'Hart of Dixie': In Which BlueBell Gets Serious About Casual Sex
When bodies come together, hearts are often the things that get affected most. Although, if you look at much of television and movies, it's widely accepted that men and women -- particularly women -- can have sex with anyone they want, whenever they want, without necessarily suffering emotional consequences.
On last Tuesday's (Oct. 23) episode of The CW's Southern comedy-drama "Hart of Dixie," called "Suspicious Minds" -- click here to watch -- some of the residents of BlueBell, Ala., learned the fallacy of that the hard way.
Manhattan surgeon turned small-town general practioner Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), unsure of whether to choose between pursing love with freewheeling bar owner Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel, at right, with Bilson) or recently engaged and nearly married lawyer George Tucker (Scott Porter, below), decided to throw herself into a no-strings sexual affair with Wade.
It was all great and totally "casual," as Zoe put it, until she discovered that when Wade said no strings, he apparently really meant it, and that included seeing other women. Jealous, Zoe allowed herself to be fixed up with a handsome relative of new friend Ruby (Golden Brooks). She then made sure that it took place in Wade's restaurant, where she proceeded to make a drunken fool of herself (and very likely never get a second date with her new friend).
Meanwhile, socialite Lemon Breeland (Jaime King), George's jilted former fiancee, has been struggling to put her life back together after her longtime romance fell apart over the revelation that Lemon had an affair with town Mayor Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams, at top, with King).
As she and George had hit the hay long before they reached the altar, Lemon's sudden dizziness and nausea made her think she might be expecting.
Although Lemon wound up not being pregnant -- just seasick from living on a houseboat after moving out of her father's (Tim Matheson) house -- George nobly told her that, if she had been, they would have raised the baby together.
In a flash of maturity, Lemon tried to show him the error of his ways in never considering what he truly wanted in a relationship, rather than just trying to please others (although I applaud his willingness to do the right thing by a child, if there had been one).
One hopes that, for the sake of any future offspring, Lemon settles her romantic future before putting herself at risk for parenthood again, and that George does the same.
Meanwhile, Zoe wound up going to Wade and shutting down their casual affair in favor of monogamy. And surprisingly, Wade agreed. As it turns out, he wasn't stepping out on Zoe after all, so perhaps this ladies' man wasn't quite as cavalier as he first appeared.
Also, in a previous episode, Zoe treated shy virgin Tom Long (Ross Philips) for a sudden rash he developed. Turns out the rash appeared after his girlfriend felt they should yield to peer pressure and have sex before marriage -- which sent religious Tom into a panic. After figuring out that Tom didn't have leprosy, Zoe counseled him that the rash might be a symptom of stress, as he wasn't being true to himself.
It's certainly rare in mainstream entertainment for a man to be depicted as willing to take on the responsibilities of unexpected fatherhood, or for a man and woman to freely choose one-and-only over friends-with-benefits, and certainly for a sophisticated New Yorker to advise a Southern Christian to hold to his principles.
The people of BlueBell aren't perfect, and both sides of the political and social divide might have complaints over how they live their lives, but in the end, fellowship, friendship and honest emotion win out over cynicism, distrust and division.
It would be a mistake to categorize "Hart of Dixie" as a faith-based or conservative show, as it doesn't preach on religion, politics or social issues. But what it does very well is take viewers on a funny and warm tour of the landscape of the human heart.
Which, considering the title, makes perfect sense.
Next week is the show's Halloween episode, "Walking After Midnight." Below find a few preview pictures ...