Wade teaches Zoe to choose happiness

Hart of Dixie Season 2, Episode 3 (“If It Makes You Happy”)
Wilson Bethel and Rachel Bilson, Hart of Dixie

Whenever I think about the general arc and themes of this show I think of this episode in particular. Wade makes a big speech to Zoe about happiness that pretty much sums up her character arc. As the title of the episode suggests, this episode is all about being honest with yourself about what makes you happy. I think a lot of people struggle with accepting these things because what truly makes them happy doesn’t necessarily lineup with what people think they should be doing. A major reason I started this blog was because I wanted to accept that yeah I watch a lot of TV, I like to analyze it, and that makes me happy. I found a way to accept that that still makes me feel like I am using my brain instead of just binge watching something. When people ask me what I do with my evenings I am always hesitant to say I watch a lot of TV because people generally see that as being lazy and a waste of time. But if it makes me happy then why should I care? If people want to judge me for it that is their problem. But it is difficult to not care what other people think.

Both Zoe and Lemon have spent most of the show so far measuring their life by the way it looks on the outside instead of putting their happiness first. They are both overly concerned with people’s perception of them instead of going for what they really want. In this episode, Zoe is obsessing over her loss of the career she always imagined for herself. She is desperate to show the guy from her alumni magazine that she is doing interesting and important work in Bluebell and is not a boring, small town GP. In his big speech, Wade tells her that she is responsible for her own misery because she isn’t honest about what makes her happy. It is fair for her to mourn the loss of her career as a surgeon since she has worked towards that for so long, but it was her choice. She had the opportunity to return to that trajectory last season when her dad got her a surgical fellowship in Boston, but she turned it down to stay in Bluebell. She could also be with George right now but she chose not to be. She chose to sleep with Wade because on some level that makes her happy. She chose everything in her life right now, but it doesn’t line up with her vision for her life so she feels that she has failed. She will continue to be unhappy until she changes that vision.

While Zoe mostly just needs to accept what makes her happy, George and Lemon are still trying to figure out what it even is that will make them happy. George goes on his first date post-Lemon and it is with the amazing Laura Bell Bundy who plays a woman named Shelby. Shelby will be a recurring character on this show but this episode doesn’t do much to explain her character. The date is not really about getting to know her and ends up being more about George and Brick than anything else. Brick has been more sour towards George about the breakup than Lemon has. George keeps offering to pay him back for the wedding but that isn’t what Brick is upset about. He saw George as a son, he has been a part of their family’s life for 15 years. Him breaking up with Lemon was not just a loss for Lemon, but a loss for Brick too. They both just needed to acknowledge that loss and their relationship is much improved by the end of the episode.

When Lemon learns that George is going on a date she feels that she too must find a new relationship. George moving on first would be a further humiliation and she can’t have the town feeling sorry for her. She forces AnnaBeth to go on a man finding mission with her. She is successful in finding a nice guy and is even able to compete with Ruby for him and win, but it isn’t what she needs right now. As AnnaBeth points out, she was at her best when she was focused on her independence and not competing with George (or Ruby) to find a new relationship first. She needs to learn how to find her own happiness without taking George into account. They are going to have different trajectories and timelines when it comes to moving on and thats okay.

I am very excited for where all of these characters are going in this season. Watching Lemon become independent is fantastic. At the end of this episode she decides she should be Lavon’s campaign manager which she would be great at. And it gives her the chance to defeat Ruby which is an added bonus. Zoe is starting to accept her own choices and goes back to Wade at the end of the episode. At least for now, he is what is making her happy so why shouldn’t she just let herself go there?

Episode Grade: 9/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Wade is singing “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” at the beginning of the episode but doesn’t know all the words.
  • Zoe is having Wade remodel her carriage house now that she is staying their indefinitely.
  • I really dug Zoe’s black dress in this episode. Her fashion doesn’t always make sense but I liked this one. She also in general has the best jewelry.
  • Zoe convinces herself that Tom has leprosy because she needs a medically interesting case for the alumni magazine. But really Tom just has a rash from taking too much St. John’s-wort for his anxiety about losing his virginity.
  • Tom: “Oh geez. I’m the monkey!”
  • Earl also returned in this episode to tell us that Wade talks about Zoe a lot. He sees their relationship much more clearly than either Wade or Zoe does.
  • This episode also had one of the early plantings of real bands in the background – this time it was FM Radio playing at the out of town bar Lemon and AnnaBeth go to.
  • Lemon wears an old lady sweater over a hot pink dress to the bar.
  • Wade knows a lot about catching armadillos. Has he had to catch a lot of them? Why?
  • AnnaBeth offers to let Lemon live on her houseboat that she got in her divorce.
  • Episode Title Trivia: The episode title this week is a Sheryl Crow song.

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