Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Please don’t take my man, Jolene
All of our characters are waging war of some sort this week on ‘Hart of Dixie’. Whether it’s Zoe struggling to balance her job with making time for her extremely good looking boyfriend (this really should not even be a question), or Lemon 2.0 battling her inner Lemon 1.0 programming as it rears its ugly head in the direction of her dad’s new girlfriend Shelby. Then there’s George who is battling his apathy towards Tansy’s adorable pooch Dolly Parton who likes to lick his face while he’s sleeping and gnaw on his shoes (though I suspect this was just sly attempt to get Scott Porter to sing “Jolene”), and Annabeth battling her feelings for Lavon in an attempt to remain loyal to her best friend. Everyone’s got a battle waging, but only a few of them are actually conscious of their efforts.
In some bizzarro twist of fate, Zoe Hart has won over the people of Bluebell. It only took a year and a half (if the show follows real time that is, but remember the seasonal confusion last week?), a damaged float, ghosts in the woods, nearly ruining Christmas (and every other holiday), throwing a terrible New York style party, and ruining just about every town event the show has seen. But she’s done it. Unfortunately, all of the love and adoration has gone to her head as if she’s the first person to discover a cure for the flu, and she’s neglecting poor Wade, her lowly boyfriend who doesn’t have a career.
Wade being Wade pretends he’s only feeling neglected sexually, but it’s clear that he’s a little worried that with everyone now on the Zoe Hart fanwagon, there won’t be room for him. He’s afraid she’ll forget he appreciated her and loved her before she became the number one doctor in town. It might be irrational, but when examined in the scope of Wade’s entire life, it makes sense that he’d be a little worried about losing Zoe, or worried about her feelings for him waning. After all, he’s never had a real relationship and everyone in his life has left him behind. And although he appeared completely comfortable in the episode in which his relationship with Zoe was thrust into the spotlight against George and Tansy’s, there’s still a part of Wade that is insecure. That’s just who he is. But as it turns out, after Zoe blows their romantic getaway weekend by sticking her foot in her mouth (as usual) and telling Wade he doesn’t know what career satisfaction feels like because he hasn’t got a career, we find out he’s less insecure about his relationship with Zoe than he is about his dream of opening up his own bar.
Lemon, meanwhile, is struggling to remain likable, both to herself and to viewers as she takes on Shelby and her birthday planning planners. And it doesn’t help matters when Magnolia (the literal version of Lemon 2.0) goads her in to returning to her immature scheming ways. And though she eventually wises up, it’s a bit too little too late as Magnolia has gone ahead and planned – with Shelby – an elaborate surprise party for Brick (after he’d canceled the original party). And though Magnolia eventually fesses up to Shelby – in plenty of time to forgo what should be an embarrassing birthday serenade complete with a prop cake and a sexy nurse outfit – Shelby takes the bull by the horns and does it anyway.
And this is how I came to like Shelby. While at first she was completely ridiculous in every way, she’s settled in to her role on the show. Of course, she’s still over the top, but I don’t seem to mind her accent or her obsessive ways as much. Damn that Laura Bell Bundy! I don’t know if it’s the way she is just so matter of fact or talks a mile a minute, or the way she forces people to look at her pictures on her iPhone (“Alamo, Alamo, Alamo”), but she’s definitely a character that has proven that she can go toe-to-toe with the Breeland girls and come out, not only alive, but victorious. She did her sexy serenade to Brick at his surprise birthday party, and though Lemon and Magnolia were horrified (probably at the promiscuity, as Lemon wouldn’t know how to be sexual to save her life – as evidenced last week by her original plans to seduce Walt), the rest of the town loved it and embraced Brick and Shelby as a couple.
That’s how you beat a Breeland, friends. Now, if only Zoe could figure that one out and execute it properly. She, of course, has tried variations of this theory, but she has never been successful. The problem is Zoe cares too much about what people think of her. She can say that her obsession with the townspeople liking her is about career satisfaction, but what it really boils down to is that she is desperate to be accepted and desperate to be liked, which can easily be traced back to her daddy issues. It’s nice that she has been accepted, but she should know by now that it’s the people who accept and love you without you having to do anything for them who are the ones that matter.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Bluebell is Annabeth and her bucket of feelings. Apparently the kiss with Lavon was much more than we were lead to believe last week, as they ended up sleeping together. Most of Annabeth’s storyline followed the systematic TV trope of “girl sleeps with best friend’s ex, girl struggles with feelings for best friend’s ex, girl struggles with how she’ll tell best friend about sex, girl eventually does tell best friend about her sex with the ex, best friend storms off in a huff, girl ends things with best friend’s ex in order to regain best friend’s trust.”
