Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Mama knows best
Parents, am I right? They’re sole responsibility, aside form creating us, feeding us and generally making sure we don’t fall out windows and run in front of cars, is to be a guiding force in our lives. They’re here to offer advice, tell us when we’re doing something wrong or stupid, and most importantly, they’re here to point us in the right direction when we’re lost. They’re basically our personal Mr Feenys, but without the weird contrived career choices that force them to stay in our lives. And Zoe really could have used her own Mr. Feeny these past couple of weeks to guide her through her messes.
Her own fears revolving around her relationship with Wade caused her to act out on their picnic date and sabotage the entire event. Now, this isn’t exactly a newly discovered trait of Zoe’s; she sabotages just about everything she touches – if the search for Santa in last night’s episode is any indication. But 99 percent of the time, Zoe does one thing which ends up inadvertently ruining something else in the grand Bluebell scheme of things.
And most often, she’s not ruining something that is directly related to her own life. She’s usually indirectly hurting Lavon or ruining town events with her keen ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But when she sabotaged her date with Wade, she knew what she was doing – at least to an extent. She knew she was afraid that they wouldn’t work out because of their differences and she pushed him away.
But when Mama Hart came to visit for Christmas, all of Zoe’s fears about her life in Bluebell came to the surface just as she tried to push them down. She tried to blame her mother – as most people do – for the things that have gone wrong in her life. It was much easier for Zoe to believe that she was hiding her failed relationship with Wade because her mother would disapprove or judge her for it rather than face the harsh reality: she sabotaged her chance at happiness because she was afraid and because she herself was very judgmental of what she found out made her happy.
But in the end, Mama Hart was not judgmental of her daughter’s choices – except maybe that she chose to live in a small town in Alabama rather than New York City. She pushed her daughter to see the truth, that she had real feelings for our favorite small town bartender and that she was so afraid that things wouldn’t work out, that she just decided that she shouldn’t even try.
And this brings us to an interesting point in the Zoe narrative. She’s never shied away from anything she wanted professionally, but she’s very stunted emotionally and romantically. She was driven to succeed in medicine by her desire and need to please and impress her father. But she spent so much time focusing on her career that she never learned how to love or let someone love her. So when Wade came along, she was confused and unable to deal with the thought that he might actually have feelings for her that extended beyond the bedroom. And because of that notion, she was unable to admit that she might return those feelings.
Luckily, with a little push from her mom, Zoe came to her senses by episode end and offered a mea culpa to Wade. She put her heart on the line, just as he had done last week, and she asked him to be her “for real, out in public, everyone knows about, actual boyfriend.” And in true Wade fashion, he answered her with a kiss and told her, “It’s Christmas eve, Doc. Crazier things have happened on this night than a doctor and a bartender.”
That entire scene screamed Summer Roberts to me. And if someone hasn’t already done an in depth comparison of Summer and Zoe – they should. OK, fine, I’ll do it, I’ll take one for the team. Because I jump at any excuse to write about ‘The OC’ and because both characters, aside from being portrayed by Rachel Bilson, have a lot in common.
In a nutshell, both Summer and Zoe are stubborn women who fell for someone they never pictured as a possible lover, someone who didn’t fit the mold of their ideal boyfriend. For Summer that was the downright amazingly lovable sarcastic nerd Seth Cohen (and seriously, any world in which Adam Brody/Seth Cohen is considered a nerd has to be a fucking weird place, because HELLO), and for Zoe it was obviously the town bartender/Lothario with a heart of gold and fondness for flannel shirts.
Both Summer and Zoe suffer from deep insecurities brought about by their respective fathers. Summer’s about her father’s remarriage to the Step-Monster and Zoe’s from a father who exited her life once he found out that he wasn’t her real father. Summer hid her insecurities by pretending to be more promiscuous than she really was, and Zoe hid hers by throwing herself in to her work with relationships as an afterthought.
Now that Zoe and Wade have committed to each other, I can’t imagine that they won’t have their fair share of speed bumps – he’s still Wade and she’s still Zoe. They butt heads on just about everything and this is new territory for the both of them. I imagine they’ll be experiencing growing pains and other sorts of contrived drama relating to this new relationship. But I think now that Wade has matured (somewhat – don’t get me started on that tart who we saw leaving the gatehouse early in the episode) and Zoe has admitted to her failures and insecurities, we’ll be seeing another side of each of them.
And it shouldn’t go without mentioning that continuing with the parent theme, Crazy Earl made an appearance in last night’s episode. He was going to be the Santa after Zoe inadvertently lost the real one (she wrote him a prescription for rest and relaxation – can I get one of those? I really don’t want to work tomorrow.), but Wade did not approve because he basically ruined Christmas several years back.
Eventually, in a very tender and sweet moment between Wade and Earl and an eavesdropping Zoe, we found out a little bit more about Wade’s mom and how she died of cancer. And I think it was also witnessing this tender moment that drew Zoe to admit her real feelings for Wade. Because she saw a side of him that he doesn’t let most see as he sat in the pew and comforted his still grieving father. It turns out Earl only wanted to make up for the Christmas he ruined for Wade and the Bluebell children the Christmas after his wife died.
Man, after this and last night’s ‘Parenthood’, I think I need to go call my mom.
So what did you guys think? How excited were you when Zoe and Wade finally made it serious? And tell me the truth, how many times have you watched that scene? If I’m being real honest, I think my number is very safely in the double digits.
Note: As this was the last episode before the holiday break, I’ll be doing a mid-season report card soon and I’ll touch on the rest of the episode then- like the part where Brick is sexing Laura Bell Bundy. Talk about awkward.
Photo credit: Greg Gayne/The CW