Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Taking a break from all your worries
Let’s all take a moment to pause and thank God that ‘Hart of Dixie’ is back and this hiatus is now over. Five weeks doesn’t seem like a long time in the span of, you know, life, but five weeks without Wilson Bethel feels more like five months. So let’s not waste any more time, on to the review…
It’s spring break in Bluebell, which is really just an excuse for Zoe to let loose and have a good time after all the drama with Wade. Spring break in Zoe terms is a hilariously awful purse fanny pack and doing a keg stand in polka dot pants. This is, of course, in between rushing Brick to the hospital (he may or may not be fine) and trading mildly hostile but sometimes friendly barbs with Wade in Lavon’s Kitchen (the capitalization was a typo, but so many things happen in that kitchen that it might as well be formally named).
In fact, the two of them seem to be getting along quite well considering everything that has happened. So much so, that if there hadn’t been a previously on segment, it’s possible some of us might have even forgotten (yeah, right) that Wade cheated on Zoe and they broke up about two episodes ago, because that’s how little time in this episode was spent on the aftermath of their traumatic and teary breakup. But that’s OK, because in the show’s timeline and in ours, it’s been a little while. It makes sense the two of them aren’t at each other’s throats or that Zoe isn’t sitting alone in her house making dish towels with Ryan Gosling’s face on them (yeah, that’s a real thing).
And in that way, it’s a good thing the show took a hiatus after the initial breakup aftermath episode. ‘Hart of Dixie’, while definitely a show that dabbles in the romantic drama, works better when it focuses on the comedic, as evidenced this week by Lemon and Wade’s attempts to win a boat so they can sell it and have enough money to buy the Rammer Jammer, which just so happens to conveniently be for sale. Imagine that!
Wade, of course, decides the best way to narrow down the field of contestants is to play to his strength: charming the ladies. He tells a sob story to a woman about how his father died at sea, and it looks as if the woman is feeling some sort of sympathy until Lemon busts in and points out that Crazy Earl is in fact somewhere off in town and not, you know, dead. Wade quickly regains the upper hand by admitting that he was only trying to sleep with the woman in question, to which she takes her hand off the boat to slap him (apparently she’s a lefty). It’s unclear if Wade had been counting on Lemon to interfere from the start, but whether or not that’s true, it’s obvious to Lemon (and the audience, who’ve known for quite awhile now) that Wade Kinsella is not an idiot. He knows how to charm – and then piss off – the ladies. It’s kind of his thing.
While this entire scene/premise is silly, and reminds me of an episode of an old 90s TV show that I can’t for the life of me remember which one, it brings together one of my favorite pairings on the show: Lemon and Wade. These two characters are so vastly different that every time they interact it’s fun to watch. They exist on two ends of the spectrum – Wade being too relaxed and calm and Lemon being far too high strung and controlling. Putting the two of them together almost guarantees prime entertainment. In fact, my favorite Lemon moments from season one both involve Wade. First there was the episode in which Lemon, George and Wade all played a prank on a former classmate, with Lemon as the brains of the operation, and the second time was when Wade took Lemon out dancing and she got drunk.
Wade is the character that brings out the best (or worst, sometimes) in everyone, but he’s still the guy that everyone likes (well, I suppose there are probably a lot of angry fathers with shotguns who still hate him in Bluebell and the surrounding area, but that’s neither here nor there). He’s got his own slew of problems, but he’s become the backbone and the heart and soul of ‘Hart of Dixie’, much the same way Tim Riggins became the best part of ‘Friday Night Lights’.
Wade’s story is a compelling one, and you want to root for him because he’s never really been able to get it right. And I think that contributes to why everyone loves his character so much. I mean, sure the abs and the southern drawl probably play into that, but what makes Wade so wonderful is that he’s genuine in his love for his friends. Sure, he’s played a lot of women, but when it comes down to it, he’s reliable in a way that most people probably aren’t. He stayed up all night to make Zoe’s gumbo when he barely even knew her. He’s there to help Lemon when she needs an escape. He might not always make the best decisions, but you still want to see him succeed despite those mistakes.
