Review: ‘Hart of Dixie’: Standing hip deep in pie
There’s a scene in Aaron Sorkin’s show ‘Sports Night’ that perfectly sums up tonight’s penultimate episode, and even the full second season of ‘Hart of Dixie’. It’s about how despite our shortcomings, we come through them feeling better about what has happened simply because we’ve gone through it. “You know sometimes it’s worth it, taking all the pies in the face. Sometimes you come through it feeling good,” Josh Charles’ character Dan says to Peter Krause’s Casey. “Sometimes you just stand there, hip deep in pie,” Casey replies. And that’s how I feel this season has been. We’ve been taking pie after pie in the face and I don’t feel as if we’ve really gotten anywhere or have learned anything from this experience. I’m left standing in the remains of the pies and I can’t even eat it to make myself feel better.
In tonight’s episode, several things happened but save for one or two things – nothing has changed, we’re still in (mostly) the same place we’ve been for weeks. Some of the things were good (well hello there, Wade’s biceps!), some bad (Zoe got dumped by a guy she wasn’t even dating), and some ugly (Tansy’s dress). But the most important thing to happen tonight didn’t fall under any of those categories. Tonight’s big moment should probably be labeled Oh, Zoe, Not Again.
After a heated confrontation at the prom (where all heated confrontations take place!) with Tansy, Zoe admitted to herself, and well, a room full of high schoolers, that there was something very messed up with her. And though she was referring to her inability to sustain a healthy relationship, she could have easily been talking about the entire second half of the season.
After Wade and Zoe broke up, something was truly broken in the series. Aside from the initial episode following the break up, which did a good job at showing the roller coaster of emotions Zoe was feeling in its wake, everything was glossed over as if nothing had happened. The episodes felt like they were trying too hard – too hard at what though? Being funny? Showing Zoe as crazy? Everything that happened in those episodes felt like a different show from the emotional but fun episodes of the first half of the season. To be honest, it felt like season one before the show found its footing, as if the episodes were being created piecemeal in a factory. A storyline in which Zoe ruins a town event here, a little sarcasm from Wade there, oh and some snippy lines from Lemon Breeland and there’s the episode. The system, as well as Zoe, was broken.
It’s not that viewers don’t understand what the storylines are supposed to mean, it’s that the episodes don’t properly convey those feelings. The writers were attempting to showcase an even more insane Zoe, one that was going through an extended breakdown as a result of Wade cheating on her, but it wasn’t ever really addressed that way. And it really hurt the show in the end. And even in tonight’s episode, the last one before next week’s finale, Zoe never felt broken, or any more broken than usual. The one and only clue we had to her ever increasing fragile state of mind was her admission to Tansy at the prom. And her reaction to that admission being falling back in to Wade’s arms for a night of comfort. Oh, Zoe.
It’s not as if these sorts of things don’t happen in relationships. It’s the One Last Time Rule and it happens a lot, especially in the world of television, but nothing good ever comes of it. And having one evening in which Zoe forgets her pain doesn’t counter the fact that when she wakes up, she’ll still have to face reality. Even though part of me wants to see this as a stepping stone to Zoe and Wade having a real conversation about why their relationship failed, or at least a very heated argument over breakfast in Lavon’s Kitchen, it will only serve one purpose: to make me throw things at my TV. And I really like my TV.
It’s hard to discuss this development rationally, because Zoe is so frustrating as a character and yet, this is completely believable. But I don’t have to like it. She’s a doctor who has a brilliant mind for everything but her own relationships and I don’t have time for, nor do I want, another ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ I want a show that allows its characters to have flaws, but find ways for them to succeed and overcome the challenges that come their way. Zoe keeps maneuvering her way around these bumps in the road, but she never pulls over to examine the quality of the road she’s on to start with. She never allows herself time to figure out the root of her issues, instead she chooses to bounce from one harebrained idea to the next thinking that surely one of them will eventually solve all of her issues. And that’s her problem. Zoe doesn’t think things through and she’s quick to make decisions without thinking of the impending consequences or about what the real problem is. It’s not that these men are all wrong, it’s that she’s wrong and she needs to fix herself before she can be with someone else.
And Wade isn’t necessarily any better in this situation. Because although there hasn’t been an obvious inclination he’s felt any pain since the moment they broke up, we know Wade still has deep, deep feelings for Zoe, and yet he still has sex with her at her most weakest of moments. Why does he do it? Because he also wants to feel good. But at the same time – he knows this will only end up hurting himself and hurting Zoe and as the sober person, and saner person, I suppose, he should have denied her. But Wade isn’t there yet. Though he’s opened his own bar, tonight’s episode proved that he’s still just as stubborn as he ever was, refusing to let a proper contractor fix the Rammer Jammer and doing the repairs himself, only to end up in more trouble than he started with. Neither of these characters have grown or matured. They’re still standing still while giving the illusion they’re fully functioning adults. The healthiest relationships on this show are Brick and Shelby, because they have open communication and because they seem to have their heads on straight (Shelby has really turned into a great character) and Tom and Wanda and that’s just because they’re both so weird that it makes complete sense.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Because Tansy and George broke up as a result of Tansy being unable to get over her fears that George has feelings for Zoe. And even if she’s right and George has feelings for the doctor, he chose Tansy and continually declared his intentions to be with her. By making Tansy so insecure, the writers really dropped the ball on a character who used to be one of the strongest females in town. Of course George would feel things for Zoe when Tansy keeps planting that idea in his head. She just couldn’t take it and she asked George to leave Bluebell with her so they could be together without the shadow of Zoe Hart following them around everywhere. Honey, he left and came back once already, so what does that tell you? It seems the writers haven’t beat the love triangle dead horse enough though. If you thought there was a chance the love triangle would just disappear into the wind like Tansy and Dolly Parton, you’re sorely mistaken. Right now I’d give just about anything to have Zoe pull the groan inducing, “I choose me” scenario. Because it’s the only way she’ll ever grow up and mature enough to be able to sustain a real adult relationship. And it’s the only option that provides me with pie to eat and not stand in up to my hips.
Photo courtesy of The CW.