Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Zoe refuses to evolve
Note: Sorry for the extremely late review. I was very unhappy about this episode and it took me quite awhile to put into words why that was. Also, I had to make the infographic because of reasons.
I often compare ‘Hart of Dixie’ to its WB forefather ‘Gilmore Girls’ for a number of reasons. And you can see each and every one of those reasons on this handy scorecard.
But while I am generally not bothered by the similarities of the two shows – in fact, I think I like ‘Hart of Dixie’ so much because it reminds me of the way ‘Gilmore Girls’ used to make me feel – I was very torn regarding the latest episode, “Sparks Fly.”
Let’s break it down piece by piece.
First up: The Bid-a-Basket Bachelor Auction Whatever
I used to be bothered by all of the wacky town events the writers cooked up for Bluebellians to take part in. The idea just felt too much like a ripoff of ‘Gilmore Girls’ and it was played out very early in the first season. But during the second season the writers seemed to have gotten the message and they’d backed off of the town-event-as-plot-point formula much to my happiness. But as soon as I heard the words basket, bid and bachelor, I knew that I was going to take issue with this town event.
The bid-a-basket episode of ‘Gilmore Girls’ was called ‘A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and it’s by far one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. In case you’re not familiar with it, the premise was something like this: the single females of Stars Hollow pack baskets full of food and then the males of Stars Hollow bid on them. Whoever wins the basket wins the company of the basket-maker for lunch.
The reason why this episode was so well received by myself (and others) is because in it two things happened: 1) Jess outbid Dean for Rory’s very tiny basket which led to one of my favorite Jess/Rory/Dean exchanges, and 2) For the first time, Rory really seemed to be genuinely interested in Jess as a person – beyond their mutual love of books. Despite the fact she’d planned for an afternoon with her boyfriend, she still did the right thing and ate the horrible lunch she packed with Jess. Some might say that this episode was the real jumping off point for the Rory and Jess relationship. And not only did I ship Rory and Jess, but Jess Mariano is still one of my all-time favorite male television characters.
In addition to Rory’s storyline, Lorelai, in an attempt to save herself from a hideous date with one of the three men Miss Patty brought to Stars Hollow as potential suitors, begs Luke to buy her basket. After much bickering he eventually concedes and buys her basket and they share a meal (food from Luke’s because Lorelai packed junk food) in the gazebo.
So you can see why I might be a tad bothered by the storyline from “Sparks Fly.” Every single part of the episode felt like I was watching a less good version of one of my favorite television episodes.
Next Up: The Zoe/Wade Conundrum
For obvious reason, I take issue with the way this storyline has been played out – not on Wade’s side, but on Zoe’s. Wade finally took a chance and asked Zoe out – granted he did it by asking her to bid on his basket, but he still manned up and admitted that he wanted more than just casual sex that they both pretend means nothing. And Zoe panicked. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to date Wade and waited too long to bid on his basket. She lost out to none other than Magnolia Breeland. Wade’s face and heart fell and my own heart broke a little (damn that sad face of yours, Wilson Bethel!).
After Zoe bribed Magnolia with Taylor Swift concert tickets – a concert during which Zoe must actually wait in the car the whole time – she was able to get Wade’s basket. But as soon as they were to begin their picnic lunch, she froze up as if she’d never been on a date before. And this is where I take the most issue.
Wade and Zoe have never had a problem communicating. Not ever. In fact, aside from Lavon, he’s the person she interacts with the most. They’ve always been comfortable with each other and they have always been able to communicate effectively without a book of trivial facts to help them along. They’ve been having real, meaningful conversations all season. And yes, the situation around which these conversations have been taking place was changed by Wade admitting he wanted to date her, but the fact is: he has seen her naked on about a bajillion accounts. Girl, when someone has seen you naked, you don’t get to pretend that you have nothing in common. Because you have a lot in common. Like all the sex you had.
I understand that by asking her on a date, Wade changed the dynamic of their relationship. But Zoe should not have been as panicked as she was. Because the awkward part about first dates is getting to know someone and thinking about whether or not you’d actually want to sleep with the person – and clearly, Zoe has already done both of those. I understand that she was nervous, that she felt like she was on the spot – but I simply won’t accept the way she behaved.
There is plenty of evidence to support the idea that Wade and Zoe could work as a couple – she’s just too blind to see it. But what that also means is that she’s not ready for that next step. Wade has grown and matured over the last season and a half – and he finally opened himself up and put himself out there. And he had his heart broken. And Zoe hasn’t changed at all. I thought when she entered into a consensual monogamous casual sex fling (again, no such thing), that she was maturing. But in reality, she is the same Zoe. And I don’t want the two of them together until their both ready, until they can both admit that they’re in love with each other. I don’t think anyone would have ever believed Wade would have reached that point first, but he has. And now it’s time for Zoe to catch up.
Photo: Eddy Chen/The CW