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Friday, May 18, 2012

Disaster strikes on "The Big Day" in the Hart of Dixie

Deciding to stay in Bluebell, as Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) does in the penultimate episode of the season, proves harder than expected as "The Big Day" arrives on Hart of Dixie. She stays because of all the bonds she has formed. But one of those bonds, George Tucker (Scott Porter), who she cares a little more than she should for, is about to marry Lemon Breeland (Jaime King). And this is not a day for Zoe to hang around the town, which is totally devoted to the nuptials.

So she borrows Lavon's (Cress Williams) vehicle and heads off. Circumstances force her to take Wade (Wilson Bethel) with her. This is good, because they have some unresolved issues to work out anyway. Wade is jealous over Zoe's feelings for George, and Zoe hasn't told Wade that she knows about his own romantic notions. Of course, the pair is soon trapped in the rain together, seeking shelter in a barn, where they have it out, once and for all.

Zoe and Wade's hookup has been a long time coming. From the onset of Hart of Dixie, there is little doubt that the two will spend some time in a relationship together. And while the way it goes down may be a little cliche, Hart of Dixie uses its Southern charm to make it every bit as enjoyable as the rest of the show. Even Bilson's sometimes outlandish acting style and barely expressive features can't help but be caught up in the moment. In fact, one would be hard pressed not to root for these two. But we'll return to that in a moment.

For those following along at home, you might realize that both a wedding and a storm have been mentioned. To make matters worse, this wedding, Lemon's dream ceremony, is supposed to be outside. George does everything he can to salvage the day, accepting his neighbors' help, while moving the ceremony into an old firehouse. In fact, he even seems to make peace with Lavon, who goes out of his way to assist, trying to make up for his tryst with Lemon.

But it's to no avail. George's efforts begin to seem more and more desperate, and while a storybook wedding looks like it could eek out at some point, the day actually gets worse as it goes on. George is forced to confront the real reason why he is pushing this wedding forward so hard, determined to get it over with. This is first hinted at in the silly dream sequence at the beginning of "The Big Day," which hangs over the rest of the hour. And once he does admit these doubts to himself, there is simply no way that he can go through with marrying Lemon.

It's actually a bit disappointing when George breaks it off with Lemon to go be with Zoe, who is in the midst of carnal relations with Wade. George kisses Zoe without realizing what is going on, and Wade also stays in the dark.Which leaves Zoe with a big decision to make. She has pined for George for a long time, but kicking Wade to the curb now would be nearly unforgivable. I'd like to say I know which man Zoe will choose, but I don't.

George walking out on the wedding seems dumb, a forced move merely to keep the romantic triangles alive. This sucks because, over this first season of Hart of Dixie, Lemon has become a sympathetic character who deserves to get the man she loves. It would have been mighty brave of the writers to marry the pair off one season in.

On the other hand, Wade seems good for Zoe, and after sleeping with him, it's doubtful that Zoe will end things so quickly, even to be with George. She's not that shallow, and doing this would make her completely unlikable. However, shows have done worse things and the characters have recovered. Eventually. So we'll see.

While all of the shipper drama is fun, and reason enough to watch Hart of Dixie, there is another great element. "The Big Day" sees the entire population lending a hand to George and Lemon. The side characters, especially Tom (Ross Philips), have become pretty developed and occur more regularly, with more being added as the season goes on. The draw of this town is a Gilmore Girls-esque gallery of these interesting individuals, and the sleepy village that brings them together. It's small town life in a way that probably doesn't exist very many places anymore in reality, but it makes for wonderful television. This is the real heart of Hart of Dixie, and what sets it apart from other shows.

Hart of Dixie has been renewed for a second season, and will return to the CW next fall.

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Catch up on streaming episodes of Hart of Dixie. Article first published as Disaster strikes on "The Big Day" in the Hart of Dixie on TheTVKing.com

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