Three episodes is the trial period I usually give an hour-long show, and when it comes to Nashville I’m in. The strong pilot was followed by two episodes that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. The character development is further along than many soapy dramas at this stage, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the various plot threads lead.
If there is one polarizing aspect to Nashville, it’s the character of Juliette. Some viewers went into the show with a predetermined dislike for Hayden Panetierre, and it was easy to write off the character as “mean Taylor Swift”. But I really like Hayden Panetierre and the work she’s doing on this show, and I think so far the writers have done a good job of making Juliette a layered, complicated character.
She’s a young star with a massive teenage following, but she’s also business savvy and sexy. Her career is on fire and she’s making loads of money, but she hasn’t had to face any professional hardships yet. She’s a perfect foil to Rayna, who is low right now but has already proven to have longevity in the business.
What I like about Juliette is that she’s hungry. She’s determined to succeed in the business, and she values hard work. When she snarked to Deacon about Rayna being handed her success, they were jealous words coming from a girl who started with nothing. The drug-addicted mama might be a bit of a cliche, but I think it works for Juliette’s character because it explains her hard exterior. So much of country music is about being down ‘n out, and Juliette obviously values that “pulled up by her own bootstraps” kind of story – hence her distaste for Rayna. I thought Panetierre did a good job of portraying Juliette’s conflict over what to do about her mother. She’s a girl who has been disappointed countless times, who sees no other option but to complete cut off ties with her mother who just won’t get sober. Yet, it’s her mother. She can’t.
Having Juliette steal a bottle of nail polish from a local grocery store was an interesting creative choice. Obviously, it was caught on video by some tween fans and soon Juliette will be facing her first big scandal. But I think it was interesting, because the more obvious choice probably would have been Juliette herself using drugs, or some kind of public drunkenness. The stealing when she has everything, I think that’s a more interesting reaction to her troubled life for the show to explore.
I think the whole mayoral election storyline is finally getting more interesting, since Rayna’s family’s financial ruin is imminent, and borrowing money from her father to avoid it would essentially mean giving up her career. We were given some more insight into Rayna’s life this week, and her father’s bitterness. Rayna obviously hasn’t always had it easy, and now she’s facing a real dilemma. Her touring with Juliette feels like an inevitability, but since Deacon is both sleeping with Juliette and refused once and for all to exclusively tour with her, I think there’s enough drama to make up for the predictability.
So Juliette has fame, Rayna is trying to hold on to hers, and Scarlett is at the very beginning of achieving some. She’s all nerves and self-doubt, but she is also incredibly talented. I like this storyline because it gives insight to a career being built from the ground up.
- I’ll admit, Juliette’s pop-country version of “Telescope” is totally something I’d listen to. But so is the acoustic version. And the cover that Rayna’s adorable kids did at the talent show was just fabulous, and in the context of the show an interesting way to show that songs can be both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. (I’ve previously mentioned on the blog that the actresses who play those girls are real-life YouTube sensations who I enjoy very much.)
- Avery helped Scarlett overcome her nerves about recording, which meant she was singing with Gunnar but to her boyfriend. And then he was pretty quick to introduce himself to Watty White. I feel like Avery’s very essence is villainous, so even though he was with Scarlett long before he knew she had any talent, I think he’s pretty eager to ride her coattails to his own fame and fortune.
- Can Rayna and Teddy just break up already? He’s a crook!
How are you guys feeling about Nashville so far?