As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend Season 2 of the ATX Television Festival. While I was there I had the chance to sit down with Hart of Dixie Creator Leila Gerstein.


Scott Porter, Wilson Bethel, Leila Gerstein & Arielle Kebbel (photo courtesy ATX Festival)

While we hung out in the hotel bar, we talked about Wade’s life choices, what’s next for George, Zoe’s return to Bluebell, oh, and a lot of about Friday Night Lights. Obviously.

For those who don’t know, FNL is basically the house band of ATX Festival. The series was filmed in Austin, Scott Porter is essentially King of Austin, both years they have had an outdoor screening of an episode, and one of the highlights of the entire weekend was the surprise appearance by Connie Britton & Kyle Chandler at the series’ panel. It’s a big freaking deal. So, yeah, it came up quite a bit, but we’ll get to more of that in a minute.

When I asked people what they wanted to know from Gerstein, the first question asked, almost every single time, was, “WADE?! What? Why?” These oh-so coherent musings were always referring to that time Wade cheated. Remember that? Yeah, me too. To say most of you were not happy with that turn of events is a bit of an understatement, so of course I wanted to hear from the source where that decision came from.

Gerstein was not shocked by my first Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel) question as I’m sure it’s one she has heard a lot. And while her answer may not be what everyone wants to hear (though I question if any answer will satisfy some of you), as a writer, I will say it made sense to me, “I always knew that was coming. Despite the extreme passion and hostility I felt from some people, and there were a lot of people who felt that way, he was not ready for this relationship. He was always going to sabotage it. He was never ready.”

bethel atx festival

Wilson Bethel looking dreamy.

Gerstein felt that Wade’s transition from “Player Wade” to “Perfect Wade” was quick, and his fall was inevitable because he jumped into that role so quickly and so unexpectedly. But she was quick to point out, he did not carry all the blame, “Zoe really screwed up in that episode. She pushed him out of his comfort zone. He felt a lot of pressure on him and couldn’t take it. So he did… what he knew how to do.”

In essence, kids, they just weren’t ready. To say the two of them were (are) screwed up is being nice about it. “She wasn’t ready to date Wade Kinsella in his existing form, and he wasn’t ready to date Zoe Hart.” Here’s what I liked about her answer – she doesn’t go back on her decision at all. She owns Wade’s actions and stands by it. You’ve got to respect that. But what now?

Well, the thing is – even Gerstein isn’t entirely sure. The season is in the very early stages, and everything could be changing. But for right now, this is how she sees Wade, “I don’t think that Wade waited around all summer and didn’t have sex with anyone else. I don’t think we’d want to see that Wade. He’s still Wade, but he has a business and he’s certainly changed. I don’t want to take him all the way back to before. But I think the culmination of that responsibility and the ability to say ‘I love you’ knowing that he might not hear it back is a big deal. We can’t take that away from his character.”

So there we go. That’s Wade. And I feel like she felt that Wade and Zoe are by no means over, so keep on keepin’ on, Zade fans. What about George Tucker (Scott Porter)? Well as of right now the story is, “When we come back in episode one, George has quit the tour and he is missing. No one has seen him in months.” WHAT? I like it. I think if anyone deserves a good meltdown and time alone, it’s George Tucker. But for those who were hoping he’d abandon is lawyering (this is what we call it, by the way), sorry. That’s not going away. I’d actually like to get a good George Tucker in the courtroom scene, actually. So maybe once he’s found? Gerstein mentioned they would make more use of Porter’s comedic chops this year as well. Which is great because he is SO funny!

scott porter

Scott Porter

Oh, and I guess we should mention titular character, Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson). To be fair, I realized a couple minutes before the end of the interview that even I forgot about her. (I had good reason to be out of sorts, which we will get to soon.) But the thing is… Gerstein wasn’t talking!  “It’s hard for me to talk about that without ruining it. Where we start season 3 will be… a little unexpected.” That’s all I got out of her as far as Zoe goes! Such a tease! Maybe she moved to Alaska. What? That’s unexpected!

I don’t know about you, but I am very excited to see what Gerstein and the writers have for us in Season 3. One thing they won’t have: a pregnant Lemon (Jaime King). King is pregnant in real life, but they are going to hide it. If they have a Jane Austen festival where everyone wears pregnancy-friendly empire-waist dresses, that was all me! (Man I hope that happens.)

Now here’s a little fun insider info. During this entire conversation, LaMarcus Tinker (Tinker from FNL) was about 3 feet behind Gerstein talking with friends. We spent a good portion of our fifteen minutes together going back to that show and gushing about how much we love it. I learned that Cress Williams almost didn’t get Gerstein’s vote of approval to play Lavon Hayes because all she could see when she looked at him during his first audition was Ornette Howard, Vince’s totally evil dad on FNL. Could you imagine Bluebell without Williams? We are both thankful someone was there who hadn’t seen Friday Night Lights and convinced her to give him a shot! (Although I hope they’ve since remedied that life mistake and have watched the series.)

Hart of Dixie returns to The CW this Fall on Mondays at 8pm! Don’t miss it and be sure to come back here for all your Hart of Dixie news!

Follow me on Twitter @serrae

Thanks to Leila Gerstein,  ATX Television Festival and the InterContinental Stephen F Austin Hotel.

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