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The Most Important “One Tree Hill” Debate: Why Nathan Is Better Than Lucas

About a month ago, I was just scrolling down Facebook when I saw a Buzzfeed test that caught my attention: These Six Questions Will Tell You If You’d Be With Lucas Or Nathan From OTH. I realized, then, that I really didn’t need to take the test. My heart has always belonged, and will always belong, to Nathan. Unpopular opinion, maybe, although everyone I know who has a working brain agrees that he is a much better catch than Lucas Scott.

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Let’s go back to the beginning. Lucas is the poor child who was abandoned by his father, Dan Scott and is now being raised by his kickass mom and uncle while acting as a tortured soul who plays basketball with other outcasts in the river court and wants to be a writer in the future. He’s best friends with “Tutor Girl” Haley James and has been in love with the dark and twisty Peyton Sawyer ever since he can remember – although she’s not aware of his existence at all. He’s the always relatable uncool kid.

Now picture Nathan. The son Dan Scott decided he wanted to be there for. Your typical super rich boy who has been raised as an only child by two parents who care more about themselves individually than the family in itself. Nathan was popular, the basketball team star that everyone wanted to be friends with. The cool kid. And, to be honest, (and I’m sure everyone will agree) a spoiled twat. At least, in the first season.

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I can see why Lucas Scott appeals to the majority of people. Although the show followed both Scott brothers, it was, undeniably, mainly about Lucas. A boy who works his ass off and is being raised by a single mom while his step-brother shamelessly ridiculed him in front of everyone else. And he was played by 00’s hottie par excellence, Chad Michael Murray, which helped his cause. You were supposed to side with poor old Luke. And I did, at the beginning. I wanted so badly to hug him and slap Nathan for making his life even more complicated.

At some point, though, I started becoming emotionally detached from Lucas. It all started very early on. I never have and will never hide the fact that my favorite character is sassy pants Brooke Davis (more on that some other day). I was over the moon when they started dating in the first season, even though when I watch it back now I realize she was too good both for him and with him. However, while she was falling deeply for Lucas, his mind and heart kept going back to Peyton, to the point that he cheated on Brooke with her both times they were together. Some people, Leyton shippers, may see the fact that he kept coming back to her as a romantic gesture, but let me tell you how I see it: he was a cheater. Brooke loved him with all she had, which was proven many times, yet he chose (because you can’t help what you feel but you can choose what you do about it) to break her trust over and over again. I do know Lucas is a fictional character, but I have never managed to forgive him for it.

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The thing is that after a few seasons, Nathan grew up. Our rich kid stopped being a bully and actually befriended his brother, at the same time that he started growing apart from his evil father. He married and moved in with Haley. He started providing for himself and his wife by working at a pretzel shop. They had a kid while they were graduating – and another one later on. Haley became a teacher, a musician, a record label co-owner; and he supported her every step of the way, no matter how hard. He became a famous basketball player in college, leading him and his family to a disastrous situation, which fortunately they were able to overcome. That’s the thing about Nathan’s by then well-established family: they were able to overcome anything life threw at them. Physical disabilities, psychotic nannies, false accusations, depression, family issues, even Chris Keller in the early days. There was nothing they couldn’t face. Nathan went from a spoiled young boy to a humble basketball player (even in the NBA!), a strong father, a loving husband and overall the man of your dreams.

In the meanwhile, Lucas was just… Lucas. I feel like time didn’t go by for him. After five seasons, he was still stuck between Peyton and Brooke. Deep down, it feels like everyone moved on with their lives except for him. Although I don’t particularly dislike her (must be the Hilarie Burton effect), I’m not the biggest fan of Peyton as a character, either; but Brooke did a lot of growing up, becoming an incredibly strong woman who ran a fashion empire. Lucas published one good book and was struggling to write another one. And even though there’s a four-year jump in season five and he was then dating his editor, he was still lusting over Peyton. So much so that he left his then-girlfriend at the altar. It was, basically, the adult version of what he’d done to Brooke back in high school. All of it while complaining about his life. Obviously. In true Lucas Scott fashion.

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I feel like I’d have to watch the first six seasons again to give you a detailed analysis of why I dislike Lucas Scott so much, but what I remember the most about him is an awful lot of complaining and always being the victim, even though he was the one mistreating his girlfriends (because he was in love with Peyton, okay, yeah, very romantic, well, also very douchey). Everyone moved forward and became successful and ambitious, each in their own way. Everyone grew up and became emotionally mature. Especially Nathan, who I feel is the one who evolved the most on the show. Lucas, on the other hand, irremediably fell behind. Being the “relatable uncool kid” stops working once you graduate. Being an adult who is just merely repeating the same mistakes as his teenage self and failing to become an emotionally mature man is not “relatable” – it’s just sad.

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