Reviewed by Tom Ciuba
I think part of why I like Nashville so much is because it’s a deep show. The concept could have been very easy to “trash up,” with it being set in the South and all. The writers put a lot of brains into it. And in addition to the smarts, it has a lot of heart and soul, too.
Last night, we saw Rayna and her husband Teddy getting an even better understanding of how rough their financial situation is. Managers are still urging her to tour with Juliette, but Rayna holds her ground and decides against it. Deacon feels torn about whether to tour with Rayna or get closer to Juliette, who he has a magnetic attraction to (why?!). No matter how sexy and young Juliette makes him feel, he just can’t seem to turn his back on his first (and true?) love. Juliette, instead, is stuck dealing with the ghosts of her past, as her drug addict mother comes to town begging for her to help. No matter how mad she is, though, she, too, can’t turn her back one of the loves of her life. Meanwhile, the average Joes, Scarlett and Gunner, decide to take Waddy White (the biggest record exec in town) up on his offer to record a few of their demos. They’re getting closer to fame, but if they knew what fame is doing to Rayna and company, would they choose differently?
I love to watch Connie Britton breathe life into Rayna. I feel like she represents Faith Hill or Martina McBride—someone who’s been around a while and knows intimately the many facades of fame, but still stays true to herself. And yeah, she’s stubborn as hell and has a lot of pride, but she thinks joining with Juliette would be selling herself out to someone she doesn’t like or respect. Rayna feels human, and that’s what makes her so relatable. I like that we got a little back story as to why her loathsome father gives her such a hard time. I couldn’t understand it for the life of me, because I’d kill to have a daughter like that!
And even though Juliette is detestable, she really is the character we love to hate. (This is going to be bad, but I can’t help but wonder if she’s supposed to be a representation of Taylor Swift. Do you think Taylor could be that much of a bitch??) Hayden Panettiere plays her incredibly well, and I’m really rooting for her to get some award recognition—the soonest being the Golden Globes coming up within the next 2 months or so. The backstory with Juliette’s mom is sad, and I can’t wait for them to explore that more.
Now Deacon…I’ve got some problems with him. Yeah, he’s yummy in a way that every true cowboy is, but I can’t help but think he’s a player. I feel like the writers want us to like Deacon, so, in my opinion, they need to stop making him screw around with Juliette so often. That shtick is getting old already.
I also thought it was very realistic to have Scarlett choke at her first attempt at making a recording. The show did a good job making that look like a really daunting and scary task. I can’t wait to see how she grows into fame…or how it grows on her.
And now for the music… Last week, I was really digging the song “Telescope.” I hope it doesn’t become an unofficial anthem for the show because it has the characteristics to get old as quickly as a Taylor Swift song does. I’d love to hear Deacon do a solo. And let’s hear some more of these supposed endless classics that Rayna has!
So, I had the dilemma of a lifetime last night–watch Nashville live and record American Horror Story…or watch American Horror Story live and record Nashville? Hesitantly (I’m as big a horror fan as I am a country music fan), I chose to watch Nashville live. And I’m sure glad I did!
The second episode was a great continuation from the first episode, and I really hope the show is on its way to scoring a permanent home on ABC primetime.
In last night’s episode, we learned that Juliette may be trying to secure Deacon for her tour because she’s actually looking to make more personal, intimate music, and she knows the talent that he holds might be able to take her to a new level. But, good ol’ Southern boy Deacon has already promised to tour with Rayna, who is convinced by her managers that re-teaming with the old flame might give her the comeback she’s so desperately seeking. On top of dealing with that, Rayna is also sucked into the vetting process by husband Teddy’s campaign advisors. They grill both of them about fidelity, love, and trust, and the exercise proves a little too much for Rayna, who starts to see feelings for Deacon resurface. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Gunner are made an offer to record a demo after a record exec watched their passionate duet at the local bar. Problem is…Scarlett moved to Nashville because her boyfriend hopes to make it big one day…and things just aren’t working out for him and his band lately. In the end, she chooses to go for it anyway.
It’ll be interesting to see the kind of drama that’s born from the Scarlett love triangle. The juxtaposition is perfect for it: the boyfriend has the dream, but she’s the one who actually is piquing interest from the record label heads.
I also love that we are, indeed, seeing that there may be more to Juliette than meets the eye. I think even she herself is getting tired of her nonsense. Hayden Panettiere is taking on the role with such gusto, by the way. Her singing is superb, her twang is superb, her seductiveness is superb. I came into this show thinking Connie Britton would be the shining star. And while Britton’s definitely holding her own as Rayna (except, I really don’t think she can sing too well, but the showrunners are doing a good job disguising that), Panettiere is proving that she’s got plenty of acting chops.
My favorite part of the episode was, again, the music. Last week, I said to myself, “ABC better release a soundtrack lickity split!” Well, lo and behold, I found out after the episode that you can get the music on iTunes. My wallet’s a little nervous. It knows that country music is kind of an addiction. Oh well…
And once again, I have to praise the editing. The show really does play out like a movie, and that only lends credibility and likability to it. So, keep it up, ABC! The part that flowed best was when they intertwined Juliette’s recording a demo of “Undermine” with Rayna’s interview with mayoral campaign leaders. The music enabled us to really understand how lost Rayna feels—even in a big city with such bright lights and loud crowds.
All in all, I’m hooked. I hope you guys are, too.
Did you all have the same dilemma I did? What did you choose?