Addressing the growing list of concerns on ‘Hart of Dixie’
I spend a lot of time watching TV, reviewing TV, and thinking about TV when I should be doing something else. After I posted my review of the most recent episode of ‘Hart of Dixie’ last night, I started to hear from some of you that you thought my take on the episode was completely off base, and that’s OK – we are, after all, entitled to our own opinions – but after sleeping on it, I realized I have quite a bit more to say regarding the recent rehashing of the Wade/Zoe/George love triangle.
You can still disagree with me afterwards, but last night’s episode brought to light the lingering problems that continue to plague the show and we need to address these problems, because they go much deeper than whether or not you prefer George over Wade. You may see my reviews as a shipper who’s biased because I come down very much on the side of Wade Kinsella, but as someone who is able to watch ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and appreciate and ship Elena with both Salvatores, I assure you, there’s a reason my feelings regarding this specific love triangle are so strongly one-sided.
So let’s discuss these problems and perhaps come up with a way to fix the issues:
First and foremost, Zoe remains stunted in her emotional growth. The premise of ‘Hart of Dixie’s is that it’s Zoe Hart’s personal journey to becoming a better, more attentive doctor who can relate to and comfort her patients. In addition to developing a bed side manner, it’s expected that Zoe will mature and become a multidimensional character who not only sees her patients as people and friends, but who recognizes that she is also part of the problems that she encounters.
Zoe spent most of her adult life attempting to live up to her distant father’s expectations, something I’ve discussed several times before. But it’s not enough to understand where her problems started, she must also attempt to fix those problems, and this is something the writers seem to have forgotten.
While Zoe and Wade were together, Zoe was able to let go of her inhibitions and accept another person’s love. The chemistry between Rachel Bilson and Wilson Bethel no doubt contributes to the breezy and natural feelings that permeate their scenes, but the relationship between their characters worked because they were two broken people trying their best to fix each other. They brought out the best in one another, with Zoe believing in Wade when he couldn’t do it himself, and Wade being there for Zoe when no one else ever was. They complemented each other in a way, that frankly, George does not.
I know I’ve written about how the characters are too similar to really work, but that’s only part of the problem. The other side to that is that Zoe doesn’t really want George the Man, she wants George the Idea. She only wants him when she can’t have him, something oddly humorous, because Rachel Bilson said those exact words to another character when she played Summer Roberts on ‘The OC.’ Zoe had her chance to choose to be with George, and she didn’t do it. In fact, the writers spent an entire episode devoted to how they had both moved on and found happiness with another person.
I’ll concede that this recent spike in George-related feelings for Zoe is no doubt a result of being so badly burned by Wade’s cheating, but that doesn’t change the fact that George is just Zoe’s version of the perfect guy, a symbol to cling to in her unhappiness. A relationship between Zoe and George has so far given no evidence that it could actually work. As I’ve stated numerous times, their similar interests are not enough to sustain a natural and loving relationship. They’re the kind of things that you talk about on a first date when you’re trying to get to know another person, snippets of a personality that should eventually give way to a deeper connection as you build a real relationship. They’re not something that is meant to signify a soul mate. The reason so many fans designate themselves as Team Wade is because Wade and Zoe’s progression was natural, not forced the way everything with George tends to come across.
Right now, Zoe views George as the one that got away, the man who would never betray her as he is – in her eyes – the golden boy, the opposite of everything Wade Kinsella. But that’s not true. George, while being a perfectly stand up guy, is not a perfect man, he’s flawed just like the rest of us. In fact, it’s important to point out he left Lemon at the altar for another woman and that he emotionally cheated on Lemon with Zoe. I’m not implying that we should stone George Tucker, but Zoe tends to put George on a pedestal when he’s just another guy. Until she realizes that she only thinks she wants George because she sees him as the opposite of Wade, she’s not going to be able to grow as a person and any relationship she would have with George would be doomed to fail because it wouldn’t be able to live up to the fantasy version she’s built in her mind. She’s running away from a horrible heartbreak so it makes sense that she’d want to get away and bury herself in another relationship with someone she thinks is better. But George would essentially be her rebound and those relationships don’t last either. Zoe told George she didn’t want to be his rebound, and he shouldn’t want to be hers. I get the feeling the writers think this sort of drama spells epic star crossed lovers, but it really just screams desperate. Both Rachel Bilson and Scott Porter are great at their roles and the give it their all with everything that’s thrown their way, but it’s doing them a disservice when the writing is sub par and the storyline is forced.
If the writers would write halfway decent stories built on a solid foundation for Zoe and George, I think they’d find that more fans would be receptive to that relationship, but so far the emotional attachment, both between Zoe and George and between Zoe and George and the audience is not there. Everything seems a bit like a romantic comedy that hasn’t really been able to move past the first act. At some point there needs to either be a deeper and more genuine relationship between the two – something that was hinted at in the hospital scene last week – or the writers need to give up and quit forcing the issue.
As long as Zoe refuses to confront her lingering issues with Wade, she’s not going to be A) move on, or B) mature. While I supported the Zoe and Wade break up (the vehicle with which it was done, however, is another point of contention for me) because it seemed that it would lead to character development for both of them, it’s really gotten us nowhere. Yes, Wade did eventually find a way to own his own bar, and I congratulate him for that and for being able to share that dream with Lemon when he clearly didn’t have to, but the show hasn’t addressed his emotional maturity or what buying the Rammer Jammer means for him personally.
So far, all that’s happened is we’ve seen Wade regress back to season one Wade where he parties and cares about boobs. The few times the writers have let Wade share emotional moments, first with Lemon and the competition, and again with Zoe, especially when he apologized to her last night, have been his finest moments since the break up. But Zoe hasn’t really had any of those moments. The only hint we have at any progression was when she admitted that Wade really screwed her up, and while the show is definitely a comedy, a very serious situation went down between Wade and Zoe and so far it’s not been addressed since the episode that came right after the break up. I want both of these characters to grow from their experience and until they do that, they’ll never be able to get back together. But even more importantly, they both need to hash out their problems, talk to one another – they live across a pond from each other, for crying out loud. There’s only so long that they can dance around the issue and pretend that things are all right. It’s great to see that Zoe still supports him, but there’s a meaningful conversation that needs to take place, and sooner rather than later.
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.