Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you
It might not seem like it on paper, but ‘Hart of Dixie’ is a show that asks a lot of its viewers. It asks us to suspend reality for an hour each week to travel to the mystical world of Bluebell, a world where it’s always a balmy 85 degrees and strawberries are ripe for the picking year round. But it doesn’t stop there, they grow oranges year round too!
Listen, I’m normally all for the wonderful crazy of Bluebell. Every week I sit down and let the worries of the real world roll off my shoulders as Wade Kinsella takes off his shirt or Bluebell hosts another wacky town event. But is it too much to ask that the show follow the same calendar as the rest of us?
A month ago our favorite Bluebellians were celebrating Christmas (oh what a glorious Christmas that was). This week they’re flaunting their strawberry crops. Now, I might be from Ohio, but I didn’t grow up on a farm. In fact, I know absolutely nothing about planting crops or growing and harvesting food. As a general rule, I avoid anything that requires me to stick my hands in dirt. But I’m fairly certain strawberries don’t grow in January in the northern hemisphere.
This abrupt shift into spring wouldn’t bother me so much (hello, cute dresses!) if the bulk of the episode didn’t center around a rapid flu outbreak. Common sense tells us that the flu is most common during colder winter months, and as we’re actually experiencing one of the worst flu outbreaks in recent years, I’m just having a bit of trouble merging what I know to be true (flu season=winter) with what Bluebell tells me is true (winter=strawberry season).
But calendar discrepancies aside, this episode worked well on several counts. It serviced nearly every character with the exception of Brick, but even with the increase in characters, the episode didn’t feel as if it was stretched too thin. It provided the viewers with plenty of Zade fluff without making their relationship the center of the episode, and it made Lemon likeable again after she briefly reverted to her old, scheming ways last week. George Tucker was fabulous in sunglasses and a sweater the whole episode and to top it off, there was plenty of Annabeth, which is never a bad thing.
Let’s start with Annabeth, who unfortunately had her first kiss with Lavon the same night as the Kiss Seen ‘Round the World. While everyone (myself included) was busy rewinding their DVRs approximately 9 million times to watch Jess and Nick finally give in to a season and a half of sexual tension on ‘New Girl’, Annabeth and Lavon were giving in to a couple episodes worth of building attraction. While I applaud the show’s increase in Annabeth related stories, I have to say I’m not as thrilled about this budding romance as I should be.
It’s not that I particularly like Lemon and Lavon as a couple, it’s that I don’t like the way the show is handling Annabeth’s own hesitancy in exploring a relationship with Lavon in order to spare Lemon’s feelings. Listen, we all know the rules of feminism laid out by ‘Mean Girls’ and again in even funnier fashion by Leslie Knope (“You know my code; hoes before bros, uteruses before duderuses, ovaries before brovaries”), but in this case, I think the show is doing Annabeth a disservice.
She’s so focused on not hurting Lemon that she isn’t even aware that she’s hurting herself. And if the situation was reversed, I’m inclined to believe Lemon wouldn’t think twice about stepping over her best friend if it meant her own happiness. Lemon has made huge strides since last season, but as we saw last week, it’s easy for her to step back into those shrill, everything has to be my way shoes
I also want to stress that the problem isn’t that Lavon and Annabeth aren’t a likeable pairing, it’s that Lemon/Lavon seem to be endgame – a term I personally hate, because as we know, sometimes the writers think they know the direction of the show, but viewers’ interests and chemistry between actors sometimes alter that course. A recent example of this would be the Logan vs. Duncan debate on ‘Veronica Mars’. Duncan was supposed to be the main love interest, but once viewers caught wind of the chemistry between Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring, the direction of the show shifted. I’m inclined to believe that the George/Zoe/Wade love triangle has not exactly followed the path the writers thought it would take either. When the show premiered, it looked as if George/Zoe was very much “endgame” but Wade’s abs would not be denied and the path was altered to reflect the viewers’ demands.
I’m just not certain the Lemon/Lavon storyboard has had any reason to change yet. We knew Lemon and George were never going to get married – there was just too much baggage they were hiding from one another – but every romantic dalliance that has come after for Lemon and Lavon feel like placeholders until the two of them can really work it out. Remember when Wade felt as if he was a placeholder for George? That’s the impression I got with Ruby (and the impression I get with Walt, considering the complete lack of screen time his character receives – he’s been dating Lemon for eight weeks and we’ve seen him, what, like three times?), and while I didn’t care about that because I didn’t exactly care about Ruby, I care very much about Annabeth. She’s a great character and Kaitlyn Black does a great job with her. Annabeth is a character who could have easily been another Crickett (and even she is getting more screen time this season), but through a friendship with Zoe and an increased presence in Lemon’s life this season, she’s garnered a lot of fans. The kiss at the end should have had greater impact than it did, and I’m just hoping the show can find a way to make this relationship feel less like a placeholder and more like a real plot development.
As for the rest of the episode, there wasn’t exactly a lot of forward momentum in the other stories. We were reminded that Wade’s basically been on his own his entire life and doesn’t exactly know how to accept that someone actually cares about him and worries about him. Pushing Zoe away when he was sick was an obvious example of that. But thankfully Zoe recognized the load of crap for what it was and forced him to accept that he has a girlfriend who cares about him – and is highly qualified to help him battle the flu. It was very sweet when he then returned the favor at the end of the episode after she’d contracted the flu herself. This storyline was a very good example of how their relationship continues to develop and evolve as they become closer still, but it also proves that the show can focus on other things outside of the Zoe/Wade relationship and still be successful.
Every week we’re privy to another slice of life in Bluebell, and despite the fact they seem to be operating on a southern hemisphere calendar where it’s summer at Christmas time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, sometimes the stories don’t always match up with what our brains tell us might be correct, but that’s just one more reason to love our weekly visits to the gulf coast. I’m looking forward to whatever shenanigans they can come up with next week.
Some stray observations:
- George took a film class in college. And for that reason he is qualified to make a commercial? I took an astronomy course or two in college, but do you really want me analyzing data to look for quasars? No. No you do not. Because I know jack shit about quasars. And while the commercial turned out all right in the end, it took quite a bit of time to figure out that George’s original idea that included strawberry cars, Taylor Swift and a hot air balloon was BALLS CRAZY.
- Zoe: “Do you have crackers?” / Wade: “Of course I do! All right, now I don’t have as many as I had. I got hungry waiting for you to wake up…”
- I personally love Annabeth as Lemon’s relationship guru. Because Lemon needs a lot of help. However, I would like to own all of the furniture in her apartment. And her blue front door.
So what did you guys think? Do you ship Annabeth and Lavon? What about George Tucker and sunglasses?
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.
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