Sunday, February 3, 2013

TV Show Review: Hart of Dixie (2.13)

NOTE: This post is for a class of mine, not something that I particularly plan on doing on a regular basis. Not that I won’t be doing something similar to this in the future, but even if I do, it will probably be in a different format. Also, probably not as long. 

Describe the program and the commercials:

Genre: Drama
Channel: CW
Day & Time: Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. (This episode aired on January 29th, 2013)
Season 2, Episode 13: Lovesick Blues
Episode Synopsis (as recapped by me):
In this episode of Hart of Dixie, the flu is going around the area surrounding Bluebell, in which this show resides. The mayor, Lavon Hayes, convinces Zoe Hart, one of two doctors in the town, to sign for quarantine, so that no one can enter or exit the town. Zoe doesn’t want anyone to get sick, but she also wants her boyfriend to be able to get back in town. Lavon, on the other hand, is shooting a commercial for the town, and wants as many people in the town to be in it as possible.
A lot of mess is caused by the flu. Lemon, who is planning to have a romantic, first time sex, night with her boyfriend (who, up until this point, I’d never thought about much, but now am hoping sticks around for a while, even if I don’t remember his name), gets the flu. Lemon’s younger sister, Magnolia, tries to throw a party since her sister is busy and her father (the other doctor in town) is out of town, but everyone else gets sick but one person, and then she does as well. Annabeth, Lemon’s best friend, is in the commercial with Lavon, and trying not to have romantic feelings toward him because Lemon had a thing with him and wants to again, but they share a kiss anyway. Zoe’s boyfriend, Wade, sneaks back in town with the flu, is the cause of everyone getting sick, and hides from Zoe until she breaks into his house. She nurses him back to health, only to get sick herself.

The Actors/Creators:
Dr. Zoe Hart, who is played by Rachel Bilson, who I hadn’t seen in anything before, but she was in the O.C., Waiting for Forever, and The Last Kiss. Lavon Hayes, played by CressWilliams, has been in Grey’s Anatomy, and Friday Night Lights, among quite a few other TV shows. Jaime King, who plays Lemon, has also been in a lot of movies, but I hadn’t seen any of them. Quite a few of the actors had been in a number of movies or shows before, but, again, I hadn’t seen any of them, nor know enough about any of them to know if they’re big named enough to mention.
One of the writers and producers, Leila Gerstein, worked on Gossip Girl and Eli Stone. Stephanie Savage, another producer, also worked on Gossip Girl, as well as the O.C.
It seems like several of the actors and even some of the producers/writers have to do with the O.C., and even the Carrie Diaries, so that’s made me think I should watch those.

List of Commercials: Walt Disney World, Olay, AT&T x4, Colgate, Zyrtec, The Carrie Diaries, Progressive, McDonalds, Ford, KGW News, Cult, Arrow x2, L’oreal, Turbotax, Kia, iPhone/Apple x2, TRESemme, Beauty and the Beast, Mindy Owens M.D. x2, Maybelline x2, Chili’s, Honda, Clear (hair stuff), Safe Haven, Hershey’s, Revlon, Supernatural, EyeOpener, Tires Les Schwab, American Family Insurance, Great Clips, Dr. Pepper, Peter Pan on Blu-Ray, H&R Block, Weight Watchers, Purina, Vampire Diaries.
A lot of beauty/hygiene items and a lot of trailers for shows also on the CW, then quite a few iPhone related commercials, some movie trailers and car/insurance related ones mixed in.

This dress is gorgeous, but who owns something like it?

Analyze the cultural images reflected by the program:
The setting for this show is Bluebell, a southern, small town. A lot of the characters (almost all of them) have southern accents; the town has a lot of celebrations and festival-like things, including the characters having to wear old, fancy dresses and corsets, and there are town meetings, and a bar that everyone visits.
A show that this one is similar to is Gilmore Girls. It has the small town feel, where everyone knows everyone and what they‘re all doing, and where the town is always celebrating something. The humor is similar, where the main character throws words back and forth, not always related to the actual topic; not as rapid or random, but similar and still fun. A bit differently, though, is that Zoe, the main character, is from New York and a bit more high maintenance, and not used to the small town way of life.
One thing that I really like about this show is probably the fact that it seems similar to a somewhat smutty adult romance novel (only this has no actual, in front of the camera smut, so no worries there. This isn’t an HBO, after all). They’re a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, and that is exactly what this is. There is(was) a love triangle, with the good guy lawyer and the not-really bad boy bartender. One thing this show also has is the character that tends to put their foot in their mouth by blurting something out and causing a big mess out of a misunderstanding, only it seems to work rather well in this instance. It’s obvious that it’s only to cause drama and comedy, but it actually makes sense for this character to do it.

