Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TV PILOT REVIEW: The CW's "Hart of Dixie"

Have you ever seen the 1991 Michael J. Fox comedy Doc Hollywood, where a big city doctor causes a car accident in a small town and is ordered to provide his expertise for free as community service? Well, this series is like if Grey's Anatomy's Christina Yang was unknowingly Freaky-Fridayed with The O.C.'s Summer Roberts, lost her ability to speak intelligibly, saying lines like, "What's up? You sick?", and was forced to star in a televised remake of that movie.
In this new CW dramedy, Rachel Bilson plays New York-bred Dr. Zoe Hart, who is hellbent on becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon because she's desperate to be loved by her heart-doc dad—so desperate she moves to Alabama to accept the persistent offer of a small town doc so she can complete a year as a general practitioner, acquire a better bedside manner, and be considered for a cardio fellowship, only to later discover that the man she's trying to impress isn't her real father and the townie who hires her is...or rather was, because he dies before she can ever officially meet him. If that's not convoluted enough, the town's Queen B Lemon (Jaime King)—and in this town that stands for Bitch and Belle—is engaged to the town's golden boy George Tucker (Scott Porter from "The Good Wife" and "Friday Night Lights") but is actually in love with the town's rich, famous, Black, ex-football-playing mayor Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams from "Friday Night  Lights"). And while George is holding out hope that the obnoxious Lemon will turn back into the down-to-earth girl he fell in love with in high school, he's starting to like Zoe. Did you catch all that?
All of this could honestly be somewhat bearable if it wasn't for the blatant snobbiness that this story is drenched in. In every other scene there's a comment about how archaic Southerners are. They have roaming pet alligators, they don't have cable, they still celebrate the confederacy, and they don't realize they can get pregnant after having sex just once or that they should probably count the months after their last period to determine when they're due. I'm not from the South so I can't verify any of this, but I'm still insulted on their behalf. However, I commend the producers for letting them have all their teeth, allowing Lavon to speak without a slave's accent, and not having the towns folk ride down the street in horse and buggies shooting up into the air. The series was supposed to make fun of how high maintenance she was and show how she learns to be a more compassionate doctor, but instead it has its very own superiority complex. I think maybe Josh Schwartz should stick to making shows about rich people ("The O.C." and "Gossip Girl") and geeks ("Chuck"), because he's not doing his ex-employee any favors with this condescending mess. Ashley Tisdale's one-dimensional character Sharpay is more suited for this role. I'm surprised Disney didn't snatch it up.

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