Screen shot from One Tree Hill. Hilarie Burton as Peyton, Bethany Joy Lenz as Haley, and Sophia Bush as Brooke.

Screen shot from One Tree Hill. Hilarie Burton as Peyton, Bethany Joy Lenz as Haley, and Sophia Bush as Brooke.

One Tree Hill debuted in the early 2000s and while the original premise of the show centred on two brothers playing basketball, it was the female characters that initially drew me in. The great thing about the show is there was at least one character that most people could relate to. If you were the popular girl in school who liked to party and shop, you had Brooke. If you were a studious book-worm you had Haley and if you were an artistic, sometimes unhappy teenager you had Peyton. I must admit that at various stages I have related to all three characters. Over the course of the nine year run of the show all the characters grew and changed into the people they wanted to be, but the one thing that didn’t change was the friendships.

The main female friendship while they are in high school is between Brooke and Peyton. We are told that they have been best friends since they were kids and you can see this from the rapport that they have. The great thing about the two friends is that they are completely different people who on the surface have little in common; Peyton enjoys drawing and emo music, Brooke enjoys shopping and Beyoncé. In spite of these superficial differences the two are there for each other; when Peyton’s mom died when she was 11, Brooke was there for her, when Brooke has doubts about herself Peyton reminds her that she is capable.

Their friendship isn’t all plain sailing, however, which is also a good message for girls. Friendships don’t have to be perfect and full of rainbows all the time but if both people want it, it can be worth fighting for. As with most teenage dramas the girls end up fighting with each other over a boy. Lucas is the cause of the pain and drama for the girls. Peyton and Lucas get together behind Brooke’s back which she at first views as unforgivable. It takes a stalker trying to kill the two girls on prom night for their friendship to get back on track. They realised that their friendship was more important than a boy and they managed to repair it.

After Peyton and Lucas marry and move away, Brooke and Haley become the central female friendship, with the two of them sharing important life moments together. For me, though, Brooke and Peyton highlight the importance of female friendship as well as reminding the viewer that sometimes even though things might seem impossible to repair, it is worth fighting for.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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