Interpret what’s going on:
Stereotypes. There are a lot of those.
There’s Zoe Hart, the girl from the big city moving to the small town, slowly growing used to it. I don’t really know if there’s a new spin on it, I just like her. She’s the one that puts her foot in her mouth so often that it makes you cringe, and who isn’t always making the best decisions, but I still really like her.
Then there’s the love triangle, which I do actually think turned out well. Firstly, she did (at least, so far) choose the bad boy, who isn’t actually a bad boy who drives her crazy, but she didn’t choose him because she suddenly realized that she loved him. It was actually that the good guy, who she initially was falling for, needed time to find himself after ending his fifteen-year relationship, only for both of them to find someone else that they actually really like. And I like how that turned out, much more than some big love confession.
Don't you want to know what he said to cause that pillow to be thrown? Also, sexy.
There’s also the bad boy, Wade Kinsella. Firstly, I love him. I have since the beginning. In stereotype terms, he’s the bad boy, but he’s not really. He’s rugged, rough around the edges, and he doesn’t like talking about his feelings or opening himself up to people, but he has friends and a good job, and he loves Zoe just as much as he loves driving her crazy. And, at first, he didn’t want to open himself to rejection, but he avoided it by being a dumb boy, not by being a conflicting, mysterious love interest. And there just isn’t enough of that anymore, in my opinion.

I think the commercials worked rather well; most of them, at least. The typical audience, and probably the intended audience as well, is mostly girls/women. Given all of the beauty and hygiene product related commercials, that’s rather obvious. The trailers for the other shows on CW also worked for that, given that several of them are intended toward the same or related audiences. Then the travel and car related ones are generally good for just about anyone, usually.

What kind of image would this show give to non-U.S. residents? I have no idea. Zoe would probably not be a very good interpretation, given how, um, not-smart she can be at times. Probably also that small towns are constantly having some kind of crises or celebration, which I doubt is true. Maybe also that we’re more loose with sex-related things, which I’m not really sure is true or not. Maybe it is.

Evaluate the quality:
I like this show. I think it’s fun, I love the characters. I like that you get a good idea of what is happening with all of the characters, their strengths and weaknesses. When it first started, it seemed like there might be a rivalry thing between Zoe and Lemon, and that Lemon would be put in the villain type of column, but there isn’t one of those in this show. They’re all fully round, complex characters, with backstories and reasons for doing everything they do.
At first, one of the weaknesses was the humor, but that’s rounded out, turned more realistic and flows better now. Zoe’s blurting things out is probably a weakness, but I think it kind of works. The characters, I think, are definitely a strength.
Via this website, I found several critiques, a lot of them not very good, and all of them from back when the show started in 2011. I found some of what they said interesting, some of it true, some of it not true anymore. 

How do you Engage with this show?:
I am a fan of the show on facebook. I record the show and watch every episode (by myself, but that’s alright), and I have tweeted about it several times.
The tagline for this show, which I didn’t know about till just now and think is rather funny, is: Her life is about to go South.
Apparently, also, quite a few of the actors and writers/producers worked on Gossip Girl and the O.C., which is really just pushing the idea onto me that I’m going to have to really start watching those shows.

What Conclusions have you reached from doing this assignment:
I found this fun. I found out what others shows the actors/producer/writers have also worked on, which has sparked my curiosity. I thought more about why I like this show, including the stereotypes, and actually got to talk about it. I wasn’t surprised by the bad reviews from the critics, although I feel like they might think differently if they watched more of the show. It started out a bit weak, yes, but it got better, as most shows do.
This does strike me as the type of show that wouldn't last very long, which sucks. I'm glad, if a little surprised, that it's last this long. I do hope that it sticks around for a while longer.

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