Tuesday, August 7, 2012

NEW TV REVIEW: Hart of Dixie

One of my all-time favorite tv shows was Gilmore Girls. (It's not just me. It is on Time magazine's list of the all-time best in television). It was touching, clever, charming, and witty. Find a GG fan and they will invariably tell you that they sort of fell in love. Hart of Dixie lacks the quick wit, snappy dialogue, and, so far, it kind of lacks the genuine heart of a show like Gilmore Girls. But what Hart of Dixie does have is some of the small town flavor, and a couple of characters that just might make you love them.

Top on the list is Cress Williams, whose character is a former NFL champ turned mayor of Bluebell, Alabama. Where the lead character, played by Rachel Bilson, fails, Cress Williams succeeds. He is the real heart of Dixie. He is the calm, smart, sensible center in a town of characters fraught with small-town frailty. Of course, he has to have some frailty, too. His comes in the form of "Lemon", the quintessential Southern belle: blonde, affected, and engaged to the nicest guy in town. It's one of those three-way relationships where you like them all and don't want to see anyone hurt. Thankfully, Cress can act; you like him and you believe him. Unfortunately, I can't quite say the same for the show's lead.

Bilson, while looking quite lovely, just doesn't pull off her role as Dr.Zoe Hart. Now, those of us who know something of healthcare know that the occasional idiot does manage to make it through medical school. Still, for the show to pull off this character, they need to make her a little smarter. A touch of Lorelai Gilmore's smart-ass wit would go a long way toward improving this protagonist. Instead, although almost likable, Zoe is neither intelligent, funny, nor charming enough to hold anyone's interest. Some of that is, of course, the fault of the writers, but Bilson also has to take some of the blame. I just don't believe her, not as a doctor. Luckily, the show doesn't completely ride on her shoulders. The town, and its residents, have some definite potential.

I really don't know if towns like Bluebell still exist, but I'd like to think they do. I suppose much of it is Southern stereotype, but the reality is that stereotypes exist for a reason. Personally, I'd love to spend a year in Bluebell and take in some of that football-loving, fried-food eatin', cotillion-having fun.

You may want to give Hart of Dixie a try. However, if you really want a great show, get the Gilmore Girls on DVD. Brush up on your auditory processing skills, though. Witty pop-culture references full-speed ahead.