“Old Alabama” – Hart of Dixie

About time! Not only was this the funniest episode we’ve seen in forever – watching Zoe trying not to fight with Wade was surpassed in the comedy stakes only by George’s increasingly hilarious reactions to Brick’s attempts to elicit relationship advice – but it made huge strides toward redressing the balance between romance-driven plot and, you know… actual plot. While there was still a strong romance element (it is the first week of Zoe and Wade [Zade?] as an official couple, after all), the absences of Ruby, Tansy and Walt (Lemon’s beau) made for an episode that, for once, very much explored plot avenues beyond the romantic.

The majority of these alternative plots revolve around BlueBell’s celebrations for Founder’s Day: Southern Living are coming to the festivities; Annabeth and Lemon are determined to cater First Feast; Lemon ‘quits’ the business so Lavon won’t be able to object to their hiring; Lemon being cast as Grog Wench… It may be small stuff, but it was refreshing.

Yet, while we were glad to get a break from all the romance, it doesn’t mean we weren’t completely invested in what little there was.

We have to address the Zoe/Wade relationship. Yup, an actual relationship. Did we ever think we would see the day? And there’s a marked difference between ‘friends with benefits Zoe and Wade’ and ‘boyfriend/girlfriend Zoe and Wade’, and not just because of the PDA. Wade has become affectionate and playful, and Zoe is practically skipping (even when she’s sitting down). Happiness suits them.

But this is Zoe and Wade, so it’s not long until the problems begin to surface. After accidentally volunteering Wade and herself to play the founding couple in the Founder’s Day celebrations, Zoe accepts Cricket’s advice (gleaned from reading the Founding Wife’s journal) on how to keep your relationship happy and conflict free – turn the annoyances into positives. This leads to much hilarity as Zoe tries to keep her cool in the face of Wade’s intrinsic Wadeness resurfacing (losing her car, using her expensive Parisian shampoo as laundry detergent), adopting project after project until, to all intents and purposes, she’s turned herself into a Belle. But the whole effort is misguided from the start. Wade likes the real Zoe (fights and all) and vice versa. Neither of them can be happy while fights are being replaced by quilting. So, when Zoe blows her top at the First Feast, it’s a relief to everyone, including Wade.

Special mention of the week goes to George, who was on comedic fire for this episode. It may have been all about Zoe and Wade, but he was the real stand-out. – B+K

Quoteworthy: “If you’re a doctor, why are you trying to kill me?” – George, to Brick

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