All nine seasons of “One Tree Hill” are full of relatable characters, but there were many characters who went in and out without the chance to explore their full potential. The six characters below deserved to have way more screen time instead of being underutilized.
Who else do you think should’ve had more screen time? Let us know in the comments!
The arrival and departure of Anna (Daniella Alonso) in Season 2 was a huge missed opportunity for “One Tree Hill.” Anna was the only significant queer character in the series and exploring her sexuality would’ve been an interesting storyline while providing representation for the LGBTQIA community. Unfortunately, Anna left the show after coming out.
When Anna disappeared from our screens, it was so she could go back to her old high school to face her fears over confronting rumors of a relationship with a female classmate. While it was certainly a great character arc for Anna to address her past, it wasn’t something viewers got to see. I wish it wasn’t the on-screen end for her character.
Anna coming back to Tree Hill would’ve been wonderful to see. During the time we knew her, she felt conflicted about her sexuality, wondering if she was gay, straight, or bisexual. Watching her character navigate that journey after coming out would’ve added a whole new element to the show.
There was a woeful lack of LGBTQIA representation throughout “One Tree Hill,” but when there were storylines involving diverse people, they were executed quite well. I would’ve loved for the show to explore more of this, with Anna having a much bigger role in the series throughout the seasons.
If there’s one thing “One Tree Hill” could’ve used more of, it’s Bryan Greenberg as Jake Jagielski. It’s no secret that I wholly believe Jeyton should’ve been endgame, and for that to have happened, Jake would’ve had to stick around a lot longer.
Admittedly, I’m on board with how Jeyton’s relationship progressed on the show, and I’m somewhat fine with Jake and Peyton (Hilarie Burton) going their separate ways in Season 3. However, there’s no reason Jake shouldn’t have returned after the Season 5 time jump. Bringing Jake back later in the series would’ve been amazing for Jeyton shippers, and even if he and Peyton weren’t together, fans would’ve loved to see where he ended up in life after last appearing on our screens.
After everything Peyton and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) went through (getting together, breaking up, getting back together, etc.), Jake and Peyton would’ve had to navigate a whole new side of their relationship. There’s plenty of story there that we never got to see.
At the start of “One Tree Hill,” Karen (Moira Kelly) had plenty of interesting storylines. We watched her navigate being a single parent, battle her high school memories, run a business, and find love. Her development in the first three seasons was great, but as soon as Keith (Craig Sheffer) died in Season 3 and she learned she was pregnant with his baby, her character was sadly underutilized.
It felt as if Karen and Keith’s brother, Dan (Paul Johansson), were thrown together in Season 4 simply because the writers didn’t know what to do with her character. While I understand the drama of having the two connect while Karen was unaware that (spoiler alert!) Dan killed Keith, the storyline dragged on too long. It was also the only storyline she had at that point and her character development suffered for it.
There were missing links with Karen’s character on the show that became glaring in Season 4. Outside of Keith, her son Lucas, and Deb (Barbara Alyn Woods), Karen lacked visible friends and family. This was a character who became pregnant in high school and started a business young. There’s no way she did that entirely alone and without support. She had to have friends over the years, yet the limited view we got into her life begs the question of where her parents and any other loved ones were. Including that layer of Karen’s life would’ve made the story richer, especially as we only saw her twice more (in seasons 5 and 6) before she was written out of the show entirely.
While I loved Keith’s character in “One Tree Hill” and was devastated when he died, I wouldn’t change that storyline. It triggered excellent growth for the remaining characters and such powerful drama for the show. But before his passing, Keith as a character didn’t live up to his full potential.
In Season 2, Keith almost married Jules (Maria Menounos), only to learn that his brother Dan had set him up the entire time and paid Jules to romance him. When Jules bailed on their wedding, Keith left town to find her and was simply gone from our screens. As a huge character in the show, his absence left a hole. Why couldn't audiences have gone on that journey with him?
When Keith finally did come back to Tree Hill, he was a changed man. He ended up with Karen, which is fantastic, but we never got to see how his feelings for her resurfaced. It was an unseen development, which isn’t nearly as interesting as getting to see his growth ourselves.
Antwon “Skills” Taylor
Skills (Antwon Tanner) provides great comic relief on “One Tree Hill,” though there’s so much more to him than just that. As an OG cast member, Skills made many appearances throughout the show, but always as a secondary character — even though he was a series regular during seasons 4 through 7. It’s clear, from the few instances in which he got meatier storylines, that the actor had the chops to provide more than just comedy.
There was even a great opportunity for Skills to go from secondary character to leading character when Lucas and Peyton left the show at the end of Season 6. While I loved the inclusion of Clay (Robert Buckley) and Quinn (Shantel VanSanten) in the later seasons, I would’ve been more excited to explore Skills and see him interact with others.
In an alternate universe, it actually would’ve been really fun to see him paired with Quinn, especially considering the history they had. Since Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) and Skills grew up together, he would’ve known Haley’s sister, Quinn, as a kid. Meeting again and dating as adults would’ve made for an interesting storyline.
Glenda (Amber Wallace) was a very minor character on “One Tree Hill,” appearing in only five episodes across seasons 3 and 4. She started to become a confidant for Lucas in Season 4 when he asked her to read a draft of his book. The two had great friendship chemistry, but it was never explored any further.
Featuring Glenda in the show more would’ve helped the series represent a different look. She was plus-size and a bit gothic, which was so different from what was typically seen on “One Tree Hill” and television at the time. Adding her to the mix would’ve added a bit more realism to the show.
I would've liked to see Glenda become great friends with Brooke (Sophia Bush), with the two of them merging their fashion sense in a unique way for Clothes Over Bros. She and Peyton could’ve bonded over their love of music. There were so many opportunities to explore deeper female friendships with an introspective character like Glenda, but the show sadly had her disappear.