If Sweet Home Alabama and Doc Hollywood (look it up, kids) had a baby and that baby was a TV show, that TV show would be Hart of Dixie. It’s a breath of fresh air (literally) in my TV schedule that is normally full of spies, lawyers and vampires.

Hart of Dixie Review

In the pilot, Summer Roberts – I mean,  Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) gets cut from her residency program to become a cardiothoracic surgeon and her boyfriend dumps her in one foul swoop. Both for the same reason, oddly enough: she has no heart. Oh the bittersweet irony given her name and her intended career path! So she packs up and heads down to Blue Bell, Alabama. An older doctor, Harley Wilkes, who lives there came to her graduation four years prior and has since been sending her post cards trying to get her to join him at his practice. Persistent fellow.

Once in Blue Bell Zoe meets, of course, quite the cast of characters. Because no small town is complete without a little wackiness. There is George Tucker (Scott Porter), Blue Bell’s Golden Boy and lawyer extraordinaire. Lemon Breeland (Jaime King) a Belle – there was a hoop skirt involved – and daughter to the other doctor at the practice, Brick Breeland (Tim Matheson.) FYI: they are apparently Blue Bell’s version of the Sopranos. Watch out! The Mayor is Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams), former pro football player and a fan of speaking of himself in the third person. Zoe’s neighbor and sharer of the fuse box is Wade (Wilson Bethel). He’s pretty, but obviously trouble. There is also Emmaline Hattenberger (Nancy Travis) who I adored, but I know better than to get attached – she is leaving the show to go be on Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing. (Don’t do it, Nancy!!!)

Things don’t go well for Zoe in Blue Bell at first. Brick wants her out of the practice. He is none too happy that Harley left this city girl half of the practice when he died. Although, Zoe isn’t thrilled either. Not helping her case with the town is that she lets Old Man Jackson pass the eye exam for the DMV (Duh – everyone knows he memorized the eye chart!). The result: he almost kills George Tucker, her new crush. Pros for George: he was gentlemanly and gave her a ride into town and saved her from Burt Reynolds the alligator. Cons: he failed to mention in all his flirty eyes that he was already engaged to Lemon. Oh, George. How to get over that broken heart: Zoe gets herself a box of wine and a dixie cup (the show is called Hart of DIXIE, after all), gets drunk and makes out with Wade in his fantastic car. Also, her mother is appalled that Zoe is down there where there are no civilized people and wants her back home. Her father isn’t answering her calls. She decides to give Brick the whole practice and move back to NY.

But this is a TV show with a lot of, say it with me now, HEART, so things have to end better for Zoe, don’t they? She can’t leave like she wants to or the show will be over. Quick – someone get her an emergency! How about a girl in labor at Lemon and George’s engagement party? Poor Mabel, she has a nasty mom and a boy that slept with her once, wouldn’t wear a condom and now has left her knocked up and alone. Things get complicated with the delivery, but Zoe saves the day and even Brick thinks she should stay. Zoe’s badassery during the delivery also gives Mabel the courage to tell her mom she sucks and go away. Hugs all around!

In the “plot twist” department there are two major developments in the last 15 minutes: First is that beautiful and perfect Lemon (as George sees her) is not the perfect Southern Belle he thinks. Seems she had a bit of a thing with Lavon Hayes. And Lavon Hayes is a little hurt that Lemon isn’t trying to make things work with Lavon Hayes. (Yes, I’m sticking with using his full name. If it’s good enough for Lavon Hayes, it’s good enough for me) The other twist: The reason dad is ignoring her and mom is trying to rush her home: Turns out Harley isn’t just some adorable old cook who left a pretty girl his practice: He is Zoe’s dad thanks to a cruise ship affair her mother had with him. Zoe is, as you can imagine, pissed at her mom. She decides to stay in Blue Bell and be the adorable doctor we all know she can be and do her real father proud.

Random Observations for this Hart of Dixie Recap:

– Within in 10 minutes Zoe said “ew.” Fans of The OC rejoice.

– How much time passed before that last scene? Because how did she know those twins were wrestling in poison ivy?

– Cress Williams doesn’t age. Not really about the show, but seriously, dude looks just as good as he did back on Beverly Hills, 90210.

– When George was complaining about the dislocated shoulder I kept thinking, “better than being paralyzed!”

– Zoe’s mom’s line, “Let’s just go home and discuss this in therapy like normal people” cracked me up.

So what did y’all think? (I themed out that question for the Southern show! Aren’t I clever?) I really enjoyed it. A lot of the shows I watch are dark, stressful and/or very dramatic, so it was fun to watch a show that is just a little bit saccharine. We can all use a little of that in our lives. Plus Summer Roberts and Jason Street on one show?? I’m sold!

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter: @serrae

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