Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Underwhelmed and unimaginative
Call it political fatigue, call it not enough Wade Kinsella, hell, call it whatever you want – this week’s ‘Hart of Dixie’ fell flat. I was not invested in any of the storylines for any of our favorite Bluebellians. Not even the cute moment between Zoe and Wade in bed at the end of the episode could save it for me.
And that bothers me. Because this was the episode that marked the end of act one for Lavon. The mayoral race he’s been tied up in since the beginning of the season has ended – and in the biggest non-surprise since Ross and Rachel ended up together on ‘Friends,’ Lavon won the race. This should have been a bigger episode – a better episode.
Listen, ‘Hart of Dixie’ is not a deep show and it doesn’t pretend to be. It makes no qualms about what it is. It’s a WB successor with good looking men, a relatable heroine and feel good warm and fuzzies. It’s not ‘The Vampire Diaries’ where the writers are constantly throwing you for a loop, killing beloved characters and making you question your sanity. It’s not ‘The West Wing’ with its heavy handed nail-biting politics. It’s not a series that asks a lot from its viewers. But it should respect us enough to actually put a little thought into its writing.
Lavon lost his rather large lead in Bluebell’s polls because he botched the mayoral debate. He, for some reason, decided that the debate was the perfect time and place to start flirting with Ruby.
Now, I don’t take issue with Lavon flirting with Ruby – If you’ve been reading these reviews for awhile, you probably know that I was not, and might not ever be, a fan of the Lavon and Lemon relationship – but I’d be more accepting of a love triangle if the writers hadn’t dropped the Ruby/Lavon storyline a few weeks back. This week it picked back up as if it had been going on this entire time and we were supposed to just forget about it’s non-existence for weeks.
If the writers had wanted us to believe for a second that Lavon would A) throw the race in order to keep Ruby in town or B) not win the race at all, they should have spent more time on Lavon’s lingering feelings for Ruby and less on George’s terrible dating storylines. They should have spent less time on Zoe and Wade (I know, I can’t believe I’m writing this either) and more time on Lavon’s personal storyline.
For weeks he’s either been the unhappy third wheel in the Zoe and Wade relationship or he’s been working with Lemon to win the campaign. I understand that the writers needed to bring Lemon’s feelings for Lavon back to the forefront if they wanted any chance at building a love triangle between Lemon, Lavon and Ruby, but for weeks it’s been the Lemon and Lavon show. Ruby’s simply existed on the outskirts of the story as Lavon’s opposition. She hasn’t been an integral part of the show, nor has she been fleshed out as a character.
In the beginning of the season it looked like she was going to be a great cast addition. She had the built in history with Lavon. She was a woman in town who actually hated Lemon and thus was someone who could be friends with Zoe. But after the first couple of episodes – when she announced she would be running for mayor against our own beloved Mayor Hayes – she became the enemy and the writers never threw her a bone. They never even attempted to make her likable.
And it’s hard to be invested in a storyline when your characters aren’t sympathetic and three-dimensional. And it’s even harder to care about a love triangle when the third point was added almost as an afterthought. Ruby was so late to the party that the DJ had left and all that was left of the chips were tiny shards that lodge in your teeth.
That’s why Lavon’s sudden feelings for Ruby in this episode were off. That’s why their entire storyline – including the outcome of the mayoral race – was rendered lifeless and unimaginative.
‘Hart of Dixie’ viewers are not stupid – yes, we (I) spend a lot of time drooling over Wilson Bethel’s abs and waxing poetic about the Zoe and Wade relationship as if it’s actually a real thing – but don’t just expect us to accept your crappy storytelling when you’re too lazy to create a proper build up. We’re invested in the show and the characters- that’s why we’re still watching it. So give us something more than hurried storylines that don’t do anyone any favors.
There’s something to be said about the drawn out, slow simmering sexual tension of our WB forefathers. It’s the reason the Wade and Zoe storyline works so well – because it had a proper season-long build up. If you want us to focus on and care about Lavon’s relationships, you need to give him the same attention you’ve given to the other relationships on the show. Lavon deserves more. And so do we.
Some stray observations:
- Wade and Zoe are basically boyfriend and girlfriend – I wish someone would tell them that already. Their post-coital cuddle and conversation makes their relationship a lot more serious than either one of them is willing to admit at this point.
- George dated Lisa from ‘The Newsroom’ for five minutes until he blew it by telling her who to vote for. It’s OK though, because I wasn’t a fan of her accent anyway.
- Zoe taught Magnolia how to drive while Brick flew to North Carolina to see Emily. And Wade dragged Tansy and her single wide into town to vote. Which was a completely dumb storyline. Did I mention that I didn’t like this episode? There was too much going on and none of it was interesting.
So what did you guys think? Were you as underwhelmed by the episode as I was? Or am I just delusional from my cold medicine? And did I sense a little something brewing between George and Tansy or is that also a symptom from my cold?
Photo: Mike Yarish/The CW