There’s not one television show that can please all the critics all at once, that’s a fact. Recently, television reviewer for the New York Times, Gina Bellafante wrote an article about One Tree Hill’s fifth season, and in it accusing the coming of age drama of displaying “an almost aggressive aversion to moralizing about teenage pregnancy.” She’s referring to Haley’s (Bethany Joy Galleoti) recent pregnancy, claiming that it “[refuses] to lay out the grim consequences of premature motherhood, [and] wants to make fans on either end of the political spectrum stick their heads in fiery hampers.” With the recent events in the media, including 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy, is One Tree Hill really biased in showing just the joyous side of young motherhood?
Bellafante also took offense to the lack of realism in Haley’s struggles. She wrote, “Haley, a teacher, isn’t applying for food stamps or stripping to keep her child in clean pajamas. She is living instead in a nicely appointed house, dealing with middle-aged problems.”
Bellafante also pointed out that because the show skipped the college years, we did not get to see Haley go through all the struggles of pursuing her education while being a young mother. Bellafante wrote, “we never get to see how Haley balanced psych finals and colic, keg parties and vaccinations, and just having to say no, presumably, to any chance of a junior year abroad in a hedonistic Western European capital.”
Surely, Bellafante has a point. However, we must take into consideration that One Tree Hill is a show that never really thrived in reality. In fact, this series is more of escapist, soapy fantasy. If one wants to watch a show depicting teenagers with real teenage problems, then head over to NBC’s Friday Night Lights.
As for Haley’s struggles, or lack thereof, One Tree Hill may have overlooked this, and all the pieces of Haley’s life may seem unrealistically perfect. Nonetheless Bellafante admits that she can’t resist the addictive nature of the series. “One Tree Hill is a no-arrogance, no-entitlement zone and I’m (shamefully) happy to pull up and park.”
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