Joel continues to drag season 3 down

Hart of Dixie Season 3, Episodes 3 & 4 (“Take This Job and Shove It”/”Help Me Make It Through the Night”)
Wilson Bethel and Josh Cooke, Hart of Dixie

I am still trying to keep an open mind about this season, but these two episodes mostly confirmed what I already thought about it. Primarily that Joel is way too present and that there is too much boring town stuff. We are only four episodes in though and I am still hoping it will turn itself around. I don’t want all of these reviews to just be Joel rants but he is taking up a lot of screen time that could be better used.

I think I would be fine with Joel’s flat, boring existence if he wasn’t on screen so much. Even when Zoe’s storylines should have nothing to do with him, he is there. He is either acting as her sidekick or we have to watch him try to adjust to living in Bluebell. Which he is annoyingly nice about. In “Take This Job and Shove It” the main storyline should have been Zoe trying to get her job back with Brick. And that was part of it, but Joel managed to be a part of that storyline too when he almost ruins her chances of getting back in with Brick and then has to fix it by scheming with Wade. In “Help Me Make It Through the Night” Zoe’s support of AnnaBeth should have been the focus of Zoe’s storyline but again it got wrapped up in her attempts to get Joel and Lavon to be friends.

It seems like Joel is in just as many scenes as Zoe and that should not be the case. It is taking away from screen time for other main characters like Wade, Lemon, and George. You know its bad when I’m wishing George had more screen time. The only storyline George has had so far this season is Lynly, another new character that is not working so far. Wade is barely doing anything in these episodes other than hanging out with Joel and sleeping with unavailable women. The latter of which could have been a great focus of an episode for Wade but it is barely a C-plot.

Lemon had a bit more going on but the points of her plots were brushed over. She is continuing to grow in this season and starting to learn to care a bit less about what people think of her. She quits the Belles because they aren’t supporting her in her endeavors with the Rammer Jammer and judging her for her affair with Meatball. After being forced to do community service for resisting Crickett’s leadership, she realizes she doesn’t really want to be a part of the organization anymore and she and AnnaBeth both quit. In the second episode Lemon gets set up with a horrible guy by her grandmother. However she ends up meeting a nice guy, Peter, at the same party. Unfortunately Peter travels a lot for work so they don’t make any further plans, but they have one really great night together. Lately Lemon has been mostly focused on finding someone who appears to be suitable for her, basing her decisions on social standings instead of someone she has a real connection with. It has been a long time since Lemon has been with someone she could just be herself around. Even if she can’t be with this guy hopefully it will remind her what is really important in a partner.

One good thing about Joel sticking around for as long as he does is that it gives us a break from Zoe and Wade’s ups and downs, and Zoe’s romantic drama in general, that dominated the first two seasons. It was nice to see Zoe and Wade much friendlier in these episodes. Wade even seems to legitimately want to hang out with Joel, even if Zoe thinks he has some other agenda. If he does it wasn’t made clear in either of these episodes. She tries to get Joel to be friends with Lavon but forcing the friendship isn’t really working. They do find a couple of things to connect on though and may be able to become friends in time.

To make up for the lack of relationship drama in Zoe’s life, the show unfortunately makes the decision to increase plots concerning the town. Most of which isn’t really that interesting. It is also probably an attempt to give Lavon more to do than just being Zoe’s friend and his involvement in love triangles. In the first episode it is getting a minor league baseball team to move to Bluebell instead of Fillmore. I’m not sure this baseball storyline goes anywhere, it certainly wasn’t mentioned in the next episode. I don’t think we even found out if they were successful? The town can be used well when it is just a setting and of course for all of the wonderful background characters. But I don’t really need storylines about Bluebell’s economy.

Episode Grades: 6/10 for both

Other Thoughts:

  • The Head and the Heart were the musical guests of “Take This Job and Shove It”, a band I have actually heard of!
  • I had to look up begonias and oleander but Lemon was right, that is not a great flower combination.
  • Frank as a PI was an interesting choice…
  • There were a lot of horrible Alabama accents in these two episodes – particularly Lynly and Grandma Bettie, a character that I really hate. She is so over the top.
  • I wish we could have seen more of Dash’s Frankenstein performance.
  • Lavon was going to pass up seeing Beyonce to watch Night of the Living Dead?
  • Episode Title Trivia: “Take This Job and Shove It” is a song by a guy named Johnny Paycheck… I wish I was kidding. “Help Me Make It Through the Night” is by Kris Kristofferson.

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