When the news came out that someone in Bluebell was going to be jealous about Zoe’s relationship with Jonah and their spring break antics this week, we all hoped it’d be Wade and not George, because well A) that would have made more sense, and B) we genuinely care about Wade’s feelings. The writers still seem to be pushing the George Agenda (Gagenda?), despite the fact the majority of fans don’t like it and despite the fact the relationship and the so-called chemistry seems forced at every turn.
It’s true the writers have done a great job of making George a person and not just a cardboard cut out this season – his relationship with Tansy and his new status as the straight man in a town full of wackadoos and crazies has helped immensely – but most of the time, the scenes between George and Zoe lack the passion and spark and natural chemistry of Zoe and Wade. However, I have to say that, at least in this week’s episode (don’t get me started on next week’s preview with the two of them playing the lead in the Bluebell production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’), the conversation between the two of them in the waiting room in Mobile’s hospital seemed genuine. A deep friendship in which they care about each other and care about each other’s happiness is a relationship I can support. But I can’t and won’t ever support a romantic relationship between the two characters. It’s time the writers cut their losses with this one. What works on paper does not always work on screen and when that happens, you need to alter your original plan and adapt to what works. Zoe has more chemistry with Lavon than George at this point.
And speaking of Lavon, Ruby was back in town this week. And though I groaned just as loud as the rest of you when I saw that in the previews for this week’s episode, it turns out she was merely there to serve two plot points: 1) she was the one who came up with the boat contest (which only served to give Lemon and Wade a way to purchase the Rammer Jammer), and 2) to force Annabeth to make a decision regarding our favorite mayor. So even though I still think Ruby’s kind of The Worst, I’ll accept her appearance for the sake of moving the plot along.
Of course, the Annabeth and Lavon storyline could not have progressed without Lemon’s blessing, as the Girl Code requires. But after seeing how much Annabeth truly values her friendship with Lemon, the latter finally agreed to let Annabeth have her happiness, in what was a great scene between the two friends. I really enjoy the Lemon and Annabeth relationship, but wish that female friendship was transferable to Annabeth and Zoe as well. Girl needs more female friends in her life that aren’t teenagers. I mean, it was one thing to have Wade tell Zoe her purse fanny pack was hideous and a piece of nostalgic garbage that should be set on fire (I might be paraphrasing), but if Zoe had had a girlfriend to tell her that she looked like a complete idiot and even the college kids in town for spring break would make fun of her, maybe she wouldn’t have left the plantation wearing it. Because having an ex-boyfriend criticize her will probably only make her want to wear it more to prove him wrong. And that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Seriously, Zoe. Burn that crap.
The episode as a whole was a fun one even if it wasn’t the most realistic (but when does ‘Hart of Dixie’ ever really exist in the real world?). While I don’t really believe Bluebell would ever be a spring break hot spot (really, writers?), it was definitely better than having another boring town event, and it provided an outlet for Zoe to let go a little bit. If she’d have actually hooked up with Jonah as the episode had suggested she would, I’d have probably cried foul and claimed that was against everything we knew about Zoe, but it was nice that she was able to blow off a little steam with someone.
Some stray observations
- Did anyone else think Jonah was just a Wade stand-in? The two characters share a lot of similar character traits, right down to their womanizing and carefree attitude, but it was just a thought that came to me as I watched the episode.
- Can we get a George Tucker webseries that is just George listing off things and people he doesn’t like for stupid reasons (not that disliking Jonah is stupid – I support that)? Scott Porter delivers those straight man lines with such ease that they actually make me laugh constantly even when he’s probably not trying to be funny.
- Lemon, girl, what the hell were you wearing in this episode?
- Tom Long owns a lizard costume because of course he does.
- Shelby and her closet organizing app have finally won me over. She can stay.
What did you guys think? Are you happy about the idea of Wade and Lemon becoming business partners? Are you happy the show didn’t dwell on the Zoe and Wade breakup? And are you as sad as I am that Lavon wasn’t in fashionable swimming trunks?