Hello! I have decided that in addition to my weekly Vampire Diaries episode reviews, I am also going to start reviewing a second show, Hart of Dixie. While I’ve really enjoyed doing my Vampire Diaries reviews, I wanted to mix things up a bit by simultaneously doing a show that is lighter and less plot heavy. Hart of Dixie is a show that is, in my opinion, very underrated. It was never as big as The Vampire Diaries and I think suffered from a not great title and too many comparisons to other shows. While it was on it got compared a lot to Gilmore Girls, which probably wasn’t fair. Yes, they share some similarities. They are both set in small towns that have an ensemble of quirky side characters. In both shows, the town almost feels like a character on its own. They are both escapism shows that transport you to a fictional, warm setting where the real world doesn’t matter. However, I think the comparisons hurt Hart of Dixie because it doesn’t live up to Gilmore Girls. It is not as smart, it is sillier, and it’s not as emotional. The brilliance of Gilmore Girls is the blending of the funny, quirky humor mixed with emotional gut punches as you closely study the dysfunctional Gilmore family. Hart of Dixie is not that, and that is fine. It isn’t trying to be. It is a show that knows what it is and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think the show that it actually is closest to is Northern Exposure, which is another great show that is often forgotten about. They almost have the same premise – a New York City doctor goes to a rural town after medical school and is a fish out of water, initially hates it, but learns to love it.
Hart of Dixie is not a perfect show. As with any show, there are some misfires. But overall it is one I have come back to again and again. It did not get credit for the character development that it deserved. Almost all of the main characters become better people as the show goes on. When it starts out no one really seems to know who they are or want they want, or they think they know and later learn how mistaken they were. It is a show about finding yourself by being forced to reimagine what you always thought your life was supposed to be. Those lessons have really resonated with me personally and is one of the reasons that I keep coming back.
Another reason I have been eager to cover this show, and why I have watched it so much, is that I actually grew up in the town that the fictional Bluebell, Alabama is based on. They mention the town I grew up in several times in the show as being their neighbor. I moved to California for graduate school and at some point, I was starting to feel homesick. I ended up watching this show on repeat for like 2 months straight. I would not say it is an extremely accurate depiction of the area, though in some things they are spot on. As I go through reviewing the series, I will cover what is and isn’t accurate. Not because it is something that actually bothers me about the show, I just think it’ll be fun. Part of the escapism of the show is that it doesn’t really dive into the negative sides of Alabama, and the deep South. It focuses on the positive and makes it into an idealized version of Alabama. I don’t really have any desire to move back but watching this show almost tempts me. Then I have to remind myself that it isn’t that warm and fuzzy and there is a reason I wanted to leave.
If you haven’t watched Hart of Dixie, I would definitely recommend it. Rachel Bilson was a perfect casting choice, she makes Zoe likable and charming when I think a lot of actors would have made her just annoying. If you liked her character in The O.C. then you will enjoy watching her as essentially a grown-up Summer Roberts who decided to become a doctor. Considering that there are only about 75 total episodes of the show, I am going to start by just writing two episode reviews a week, at least while I am also doing Vampire Diaries. They will come out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Enjoy!