The Negress was overjoyed when she found out “Nashville” was being renewed for a second season. She loves the show and all of its knowing, inside touches, but she wishes some of the people who have written about it knew the city better and had longer memories. Consider this profile of Hayden Panettiere from New York magazine (full disclosure: Matt Zoller Seitz, who is mag’s TV critic, was a co-worker of mine. The Negress adores his writing but he didn’t perpetrate this story).
The ladies of “Nashville” and a block of wood
You see, Nashville had history before the husband and wife team of Callie Khouri and T Bone Burnett arrived there permanent-like. Some of the town’s history they stitch into the fabric of the show very nicely, notably the divide between the Belle Meade power brokers and the hillbilly music makers. Belle Meaders don’t care about the music bidness, which is why Connie Britton’s character (Rayna James) has pretty much betrayed her raising (with her husband who’s not in the business, her story bears more of a resemblance to Minnie Pearl, who came from Belle Meade or thereabouts than the frequent comparisons to Faith Hill). You can also see why her daddy is steamed since his missus got tangled up in that shitkicker world too. It’s also a hoot that Brad Paisley’s wife, Kimberly, plays Peggy Kenter, the scheming mistress of Rayna’s husband. Eric Close plays the husband, and brings to mind the Monty Python line about David Hemmings being played by a block of wood.
Frankly, Hayden Panettiere deserves an Emmy. Juliette is not Taylor Swift, whose candy heart would be crushed by Juliette’s stilettos without her missing a step (an adult fan of Swift’s noted that Swift is the least likely celeb to show her chocha when leaving a limo. Yeah, but that doesn’t make her a singer.) With the acres of hurt and the remainder of her family parked at dysfunction junction, the Negress sees her as a composite character since there have been a fair number of flaky pop tarts in Nashville’s history. In fact, gal singers were usually encouraged to be more poppy than their male counterparts to increase sales. So, Juliette is Juliette, but the details of her are very real.
Moving on to the rest of the cast, let’s take the relatives first. The Negress has known a few pickers in her time and Deacon gets a lot of the details right, including the hard-earned sobriety and the sketchy social skills. His niece Scarlett, was a more problematic character at the beginning of the show since I think Clare Bowen was struggling with the accent (she’s from Australia and the actor who plays her boyfriend Gunnar, Sam Palladio, is English). The Negress is liking her more and more. Her rabbit-y shyness is explained by her brief descriptions of family life, which would make anyone retreat and write poems to duck flying furniture and broken plates. The Negress is also intrigued by Will, played by Chris Carmack. She has always figured statistically that some of those robohunks had to be part of Tribe Queer (also NASCAR, the Negress thinks) and he’s throwing a nice wrench into Gunnar and Scarlett’s world. In short, there’s a lot to tune in for, especially if you know where all the bodies are buried.
Update: One more episode this season and The Negress will not Nussbaum anyone who hasn’t seen it. Also must add that Avery, whose character I find completely disposable, seems to be weaseling his way back into the limelight. Also, what happened to Liam? Is he off sulking somewhere cos Rayna wouldn’t go to St. Lucia with him? Oh, there were a couple of deaths last night. Not telling who.