Credit: Fred Norris

My word-for-word reaction when I heard One Tree Hill was renewed for a ninth season — presumably to be its last — was “Wait, no way that show is still on.” But it is.

I, like many of my high school ilk (or was that middle school? I’m too young to feel this old), used to worship the ground that Chad Michael Murray walked on. I used to live for the nights new episodes would air. (Tuesdays?) But of course this was back when it was on the nearly fully decomposed WB — or “the Dubs B,” as we in the suburban hood used to call it.

Over the years I lost touch with the One Tree Hill gang. Chad Michael Murray left, somebody apparently became a famous singer (it wasn’t Gavin DeGraw), and a whole lot of cross-pollination happened. OTH‘s rating are low but its fan base is high, and intense. Did I say intense? I meant crazy intense.

Part of me is proud that the show has lasted so long, especially after having been on the bubble for the better part of a decade, more especially when I think about its competitor, The O.C., which premiered the same year and epically fizzled out after four seasons. However, when I look at the poster for the show now, I don’t know the majority of the people on it, and that makes me sad. It’s not the sudsy teen drama I once loved, and it hasn’t been for quite some time. But the CW’s refusal to put a nail in its coffin almost makes me wish it had been granted a similar fate as its California counterpart. At least then it would have been sealed in pop culture history as the ridiculous, over the top, yet oddly sincere series that it used to be. Instead, its death has been prolonged seemingly ad infinitum, its characters mutated into soap opera caricatures, and its story lines rivaling Degrassi: The Next Generation in breadth and America’s Next Top Model in depth. I cringe to think of the insanity that might occur in its final season. Pregnancies? Beatings? Some kind of Lottery-style sacrificing?

What say you, PopWatchers? Were you relieved at the renewal? Saddened? Consumed by rage? And for those who are still watching: Why?

Also, what other shows do you wish would just end already?

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