I’m pretty darn excited for this show! It appeals to me on many levels. Like I did for 2 Broke Girls I’m gonna break this down into bullet points for plotlines
- That Southern Guy, Harley
The series may revolve around Zoe Hart, but it also revolves around Harley Wilkes, a General Practitioner in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe first meets him at her medical school graduation and he offers her a job, which she turns down. She later reveals he kept in touch over the years via postcards; so when her world in NYC fell apart she took him up on his job offer. Arriving in Bluebell she’s surprised to find that he has passed away and left her his part of the practice. While it’s not too far off for someone to be impressed with what appeared to be a medical school valedictorian and her speech there are many questions here. Why was he at that graduation? Why did he pursue her so hard over the years? When I learned he’d left her his practice I thought that she would discover he was her grandfather.
- Dr. Zoe Hart has a personality Problem
A large part of the show is Zoe’s personality problem. She’s perfectly nice and all but she’s very urban, it’s a stark contrast to the southern hospitality. It’s also what lost her the Cardiothorasic fellowship, her lack of seeing patients as people instead of problems. It’s also brought up in the Bluebell office when George gripes about her lack of bedside manner. Basically Zoe has such a tunnel-vision of focus on her plan that it’s actually costing her a life; she lost her boyfriend, the fellowship, and who knows what else along the way. Can Bluebell rub off?
- George Tucker, Resident Hero
Zoe and George first meet on the road into Bluebell, when Zoe is dropped off by the bus and is walking along the shoulder with her bags. This is his first act of heroism and by far not his last. George seems to be a stereotypical golden boy, a lawyer who had a stint in New York City before realizing he missed his hometown of Bluebell and his high school sweetheart, Lemon. But there’s some sparks between Zoe and George so there’s trouble ahead for the sour girl! George also saves Zoe midway through the episode when she comes across a gator at night, the gator (Burt Reynolds is the gator’s name) happens to be the mayor’s pet and is disposed of by George with a simple, “Beat it, Burt.” He then argues a bit with Zoe about interrupting his nightly jog to save her “well-toned ass.” Shockingly she doesn’t catch on to that compliment the way I latched onto it like a leech.
- Gone South
There’s a lot of Southernisms in this show that it’s almost too much to go into. But with this first episode I would be completely remiss to not mention the Belles. Ah, the Belles. If you read my earlier review you know that this episode filmed in an area I used to live in, and during the Azalea season, which some call Belle Weather. The Azalea Belles are like roaches that time of year, they’re everywhere so stop being surprised to see them! Emmeline is right when she calls them “elite young ladies,” they are the cream of the crop and years of preparation goes into being a Belle.
- A few medical issues
There are actually 4 medical issues this episode which push plots forward. The first is the elderly gentleman with the DMV form, it’s obviously a scam and I like to think that Zoe wouldn’t have fallen for it had she not been bothered by her mother’s call. Of course, if she hadn’t he wouldn’t have hit George Tucker and sent him to the office in the middle of the night, leading to Zoe meeting Brick (the d!ck) for the first time. Then there is the woman who came in with some kind of fishing hook in her palm. I don’t know, I’m squeamish, I looked away. This woman acted really weird. One minute she was acting all sweet to Zoe and horrible to her daughter, but when Zoe asked the daughter about some marks on her skin the lady turned mean on both. Zoe ran into the daughter at the Dixie Stop (FACT: The Dixie Stop is actually Dock St. Market in Wilmington, NC. I used to go there many times a week when I worked nearby.) turns out Mabel, the daughter, is pregnant and her momma don’t know.
- Levon Hayes’ Plantation
Emmeline sets up Zoe with a place to stay at the mayor’s house, which brings so much funny. The mayor is a famous football player, Lavon Hayes, which Zoe loves. I love that he’s one of those people who intermittently refers to himself in the third person. The place to stay is a little rundown cottage on the property that shares electric with the gatehouse where a Mr. Wade Kinsella lives. When too much is going on in both houses it blows a fuse, leading Zoe to the gatehouse to confront Wade (who is yummy) and along the way back, confronting Burt Reynolds.
- Brick the D!ck
Ah, Brick the D!ck. He’s hunting when Zoe first comes to town, but his daughter Lemon sours all over Zoe’s parade telling her she should be gone before he comes back. He cuts the trip off early to come back when George gets run over by the older gentleman from earlier. Turns out George is his lawyer and will find a way to get Zoe’s half of the practice from her. When Zoe stops at the Dixie Stop (Ah, sweet Dixie Stop) for some wine, Lemon storms in and reveals George is her fiancé and their engagement party is the very next day. Oops. During their argument Brick compares Zoe to both Katrina and the BP Oil Spill, which is insulting to the people who actually lived through those things.
- Hitting Rock Bottom
Ya know how Zoe stopped at Dixie Stop for wine? This leads to my favorite sequence ever of Zoe walked down the tree-lined back road in the dark, lugging a box of wine and a cup, drinking all the way. All while Patsy Cline’s Crazy plays in the background. Who should come along to find Zoe at the side of the road enjoying her wine but Wade? Drunk Zoe scores one for the girls with a hot and heavy makeout session in the front seat of Wade’s muscle car, until she leans back and her but hits the horn. You know that horn from Duke’s of Hazard? Yeah. It totally is the same one. Zoe reflects that she finally hit rock bottom, because she just “played Dixie with my butt.” Little does she know, when she arrives to the cottage she finds her mother waiting for her.
- Climbing Back Out
Zoe has a false start in climbing back out. After talking to her mother she decides to leave because she’ll never fit in. So she sees George about the papers to sign over her half to Brick, and while she has packing gets a call from Mabel, who is very distressed and in pain, but stuck working at the Breeland’s for the engagement party. You see, this is a false start for climbing back out because the true climbing doesn’t come until the end.
- The End
It takes Levon Hayes name dropping his way into the party to get Zoe in to see Mabel, where she discovers she’s in labor! I’m gonna let this slide because at least homegirl “knew” she was pregnant, just in denial. Zoe takes Mabel inside to take care of her but the Ambulance will take too long. Brick barges in saying he’ll have to deliver the baby but Mabel puts him right in his place telling him to back off that he is not touching her and Zoe is her doctor. Now, right here I thought maybe Brick was the father, which is twisted and never actually mentioned. But Brick gets Emmeline and the three work together to try to deliver the baby. After an impromptu surgery Mabel has a bouncing baby girl and the guts to tell her own mama to SHOVE IT. She doesn’t want her mama’s negativity around her baby girl. As they leave Emmeline and Zoe discuss Zoe leaving town, and Emmeline finally tells Zoe the truth, even though she didn’t think it her place. She hands Zoe an old photo, in it Zoe instantly recognizes her mother, and the older man with his arms around her as Harley. It turns out he’s not her grandfather, he’s her father. She confronts her mom who confesses to it, that they met on a cruise in Greece, that her husband found out when Zoe had an accident as a kid and they thought she’d need blood. That’s why he left and had been withdrawn from their lives despite Zoe trying to follow in his footsteps. Zoe tells her mom to go, and decides she is staying. The episode ends with Zoe at the cemetery, talking to Harley’s headstone about her being lost and how she is going to try to follow in his footsteps to find her way.
Verdict: Love. It.