Wednesday, October 5, 2011

OPINION: Sum of Rachel Bilson, Jaime King, Cress Williams & Scott Porter Greater Than HART OF DIXIE

HART OF DIXIE is like dating a guy who is perfect for you on paper but the chemistry just isn't right. You have some fun moments and you think to yourself this is someone that I could be with for a long time. But you don't see yourself falling madly in love and wanting to run away with him. This is a cute show with potentially fun characters and what should be the set up for some juicy relationship conflicts but something is missing. Like that boyfriend who you don't know if you have chemistry with, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to Dr. Zoe Hart and Bluebell, Alabama but I'm certainly weighing my options.

Zoe Hart is supposed to be this no nonsense unlikable doctor with a horrible bedside manner. She isn't dripping with saccharine platitudes but she is clear, concise, and somewhat pleasant. Plus, she is quickly becoming an ear for teenage Rose Hattenbarger. Her biggest problem has nothing to do with her bedside manner and they should really stop focusing on that. Since it's only the second episode and the groundwork for the series is still being laid, I'll give them some leeway. Her main problem which starts to take center stage this week is the very real necessity of getting the people of Bluebell, Alabama to like her. It's proving to be difficult with Dr. Breeland trying to run her out of the town and the practice. Legal ace George reluctantly found a loophole in the agreement Dr. Breeland and Dr. Wilkes created oh so many years ago. Zoe is responsible for bringing in 30% of the business of the practice each quarter or Dr. Breeland can buy her out. If George doesn't want to piss off Lemon he should probably stop acting so conflicted about this. And if Lemon ever has a chance of winning me over, she needs to NOT constantly dress in yellow. I understand that her name is Lemon. I don't need this fact beaten over my head. Her bleach blond hair and wardrobe from the sun make it crystal clear.

What Zoe needs is a way to worm her way into the heart of the townspeople and luckily there is an event every other day in this town to give her that chance. This week it's the Founders Day Parade. Lavon asks Zoe to join him on his mayoral float. The friendship between the mayor and Zoe is exactly what I thought it would be and has quickly become my favorite relationship on the show. There is an ease between these two actors that doesn't seem to transcend to some of the other cast members. The one catch to Zoe riding the float is that she has to help Wade, the cute neighbor that she hates just a little too much, build it. He disappears while building the float and she stomps off to see him. They fight some more, and he kisses her. She's affected. Isn't this all a little been there done that? None of these potential romantic pairings for Zoe excite me. I need her to find a guy that makes me want to root for them from their first moment on screen together. I know that's supposed to be George but I'm not convinced. I'm more convinced then I was at the beginning of the pilot, but I'm not all the way there.

Lemon, who will once again wear yellow as her founder's day parade dress, is hellbent on ruining Zoe. Lemon's cousin Betty is in town for the parade. After hurting herself during practice for the dance they'll do on their float they head over to the medical office only to laugh in Zoe's face when she offers to treat Betty. Later, Zoe finds Betty collapsed in the bathroom at the Rammer Jammer. Betty secretly has MS. Zoe and her terrible bedside manner attentively listen to why Betty doesn't want anyone to know and comes up with a false diagnosis that isn't serious but will prevent Betty from performing. Zoe is worried she will have another episode while on the moving float and could collapse and more seriously injure herself. Lemon won't allow Betty to back out and when Lemon and Dr. Breeland confront Zoe about her incorrect diagnosis Betty doesn't speak up. She lets them make Zoe look like an idiot. Not only is Lemon threatened by an unspoken connection between George and Zoe, but she also has some sort of past with Lavon and hates that Zoe is riding on his float. This bitch wants to have her cake and eat it too. Later, Betty tells Zoe her tale of woe. She is a nobody in her town and is only a somebody when she comes to Bluebell for these two months. Cry me a river. Make a change. Do something. Stop making your life about a founders day parade. I have zero sympathy, but Zoe does. Cue again my complete inability to believe her as a hard ass. Zoe relents and gives Betty medication that will help control any episodes that she may have. She clearly instructs her to only take one because they are strong. Of course this dummy takes a handful. Not two, not three, but dumps a handful in her hand while on the float and swallows them all. Naturally, Betty has a reaction which causes a seizure and Zoe is forced to crash the mayor's float in order to get to her. She whisks Betty away to her office and the whole town hates her because she ruined the Founders Day Parade.

I'm not ready give up on Zoe and company. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I want to believe that an old school feel good WB show is in there. They seem to have all the ingredients they just aren't putting them together correctly. It's only the second episode, so I'll come back for a third helping. If the CW gives HART OF DIXIE time to finds it's footing I just may stick around.

Brian Hewson contributes primetime reviews for We Love Soaps. Along with Greg Turner, Brian is the creator, writer, and producer of the web soap, EMPIRE, which can be found at Brian loves soaps.

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