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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hart of Dixie celebrates "Hairdos & Holidays"

     The CW's Hart of Dixie ends their fall run with the only vaguely Christmas-themed episode, "Hairdos & Holidays." Zoe (Rachel Bilson) ratchets up her rivalry with Lemon (Jaime King) to a new level as she mentors Rose (McKaley Miller, The Gates) in a beauty pageant against Lemon's sister, Magnolia (Claudia Lee, Zeke and Luthor). Though Lemon does respond to the challenge, she is distracted by memories of getting together with Lavon (Cress Williams) a year ago, which viewers learn happen as Lemon gets startling new about her mother (Meredith Monroe, Dawson's Creek, Criminal Minds). Unfortunately for Lemon, Lavon does not want to be reminded of any of it.

     Things between Lemon and Zoe seem to have cooled somewhat, so "Hairdos and Holidays" is a tad bit puzzling. Lemon is no longer spending all her effort trying to run Zoe out of town, or even getting upset about Zoe spending time with George (Scott Porter). Lemon still doesn't like Zoe, but she accepts her more. Instead, this conflict is kicked off by Zoe, who is jealous of Lemon's relationship with George, whom she likes. Lemon responds, but with her deep emotional plot underpinning this episode, she just doesn't feel fully committed, which makes the showdown lackluster, at best. Perhaps this story could have been better served if Zoe had some random guest star to square off with, instead of forcing Lemon into a place where she doesn't belong.

     Lemon's backstory is quite intriguing. Fans know Lemon's mother left long ago. In "Hairdos and Holidays," it is revealed that she likely did so because she was bored of being a housewife. Yet, when Lemon discovers her living nearby, that's what she is again. One cannot help but feel sympathy towards Lemon, who has been replaced, and feels justifiably confused and betrayed.

     Where is George as Lemon and Lavon bond over the mother issues? He isn't shown in any of the flashbacks. Did he gets back from New York so soon before Hart of Dixie begins? That could explain why Lemon must spill her guts to someone other than him. It's also understandable that they are deeply connected, he having helped her through some serious drama. But that is still no excuse for her cheating on George. However, if she and George were on a break at the time, it would be OK. Which is why there needs to be some explanation of George's place in these flashbacks.

     Lavon still cares very deeply for Lemon, wanting to win her back. George doesn't seem all that satisfied with Lemon, and is taken in by Zoe, so why not pair the foursome up in this way? It would seem likely this would occur save for the fifth main character, wild card Wade (Wilson Bethel). Might he win Zoe over before George becomes single, making George the odd man out when the dust settles? Whatever happens, in a series like Hart of Dixie, pairings are bound to shift many times over the run of the series, so the weight of hooking up between any two given characters is lessened.

     In "Hairdos and Holidays" Wade tries to help George find a Christmas tree for Lemon. Wade encourgaes George to unknowingly steal such a tree from an ex-girlfriend's father, which lands the two of them in jail. It's an amusing plot, giving the two guys time to hash out some of their feelings for Zoe. It also lets Lavon overhear George's declaration that he will be with Lemon forever. Other than the fun interchanges, though, it's a little weak. The father just drops the charges and lets them keep the tree? Why? He clearly hates Wade. More explanation is needed.

     Honestly, despite the bad writing in "Hairdos and Holidays," Hart of Dixie is a charming, engaging drama. Bilson is not believable at all, but the rest of the cast is really good. The show is worth your time, for the most part.

     Hart of Dixie will return to the CW in January.

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