As we predicted last month, new recurring character Anna (Daniella Alonso) on the WB teen drama One Tree Hill was revealed to be attracted to girls in last night’s episode, “The Heart Brings You Back,” when she kissed her surprised friend Peyton (Hilarie Burton), then admitted to her almost-boyfriend Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) that she “likes girl.”
But surprisingly, she also said she “likes guys, too,” which makes her one of the few bisexual characters ever to grace primetime network TV — and the first real recurring bisexual woman of color on TV (not counting Lindsay Price’s bisexual-in-name-only Jane on the short-lived NBC sitcom Coupling in 2003).
Lesbian characters of color are rare on network TV, where conventionally attractive white women are overwhelmingly the norm, and there have only been two Latina lesbian characters on television: ER‘s Sandy Lopez (Lisa Vidal) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Kennedy (Iyari Limon). Meanwhile, bisexual characters of any color have historically been almost impossible to find on network or cable television, although this has been changing in the last few years with the introduction of lesbian characters on shows like All My Children, The L Word, The O.C. and now, One Tree Hill.
Anna’s storyline in last night’s episode picks up shortly after her disastrous performance at a formal dance. Anna arrives at Peyton’s house to apologize for treating her poorly at the dance, and sitting next to Peyton on her bed, Anna reveals that Lucas broke up with her. “Do you think there’s something wrong with me?” she asks Peyton, who reassures her “I think there’s something wrong with Lucas. ‘Cause you are great.” When she gives Anna a hug, Anna turns it into a kiss, but Peyton breaks away in surprise and stammers, “Uh, Anna, that’s not really my thing.” As Peyton tries to tell Anna it’s still okay, Anna runs from the room.
Later, Peyton arrives at Anna’s house, but Anna won’t look her in the eye, trying to blow her off by saying, “I don’t know what came over me, I wasn’t really thinking straight.” Peyton won’t be dismissed, and says, “Anna, it’s cool, okay? Now a lot of stuff makes sense. Like how you treated me at the formal. How you blew me off after the whole locker thing.” Anna’s not taking the bait, pleading “Can we please just forget the whole thing?!” but Peyton insists “Absolutely not! Anna, don’t be afraid to be who you are.” Anna’s not ready to hear that, and when Peyton asks if they’re still friends, Anna replies “I don’t know if I can do that.”
Later, Anna arrives at outdoor basketball court at night, where Lucas is shooting some baskets. He stops to talk to her:
At the end of the episode, we see Lucas and Anna standing outside their high school, forlornly watching all of the couples stroll by. Lucas offers Anna his arm, asking if she wants to “feel left out together,” and she smiles, takes his arm, and they start walking.