketball coach with his helpful advice and watchful eye was just that.
How could you not love Tim, the dopey basketball player who was Nathan’s lackey? From the time he thought Nathan’s mom was seducing him and he stripped down to his banana hammock to the time he got arrested for thinking a female cop was a stripper to his time capsule confession that he hooked up with all the hot chicks, Tim was a loveable dim second fiddle.
#34 Deb and Keith
Just when you thought Dan and his wife might reconcile, she slept with his brother and he walked in on them. It was a shocking twist in the season 1 finale.
The hip night club originally designed for underage kids to hear live music may be more of an adults-only hangout now, but it’s still been home to a surprisingly large number of great musicians.
#32 “When the Stars Go Blue”
Haley and Chris Keller’s duet may have led to her temporary break-up from Nathan, but it was also the most beautiful musical moment in a show all about music.
#31 Anna Taggaro’s Bisexuality Storyline
Seven years before Santana on Glee, One Tree Hill did a storyline about a bisexual Latina coming to grips with her identity, and it was handled perfectly.
#30 Peyton’s Protest Shirt
A moving and bold moment in the series, Peyton responded to having the word “Dyke” spray painted on her locker by putting the vile word on her shirt and walking through the hall to make a point that no one should feel ashamed of who they are. It was an inspiring message and a great moment for Peyton.
#29 The Season 2 Arson Cliffhanger
At the end of season 2, Dan Scott’s car dealership was set on fire, with him still inside. The perfection of the cliffhanger was that there were plenty of completely viable suspects, including Deb, Whitey, Andy, Keith, Lucas and Nathan.
#28 Clothes Over Bros
Starting in high school, Brooke Davis was designing cutting edge fashions, and the bedroom boutique turned into a huge, global fashion house. Unfortunately she lost the company because of her mother, but the name will always be synonymous with Brooke’s philosophy.
#27 The Fantasy Boy Draft and Date Night
Boys get all the fun with fantasy basketball leagues, so Brooke created a fantasy boy draft to help ease the drama of cheerleaders fighting over basketball players. The result was hilarious and inspired, leading to an epic date night for everyone as Rachel got Lucas while Haley and Brooke went on an awkward double date with Nathan and Chris Keller.
#26 The Death of Peyton’s Mom
Peyton and her birth mother, Ellie, had a strained and complicated relationship, but they shared a deep love of music, and there was beautiful poetry in Ellie dying the day their CD to raise money for breast cancer research was ready, and in Peyton spreading her mother’s ashes on the site of Ellie’s favorite music festival.
#25 The Murder of Keith
The entire school shooting episode was tense and dramatic, but the shocking ending with Dan murdering his brother in cold blood took it to another level. It wasn’t telegraphed or obvious, it just happened and changed the show and characters forever.
#24 Psycho Derek
The first truly remarkable psychopath to enter the show (not counting Dan Scott), Ian Banks posed as Peyton’s brother Derek to stalk her because he was obsessed with her webcam and creeped her out with the screen name “WATCHMEWATCHU.”
#23 “It’s You”
After winning the state championship, Lucas Scott delivered the single most romantic line in the entire series: “It’s you. When all my dreams come true, the one I want next to me. It’s you. It’s you, Peyton.”
#22 Daunte’s Car Crash
The epitome of the show’s melodrama can be summed up in this one scene. After winning the state championship and learning they’re going to have a son, Daunte tries to run over Nathan with his car, but his pregnant wife Haley pushes him out of the way and gets hit instead. Daunte’s car crashes and Nathan pulls him out to beat him, but Daunte is already dead. Nathan’s dad Dan agrees to take the blame for killing Daunte while Lucas goes into cardiac arrest while telling the paramedics about Haley’s pregnant. That’s like nine seasons of tragedy rolled into one single moment.
#21 “Bitch, You’re Lucky You’re Pregnant”
Haley had enough of Rachel’s crap at a party, threw a drink in her face and slapped her. Rachel’s “Bitch, you’re lucky you’re pregnant” response was great, but Haley’s was even better, warning Rachel that she was the one who was lucky.
#20 Nathan’s Sex Tape
It’s always awkward when an old sex tape you made is screened at a huge party. But the worst part of Nathan’s sex tape is that it was with Brooke even though he was dating Peyton at the time it was made and married to Haley at the time it was viewed.
#19 Lucas and Nathan Cross Paths in the Hospital
The single most beautifully shot scene in the entire series came at the start of the season 4 finale. Nathan was rushing through the hospital to find Haley, who had gone into labor, while Lucas was rushing to find his mom, who was having complications with her own pregnancy. The two women were pushed past each other in the hospital as Nathan and Lucas met up and saw the women in their lives being sent in opposite directions. The brothers paused, looked at each other, hugged, then went their separate ways. It was a remarkable shot.
