This is a safe space, One Tree Hill fans. Are you crying? Throwing around silverware in frustration over your show ending? Jumping for joy because of a certain scene with your favorite couple?
Then this is the place for you. No judgment, only support from other OTH fans about the series finale, and some final words from creator Mark Schwahn. No spoilers ahead, only nice memories…
We spoke to Schwahn before the ninth and final season even began, and he had a lot of wonderful things to say about his show, and the fans that kept it around for so long. So to help with the grieving over OTH officially ending, we wanted to share his thoughts on going off the air after 187 episodes.
The Fans Are the Reason: Schwahn is well aware that if it wasn't for the viewers, One Tree Hill wouldn't have made it this far. "We were such the little show that could. We came from such a meager beginning. We were such a low-rated show. We didn't have a chance in hell at surviving," he reminisced. "We wanted to reward the fans that have stuck around and been very loyal and faithful to the show because it sounds easy, but they're really the reason we were still [on the air]."
Ending With…Zombies?! Even though the finale was the perfect love letter to fans both new and old, Schwahn revealed that some crazy ideas on how to send off OTH came up in meetings. "Trust me, you get writers in a room, you get every scenario imaginable!" he laughed. "From the van crashing into all the regulars outside of Tric to an alien invasion and zombies. You get it all!" But rest assured, he never even once thought about revealing that all nine seasons were all a dream, calling that move "the worst bait and switch of all!"
Most importantly, he wanted both the cast and fans to be proud of the end. "I believe in emotional resolution for the characters. I don't believe in story resolution, meaning 'this is where everybody ends.' Sometimes the end is the beginning," he said. "I just did the DVD commentary for [the finale] with most of our cast, and they all were very proud of it." And speaking of pride…
He's Also Proud of His OTH Family: A lot of people who worked on the show in season one went on to do bigger and better things—from directors to writers to production assistants, a fact that Schwahn loves to have played a part in. "I'm just proud of the pedigree of the show and all the people who have gotten closer to whatever dreams they were chasing using One Tree Hill as their conduit."
In fact, he almost saw himself as a parent, especially when it came to the cast. "[I loved] being around the girls and watching what close friends they've become over the years," he told us. "We took all of their 20s, and I guess like a parent I wanted to feel that it was all for a good thing and that it made them better and that it got them closer to what they wanted. And there were so many tears shed in the end that I feel like it did, that they were crying for the right reason and they were all going to miss [the show] for the right reason."
A Final Thank You: When we asked for a last message to the OTH fanbase, Schwahn, known for being quite the talker, became momentarily speechless. "A writer without words is kind of a pathetic thing," he said with a hint of embarrassment. "And it's so hard to explain. It's just been so life-changing for me. This allowed me to make a new movie every seven or eight days. What you also get out of it is a quiet confidence in your craft, and the fans own that for all of us, for the actors and for me."
Having confidence even when you're show was always on the bubble is no easy feat, and Schwahn is well aware of the uphill journey the show has endured over the years, mainly caused by the constant negative reaction to the show. "You post [an article about OTH] and most of the responses are going to be mean. There's just something about our show where people are just so excited to hate it! Trust me, they hate this show," he laughed. "And there's a very small audiences that love our show, and they have been true to us and kept us on the air. And for that, that's priceless. It's hard to say thank you for something like that. Thank you doesn't seem to get it done."
Well, this is the end of the line for OTH. Thanks for nine crazy, wonderful, heartfelt seasons. Now we want to hear from you guys! What did you think of One Tree Hill's send-off? Take our poll, and then hit the comments to say your own thank you to Mark Schwahn and crew.
We love you, One Tree Hill. Always…and forever.
(Originally published April 4, 2012, at 7 p.m. PT)