Whew. That TV trope is so overused that I could easily list several shows that have used it right now, but I won’t. It makes sense that Annabeth would put Lemon first, she’s her best friend and it’s the girl code. It’s not that I particularly agree with the girl code in every circumstance, because sometimes the best friend is a complete bitch and was the breaker upper, so she shouldn’t really have “a claim” to a man, but it’s the code. And Omar says, “A man’s gotta have a code.” That translates across gender lines, right? Whatever, any storyline that leads to Lavon showing up at Zoe’s door with a bag of doughnuts asking her and Wade, “Help me eat my feelings?” is actually OK in my book. Because for all of his protesting about how he’s not one of Zoe’s girlfriends, he is totally one of Zoe’s girlfriends. Lavon is there with a helping hand or meaningful conversation when Zoe needs him to be, and it’s nice to see the tables turned for once.
As for George’s storyline? Well, Tansy had to go out of town for some hair-related emergency and she asks George to watch her dog (y’all remember Dolly Parton, right?). Unfortunately, George isn’t really Dolly’s biggest fan on account she’s a dog who enjoys dog things like: licking his face while he’s asleep, sleeping in his bed and chewing on his shoes (dude would not like Riggins then, yikes). George agrees to watch Dolly because Tansy claims she’s the only thing in her life that hasn’t let her down yet and George is desperate to be on that list, not the list of the countless men who’ve let Tansy down over the years (Wade included). But because this is TV, Dolly and George have a misunderstanding and she goes missing. Oddly enough, Dolly is a Dolly fan and the only way George can calm her down when he finds her near the water (she hates water, FYI) is to sing “Jolene.” Like I said, pretty sure this was just a way to shoehorn in another Scott Porter performance, but hey, you won’t find me complaining.
Where I take issue with this episode is surprisingly not the part where Zoe sticks her foot in her mouth or the part where she neglects her extremely good looking boyfriend. Because those were steps to bringing Wade’s dream of opening his own bar back to the forefront. Those conflicts were necessary in order for Wade to show Zoe his
dream journal plans for his bar. And for Wade to open up that way is a big step for him. He’s not often a serious guy. He hides behind his sarcasm and charm, which normally come across as general cockiness, instead of talking about how he really feels. But where Wade truly shines is in those instances, like that final scene this week. Wade Kinsella is never better than when he lets his guard down and allows Zoe to see the insecure man underneath.
So no, I don’t take issue with that storyline. I take issue, again, with how the Lemon/Lavon/Annabeth storyline is being played out. Because while I fully respect the girl code, Lemon had her chance with Lavon and she chose George over him. She did it time and again and even if her feelings returned during the election, there’s a pretty good argument against the girl code. If George hadn’t called off the wedding, I still think Lemon would try to lay claim to Lavon, and that’s why I reject the notion that she has any right to be angry. Yes, she can be hurt by Annabeth’s feelings for the man, but she should not take those feelings out on her best friend. After all, Annabeth did the respectable thing by telling Lemon the truth. I’ve seen other shows where the girl never tells her best friend and then it comes out at an extremely uncomfortable moment in time.
Lemon is a woman driven by her emotions – whether it’s happiness, jealousy, rage or sadness – and she let’s them take her over completely. But there comes a time when a woman has to realize that it’s not her place to react a certain way, that she needs to take the high road. Lemon accepts that she hasn’t quite completely morphed into Lemon 2.0 like she’d previously thought, but I hope that at least by realizing she’s regressing instead of progressing that that in itself is a form of progress.
Some stray observations:
- I reacted the same way as Zoe to the revelation that there is yet another Breeland in town. Especially because he’s A) a doctor, and B) sure of himself to the point of cockiness (and where it’s cute on a guy like Wade, who favors flannel and generic beer, Jonah is smug and resembles a poor man’s Oliver Queen – right down to the sweaters). I’m suspicious of you, Jonah, and not just because I fear you’ve come to throw another wrench into my Zade fluff, but basically just on principle.
- Lemon’s outfit at Brick’s party was so cracktastic that I am in love with it.
- I was wondering how long it would take for the writers to figure out a way for Laura Bell Bundy to show off her singing. And they did it in a completely (for Bluebell standards) believe way.
- Of course Dash DeWitt has a prop cake.
- The fact that the song “Jolene” is mentioned in this episode twice and that it could easily be applied to the current love triangle of Lemon/Lavon/Annabeth did not escape me. If you’ve never heard the song, you’d do well to Google the lyrics (and then buy the song on iTunes).
What did you guys think? Has Shelby grown on you? Are you tired of Lemon acting like everyone needs to consult her before doing something? Did you like Jonah? Do you know where I can find a prop cake?
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.