“Help Me Make It Through the Night” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 5.27.07 PMA slight improvement on last week’s crapfest, though it’s clear that something has slipped on Hart of Dixie this year. Maybe it’s just that everything’s gone so far off kilter. Annabeth and Lavon are struggling to survive Lynly (though Lavon doesn’t seem to have noticed), George is a mess, Lemon was consistently hooking up with Meatball, the Belles are Bitches, and Zoe and Wade have been torn asunder. Joel. So many problems relate to Joel. And somehow, in the middle of all of this, BlueBell seems to have lost some of its spirit, and the show is falling with it. Mostly gone have been the little strange quirks that used to pepper episodes. These latest episodes are too focused on the main characters and aren’t allowing the town (and its inhabitants) to shine the way it used to.

Far from being compelling viewing – we should want to watch to make sure everything gets back to where it’s supposed to be – this approach has been putting us off. It doesn’t feel like the Hart of Dixie we fell in love with. It feels like a new show, and it’s not one we’ve been all that interested in.

But some of that was rectified by “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and, with a few exceptions, we finally felt like things were heading back toward normal.

Lynly’s temporary absence gave AB and Lavon a chance to Continue reading

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“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.14.16 PMHart of Dixie’s third season picks up five months after the sophomore season’s finale. Zoe is still in New York, working in an inner city ER and about to move in with her writer boyfriend, Joel (Josh Cooke, Dexter, Better With You). And then her dream life hits a snag – she can’t stop thinking about BlueBell. When Rose turns up in the waiting room during Zoe’s shift, it’s a fait accompli… time to head back to BlueBell (the town she broke up with by email), tie up loose ends and get one all important letter from Brick. Of course, none of that is going to be smooth sailing. The town hates her, en masse. Her meddling with George and Tansy drove the couple out of town, in opposite directions. Since then, BlueBell has been a hellhole, and relations with Filmore are worse than ever. So it takes some time for the townsfolk to come around to the return of the erstwhile doctor, but come around they do. Zoe saves Founders Day, everyone is happy.

Not a bad return for the show, but not exactly groundbreaking either. It did little to surprise, but still had enough of its innate spirit to keep us interested. That’s one great thing about Hart of Dixie. Even when the story is nothing special, there’s something about it that keeps drawing us in. Maybe it’s the southern charm, or the wit, or the bright colors. Maybe it’s the interpersonal relationships, or the well-drawn characters. Maybe it’s just the promise of seeing Wade Kinsella. Whatever it is, even the bad episodes never make us want to stop watching.

Not that this was a bad episode. It did well at catching us up on what we’ve missed while we’ve been away. Instead of eloping, Shelby and Brick have gone their separate ways. Annabeth and Lavon are still going strong, but Lavon’s cousin, Lynly (newcomer Antoinette Robertson), is a constant thorn in AB’s side (and, we’re willing to bet, in ours). Magnolia’s gone to boarding school. Lemon has been sleeping with Meatball on the DL. Yes, you read that right. And Wade… well Continue reading

“On the Road Again” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 6.25.58 PM“On the Road Again”, the season finale of Hart of Dixie, didn’t feel much like a season finale at all. There was certainly a sense of wrapping things up, but more in the ‘taking a few steps forward’ kind of way. It was somewhat melancholy, yet hopeful at the same time. Not much was resolved after last week’s episode – Brick and Shelby have disappeared on a ‘romantic getaway’ but, other than that, nothing strange or startling. Overall, the whole episode just felt like any other episode, albeit one with a couple of big changes.

The episode’s main focus was on Zoe, George and Wade (with each being granted a separate plotline). George, after discovering Zoe and Wade half-dressed, decides he needs to get Zoe off his mind and out of his system. He runs into Wade’s ex, Lily-Anne, and, after penning a short song about his heartbreak, takes off on the road with her. Wade’s arc is split between him confronting his feelings for Zoe – with the unlikely help of Lemon – and trying to make sure that the Rammer Jammer is a success. Not that he does much of the latter, choosing instead to hijack Lemon’s business trip to follow Zoe and tell her how he feels. While Zoe still irritates us somewhat, we actually enjoyed her arc this week. We identified with that need to get away from it all, and loved the scenes between her and Jonah. Her decision to move back to New York for the summer to get away from her soap-opera life is probably the best call she’s made since the pilot episode.

