‘Hart of Dixie’: A Heat Wave Brings Out the Best of Bluebell

Tonight, everyone goes a little crazy on “Hart of Dixie” thanks to the annual Bluebell heat wave. The extreme temperatures and humidity result in so many men taking their shirts off that viewers might think they are watching an unusually upbeat episode of “The Vampire Diaries.”

It turns out that the men of Bluebell spend a lot of time working out. Scott Porter (George), sums it up: “The next time I have to take my shirt off is going to be way too soon. I thought I was done with working with the Taylor Kitschs of the world. Then I’ve got to take my shirt off in the same episode as these two maniacs, [Wilson Bethel and Cress Williams].”

The episode is about a lot more than eye candy. The show comes into its own as an ensemble dramedy with strong storylines for every character. Zoe (Rachel Bilson) attempts to cut loose. George’s judgmental parents visit. There is a particularly powerful scene between Lemon (Jaime King) and Lavon (Cress Williams). The show’s stars and series creator Leila Gerstein previewed the heat wave and upcoming episodes of  the show.

Lemon and Lavon’s Obstacles Have Nothing To Do With Race One of the strangest “controversies” of the fall season is that, by presenting a small town where characters of different races get along and the mayor is African-American, “Hart of Dixie” is not properly addressing racial issues. Gerstein makes it clear that the mysterious reason that exes Lemon and Lavon can’t be together has nothing to do with race. “I can’t divulge the reason why they can’t be together but we are not ‘Friday Night Lights.’ We are not going for hyperrealism.” King adds, “Our relationship has nothing to do with our race. It’s just like any other relationship where you have roadblocks and a lot of different histories that come in with between. I’m not talking about a person, I’m talking about things that happen.” Williams agrees. “I never really thought about race at all. I just think that we are dealing with the behavioral issues of a love triangle that everyone can identify with and so if we don’t really hammer race on it, that is something that is really easily identifiable.”

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George’s Parents Bring Out A New Side of His Personality So far, George has been portrayed as impossibly perfect: smart, level headed, successful. The arrival of his parents reveals the chinks in his armor. Says Porter, “George’s relationships with his parents – he’s glad to not live anywhere near them right now… George has come back to Bluebell and stuck out on his own. You find out he has a brother later and more of the interesting elements between he and his parents. Why he doesn’t live next to them, why he was so big on going away and striking out on his own in the first place. It all comes back a few episodes away down the pike… You see the other side of George. They can kind of get to him and needle him in the way that nobody in Bluebell can.”

Wade Will Have An Adventure With Lemon and George Bethel teases, “Up until this point [Wade] has had minimal interaction with George and Lemon… There’s a great episode, 7 or 8, where the three of us are getting into some crazy antics together.” Porter adds, “There’s no strangers in this town so everybody [has a history.] The beautiful thing about the show is the speed at which we move is a little bit slower and more exciting in a way. When we choose to pull back the curtain and say, “This is how George and Wade grew up together. This is how they know each other.” At what point did they choose such different paths? At what point did they separate?”

Bluebell Will Get Even Quirkier The gumbo contest was just the first of many unusual events in Bluebell. Says Gerstein,”Right now we are filming our Thanksgiving episode. I will tell you that they celebrate Thanksgiving in a unique way in Bluebell… We’ve got a turtle race, a black tie turtle race. There’s a pageant at Christmas time.”

Zoe Will Get A New Love Interest… And Visitors From New York Gerstein reveals, “We have a friend that’s coming. We have a relative that’s coming. Her mother is coming back. We are giving her a third potential love interest. Not that soon.”  However, do not count out George or Wade in the battle for Zoe’s heart. “My hope is that half the audience is rooting for Zoe to be with George and half our audience is rooting for Zoe to be with Wade. I think that you will not be disappointed if you are rooting for George and Zoe you will not be disappointed if you are rooting for Wade and Zoe.”

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