#18 Mouth Kissing Brooke
After graduation, Mouth finally stepped up and did what he’d always wanted to do. He jumped off the roof, sauntered over to Brooke and kissed her as passionately as possible.
#17 Karen’s Speech to Dan in Prison
“I have a daughter, her name is Lily. And someday when she’s old enough, she’s gonna ask me who her daddy is, who he was, and how he died. And on that day, I’m gonna look into her beautiful eyes, eyes that don’t know of malice and jealousy and evil. And I’m gonna say, ‘Your father loved his younger brother very much, and that brother took him from you for your entire life. He made sure you would never know your father.’”
I’m a sucker for a pet bunny rabbit, and Jamie’s large, floppy-eared pet fits the bill.
#15 Deb and Skills
When Nathan’s dad married one of his son’s classmates, it wasn’t a huge shock since he was always a bad guy. But when Nathan’s mom was dating one of her son’s friends, it was very scandalous. Few things sounded weirder on the show than “Grandpa Skills.”
#14 Deb and the Clown
In the most inappropriate visual gag ever, Deb was seduced by her grandson’s birthday when he blew up his balloon while she was on her knees. It was wrong on every conceivable level.
#13 “Stay Out of It, Nick Lachey”
A hilarious catchphrase, Lachey guest starred as himself and stuck his nose into a conversation about having sex with Brooke. Mia’s response became an instantly iconic phrase.
#12 “Bust a Move” Karaoke
One of my favorite scenes of pure joy, Nathan and Chase did a karaoke version of Young MC’s classic rap song “Bust a Move” while Jamie and Andre sang it as well while being babysat by Lucas and Peyton. Watching little kids and big kids dance and sing was just plain fun.
#11 Slutty Wedding Sex
A tradition at any Tree Hill wedding reception, one couple will have “slutty wedding sex” in an inappropriate location. At Lucas and Peyton’s wedding, Nathan and Haley got it on in the bathroom, while Chase and Mia did it in Brooke and Julian’s limo.
#10 Lucas and Peyton Riding Off Into the Sunset
It was hard to see stars Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton leave the show after season 6, but One Tree Hill offered them a very satisfying ending as the two literally took their new baby and drove off into the sunset.
#9 The Death of Haley’s Mom
A very sad moment, Haley’s mother passed away in a hospital bed, surrounded by her three daughters and memories of their past. It was one of those scenes where the show was unafraid to be brutally dramatic.
#8 The Toaster Pastry Jingle
Quinn sang it and Chris Keller wrote it. It’s the greatest jingle ever.
“Toaster pastry, you taste so good and yummy.
Toaster pastry, get into my tummy.
On my strudel,
Now I’m gonna eat you up!”
#7 The John Hughes Episode
An episode set at an ‘80s alumni dance served as a brilliant homage to half a dozen classic John Hughes movies: Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Home Alone.
#6 Julian’s High-Five
I loved how much of a wuss the show made Julian (a scene of him chasing butterflies in the middle of a Little League practice comes to mind), but it was exemplified by his ridiculous version of a high-five which has too much upward momentum. The fact that he did it in his Dalmatian Halloween costume made it that much more absurd.
#5 The Hurricane
On the other side of Julian, he got to be a hero during the hurricane when he saved Jamie from drowning in the backseat of a car that got smashed into the river, and then he saved Brooke. The scenes of Julian telling Jamie he has to stay strong because he wants the kid to be the best man at his wedding were truly moving.
#4 Clay and Logan Bonding Over Comic Books
Much like Tom Cruise and Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire, the relationship between Clay and his son Logan was too cute for words. The best moments were when they bonded over a mutual love of comic books and super heroes.
#3 Nanny Carrie
No villain will ever come close to the sheer lunacy of Nanny Carrie. First she tried to seduce Nathan, but when that didn’t work and she got fired, she kidnapped Jamie from Lucas’ wedding. Dan found her and saved the day, but then she came back once again, this time running Dan over with her car and keeping him locked up in her cabin, Misery-style, so she could frame him for kidnapping Jamie. She got very, very dead, but she was a silly, wild ride while she lasted.
#2 The Dog That Ate Dan’s Heart
No moment was more ridiculous, silly or symbolic than when Dan Scott, on the verge of receiving a heart transplant, watched as the cooler with his new organ fell on the ground and a dog ate it.
#1 The Death of Dan Scott
Redeeming Dan Scott, who murdered his own brother in cold blood, was no easy feat, but by literally taking a bullet for his son, saying goodbye and meeting Keith in the afterlife, the show succeeded in doing just that.