Hart of Dixie returns to the theme of community for its first holiday episode

Hart of Dixie season 1, episode 9 (“the pirate & the practice”)
Tim Matheson, Scott Porter (Image: The CW)

“The Pirate & The Practice” returns to the device of using the medical case of the week to teach Zoe a lesson about Bluebell. Though I generally find this device pretty cheesy, it works for a holiday episode where a little cheese is expected. It is Thanksgiving, or as Bluebell prefers to celebrate, Planksgiving, and Zoe is excited to return to NYC for the holiday. However, due to the need to get 30% of the patients before the end of the quarter, and a perplexing medical case, she ends up staying in Bluebell and learns what it means to be a community leader.

This episode is all about community leadership. In a small town, it is the duty of those in certain positions to lead when the town is in trouble. Those who love Bluebell understand this, but the outsiders don’t. Being one of two town doctors means that you are well known within the community and people generally look up to doctors as having some amount of authority, but also being generally good people. At first Zoe doesn’t think it is her responsibility to help Caleb and his dad when they are being forced to move due to their family’s hardware store closing. But when she sees Brick and George taking charge to help the hardware story stay afloat, she is moved to also help Caleb’s morale.

George’s parents, though from Bluebell, have lived in Montgomery for some time now and don’t understand the small town ways. They refuse to take part in Planksgiving and George’s dad uses him to help a mega-chain store move in outside town. He wants George to give up his role in Bluebell and become a corporate lawyer. His mom plays on Lemon’s insecurities to convince her to be on board with the move. The first episode we saw them in they seemed like unpleasant people, in this one they are downright evil (almost comically so as they are discussing their villainous plan while buying groceries). As the town lawyer, George feels a similar responsibility as Brick and Zoe to be a leader and ultimately chooses to stay in Bluebell.

These early episodes focus a lot on community as Zoe figures out how to integrate herself into Bluebell. It is clearly something she lacked in NYC and understanding and appreciating community is the major hurdle she needs to cross to finally fit in in Bluebell. I didn’t realize how prevalent this theme was though until I started writing about each episode. The show will start to diverge from this theme though as we get more into the characters and their personal lives.

For a holiday episode, this one was appropriately cheesy but it just seemed to hit on a lot of the same themes the show has been doing since the pilot. We didn’t really learn anything new about anyone. Lavon figures out that Wade is interested in Zoe but as the audience, we already knew that. He encourages him to tell her right before she gets on the plane to NYC, but she never goes, so he doesn’t get his chance. I was excited to rewatch this one, but the thematic repetitiveness is getting a bit tiring.

Episode Grade: B-

Does Bluebell Get It Right?

  • I didn’t really notice anything specific to Alabama. They talk a lot about Montgomery, George’s parents seem to think it is a better place to live. It is certainly a bigger city and Alabama’s capital, but it is not that nice of a city. I would definitely rather live in Bluebell. People like the Tuckers would probably live in Birmingham, or the rich suburbs.

Other Thoughts:

  • Wade lies about being able to replace the fuse box because he secretly enjoys fighting with Zoe over it.
  • Lemon: “Three days a week… with you? That’s swell…”
  • Zoe bullies people, and even injures Lavon in order to get patients.
  • Lavon’s idea that the right time for Wade to tell Zoe he likes her is at the airport because if she rejects him, she will get on a plane and they won’t have to talk about it. But she is only going for like 4 days, that is not enough time to get over the awkwardness.
  • Lavon/Wade: “Where’d you go last night?” “Where else? The airport…”
  • The founder of Bluebell’s name was Cyrus Levinius Jeremiah Jones.

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