As The CW’s rom-com/drama “Hart of Dixie” returns with new episodes on Tuesday, Jan. 15, Zap2it went to executive producer Leila Gerstein to find out what’s up with love and life in idyllic BlueBell, Ala., with displaced Manhattan Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), her beau, bartender Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel); lawyer George Tucker (Scott Porter); his ex-fiance, Southern belle Lemon Breeland (Jaime King); local-girl-made-good Ruby Jeffries (Golden Brooks); and her now-ex-love, NFL-star-turned-mayor Lavon Hayes (Cress Williams).
Has the fans’ reactions to various romantic permutations affected your
decisions about which characters should be paired with which?
like to hear all points of view. But at the end of the day, I go with my
gut. I don’t necessarily ascribe to the “One Mythic Couple” argument. So, a lot of what happens on the show comes out of seeing the way characters
interact together and organically going from there. I love to hear from
the fans. But it would be impossible to make them all happy.
Are there any romantic duos you’ve definitely abandoned?
now, I’d say we’ve definitely abandoned George and Lemon. Also Zoe will
not be running off with Tom Long anytime soon.
Between Zoe and Wade, it seemed fresh and interesting that Wade turned out to
more of the monogamy guy and Zoe was the commitment-phobe, making for a bit of
a reversal on stereotype. Where did that decision come from?
wouldn’t say that Zoe is less into monogamy than Wade. But she has
a lot of neuroses, and almost no relationship experience.
Has the inclusion of new character Ruby turned out as you hoped it would?
gave us a fun election storyline and re-energized the Lavon/Lemon dynamic. So a big yes.
There’s a lot of sex in BlueBell but not a lot of weddings. Can we expect
a bride and groom to actually make it to the altar together sometime this
to over-sell it, but the world’s greatest ever proposal and wedding is on the
Is there a character that you, as writers, have had a change of heart or mind
about over the course of the show?
have really fallen in love with a lot of our townspeople and we love to deepen
and expand their worlds. A lot of people came in with one line, and
we decided to have them stick around forever, which is what’s great
fun about doing a small-town show.
“HoD” manages to be sweet without being overly sentimental. How do
the writers maintain that balance?
write the show we want to see. It’s as easy as that. We want
to tear up occasionally but don’t want schmaltz.
How have Southerners — especially Alabamians — reacted to the show?
gotten a lot of positive responses. I hope they like it. I do feel like it’s an idealized version of Alabama. We’re not aiming for accuracy, we’re aiming for wish fulfillment.
‘Bama fans of my acquaintance especially liked the reference to the rivalry
with Auburn (apparently Lavon once played for the Tide, but needed to court local Auburn-fan votes to be re-elected as mayor). Now that we have a bona fide Crimson Tide dynasty, will we see
more of that?
love that rivalry too. We will see more.
Any thoughts on a cameo by Alabama Coach Nick Saban?
would be very cool.
Speaking of football, last season, I talked to Scott Porter about the notion of having
Tim Tebow make a cameo, as this is one of the few scripted shows that might
have a chance of getting him. Scott liked it (and said so to Zap2it) — how about you?
it. If you know him, please ask if he would consider it.
“HoD” has managed to include references to faith that are both
respectful and funny, setting it apart from many other shows. How important is
it to see that represented from time to time?
think it’s important. This small town has a strong moral center, the
church is key to that.
How many people tell you they want to live in BlueBell?
Gerstein: Lots. BlueBell is designed to be a special, nearly magical place you can escape to
for an hour a week. It’s kinder, more romantic, more neighborly and more
event-filled than any real place. I want to live in BlueBell.
Lastly, why is it spelled “BlueBell”?
Gerstein: Because it is
QuiRKy. Also, there is an ice cream company called Bluebell.