Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Into the great wide open
How we’re raised and the life that we lead as adolescents and teenagers is indicative of who we’re likely to become as adults. Very few of us are raised in idyllic family situations with two parents who love us and treat us right, who teach us patience and virtue and steer us to the path of becoming fully self-sufficient self-actualized adults. That just doesn’t happen. Life is messy, people have free will, and the unpredictable nature of life often thwarts even the best laid plans. But sometimes it’s also the perfectly predictable parts of us that ruin it for ourselves.
That was the case on tonight’s ‘Hart of Dixie’ when several of our favorite Bluebellians were forced to face their fears of uncertain futures. For an episode that featured a zombie proposal set to “Islands in the Stream” and the introduction of “growl country” music, this episode touched on some very basic human emotions and resonated on a deep and unfortunately sad level.
Wade was faced with the very real possibility of opening his own bar, which up until this point had only existed in his head and in his dream journal. He and his band Mind Face, a confusing name that neither Zoe nor George can figure out the meaning behind (“What does that even mean? Does it mean, like, the melding of the brain and the face?” / “I thought it meant, like, mind the face. Gotta watch the face. Mind face.”) have entered in to a battle of the bands, the winner of which will receive $20,000.
But while Wade is initially excited and hopeful they’ll win – even with the growl country stylings of Meatball – his disposition turns sour once he’s faced with the possibility of success and being truly happy for the first time in his life. After Zoe shares her opinion with Wade about Meatball’s voice sounding like a werewolf caught in a garbage disposal and facing his cold reaction, she realizes that she’s once again gone and forced her opinion on someone without them having asked for it. She tries, in a very sweet and kind move, to make it up to Wade by apologizing for butting in and by purchasing Wade’s first sign for his bar.
When faced with the garish neon glow of a daunting future full of the unknown, Wade reverts back to his former shell of an existence because it is safe and comfortable and because there is no possibility for failure if he doesn’t really try. Instead of relaxing and staying calm, Wade starts to self destruct under the pressure. He drinks too much, kicks George – who replaced Meatball after the latter quit over his resistance to play covers – out of the band, and inevitably sabotages his own chance at becoming the man he ultimately wishes deep down that he was.
But, and here’s where his upbringing comes into play, Wade has never had a single person on his side in his life. He’s never had someone in his corner, never had someone to believe in him and support him the way Zoe does now. And that scares him. So instead of accepting that love and support and using it as a solid foundation for a good showing at the battle of the bands, he rejects it and ends up tanking the show. And afterwards, after he’s accepted his fate as a loser with no hope, he tells George, “I’m sick of people thinking I can do better, be better than who I am. They’re always going to get let down.” The episode ends with Wade telling George he’s going to get back to being the person he is and he leaves with a woman who is most definitely not his extremely hot, well dressed, goofy but awesome doctor girlfriend.
It would be easy to write all of this off as Wade’s insecurity and his lack of self confidence, but in order for him to grow as a character and move on from these flaws, the reasons behind them – mainly, his father’s absence in his life after his mother died, and a brother who’s a war hero, a brother who found a way to escape a life in Bluebell – need to be addressed. There was a temporary resolution to Wade’s ongoing issues with his father in the Christmas episode, but it’s going to take a lot more if he’s going to grow up and accept that he has a loving support system. It’s frustrating as a viewer to watch someone fail so horribly because they’re afraid of the unknown, but it happens a lot. So many of us don’t take chances because we’re afraid of rejection, and it’s easy for me to sit here on my couch and chastise Wade for his actions, but that fear of failure is present in all of us. Including Lemon and Tansy, too.
Lemon is afraid of being alone, and it’s a perfectly natural fear for someone who has spent the last fifteen years in a relationship. She had a constant companion during that time, even when George was living in New York he was still her boyfriend and she had her father and her sister and her best friend to act as his stand in. But now that Annabeth has broken the girl code and slept with Lavon, her name has been crossed off the list of potential activities to fill the void of loneliness. Brick too is absent this week, off with Shelby. And Walt has a bachelor party to attend, which means Lemon is left with Magnolia who was kicked off her school trip.
Lemon, desperate to not be alone, uses Magnolia to fend off her own loneliness. And because she’s Magnolia, she uses this to her advantage, manipulating Lemon into buying her one of the most hideous dresses ever (I want to rip that bow right off) and getting purple streaks in her hair. After Walt breaks up with her because she’s kind of a basket case and after a confrontation with Annabeth (who spends the entire episode is a C plot with Crickett as she tries to get back on Lemon’s good side), Lemon confides in her sister her fears of being alone and it’s really all kind of sweet.
Tansy’s fear is less about the unknown and more about the known as she battles her fears of being hurt again by a musician. But to be fair, George isn’t really a musician – he gets up on stage sometimes and performs, but he’s not even at Wade’s level. He’s a step higher than a glorified karaoke singer. But Tansy’s past heartbreaks at the hands of men who all had day jobs (I can guarantee not one of those men was a lawyer) and were members of a band, makes her afraid to put herself out there. It was all very silly, but it lead to some good character development when George refuses to let Tansy make any decisions for him, like Lemon used to do when they were together. And this all leads to a nice moment when Tansy accepts that George isn’t like all of the other guys she’s dated (obviously) and supports his choices.
Our life experiences affect who we are and our decisions we make as we try to find our paths in life reflect this. Some of us have it easier than others, and yet some of us will struggle every day to become who we’re meant to be. But if there’s one thing we should all know, it’s that we’re no good by ourselves. Our most basic ability as human beings is our natural instinct to love. The people we let into our lives shape us into the people we are and we should accept their love and support because without it, we’re only left with our fears and self doubts to accompany us.
Some stray observations:
- Wade: “You, who thought Waylon Jennings was a band comprised of brothers named Jennings who like to wail.” / Zoe: “I can’t be the only one that ever thought that.”
- Tom Long’s favorite song is “Islands in the Stream” because of course it is. And the zombie wedding proposal was sweet, if not kind of weird. But that’s basically the entire basis of the show, isn’t it?
- Dash has his own version of ‘Funny Girl’ and I’d give anything to be able to see it.
- Lavon told Annabeth he’d wait for her, wait for the entire thing with Lemon to blow over. It was also very sweet, but incredibly naive of him to think it will ever really blow over. Men, am I right?
So what did you guys think? Did you like the sisterly bonding of Lemon and Magnolia? Are you annoyed at Wade’s return to douchebaggery? And do you think he actually slept with the woman he left the bar with?
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.