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Hart of Dixie - Episode 1.01 - Pilot - Review

"Can we just go home… and discuss this in therapy like normal people!?" —Zoe's Mom

After having watched the pilot episode of Hart of Dixie (make sure you have watched it, too, before reading this if you care about being spoiled), I'm pretty sure I just saw an entire series go by. The show runners and actors who work on Dixie have been saying that the show is much slower than the average CW drama and much less scandalous, but that's got to be farthest from the truth based on this episode alone.

In less than 42 minutes, actual show footage, Zoe Hart was conceived by someone her mother wasn't committed to, began to plan her career since she was nine, had her non-biological father distance himself after she fell off a swing and maybe needed a transfusion, got a boyfriend, graduated, practiced medicine, got dumped, got fired, made a huge life decision and moved, found out her dad wasn't her real father, inherited a practice (well, half), ruffled feathers, met an NFL legend, met two potential new male suitors, made a couple of enemies, exiled her mother, basically made amends with her dead father, and ultimately won everyone over after delivering a baby. Whew!

And that's just what Zoe has done, not who she is. The problem with knowing who Zoe Hart is is the fact that Hart of Dixie wouldn't accomplish telling you itself even if it tried. Is Zoe Hart an introvert? Is she an extrovert? Is she pithy? Perhaps verbose? Is she not so obsessed with bedside manner or does she actually care for people quite intimately*? Maybe she's just downright rude? Does she expect everyone to be at her beck and call just because she's from New York City? Is she an uptight City socialite? Or is she someone who would slump it out and buy a box of alcohol?

*Which I don't understand, personally, since I really rather my doctor's not make smalltalk and just be as distant as they possibly can. But I may be in the minority.

The answer to all of those questions is: yes. I've never seen a character so all over the place. Zoe goes from one scene, in which Lemon tells her she ought to leave because her dad is intimidating, where she calls someone a stick of butter to another where Lemon's father says he won't share his practice and she practically remains speechless. Even I was screaming, "Well, you gon' have tuh 'cause Zoe ain't goin' nowhere!" I guess I didn't have Zoe quite figured out by then (also, the southern charm must have infused itself into me a that point). Then she goes from telling some guy off because of his huge smile to making out with him in his car (I'm guessing, also because of his huge smile).

But I really can't make her out. Is she a smart future heart surgeon or is she not the sharpest tool in the medical bag who says dimwitted things like, "You're engaged to Old Man Jackson?" About the only thing that's clear about Zoe Hart is that she inexplicably likes to walk with her hands in her pockets all the time.

But beyond that, Hart of Dixie is a good show consisting of a cast that has a great deal of chemistry.** It is charming, and it does try to warm your heart as much as possible, especially true in the delivering scene when the baby finally makes it and everything goes into slow motion.***

**Even if I feel like the show has told its story already. Zoe needed to find heart, she found it. She needed to win a town over, she basically accomplished that with the exception of one person. What else is there? Medical emergency of the week?

***MVP of the episode is the actress who played Mabel. She gave me chills. And it wasn't even a particularly dramatic role. She was just good. It's a bit saddening that we may never see her again, because I would like to explore that. However, that seems like a totally different show.

Hart of Dixie is solid for its audience. I'm just not sure if I'm buying what it's selling.


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