Monday, January 16, 2012

Hart of Dixie: Guilty Pleasure?

I'm trying to figure out why I like Hart of Dixie. I think it falls into that guilty pleasure category, and its general predictability feels comforting. It's the type of show I can turn on as background filler and not feel too lost if I've missed some dialogue.

The premise is unlikely - Rachel Bilson plays a doctor (I know, please stay with me) who inherits her father's medical practice in Alabama. She doesn't know her father at all, so when he dies (he's quite a bit older than her mother), it's a total shock to find he left her anything. After not getting her dream job in NYC, left with few options she heads south to take on the challenge in her cute shorts and heels.

Plus, her name is Zoe Hart so that's why it's Hart of Dixie. Groan.

That's the set up. So, why is it Hart of Dixie is so appealing? Here are my possible explanations:

1.) The Cast
Several former Friday Night Lights actors are series regulars which lend the acting some credibility. FNL is one of those shows I was persuaded to watch, considering I had no interest in football or Texas. But it's wonderful, and clearly fan allegiance is strong enough to create viewer loyalty in another series. Cress Williams, who played an ex-convict and deadbeat dad in FNL is cast here as a charming, former pro-football player who is mayor of the small Alabama town. Scott Porter plays George Tucker, a potential love interest for Zoe if he wasn't with such a lemon named Lemon (yeah, his girlfriend is named Lemon. But she's awesome at playing a spoiled former debutante). 

2. The Setting
Hart of Dixie excels in the same way Friday Night Lights did with making use of a small town setting. To be fair, FNL was cinematic, capturing wide shots of barren west Texas landscape backed by sparse indie instrumental music, and it filmed in real houses and structures in Texas. Hart of Dixie is definitely more of a typical TV set, but it has a soft edge to it, a homey-ness that just looks pretty.

3. Social Media
The twitter feed for #HartofDixie is an active one - fans might be small in number but they're dedicated and forming character alliances. Eveyone has their own ideal love match: Zoe with George Tucker, Zoe with Wade, Zoe's often shirtless hot neighbor (who's pretty funny, too), and Zoe with the mayor, who's all kinds of flirt although he's mainly Friend-Zoned and has a history with Lemon (which seems improbable on his end, but whatever). Similar befuddled tweets can be found about the strange attraction to the show - I'm not the only one saying, "Can't wait for HoD; not sure why but I love this show!" It's more fun to watch a something like this with the twitter feed as a companion - if you don't have anyone in your household willing to watch it with you (ahem).

Yes, it's a silly premise, it's frequently predictable, but sometimes that's OK. This one is not meant to be challenging television.

Do you watch Hart of Dixie? What do you think? Or do you have another show that you're somewhat embarrassed to admit watching but are completely entertained by?


  1. I saw the ad for this TV show the other day and was quite intrigued. Being in NZ, we get everything months after the States. I was wondering if I should give it a go or not.

    Thanks for the review :) I love the way you're written it with such humour.

    You enjoy your guilty pleasure. Everyone needs some of those :)

  2. I'm totally hooked on this show too even though it is absolutely nothing more than a guilty pleasure. There is so much to face palm about, but there's so much that's charming in a way too. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way :-)

  3. This is another one of those shows I've heard of, but never seen. Sometimes undemanding TV is perfect for just relaxing and switching off the brain :-)

  4. Dear friend and follower of JJ Botta - Freelance Writer: As a result of increased writing commitments, I have recently merged this website into The Disconnected Writer ( I hope you will continue to follow my blog at this location. Of course, I will follow back. Thanks a million!

  5. I have only seen the first episode but I can see why it would be addicting! I will be catching up soon. The CW just knows how to hook you in which is why my other guilty pleasures are Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries. LOL!


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