The final scenes do little to ensure that the show’s viewers will return for the next season, other than Continue reading

“I’m Moving On” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 12.32.02 PMHart of Dixie. The episode was… well, it was okay. Zoe’s starting to piss us off. Her neuroses are adorable and we identify with them, but only when we’re treated to them in small doses. This episode? Those were not small doses. How is it possible that she has still not figured out how not to talk to someone? And the fact that she could be so self-centered as to commandeer a prom to find a man and then have a meltdown was the final straw. We watched this episode cringing internally every time she was on screen. The fact that she ended up alone at the end of the episode surprised us not one whit. Her no-strings-attached dalliance with Wade bothered us, only because we had hoped he would have more self-respect. But it’s Wade, so that shouldn’t have surprised us either. Speaking of Wade, he and Lemon’s attempts to save the Rammer Jammer have passed from ‘comedy gold’ to ‘just a little bit ridiculous’. How many more reasons do they need to work together instead of behind each other’s backs? The final-moments rallying of the townspeople was sweet, and displayed to perfection that BlueBell spirit we all love. So, perhaps, the Rammer Jammer comedy crutch may be used less frequently from now on. Brick and Shelby’s decision to elope was well timed and welcome. It saves us the trauma of months of wedding planning and doesn’t drag the arc into next season. After this week, we’re also

Continue reading

“If Tomorrow Never Comes” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 9.02.06 PMHart of Dixie continues to impress with its minimal plots and maximum impact. We talked a very little bit last week about how confining the action of an episode to two or three basic strands can actually improve it for viewers, and that remained true with “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.

The plot was focused on two main arcs. The first is a continuation of a major strand from last week’s episode – the drama over at the Rammer Jammer. As we suggested last week might happen, this plot is already being used as comedic fodder in otherwise lacking episodes (not that this episode was lacking comedy but, to compensate for the other main arc, it needed all the comedy it could get). The episode saw Lemon and Wade clashing about the direction the Rammer Jammer was going to take – salon or sports bar. Much hilarity ensued, but it also reinforced the idea that, while they may clash on every single decision, Lemon and Wade are going to be fantastic co-owners. They both have great ideas. All they need is some compromise. And they found that at the end of this episode – expansion. Not that it worked too well for them off the bat but we think, long-term, it can only mean good things. (We’re also getting romantic vibes from them, but we’re sincerely hoping those don’t come to anything, no matter how interesting it would be.)

The second was Brick’s mysterious news for Shelby. As predicted, his MRI scan was not clear. He had a pituitary gland tumor and had to undergo surgery to have it removed. This arc, surprisingly, focused little on Brick (who was fine by the end of it) and a lot on Shelby and Zoe. The main thrust of it revolved around Continue reading

“The Kiss” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 4.21.53 PMThis week’s Hart of Dixie was light on plot, but that in no way detracted from our enjoyment of it. For the most part, the story was based entirely on two continuing arcs – Wade and Lemon buying the Rammer Jammer, and George and Zoe’s never-ending will-they-won’t-they. That latter lost a little of its flavor for us this week as it became clearer than ever that, yes, they will. The episode featured a lot of running around trying to avoid each other, and a lot of Tansy being jealous and George pretending there’s nothing left between him and Zoe, culminating in a steamy kiss (on stage), which leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind about where these two are heading and takes all the suspense out of things. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the inevitable.

The saga over at the Rammer Jammer was the big comedy element of the episode. Everyone expects Lemon and Wade to fail and, for a time, they do. They make disastrous choices – a French chef who studied the culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu, but can’t make grits, and an underage waitress who loses them their liquor license – but, by episode’s end, they have it all worked out. It may become a storyline that the writers return to whenever they’re struggling to fill an episode’s comedic quota but, for now, it’s resolved. And it’s nice to see these two have a (sort of) happy ending.

The only other aspect of the episode worth commenting on is Continue reading

“Why Don’t We Get Drunk?” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 12.14.07 PMAfter the sheer torture that was New Girl, the return of Hart of Dixie came as a pleasant relief. Very little of significance happened, but then it didn’t need to. One of the very best things about Hart of Dixie is that the character writing and the incidental writing are done with such loving care that even a week light on story can be highly entertaining. And “Why Don’t We Get Drunk?” was certainly that. As Spring Break comes to BlueBell, it brings a little bit of drama in its wake. Ruby’s back in town, and George is (seemingly sub-consciously) trying to get in between Zoe and Jonah. Drama is notably absent between Zoe and Wade, who seem almost scarily civil. There are a few barbed comments, but nothing like what we were expecting. And yet none of that really held our attention. It just didn’t feel important enough. That’s hardly a bitter indictment. We knew not to worry about Ruby because we know enough about The CW shows to know when a particular relationship is going to soar, and it was Lavon and Annabeth’s time. And George and Zoe have been building to something for quite some time, so we’re content not to rush it.

The big storylines came from Brick, and from Wade and Lemon. That latter first. As Wally decides to sell the Rammer Jammer, Lemon and Wade each decide that they want to buy it from him. Cue a vicious competition over a ‘hands on a hard body’ event, each determined to win the pleasure boat, sell it, and buy the Jammer. In one of the sweetest moves he’s ever pulled, Wade gives up the chance for an outright win because Lemon has to go to Brick in hospital (more on which later). Though predictable from the very start of the episode, the pair going into business – as they decided in the closing scenes – should prove quite diverting for the remainder of the season. But we have this strange feeling that, even in spite of all of the inevitable fighting and bitching, this pair will make it work.

Now to Brick. He’s been exhibiting troubling symptoms that have Shelby worried – headaches and clumsiness, for a start. Zoe and Jonah worry that this could mean a brain tumor, so they insist that he go for an MRI. Brick doesn’t want Shelby and the girls to know, but Continue reading

“Lovesick Blues” – Hart of Dixie

Really cute episode from Hart of Dixie this week. Upping the romance ante, for sure. As BlueBell is sequestered by an outbreak of the flu, we get loved-up couples in nearly every scene. Lemon and Walt were a treat (Lemon’s stressful build-up to her and Walt’s big night made his sweet, calm attitude, and their peaceful cuddling all the more poignant), Lavon and Annabeth upped the tension (their steamy kiss at the end of the episode was perfection), and Zoe and Wade learned the importance of being part of each other’s lives. Wade taking care of a Dr Hart laid low by the flu was one of the sweetest things in a saccharine episode. And we loved it. George was, once again, the stand-out player – his turn as director of Bluebell’s commercial had us giggling with every utterance. – B+K

Quoteworthy: “A bouncing house? Is this a joke? Okay, take 10 minutes, everybody, while I process my disappointment.” – George

“Islands in the Stream” – Hart of Dixie

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It’s hard to know what to say about this episode because we feel as though not that much happened. Annabeth fell for a dashing British stranger and lost interest in him when his accent disappeared. Lemon found out about Brick and Shelby and, despite putting on a sweet and innocent face for her dad, more or less declared war on Shelby. We got hints of a future Lavon and Annabeth romance – enjoy the thought of Lemon’s reaction to that for a time, why don’t you? And George’s parents came into town. George’s mother thoroughly disapproved of Tansy and went to some lengths to get him together with Zoe. George and Zoe each told the other that they no longer expect to end up together and that, while they’ll always have feelings for each other, they’re always going to be just friends. Why do we feel like they’re lying? We’re loath to put a timer on Zoe and Wade’s relationship, but we don’t think it’s going to stand the test of time. George and Zoe will end up together, making it all the more tragic that Wade is clearly planning a life together with her (asking what life is like for a bartender in NYC). A funny episode, undoubtedly, and an interesting one, but a little thin on plot. – B+K

Quoteworthy: “There is a chance there might always be some type of connection between Zoe Hart and me, but my mom was absolutely right – if we wanted to be together we could be. I’m not, because I don’t wanna be. I wanna be with you. Because I’m happy. And you know what? If I never ended up with Zoe Hart I’m realizing that would be completely fine.” – George

“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